In her work as a psychologist, Ulrika Dehlryd regularly encounters the challenging topics of stress, anxiety and insomnia. In a time in which we spend an increasing amount of time at home, and some of us have to endure increased solitude, Dehlryd believes in the importance of taking extra good care of ourselves.
To offer a tool to combat some of these issues, Dehlryd set out to create Wesomnia, a brand that specialises in weighted blankets made of sustainable natural materials. Although it doesn’t offer a universal remedy, she is convinced that a weighted blanket can have major positive effect on its users. Here she explains how.
The decision to bring your own weighted blanket to market, was it based on personal needs or something that you saw as a professional psychiatrist?
I would say that it is a combination of both, as well as dreaming of starting and building my own business. With my personal experience in sleep difficulties in mind and having had positive testaments from patients having used weighted blankets successfully, I decided to have a go at constructing my own version. The weighted blankets currently used in the medical sector are both unappealing and prohibitively expensive.
You have worked exclusively using sustainable, natural and soft materials. Why, and how did you go about finding them?
I found a lot of inspiration from friends who cheered me on and who I could bounce ideas off of. Selecting the materials were to a great extent based on advice from my close friend Catherine Richter, who is co-founder of Norrgavel, a furniture company with sustainability in mind long before it was fashionable. The enthusiastic and knowledgeable people of local wool factory Klippan Yllefabrik immediately saw the potential in a weighted wool blanket, that would also be filled with locally grown wheat, to create the right weight. With that, I had a product that was sustainably made from sustainable raw materials and that fulfilled my demands of both aesthetics and comfort.
How does a weighted blanket work in practice, and how is it best used to harness its full potential?
Quite a bit of research has been done on the subject. Two theories support the use of a weighted blanket. Number one, the gentle pressure on the body sends a soothing signal to the brain that makes us feel safe. The other suggests that the weight triggers a natural release of oxytocin, which is the body’s own ”cuddle chemical”. Users of weighted blankets report deeper sleep with fewer interruptions, which speaks volumes to its benefits. I would personally consider the Wesomnia weighted blanket as a natural part of the home, as a functional and aesthetic device for self-preservation, resilience and recovery. Neuro design, if you will.
With sleep disorder being a public disease, the use of a weighted blanket may be part of the solution against insomnia. What are your (professional) thoughts on the matter?
Sleep disorder and insomnia is unfortunately a widespread problem. The root cause may be both psychological and physiological, which in many cases can be addressed through cognitive behavioural therapy and medical treatment. It is important to emphasise that a weighted blanket can act as a complement to therapy, but not always the cure-all solution. I look at a weighted blanket as something to be used daily to wrap ourselves in when feeling stressed or anxious, at any time during the day or night.