A blanket comes in handy, especially during cold weather. You will even want to cover your whole body to keep yourself warm. But can you suffocate under a blanket? No, the chances of you suffocating under a blanket are minimal. Most blankets are made with a breathable material that allows air circulation.
However, be careful when using weighted blankets on small children, as they can cause suffocation. Here is a complete guide on the dangers and benefits of sleeping with a blanket over your head.
Most people feel safe when their head is covered under a blanket. Some people claim doing so helps them to calm their nervous system and help them fall asleep. Despite the many benefits, here’s why you should stop covering your head when sleeping.
Did you know covering your head with a blanket while sleeping can cause brain damage? Studies show covering your head while sleeping increases the chances of developing dementia. Dementia is a condition where your mental ability significantly declines, thus interfering with your daily activities.
Covering your head restricts airflow, thus limiting the amount of fresh air in the brain. When your brain gets insufficient fresh air for prolonged periods, the risks of getting brain damage increase.
Your brain and body need fresh air even when you’re sleeping. When your head is completely covered, the air must pass through the blanket before breathing it. On average, most people wash their blankets once a week. This increases your chances of inhaling dust, dirt, and bacteria in your blanket.
Breathing in dust and dirt for a prolonged period can trigger allergies that make you feel uncomfortable while sleeping. This gets worse for people with asthma and other respiratory diseases.
Most blankets are tightly woven to keep you warm at night. However, these fabrics are not super breathable, thus blocking free air circulation. The carbon dioxide you exhale gets trapped in the blankets, and you inhale it again.
Covering your head for prolonged periods increases carbon dioxide concentration in the blanket. This means when your head is covered at night, you will breathe in more carbon dioxide than when you’re not covered.
Although the dangers are minimal, you lower the level of oxygen circulation in the blood. This, in return, limits the oxygen supply in the brain, thus causing some people to feel dizzy. People covering their heads and having heart conditions are at higher risk of developing problems such as hypoxia. This condition is a result of low oxygen flowing in the heart.
Sleeping with your head covered can affect your sleeping pattern. You might feel uncomfortable when your head is covered, making it hard for you to fall asleep. Additionally, covering your head can make you extremely warm, thus making it hard for you to fall asleep.
Since covering your head decreases airflow, you might find breathing hard. This, in return, can make it hard for you to fall asleep. A prolonged lack of sleep can lead to serious sleeping conditions such as insomnia.
Although suffocation risks are minimal, there are cases where people suffocate when using blankets. This usually happens to people using a weighted blanket that restricts airflow. Suffocation risks also increase if you’re using multiple blankets because they can limit oxygen circulation in the blankets.
The suffocation risks increase, especially in babies and small children. Heavy blankets can easily block a baby’s nose and mouth, thus causing suffocation. Always be careful when covering your child since most of them can’t uncover themselves when suffocating.
Sleep apnea is a serious disorder whereby your breathing repeatedly starts and stops. When the muscles at the back of your throat relax, they narrow your airway. When your airway is blocked, you fail to get enough oxygen in the blood and brain. The brain will sense danger and briefly wake you up to prevent suffocation.
This pattern can repeat itself throughout the night, thus making it hard for you to sleep well. Sleeping while your head is covered increases sleep apnea and suffocation risks.
Also Read: Best Mattress for Sleep Apnea
Sleeping with your head covered has many benefits. Some of these benefits include
When you leave your neck uncovered, you increase the chances of cooling down your whole body. This is because cold air settles on the neck and cools off your body quickly. Covering your head with a blanket will keep your neck warm and minimize heat loss.
Some people can’t sleep when there is light. Covering your head when sleeping will block light that might affect your sleep. Use a sleeping mask if you can’t sleep when there is light and don’t like covering your face.
Some people feel safe sleeping with a blanket over their head. So, covering your head can calm your nervous system, thus preventing anxiety. The warmth and soft blanket will help you sleep peacefully when you’re relaxed.
If you can’t fall asleep without covering your head, there are tips you can follow to ensure you are safe. Here are two important things you can do to prevent suffocation.
A pillow with a silk pillowcase will give you comfort while ensuring you’re getting fresh air. Also, a silk pillowcase tends to be more slippery than most materials, keeping you comfortable even when tossing at night.
If you must cover your head, cutting some holes in the blanket is advisable. The holes will improve airflow, thus lowering the risks of suffocation. Additionally, you will reap the benefits associated with covering your head without compromising your health. You can also carry this blanket in a hotel or at your friend’s house.
You can use different things to cover your head instead of a blanket. These alternatives will keep you comfortable without causing suffocation.
This option is ideal if you are sensitive to light when sleeping. Remember, your body can sense the light even when your eyes are closed. A sleeping mask will block the light without covering your entire head.
A camping pillow features special compartments that help you sleep without blocking your nostrils. These pillows also block out light so you can sleep comfortably without covering your head with a blanket.
Most camping pillows are made of comfortable materials that are soft on your face, thus promoting good sleep. They also support your neck by keeping it elevated, thus improving posture.
After a long day at work, you only want to have a peaceful night. However, some people may find sleeping hard without covering their entire faces. Although covering your face is not bad, there are risks of suffocation, insomnia, or even brain damage.
Avoid covering your face with weighted blankets or many blankets, as they can cause suffocation. You can also use alternatives like sleeping masks or camping pillows to lower the chances of suffocation.
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