Benefits of a Weighted Blanket?
Are you struggling to fall asleep? Are you tossing and turning and you simply can’t get comfortable? Maybe it’s just the stress keeping you from falling asleep or you are just too restless and can’t settle down.
What Are Weighted Blankets?
As their very name suggests, weighted blankets are blankets that are significantly heavier than other types of blankets. Originally, they were used by psychiatrists and therapists to help their patients calm down when stressed or ease their anxieties and for people with sensory processing disorders including autism. Today, these special blankets have become very popular and have a widespread use.
Namely, they can lessen one’s anxiety and help other people with their health issues. However, some health experts warn people and ask them to be cautious when using these blankets with children due to safety concerns.
If you plan on buying a weighted blanket, here are some factors that you need to consider:
- Materials – How heavy the blanket is, largerly depends on the materials of which it is made. The two most common options used are plastic pellets and glass beads, but there are also those made from millet and rice, etc. If you tend to sleep hot, then one of those made of breathable cotton would be ideal for you. Muslin is also a popular choice when it comes to sleeping hot because it is also considered a breathable fabric.
- Style – Another factor that you need to take into account when buying a weighted blanket is its style. Think about whether you want something resembling a duvet or something more in the style of a comforter.
- Weight – Ideal weight of a weighted blanket for adults is 10% of the ideal body weight. The formula for children is 10% of the correct body weight, but before you buy a weighted blanket for your children, you should check this with your pediatrician because with a too heavy blanket there is the risk of smothering or suffocation.
What Are the Benefits of Weighted Blankets?
There are many benefits of weighted blankets, from easing the symptoms of autism to helping those suffering from insomnia get the sleep they need. Here are the reasons to buy a weighted blanket:
Weighted Blankets Can Help Beat Insomnia
A recent study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders focuses on 31 adults with chronic insomnia who were monitored for a week using their own blankets, two weeks with weighted blankets, and one more week with their usual bedding.
According to the results 4 out of 5 participants preferred to sleep with a weighted blanket because it allowed them to sleep longer without waking up frequently during the night.
More and more people suffering from insomnia are turning to weighted blankets to help them sleep better at night. These blankets are usually filled with pellets, balls, and chains which give them some heft and provide patients with that reassuring and cocooning effect.
The weighted beads that these blankets contain create a sensation similar to that of being caressed and are believed to increase the levels of serotonin and melatonin and help reduce the feeling of anxiety in sleepers while promoting sleep and relaxation.
Weighted Blankets Can Help with Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory processing disorder is often described by researchers as a “traffic jam” which occurs in your brain. This means that the information reaches your brain but it gets jumbled along the way, and if this continually repeats, it can lead to anxiety and meltdowns. This can be especially challenging for young children who aren’t always emotionally mature enough to describe how they are feeling.
Various studies show that weighted blankets can produce a calming effect both in kids and adults with this disorder and reduce the anxiety which usually goes hand-in-hand with the condition.
Weighted Blankets Can Help Fight Against Stress
Stress can have numerous negative effects on your overall health and well being, but the good news is that weighted blankets can help you deal with this.
Weighted Blankets Can Ease the Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is often characterized by a tingling or crawly feeling in legs which can occur many times during the night and interfere with sleep. If left untreated, these symptoms can eventually lead to insomnia.
Some people say they could get relief if only they could somehow put a pressure on their legs or weight them down, and many turn to compression socks.
Although these socks can provide some relief, they are extremely tight and can even add to the discomfort. Weighted blankets, on the other hand, provide the deep pressure you need without any constriction to your legs.
Weighted Blankets Can Relieve Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Ease Pain
Fibromyalgia is a complex disease that mostly affects women and is characterized by chronic pain. It can cause fatigue, chronic muscle, ligament and tendon pain, and multiple tender points on the body. All this can make even basic everyday activities painful and difficult without the right medication.
While certain medications can help those who suffer from fibromyalgia manage their symptoms, there is no cure for this disease. Some people turn to weighted blankets as they proved to help patients prevent the flares resulting from fibromyalgia due to their gentle but firm pressure. This can also reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep as well as the overall quality of life.
Also, many people say that weighted blankets help them relieve pain thus eliminating the need for taking painkillers. There is also evidence that these blankets can help relieve even dental pain.
Weighted Blankets Improve Focus for ADHD
Patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD) may have difficulty focusing and staying asleep regardless of whether they are kids or adults.
ADHD causes a wide range of symptoms, and it doesn’t always affect everyone the same way. While some people with ADHD have trouble completing certain tasks, others tend to be impulsive and restless.
Deep touch pressure stimulation, which weighted blankets offer can produce a calming and soothing effect, reduce anxiety, help with mood, and improve sleep quality.
Weighted Blankets Can Alleviate Symptoms of PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect anyone who has experienced a traumatic or stressful event.
PTSD can occur in war veterans and in people who have been involved in car accidents or physical assaults. Basically, any stressful or traumatic experience can trigger the symptoms of PTSD.
There are various forms of therapy that can help ease the symptoms of PTSD which usually include insomnia and depression. Research shows that weighted blankets can lower blood pressure, reduce pulse rate and anxiety, and help people suffering from PTS sleep better at night.
Weighted Blankets Can Relieve the Symptoms of Panic Disorder
Panic disorder can interfere with life and many people don’t know when the next attack will occur. Any stressful situation may increase their fear and trigger the next attack.
There are many ways to manage panic attacks and recent studies have shown that using weighted blankets can help those suffering from panic disorder sleep better at night and wake up feeling more refreshed and less anxious.
These blankets promote the calming hormones and neurotransmitters and help calm both the body and the brain. They stimulate a restful night’s sleep and eliminate fatigue which is a common trigger for panic disorder.
Weighted Blankets Can Help Manage OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by persistent, obsessive thoughts and behaviors and can cause a wide range of symptoms and behaviors which vary from individual to individual.
Like many other psychological disorders, OCD has been linked to low levels of serotonin. A deep touch pressure stimulation therapy that weighted blankets offer help boost serotonin and ease the symptoms of OCD.
Weighted Blankets Can Help Manage Autism Symptoms
Although there is no cure for autism, researchers have found that various therapies and treatments can help manage the symptoms.
Massage or touch therapy that has been found to help control the symptoms of autism as patients respond positively to a gentle and slow touch.
Such therapy can have immediate and long-term effects on the body’s biochemistry, decrease the levels of cortisol and increase levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which regulate anxiety, improve mood, impulse control, etc. Weighted blankets have similar effects.
Weighted Blankets Can Help the Elderly
As we age, our sleep-wake cycle changes and we are more likely to suffer from chronic insomnia, which can further lead to various other health issues. Elderly people also tend to suffer from anxiety, stress and depression.
Researchers have found out that elderly people who used weighted blankets and liked sleeping with the blankets, found it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep all night long. These blankets improved the quality of their sleep and they felt more refreshed in the morning.
Overall, weighted blankets can help you deal with certain sleep disorders and health issues and sleep better at night.
A deep pressure stimulation from weighted blankets provides a calming, soothing effect that is crucial for a quality night’s sleep. This will allow an anxious and tense person get the much needed sleep and at the same time relieve any discomfort or pain.
People suffering from fibromyalgia, arthritis and other painful conditions may find relief in sleeping with a weighted blanket. It may totally eliminate the need for painkillers by promoting calming hormones and neurotransmitters.