When people think of blankets, they usually associate them with warmth and curling up in a bed during winter. It is easy to see why, as that was indeed their primary function.
However, certain blankets are made to have the exact opposite effect. Namely, they are supposed to cool you and make sweltering summer nights feel a bit more enjoyable. As such, these blankets are made of light materials and infused with certain chemicals.
But how exactly do cooling blankets work? What are their benefits? And is there anything else you need to know about them before making a purchase? Read on to find out.
What Are Cooling Blankets?
Cooling blankets were invented in the 1980s by NASA. The agency needed the blankets to make the astronauts’ trips into space more comfortable. Namely, they needed something that would help them safely go through high-temperature zones.
However, these handy tools soon became popular beyond spaceships and missions visiting the Moon. After all, many people struggle with feeling too hot while they sleep, especially during the summer. Thus, experts simply gave the blankets a few tweaks, and the coolers you can find today were born.
The Science Behind Cooling Blankets
As you sleep, you release the heat that your body generates and the heat transfers to everything you touch. That includes your bedding, blanket, mattress, and pillow. Most bedding and blanket materials then retain this heat, making your bed feel uncomfortably warm all night.
Well, cooling blankets do the exact opposite. They are made of fabrics that have moisture-wicking properties, meaning that they can easily absorb any sweat and keep your temperature down as you sleep.
In addition, the blankets use thermal conduction techniques to swiftly release any body heat that you expel during the night. Thus, they remain cool, no matter how hot you might be when you get into bed.
Thus, there are two ways in which cooling blankets help keep the warmth at bay: the use of thermoregulating fabrics and heat-conducting methods.
As their name suggests, these fabrics help reduce heat. In most cases, they do so because they have moisture-wicking properties. If you haven’t heard of them before, such fabrics can easily absorb moisture (sweat, in this case) and dry in mere minutes. Through the process, they remain equally cool and soft to the touch.
Most fabrics you are surrounded with on a daily basis belong to this particular group, including cotton, wool, bamboo, polyester, and acrylic. They are all incredibly breathable and light, which makes them an even better choice for bedding and blankets during the summer.
Besides being excellent at absorbing sweat and staying cool on their own, these materials also work incredibly well when combined. Thus, you might get the best results if you buy sheets, pillowcases, and blankets made out of combinations such as cotton and wool, polyester and cotton, or acrylic and wool.
However, blankets need a bit more work in order to truly have cooling properties. Therefore, the materials mentioned above have to be tweaked and improved with certain heat-conducting methods to be at their most effective.
When certain manufacturers make cooling blankets, they intertwine their material with unique thermal microcapsules. These additions absorb the body heat you emit as you sleep before quickly releasing it into the air. Thus, they are responsible for keeping the blanket cool against your skin as you sleep.
On the other hand, there are companies that use gels to make the blanket feel comfortably cold all night. The gels make the blanket feel cool to the touch at all times, and their structure ensures the material is lightweight.
Finally, some brands create air cooling blankets. These models work by mimicking air conditioners, meaning that they swirl the air around you to create a cooling sensation. However, you should note that these blankets are electric and need to be plugged in as you sleep.
How Do You Pick the Best Blanket Type for You?
You should pick the cooling method and material of your blanket based on your needs and budget. For example, the choice of material should depend solely on what feels the best to you. Some love the softness of wool, while others prefer the lightweight feel of cotton and polyester. Just think of what you like best, and make a decision accordingly.
The same goes for the heat-conducting method in your blanket. Models infused with microcapsules and gels feel pretty much the same, so it is only up to how the blanket feels to you.
On the other hand, air cooling blankets are both more expensive and slightly heavier. Not to mention, they need electricity to run, which is another factor you need to consider before purchasing them. Still, they are the most effective option, and they will work best if you have to deal with extreme heat every night.
Whichever cooling option or material you prefer, you should always check online reviews for the blanket you wish to buy. While doing so, look for those posted on third-party sites, as they are usually unbiased.
Reading about other people’s experiences with a certain blanket will make your own decision easier. In addition, you’ll get to see whether investing in something that isn’t at all cheap is really worth it.
What If You Need a Weighted Blanket?
As mentioned above, cooling blankets are usually lightweight. However, this trait is not suitable for those who prefer to sleep with a weighted blanket due to a health condition or the comfort level that they offer.
Luckily, there are weighted blankets that double down as incredible coolers. Instead of plastic and steel, the beads that fill these blankets are made of micro glass.
This material doesn’t retain heat, which means the blanket itself can’t become uncomfortably hot. In addition, this type of glass is incredibly heavy, so it will give you all the comfort you need to sleep soundly every night. However, the fabric is breathable and light, offering the perfect contrast to the weight.
Thus, if you need a weighted cooling blanket, simply look for one that has glass fillings. However, bear in mind that such models are the most pricey on the market. You will have to pay at least $100 for a high-quality option.
What Are the Benefits of Cooling Blankets?
Improving Your Sleep Quality
First and foremost, cooling blankets are meant to keep you comfortable as you sleep during hot and humid summers. As such, they do an impressive job of improving your quality of sleep.
It is easy to see why cooling blankets have such an effect. Namely, as you sleep, your body’s temperature naturally decreases. The body rests, and all the processes happening inside during the day halt or at least slow down.
But if your bed and room are too hot, the outside temperature can disrupt the natural cooling of your body. That can, in turn, make it harder for you to fall asleep or get rest while you slumber.
Enter cooling blankets. Their ability to transfer the heat from your body into the air makes them the perfect allies you need for unbearable summer nights.
As mentioned above, cooling blankets are incredible at moisture wicking. So, when you sweat during the night, they will absorb all the moisture and ensure that you are dry and comfortable.
Most importantly, the blankets themselves will stay dry. Thus, you won’t have to worry about waking up in moist clothes and a wet blanket. Moreover, your pillowcase and bedsheet will also remain dry.
If you usually sweat a lot, it is important to note that cooling blankets can also be used in the winter. So, if you have sweating issues all year round, getting cooling blankets made of wool or even bamboo can help you.
Finally, a cooling blanket can also help you save money. If you use this blanket while you sleep or take naps, you won’t have to turn on your AC or fan. After all, the blanket will keep you cool and reduce your sweating, so the other devices won’t be necessary.
Thus, your electricity bills will be significantly reduced each month, allowing you to spend the money on something you need or want. In addition, you won’t have to listen to the constant buzzing or whirling that most fans and ACs usually cause.
To Sum Up
Nowadays, cooling blankets have become the newest trend for anyone struggling with quality sleep due to heat. Made of light materials, these blankets are infused with different microcapsules or gels that absorb your body heat and expel it into the air. Certain models also work similarly to air-conditioners, keeping you cool all night thanks to electricity.
Buying a cooling blanket is indeed a good idea if you have problems sleeping during the summer. In addition, it can be incredibly useful if you sweat profusely while you sleep, regardless of the season. So, do your research, and don’t be afraid to invest. Looking at all the benefits, purchasing a cooling blanket will definitely be money well-spent.