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10 Tips to Finally Get Sleep In Hot Weather

10 Tips to Finally Get Sleep In Hot Weather

Although it’s almost late August and the summer is drawing to a close, the hot weather has shown little sign of letting up for many of us. We’ve talked in previous blogs of how sleeping in a cool, dark room can be helpful when trying to overcome insomnia. Unfortunately, this can often be difficult throughout the summer months when temperatures sore and daylight hours last longer. Following some of these tips and tricks may help you beat the heat and get the high-quality sleep your body requires.

  1. Cooling your head and feet

The extreme ends of our bodies, our head and feet, are where we lose most of our body heat from. This is why kids are constantly told to wear a hat during cold weather, to retain heat inside the body. During hot weather we want to want to cool our bodies by drawing the heat out in order to lower our body temperature.

There are numerous ways to we can do this. Soaking your feet in cold water for ten minutes before sleeping has been found to be effective. Wetting your hair with water is another option. You can try killing two birds with one stone by taking a cool or lukewarm shower before bed. Not only does the shower lower your body temperature, but it leaves the skin moist. As that moisture evaporates, it provides a cooling effect which sends the body to sleep.

man sleeping in the fridge

  1. Breathable fabrics

Nothing can trigger a sleepless night like bed sheets which trap heat and easily stick to your body. When it comes to choosing bed sheets in a summer heatwave, less is more. Avoid fabrics such as silk, as well as linen which come with high thread counts. Alternatives such as cotton and linen are less likely to trap heat.

The same can be said when it comes to choosing a pair of pyjamas. Light-colored and breathable clothing will prevent sweat from gluing you to the sheets, allowing you to catch some much-needed shut-eye.

  1. The “Egyptian Method”

The egyptians knew a thing or two about how to sleep despite the heat, and many of us still incorporate their tips and tricks for falling asleep into our nighttime routines. Try wetting a sheet or bath towel with cool water until it is damp (but not dripping). A dry towel or sheet can be placed underneath your body while the damp sheet is used as a blanket, helping you stay cool.

  1. Using air flow

If AC is not an option it can be difficult to get comfortable on a hot night. Fans are a great way of having a cool air flow throughout the room. During the summer months they are widely available from most drug stores and grocery stores. You can make the most of the cool air flow that fans provide by making a path for the air to flow. Try opening multiple windows or doors to allow for air flow movement.

Another useful trick to get the most out of your bedroom fan is to place a block of ice cubes in front of the moving fan. When the air is blown over the ice, it will provide a cooling effect, and hopefully help you fall asleep with minimal tossing and turning.

The new Hush ICED blanket will be launching soon, designed to maintain cool temperatures throughout the night. The blanket will provide the perfect combination of airflow and cooling sensations, an easy solution for a better night’s sleep. Launch date coming soon!

hot sleeper

  1. Get low

It’s a well-known fact; hot air rises. During extreme heat the difference between a sleepless and a sleepful night could be determined by how close to the ground you are. This means avoiding elevated sleeping positions such as hammocks or the top of a bunk bed. Loft bedrooms are a no-go area, and if you live in a 2-storey house it may be worthwhile temporarily relocating to the ground floor in order to beat the heat.

  1. Block out the light

If the heat in summer time wasn’t enough to make falling asleep a challenge, the extra hours of daylight only make matters worse. At this time of the year in Canada, the sun rises at approximately 6:30am before setting at 10pm. The extended presence of sunlight results in a delay to our body receiving the sleep-inducing signals we typically rely on to fall asleep. Combine this with the disruption created by sunlight creeping in through the curtains early in the morning, and the effects can be disastrous on a sleep schedule.

Luckily, there’s an easy solution to this problem. Blackout curtains can be hung, making it impossible for any sunlight to disrupt your sleep. If that’s too much of a commitment, eye masks are readily available in most drug stores at affordable prices.

sleep mask for hot summer

  1. Adjust your diet

It may sound like common sense, but if you’re struggling to keep cool during the summer months, there are certain foods and meals you should be avoiding. We can probably all agree that summer is not the season for roast dinners or overly spicy dishes. Room-temperature dishes such as salads made from vegetables, fruits and nuts are ideal. Noodles are a great addition to a salad for a change in texture. Aside from tasting great, not using the oven will go a long way in keeping your home cool.

