The other morning, I though it would be funny to scare my wife while she was asleep in bed. I jumped in the door, screamed like a maniac and the very first thing she did was yank the blankets up to her eyeballs. Then .478 second later… it all changed. During her “barrage of lovely, and extremely thoughtful, words of love” I asked myself, why do we feel safe under blankets?
Most will say it replicates your stay in the womb, however studies show that when your body temperature begins to decrease, we use blankets to help keep our body temperature higher to help us stay more alert during sleep. Yes, you do get a better nights sleep when you are warm. When you are warmer, you can be relaxed. When you are relaxed, you feel safer.
So why did my wife pull the sheets up to her eyes and start cussing, I mean, telling me she loved her in the language of anger (its so romantic) before the sheet went below her mouth? Obviously, she was warm and that is where she felt safe immediately.
Why Do We Feel Safe Under Blankets?
Look up. No not actually up. Scroll up a bit. We, as humans, enjoy the warmth of a sheet while we sleep to keep our body temperature at optimal levels. Or as optimal as humanly possible. It is actually proven here @ Skin deep: enhanced sleep depth by cutaneous temperature manipulation.
Some good ol’ sleep science there.
Short version of that experiment, scientists had participants dress in a thermosuit (like this one on Amazon). It’s pretty pricey top try out for a blog post here, but you get an idea of what one is. Once in the suit, the scientists could measure the body temperature while the participants slept.
What did they find out? Body temperature plays a big part in our sleep! It kind of explains why I always leave a leg sticking out when I go to sleep, but you cant get me out from under the covers in the morning.
Why Do We Do It?
We feel safe under blankets mostly because of the warmth it helps us conserve during sleep. While it is true that when the temperature drops we get sleepy, when we are asleep we want to be warm. Most mammals exhibit this behavior. Dogs like to sleep on beds that help conserve body heat. So do cats!
There is probably a connection to safety as well, such as pulling something to “hide” you from the night. That may be how the whole “Honey, lets make a blanket” idea started in the first place.
Why Are We Still Doing It?
Feeling safe under a blanket is probably the easiest way, we as human, have figured out how to sleep better at night. Our mothers and fathers always tucked us in nice and tight when we were children and we have carried this sensation with us to adulthood.
Blankets can be traced all the way back to 3500 BC when linen sheets were found in ancient Egypt. These sheets were made of wool, then eventually cotton, and usually only for the wealthy.
People back then that could not afford a blanket, usually shared a bed with other people or livestock. In a very different culture back then, peasants usually could barely only afford food to feed a family.
It is PERFECTLY Normal Behavior
While sleeping with sheets is common, it is not universal. There are people out there that do not like sleeping with sheets. To each their own, but I gotta say that is odd. The only time I double think sleeping without a blanket is when I had to stay in a sub $100 a night hotel room.
Sleeping without sheets is a totally different thing all together. If you are the type of person that does not feel safe under blankets, check out my other article Sleeping Without Sheets.
For most of us, having a blanket is not just about if you feel safe under blankets, it is about getting warmer. When we are warm, we are comfortable. This content was created on thatsleepguy.com.
IF you like blankets, you are going to love this next bit. Have you heard of weighted blankets? YES! Weighted blankets can help you not only conserve warmth, but also feel safer and has even found to be helpful with people that suffer from autism!
A Weighted Blanket Should Make us Feel Safer, Right?
In a sense, yes! By helping you relax and the added weight of the blanket can add a feeling of security and safety while helping your body control your body temperature. The light “push” a weighted blanket has on you can actually help increase your serotonin and melatonin levels.
Weighted blankets can be made with weighted beads in-between two blankets. Most are machine washable and can be kept for 10+ years if properly taken care of.
Why People Love Weighted Blankets?
Other than the obvious ones listed above, people claim it helps with all types of sleep disorders. Have a look at the comments in the Amazon options below to see why these blankets have such high ratings and reviews! There is too many for me to list!
With over 1k reviews on these weighted blankets, this should tell you how much people love them and are willing to tell the world about it. Maybe you should look at the reasons why they love them as well! It is against the rules from Amazon for me to post reviews directly, sooooo you are going to have to check it out yourself.
So why do we feel safe under blankets? It lets our body regulate our body temperature better during sleep. There are additional benefits as well, but the largest reason is for us to relax. The feeling of security we get from a blanket is simply us feeling safe to relax underneath the blanket.
If you like to sleep without sheets, well, check out my other post about that: Is it Gross to Sleep Without Sheets?