I’ve always wanted a weighted blanket to help with anxiety, stress and sleep problems. A year with topical steroid withdrawal and a lifetime living with eczema skin mean nigh-times can be tough; fighting the itch and generally getting wound up and anxious.
I eventually bought one of these beautiful Kalm Koala weighted blankets on the recommendation of my sister-in-law. Both she and her mother have been trialling one and have both seen a dramatic increase in sleep quality.
Read this ‘Product Review of the Kalm Koala Weighted Blanket’ on Lily Sawyer’s Interior Design blog to hear how they got on. Also, take a good look at her photographs because none that I take will be a patch on hers! 😉
Insomnia and not sleeping at all
Lily discusses a bout of insomnia where she just couldn’t sleep at all, and feeling misunderstood that this was even possible. People say things like, “Oh well you must have slept a little bit.” or “Well you were resting so you body will feel refreshed”… If someone says they have not slept at all, maybe they haven’t. Just imagine what that’s like. We need to sleep for our sanity, to heal, get well, rejuvenate cells in our body etc. Not sleeping can create so many knock on problems, not least that just getting through the day is an epic effort.
To anyone who cannot imagine this, it is possible to not sleep at all in the night and for this to be a regular occurrence, believe me it happens. It is a very real and terrifying condition for some, myself included.
Anyone who has been through Topical Steroid Withdrawal will know that it is entirely possible to go a whole night without a wink of sleep because we are literally awake, tossing, turning, scratching, trying not to scratch, laying on our hands, tying our hands up in scarves, wrapping our bodies in bandages, getting up for a bath, opening windows, turning fans on and off and generally pacing around in the vain hope the insomnia cycle can be broken.
For me this would last about ten days, sometimes getting a few hours, sometimes knowing I had not actually gone to sleep at all. After it had gone for days like this my body would give in and I would sleep for 11 or 12 hours straight. Then back to wakeful, fretful, itchy nights with your own dark thoughts that this will never end. Before Christmas I was getting a few hours sleep every night, anxiety about staying away from home whilst travelling and flaring and flaking whilst with friends and family just made it worse.
Luckily for me things had started to improve for me anyway in 2020, even before I bought my Kalm Koala blanket. I only wish I’d discovered it sooner as it may have offered me some small comfort on those dark nights.
It’s like being gently held
I’ve been sleeping under my new anxiety blanket from Kalm Koala now for about 2-3 weeks. The blanket really is calming. It’s like being held, ever so gently as your body slowly relaxes into sleep. I also sleep with a giant teddy bear called Big Ted, who is also a huge comfort. He’s the size or a small child and so soft that if I wrap my arms around him I don’t feel so alone. I think Big Ted has his nose out joint because instead of waking cuddling him, he is discarded and sometimes even pushed out of bed. I wake up swaddled in my calming blanket like a burrito. Sorry Big Ted!
What do I love about it?
Everything, basically, with a few picky exeptions which I’ll mention later.
- I love how calm and soothed it leaves me feeling.
- It helps me to relax after each day, winding down is easier when you slip under your Kalm Koala blanket.
- The heaviness of the weight on my legs is reassuring and releases anxiety.
- It is a pretty dusky grey colour, which I love.
- The cover is so soft on one side and smooth and cooling on the other.
- I use the silky side against my skin as I get too hot using it the other way up.
- It needs washing on a cold wash cycle so saves on energy
- So far it has washed really well
- It’s really good quality, well made and looks as good as new, despite lots of washing and my greasy emollients and scratching bouts in the night.
- I’ve always wanted one so my dream has come true
Honestly I can’t really fault this blanket at all. I almost wish mine were slightly heavier but it certainly helps me regardless.
- I never want to get up! I wake up so warm, cosy and calmed that it’s way too easy to become a snoozer and stay a few more minutes under the covers. My sleep has been so bad in 2019 that I think I’m still catching up on lost sleep. It’s like I’m sleeping for England now. As my body moves through the TSW process I will have less restless itchy nights with the hives. Sadly there is no short cut through these symptoms, they have to be got through, but sleep is so much easier now.
- One thing that’s a bit annoying is all the loops you have to tie to insert the duvet inside the cover and then untie when it needs washing. I’m lazy and easily irritated by things like this but it does mean the blanket stays in place inside the cover.
- Mine needs washing often due to the emollients I use on my skin so this has been annoying but I’ve taken to putting the blanket into a normal duvet cover too so I can minimise the loop exercise and reduce the times I need to wash the beautiful cover.
- It smelt when it arrived. That artificial smell all new fabric items have so I had to wash it before using and air actual blanket. It’s almost gone now. But I do hate the smell on new things. I don’t know what it is but I have to wash all new clothes and bedding before I use them. It’s just one of my things.
- I wish I’d bought the double sized blanket. I went for a single sized one thinking it was only me inside it but now wish I had gone all out for the full size. Not least because it would have look better on my bed.
- I feel like I might even benefit from mine being a little heavier… sometimes my anxiety levels are quite high and I love the weight, but once it’s distributed evenly over the body it feels so much lighter than when you try to lift the folded blanket in your arms.
There are lots of other things that I do to help me sleep. Read “20 sleep tips for eczema and TSW” here.
How to choose the right weight
I struggled with this. There is a weight calculator on the Kalm Koala website here. But since I get so overheated very easily at night I went for the lightest option, which at 4kg still sounds heavy. It is when you try to lift it folded. It’s actually impressively heavy. But when it’s distributed over the body it doesn’t feel that heavy at all. They also come in 6.8kg and 9kg. For my weight, which is about 9.5 – 10 stone, depending on how many cakes I’ve been baking, I should have the medium weight blanket.
I was just worried about wasting my money if I was too hot. I get very hot at night and always have a window open, ALL YEAR ROUND! My bedroom is always kept cool as this is the only way I am comfortable at night.
So in hindsight, opt for the blanket that matches your weight. They are definitely not hot, stuffy blankets and I think I’d be OK with the 6.8kg one.
The verdict – 9/10
I love it. I really love my new weighted blanket from Kalm Koala. My sleep has greatly improved and I wake refreshed. I’m really glad I bought one, just wish I’d got a bigger one!
I would recommend these to anyone on a mission for a better night’s sleep. Having looked at loads of different brands and types of anxiety blanket I really think Kalm Koala have the best on offer and they’re not that expensive. Don’t forget, Use Coupon Code WHATALLERGY for £10 off a Kalm Koala Weighted Blanket.
Have you tried one? Are you tempted? Does yours help you? I’d love to hear from other anxiety blanket fans!