  1. Solo sleep

While a snuggle buddy is ideal during the winter months, sharing a bed during the summer will inevitably lead to the transfer of unwanted body heat. Sleeping alone will provide the space you need to spread out and stay cool. If you want to get technical, the spread eagle position is best for staying cool as each of your arms and legs stay far apart from each other, allowing the air to circulate.

  1. Cool your pulse points

Reducing your overall body temperature has been proven to help induce sleep and there are a variety of ways this can be done. If a cold shower sounds like too much for late at night, try applying ice packs, cool compresses or cold water to your pulse point areas. The wrist and neck are the most obvious pulse points, but don’t be afraid to also try the insides of your elbows and knees. The ice or cold water will chill the body’s blood vessels, lowering overall body temperature.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Once you finally find the right tricks to help fall asleep, it’s important to sufficiently fuel your body to get the maximum possible benefits from that sleep. Staying hydrated is essential at all times, but many of us may neglect the importance of drinking water before sleep. The average person tosses and turns approximately 37-40 times per night. When this is combined with the extra sweating we do on a hot night, the need for drinking water before sleeping is obvious.

If you’ve been struggling to sleep in the hot weather, take your pick from the list of tips above. Be sure to bookmark for next summer if you’ve found them helpful!

Weighted Blanket for Sensory Issues

Weighted Blanket for Sensory Issues

For those with sensory processing disorder, navigating through everyday life can prove to be a huge challenge.

While routine noises, sounds and touch don’t seem to faze anyone else around you, these may be exceedingly disruptive or painful for you, so much to the point that they make it hard for you to go about your day-to-day activities.

Busy man taking a bus

Thankfully, there are various self-soothing tools that those with sensory processing disorder may use to cope with their symptoms, including weighted blankets.

In this blog post, we walk you through all you need to know about sensory processing disorder, and discuss the benefits of a weighted blanket for sensory issues.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Simply put, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition in which an individual’s brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in via their senses.

This is a neurophysiological condition wherein sensory input is poorly detected or interpreted, and it causes people to respond atypically to situations.

For instance, say Person A (who doesn’t have SPD) and Person B (who has SPD) are walking in their neighbourhood, when they hear a loud ambulance siren.

Now, to Person A, the siren might be off-putting, but that’s about it.

For Person B, however, the siren might be overwhelming or painful, and it may even induce their body to respond physically (by vomiting or breaking out into a sweat).

Shocked woman

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Here are some other examples of common, everyday scenarios that may be unbearable for those with SPD:

  • The feeling of clothing against skin
  • The feeling of a metal zipper against skin
  • The sound produced by writing on a chalkboard
  • The sound produced by a leaf blower or lawn mower

A helpful analogy, introduced by psychologist and neuroscientist Dr. A. Jean Ayres, is that SPD is akin to a neurological “traffic jam.”

Basically, when those with SPD take in information through their senses, this information gets jumbled and disorganized.

This leads to motor clumsiness and behavioral problems, which often snowballs into larger issues including anxiety and depression.

Sensory Processing Disorder vs Autism

SPD has been associated with autism for as long as anyone can remember, but it’s debatable as to whether SPD falls under the autism spectrum, or whether it’s a different disorder altogether.

Now, SPD is not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that medical professionals do not use SPD as a diagnosis.

crowded street

That said, according to a study by UC San Francisco, SPD has a biological basis that separates it from many other neurological disorders.

More specifically, researchers found that children affected with SPD have quantifiable differences in brain structure, which means that SPD has a “known biological underpinning” that sets it apart from other neurodevelopmental disorders.

On top of that, we now know that children can have SPD and not autismor autism but not SPD. Again, this suggests that the two are not as interlinked as we may have previously thought.

Are people with SPD hyper or hyposensitive?

While people generally assume that individuals with SPD are hypersensitive, the opposite may be true as well.

