“Not having my blanket wasn’t me being ‘grown up;’ rather I was depriving myself from something that brought me a lot of comfort,” TikTok creator Bella Bauman explained in a recent video. As we get older we grow out of certain toys and learn to improve our habits, but your childhood blankie or stuffed animal might be something you continue to snuggle.
While there’s not a ton of scientific research on how your blankie could help you sleep as an adult, Joe Gardzina, a licensed psychiatrist and the founder of ADAPT Programs, explains that blankies (not necessarily your literal childhood blanket, but a version of it you snuggle with, that feels like “home”) provide comfort and warmth that we’ve grown accustomed to from using it throughout childhood. “When an object is associated with inducing sleep, it helps us relax whether in our younger or older years” Gardezina states.
Serta Simmons Bedding recently surveyed 2,000 Americans who live with their partners to learn more about their sleeping habits. From the survey, they found that 52 percent of them grew up sleeping with a blankie or special stuffed animal. Of those 52 percent, 77 percent of this group continue to do so, even while sharing a bed with their partner. It’s safe to say that blankies are here to stay.
But, before having an existential crisis if you’re not one of these people with comfort blankies, there are some things to be aware of. While these items can provide comfort and help alert your body it’s time to sleep, the reverse of this is true when you don’t have access to it, Gardzino explains.
Feelings of uncertainty and anxiety can be present if, for some reason, you can’t have your blankie with you during a trip or in other places. This ultimately makes it more difficult to fall asleep while away from it. If you are accustomed to sleeping with your comfort item, make a plan before you’re separated from it so your sleep doesn’t suffer.
These items may also be pretty fragile if you’ve had them your whole life, but remember to take care of them and properly clean them. If not, there are hygiene issues that can arise, making your blankie something you shouldn’t sleep with. If you’re like Bauman and your blankie has multiple shreds barely hanging on, it might be time to sew them back on or reconstruct your blanket in some way.
In Bauman’s TikTok, she explains her fear of being judged by her peers in college for still sleeping with her blankie. This led her to leaving the item at home during her first semester. Gardzino pointed out there is a social stigma around this topic, which is why some may look down on the practice.
While your childhood blankie or stuffed animal may seem childish, Bauman pointed out in her video, “Now that I’m older I’ve realized that maturity is actually just bringing yourself back to your inner child, so for me this blanket embodies connecting with that little girl.”
To those everywhere connecting with the younger versions of yourself, hold onto your beloved childhood blankie or stuffed animal. Just please don’t forget to wash it.
Gardzina, Joe. Personal Interview. 2024
Griffin S. New Survey Discovers Co-Sleepers’ Biggest Sleep Disruptors. 2024.