I found a (gorgeous!) weighted blanket that helps me fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer

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Snuggle like you've never snuggled before (Photo: Bearaby)
Snuggle like you've never snuggled before. (Photo: Bearaby)

As a lifelong "bad sleeper," I've been intrigued by weighted blankets for years. I first heard about them way back in 2017 when they made their debut. The idea is that, filled with hundreds of fine-grade glass beads, your body responds to the added weight by producing more sleep-friendly serotonin and melatonin and less anxiety-causing cortisol. Science! Anyway, they got crazy popular crazy fast, and plenty of manufacturers soon jumped in on the weighted blanket bandwagon.

Still, I wasn’t exactly nuts about wrapping myself in tiny glass beads. Plus, I’ve heard that the beads might shift over time, which could lead to an uneven weight distribution and half my blankie pouring down onto the floor. Another reason is purely superficial; the ones that I'd seen were pretty blah-looking.

But then came Bearaby, and now I'm a believer! Instead of filling a duvet with beads or micropellets, Bearaby blankets are handmade of soft-yet-sturdy materials, so they have this gorgeous chunky-knit look that is more like a cozy old sweater than a comforter. I particularly like the Cotton Napper. Made from 95 percent organic cotton (and 5 percent Spandex, for a skosh of stretchability), it's plush, soft as a baby's....blanket, and comes in five luscious colors, spanning goes-with-everything Cloud White to soft-hued Evening Rose and Moonstone Grey to bold Midnight Blue and Asteroid Grey.

The Nappers are available in three weights. I opted for the lightest of these, the 15-pound model. (The folks at Bearaby suggest a blanket that is around 10 percent of your weight, but say it's okay to go a bit heavier.) I gotta admit: At first, I was skeptical that this thing would live up to its promise and weigh me down enough to make a difference. But no worries—it's definitely, deliciously heavy! It was like the best of both worlds: all of the swaddling goodness of a mountain of blankets without oppressive overheating.

I’ve slept with the Cotton Napper for a little over a week now and, well, it's changed my life. Not only am I falling asleep faster, I'm staying asleep longer. That's a big freaking deal for someone who's been plagued for years by middle-of-the-night awakenings, followed by more tossing and turning, not to mention a minute-by-minute escalating dread of my morning alarm.

Try on Midnight Blue for your afternoon nap. Ironic! (Photo: Bearaby)
Try on Midnight Blue for your afternoon nap. Ironic! (Photo: Bearaby)

Oh, and can I talk about naps? As in, I love them now! It's no secret that all the at-home time of this past pandemic year has made us a lot more appreciative of the afternoon siesta. With the Bearaby, I can easily escape for a 20-minute snooze that's as satisfyingly deep as it is refreshing.

Not that you have to be sleeping, mind you: I've spent so many swaddled hours in binge-watching mode that the Napper is practically part of the couch.

Need another reason to love the Cotton Napper? It's machine-washable! Just pop it in at a cold or permanent-press setting, then tumble-dry on low. In fact, not only is it okay to put in the dryer, it's preferable—hanging it on a line might cause its hand-crafted loops to stretch. Don't you love it when the easiest way is also the best way?

Perhaps the only downside is that my husband also really loves it—I've actually caught him trying to sneak it away from me in the middle of the night. Fat chance! Oh, well, now I know what someone's getting for his birthday!

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