Sleep experts say we’ve been using our blankets wrong

By Casey Baseel

I hate winter. If I could make like the bears and just gorge myself on salmon for a few weeks and then sleep until spring, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately, since hibernation isn’t really an option, I have to rely on a blanket and down comforter to make it through the freezing winter nights. Even still, the cold often leaves me shivering (plus grumbling, cursing, and generally complaining).

As it turns out, though, instead of blaming Old Man Winter for all my discomfort, I’m actually part of the problem, according to Japanese experts who say I’ve been using my comforter and blanket the wrong way.

Like most people, I tend to put my lighter blanket directly on top of myself, and my heavier comforter on top of that, maybe because I start using the blanket a few weeks earlier. I don’t take the comforter out of the closet until we really get into the coldest part of the year, and then it gets piled on top, sort of how I’d put a jacket over the shirt I’m already wearing for extra warmth.

Or maybe I put the comforter on the very top layer because it somehow looks nicer. After all, that’s how hotels do it, and who doesn’t like a bit of hospitality in the home?

Aesthetic benefits and implied class aside, though, setting up your bed like this actually sacrifices a lot of warmth. Stop and think for a second about how down works in its original form, when it’s still on the ducks or geese that the feathers are obtained from. Since the birds are outside in the natural environment, their only source of warmth is their own body heat, which their feathers help retain in order to keep them warm.

Because of this, the sleep experts at Nemuri Lab say a better way to keep yourself nice and toasty is to put the comforter directly on top of yourself, and then your lighter blanket on top of that.

If the lining to your comforter isn’t particularly thick, this can introduce the downside of some roughness on your skin because of the feathers inside. However, if the extra warmth means you’re not up all night tossing and turning from the cold, the tradeoff seems like it’d definitely be worth it.

Now that we’re on the subject of wrapping yourself in your own body heat, Nemuri Lab has a better use for that blanket than tossing it on top of your comforter. Instead, spread the blanket out before you get into bed, and lie down on top of it to better retain the heat that would dissipate out of your back.

Cover yourself with the comforter, and this should allow you to maximize the amount of heat you can generate with your two pieces of bedding. Just don’t blame us if you have a hard time crawling out of your warm little cocoon in the morning, or before spring, for that matter.

Sources: Nemuri Lab, Byokan Sunday

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Wearable “kotatsu parka” is here to keep your whole body warm this winter -- Sweet dreams, MasterCard: People in Japan are putting their wallets to bed in tiny futons -- Nagano legislators propose banning morning practice for middle school athletes

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Or you can have heat in your house. Just saying...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

My Dad told me that, during the war, the men used to put a blanket underneath their sleeping bag for extra warmth. I tried it and it works! Try putting a blanket under your bottom sheet - you'll be amazed at how much warmer you are.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Howaitosan: blanket under makes a place to retain more heat, and you still get the smooth sheet. Had never thought of that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'll try it! I don't have a heater in my house!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wool underlay under the bottom sheet helps to retain heat and insulate the underside, if you do not have this option, try spreading news paper under your bottom blanket, this will surely keep you warm.

Great down the front of your jacket too while riding your motorcycle to stop the cold wind.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The writer mentions "the downside of some roughness on your skin because of the feathers inside." True if you are using feathers instead of down. Down is not rough at all. It costs more but is worth every penny. The wool mattress pad StormR mentions is excellent, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Figured this out myself my first winter in Japan! Down comforter next my skin and the mofu on top of it. Much warmer than the reverse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I thought everyone put the blankets above the top futon?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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