For some folks, SPD takes the form of hyposensitivity, which basically means that they don’t perceive sensory input as intensely as other people.

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If you’re experience hyposensitivity, you’ll find yourself responding less to situations that people tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to.

For instance, when you touch a hot kettle accidentally, you probably wouldn’t yank your hand away instinctively.

If you accidentally walk into a coffee table and stub your toe, it might not hurt that much, and you might barely register the sensation.

At first glance, this might not seem like a huge issue. After all, you’re experiencing less pain and discomfort than other folks... how is that a bad thing?

Consider this, though: yanking your hand away from a hot kettle is your body’s way of protecting you from something that’s harmful.

If your brain doesn’t register the pain, this might lead to you prolonging your exposure to the harmful activity or element, which will be disadvantageous for you.

On top of that, those with hyposensitivity also tend to crave extra sensory input like frequent hugs or loud noises.

If your desire for more sensory input can be easily satisfied by, say, listening to music on a slightly louder setting, that’s fine -- no harm done.

But if you’re only satisfied when you crank your speakers all the way up, and this makes it difficult for you to live with a roommate or a significant other, then this obviously presents a problem.

The bottom line? Both hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity are difficult to live with, and it’s important to learn how to self-soothe, so that you can cope with SPD more effectively.

Symptoms of SPD

Generally speaking, most people with SPD tend to exhibit symptoms since young.

If a baby is extremely fussy, cries at the drop of a hat, and is adverse to different sensations, then there’s a possibility that they have SPD.

a little boy crying

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As this baby grows into a toddler and child, they might start becoming anxious and finicky. It’s common for children with SPD to be uncoordinated, frequently bump into things, and have poor hand-eye coordination.

Depending on whether the child is experiencing hyper or hyposensitivity, they may also exhibit different symptoms.

Those who are hypersensitive tend to:

  • Recoil from touch
  • Be unable to tolerate bright lights
  • Refuse to wear clothing because it feels scratchy
  • Refuse to go on swings and other playground equipment
  • Accidentally slam objects down or handle objects too roughly

Those who are hyposensitive tend to:

  • Be more touchy-feely
  • Not understand personal space
  • Have a high pain tolerance
  • Find it hard to sit still
  • Love jumping and leaping around
  • Love fast and intense movement (eg being thrown in the air, jumping on trampolines, going on roller coasters)

What causes SPD?

Unfortunately, scientists haven’t pinpointed the exact cause behind SPD.

That said, preliminary research shows that SPD is often inherited, and that prenatal and birth complications might play a part in causing SPD.

Regardless of the factors behind SPD, the important thing is to understand your (or your child’s condition), and learn how to control your environment so that you can minimize disruptions to your daily routine.

Using sensory integration therapy to cope with sensory issues

For most individuals with SPD, experts recommend sensory integration therapy, which basically involves exposing someone with SPD to sensory stimulation in a structured, repetitive way.

The hope is that over time, this person’s brain will adapt and allow them to process and react to sensations more effectively.

brain sense

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Now, there are a wide range of strategies utilized in sensory integration therapy, and these seek to help those with SPD reduce (or increase) their:

  • Noise sensitivity
  • Tactile sensitivity
  • Taste sensitivity
  • Sound sensitivity

Amongst other things.

For instance, say you’re dealing with tactile sensitivity issues, and you feel like having a panic attack whenever someone hugs you.

Here, you might want to start small, and start showing your affection to your friends and families by lightly touching their arm (and allowing them to do the same to you).

At the same time, don’t be afraid to set boundaries, and tell the people around you that you’re not comfortable with hugging.

How to use a weighted blanket for sensory issues

Another way of increasing your exposure to sensory stimulation in a controlled environment? Using a weighted blanket.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about weighted blankets, these are blankets that are filled with “stuffers” so that they exert a firm, comforting pressure on the user.

Hush Blankets for Kids

Weighted blankets come in various shapes and sizes, and people find that blankets that are 10% of their body weight tend to work the best. When you get under your weighted blanket, it basically feels like someone is enveloping you in a deep, firm bear hug.

