Why We Sleep With Blankets, According To Science

While everyone has different sleeping habits, the one habit most people have in common is the tendency to sleep under a blanket. This remains true even when it's hot outside. That's because your body's core temperature cools down when you're sleeping and continues to fall as the night goes on (via The Healthy). During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, your body's ability to regulate temperature is impaired, causing your body temperature to drop to its lowest point. Sleeping under a blanket can prevent you from losing heat that could otherwise cause you to wake up shivering in the middle of the night.

"A blanket creates a 'microclimate' around the skin that is usually warmer than the surrounding environment," Dr. Michael Grandner, the director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson, told The Healthy. "It traps heat that escapes from the body at night, keeping the body warm. And since most people sleep with a blanket, the physical sensation of the blanket itself gets paired with sleep."

Blankets, especially weighted blankets, can also help reduce anxiety and insomnia. Studies have found that people who regularly sleep under a blanket have a calmer and more peaceful sleep experience. The pressure of the blanket can make you feel safe and help you achieve a more relaxed state of mind.

How to sleep with a blanket even when it's hot outside

As difficult as it is to fall asleep without a blanket, sometimes it's just too hot. When it's sweltering outside, your body's natural drop in temperature may not be enough to help you fall asleep. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help you fall asleep and stay asleep when it's too hot.

One way to cool down is to take a hot shower before you go to bed (via HuffPost). Although this might sound counterintuitive, the heat your body absorbs from the shower will actually activate your natural thermoregulation process. This will decrease your core body temperature much faster, allowing you to sleep under a blanket without feeling overheated.

If you're not one to take showers before bed, you can try investing in a cooling pillow. Cooling pillows are an easy and effective way to help lower your temperature and prevent you from getting overheated. Since your brain temperature naturally drops by a few degrees before you fall asleep, cooling pillows simply help speed up this process. You can also stay cool by uncovering your feet while you sleep. Laying down with your feet sticking out from under a blanket can actually help lower your body temperature, making it easier for you to fall asleep at night.