Wondering what’s the science behind weighted blankets?

Well, these blankets exert Deep Touch Pressure (DTP), which:

  • Activates your “feel good” hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, and
  • Reduces your stress hormones, cortisol.

Simply put, these blankets are proven to have a calming effect, and be able to reduce stress and anxiety. They can also help you to fall asleep more quickly, and have a better night’s sleep.

Now, weighted blankets are used by plenty of people worldwide, including those suffering from ADHD, autism, restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia, and more. They’re also effective for individuals with SPD and sensory issues.

Here’s an example: if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the sensations that you’re experiencing, and you feel a meltdown coming on, simply get under your blanket, and it’ll calm you down.

What if you’re feeling distracted by the scratchiness of your sleepwear or the sound your air-conditioner makes, and you can’t fall asleep? The same thing goes -- burrow under your blanket, and it’ll help to reduce your stress levels, and lull you to sleep.

Does a weighted blanket really work for sensory issues?

Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution or magic bullet that can cure you or your child from SPD.

And, in the spirit of full disclosure: not ALL people with SPD will find weighted blankets helpful.

That said, many folks with SPD (and those with children who have SPD) have come forward to state that weighted blankets are an absolute godsend for them.

Hush Weighted Blankets Kids

For example, in a blog post titled “Must Haves for Kids with Sensory Needs”, blogger Sharla Kostelyk shares that weighted blankets make her and her kids’ lives so much easier.

In Sharla’s own words: Two of our kids who like deep pressure have a very hard time sleeping without their weighted blankets. Those same two have an easier time attending during our homeschool lessons if they wear a weighted cape or neck curve. They also have weighted stuffed animals that seem to help calm them.

Anecdotal evidence aside, there’s also scientific proof that weighted vests help to calm down individuals, and could be a good tool in occupational therapy.

More specifically, The American Occupational Therapy Association conducted a study on weighted vests and DTP, and found that these help people to transition from “fight or flight” mode to a more peaceful state of rest.

Quick aside: weighted vests are essentially the same product as weighted blankets, but in a different format. Weighted blankets are generally used at home, when you're at rest or sleeping; on the other hand, you can put on a weighted vest and go outdoors to run errands, or to tackle your other to-dos.

SPD weighted blanket: Want to try a weighted blanket for sensory issues?

If you have SPD, the only way to figure out if a weighted blanket will be beneficial for you is to try it out for yourself.

Want to experience a weighted blanket? Here at Hush Blankets, all your blankets come with an awesome 100 Nights Guarantee.

Hush Canada

Here’s what this means: you can test-drive your blanket for 100 nights, with zero risk.

If you find that the blanket doesn’t work for you, and it doesn’t reduce your SPD symptoms, then simply return it to us. We’ll process a full refund for you, inclusive of shipping fees.

For many folks with SPD, using a weighted blanket is an exceptionally effective way to kickstart their sensory integration therapy. We’ve got our fingers crossed that this is also the case for you!

Weighted Blanket for Restless Legs

Weighted Blanket for Restless Legs

Restless Leg Syndrome, also known as RLS, is a chronic condition that’s hard for the layperson to understand.

Basically, those who suffer from this condition experience an overwhelming urge to move their legs, especially at night.

Now, while uninformed folks might say that Restless Leg Syndrome is “imaginary”, or that it’s “all in the mind”, this is very much a real condition that affects people from across the globe.

In this blog post, we tell you all you need to know about Restless Leg Syndrome, and share how you can use a weighted blanket for restless legs.

What, exactly, is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Simply put, RLS is a nervous system disorder that gives you an irresistible urge to move your legs. RLS also causes an unpleasant crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs.

woman massaging her legs

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According to statistics, RLS affects up to 10% of the US population. While this disorder affects both genders, women are more likely to experience Restless Leg Syndrome.

How RLS impacts a person’s day-to-day life differs on a case by case basis. Some people experience symptoms of RLS only occasionally, while others encounter them every day. From what we know, folks who are severely affected by the disorder tend to be middle-aged or older.

As a general rule of thumb, most individuals with RLS find that their symptoms get worse in the evening and at night.

Woman can't fall asleep

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Other than simply having an irresistible urge to move their legs, these people may also experience Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep (PLMS), which refers to when your legs and arms jerk involuntarily while you’re asleep.

Interesting to note: RLS is classified as both a nervous system disorder and a sleep disorder because it tends to cause severe sleep deprivation and disruption.

Primary vs Secondary Restless Leg Syndrome

RLS falls into two different categories -- primary and secondary RLS.

In the vast majority of RLS cases, doctors are unable to identify any factors causing the condition. These cases are termed as primary (or idiopathic) RLS.

Secondary RLS, on the other hand, deals with RLS that occurs as a complication or as a result of another health condition.

More specifically, secondary RLS might occur in those who:

  • Are anaemic and have an iron deficiency
  • Have a long-term health condition such as fibromyalgia, kidney disease, or diabetes
  • Are pregnant

In these cases, the RLS usually disappears if or when the condition abates.

For instance, if someone starts consuming more iron in their diet, and successfully reverses their iron deficiency, it’s likely that their RLS will disappear.

expensive dinner

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The same goes for pregnant women -- once these women give birth, their RLS will typically stop on its own accord.

Quick aside: there are also certain triggers which make symptoms of RLS worse. These include:

  • Certain antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antihistamines
  • Excessive smoking
  • Excessive intake of caffeine or alcohol
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having high levels of stress
  • Not exercising regularly

What causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

As mentioned, in the vast majority of cases, researchers are still unable to identify the root cause of RLS.

All we know for now is that:

  1. RLS tends to run in families, and
  2. RLS may have something to do with how your body handles dopamine.

Firstly, research shows that there are specific genes related to RLS, and these genes often run in families. For individuals with a family history of RLS, their own symptoms of RLS tend to occur before the age of 40.

Moving on, researchers are also exploring the idea that RLS is closely intertwined with a part of the brain called the basal ganglia.

brain illustration

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Let’s break it down: the basal ganglia are a set of brain “structures” that are situated at the base of the forebrain and top of the midbrain, and these structures use a neurotransmitter called dopamine to help control muscle activity and movement.

Here, dopamine acts as a messenger of sorts -- it ensures that your brain and nervous system are on the same page, and works to help your brain regulate and coordinate movement.

Now, the problem arises if your nerve cells somehow get damaged. When this happens, the level of dopamine in your brain will fall, and this causes muscle spasms and involuntary movements.

Because our dopamine levels also naturally fall towards the end of the day, those with RLS also tend to experience more severe symptoms at night.

How to treat Restless Leg Syndrome

For those with secondary RLS, treating your condition is typically more straightforward.

Like we mentioned earlier, if your RLS is associated with iron deficiency, it’s fairly straightforward to consume more iron, and hopefully get rid of your RLS that way.

But if you’re suffering from a case of primary RLS, this makes things more complicated.

Treating RLS with medication

There are several types of medications that may help with RLS.

pills from hot sleeping

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First and foremost, your doctor might prescribe you with medication that increases the level of dopamine in your brain. These medications include ropinirole (Requip), rotigotine (Neupro) and pramipexole (Mirapex).

Next, medication that affect calcium channels, including gabapentin (Neurontin), gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant) and pregabalin (Lyrica) can also give relief to some individuals with RLS.

Then there are opioids, which are essentially narcotic medications such as codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone), combined oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet), and combined hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Norco, Vicodin).

Many doctors avoid prescribing these medications (or only prescribe these if other medications have proven to be ineffective), because they’re addictive when used in large quantities.

Finally, if your RLS is severely disrupting your sleep, it’s also possible to ask your doctor for muscle relaxants and sleep medications.

woman setting up goals

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One common sleep medication used amongst those with RLS is clonazepam (Klonopin); while this doesn’t eliminate the sensations that you get, they may help you sleep better at night.

Important: treating RLS with medication is a complex, time-consuming process, and it will typically take several trials for your doctor to find the ideal medication (or combination of medications) for your situation.

Also, do note that many of these medications come with their own side effects. For instance, after consuming medication that increases the dopamine in your brain, many patients report symptoms such as nausea, lightheadedness and fatigue.

Treating RLS without medication

If you’re not keen on taking medication, and you prefer an all-natural treatment program, some things you can do include:

  • Soaking in a warm bath and massaging your legs
  • Applying heat or ice packs to your legs. Some individuals with RLS say that alternating the use of these help to numb the uncomfortable sensations that come about with RLS.
  • Establishing a proper sleep routine. This entails several things, including not using electronic devices an hour prior to sleeping, sleeping at the same time every night, and sleeping in an environment that’s cool, quiet, and free of light pollution.
  • Exercising. Experts recommend exercising in moderation early on in the day -- don’t hit the gym too late, because this might worsen your RLS.
  • Avoiding caffeine and sweet, sugary beverages.
  • Utilizing a weighted blanket for restless legs

We’ll discuss how you might use a weighted blanket for restless legs in the next section, so read on to find out more.

Weighted blanket for restless legs

If this is the first time you’re hearing about weighted blankets, these are essentially blankets that are filled with “stuffers” to weigh them down.

hush blankets for anxiety

Weighted blankets come in a variety of weights and sizes; for best results, opt for one that’s approximately 10% of your body weight.

So, how do weighted blankets work, and how can you use weighted blankets for restless legs?

Well, weighted blankets are shown to provide a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Reducing stress
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Increasing sleep duration

If you’re wondering about the science behind it all, basically, weighted blankets provide a form of Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) to its users.

back massage therapy pretty girl

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What does DPT do? In a nutshell, it activates “feel good” hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, and these hormones go on to counteract the cortisol (the “stress” hormone) in your body.

So, simply put, DPT helps you manage and alleviate stress, and relax more effectively.

At this point, you might be wondering… is DPT legitimate? How do I know if it’s actually a thing?

Now, while DPT has only gotten popular amongst mainstream consumers recently, it’s actually been used as a therapy tool for decades now, and it’s very much a tried-and-tested form of therapy.

On top of that, there’s also research to prove that weighted blankets provide the benefits of DPT, and achieve several favorable outcomes.

For instance, a study published in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health shows that weighted blankets have a calming and relaxing effect on adults.

In another study published in the Journal of the Formosan Medical Association, researchers found that study participants who wore a weighted blanket during wisdom tooth extraction showed enhanced activity in the branch of the nervous system that “takes over in times of low stress”.

How do weighted blankets help for those who suffer from RLS?

Weighted blankets help with RLS on different levels.

First and foremost, these increase the levels of dopamine in your body, and we’ve previously ascertained that RLS is linked to having low levels of dopamine in your brain.

Next, weighted blankets also indirectly alleviate your symptoms by helping you to relax and fall asleep.

weighted blankets canadian

Seeing as though the majority of RLS patients also suffer from sleep deprivation, addressing this particular complication can vastly improve the quality of life for individuals with RLS.

Here’s a personal anecdote from an RLS patient who uses weighted blankets to cope with her RLS:

Want to experience a weighted blanket for RLS?

To make things clear, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to RLS.

Bearing this in mind, a weighted blanket is definitely NOT a magic bullet, and it’s by no means guaranteed to help with RLS.

That said, if there’s even the slightest chance that a weighted blanket can help to alleviate your RLS symptoms, we say… take it!

Now, for those of you who want to give weighted blanket a shot, hop on over to Hush Blankets and take your pick.

canadian hush blanket

All Hush Blankets come with a 100 Night Guarantee, which means that you get to try out a weighted blanket with zero risk.

If the weighted blanket doesn’t help with your RLS, and you don’t find yourself better off in any way, then just return the blanket to us, and we’ll process a full refund for you.

We WILL say, though, that we have customers from all walks of life, including those with autism, ADHD, fibromyalgia and more, and these folks keep raving about how our weighted blanket has changed their lives.

We’ve got our fingers crossed for you. Here’s hoping that a weighted blanket will do the trick!