Imagine having a magic blanket that could relieve your insomnia, anxiety, stress and other conditions just by gently hugging you… I’m sure that you are excited to discover that such blankets really exists! Sleeping with a weighted blanket can melt away all of those problems like a hug from your loved ones. Weighted blankets: they were initially solely manufactured and used for therapeutic purposes, but are now available for everyone to enjoy!
What’s a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets aren’t ordinary blankets even though they may resemble one. Just like the name suggests, those are heavyweight blankets, usually filled with materials such as plastic pellets, glass beads, or disc. This special blanket’s calming effect helps you to relax and enhance your sleep.
In the past, doctors used weighted blankets to treat patients (both adults and children) with special needs such as autism, severe anxiety, OCD, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They discovered that such patients were easily relieved with the weights of these blankets as a result of the deep touch pressure (DTP) they experienced.
Want to learn more about Deep Touch Pressure? Here’s a useful guide.
How do weighted blankets work?
I’m sure you are curious to understand how a ‘blanket’ can help relieve the aforementioned disorders. Well, it’s like this; a weighted blanket combines the soothing effect of an ordinary blanket with the therapeutic effect of deep touch pressure (DTP) to provide a calming effect.
When used, the weighted blankets exert pressure on the body, stimulating the brain to release serotonin and dopamine. Those two important neurotransmitters are responsible for making people feel happy and relaxed. In fact, serotonin is naturally converted in melatonin, which regulates your sleep. The calming effect of the weighted blankets is similar to that of a firm hug, swaddling, or even massage.
Sleeping with a weighted blanket can feel amazing
You are probably wondering how does it feel when sleeping with a weighted blanket? Can I expect it to work straight away? Would a weighted blanket feel too heavy? Will a weighted blanket work immediately?
For most people, a weighted blanket can give game-changing results already after the first use. On the other hand, a small number of first-time weighted blanket users may experience that it can take up to one or two weeks to get used to its weight. For this reason, it is important to not give up on your weighted blanket just because it may feel too heavy after the first use. Try instead to slowly get your body used to it, for example by alternating it with your normal duvet. In this way in almost all cases, the feeling of having something too heavy on you will disappear and you will instead start to feel the incredible benefits that a weighted blanket can have on your sleep.
Sleeping with a weighted blanket can be an amazing experience, especially with a well made sensory blanket like Relixiy. A good weighted blanket should feel soft and snuggly because the sensory experience is also very important to improve the quality of your sleep. Imagine sleeping with a blanket super soft and silky smooth on your skin and feeling like if someone is hugging all of your body. Your entire body will start to relax, releasing muscle tension and finally improving your sleep! This is exactly how it feels when you sleep with a weighted blanket of very good quality. Just remember that if it feels too heavy at first, this will gradually go away and you will gradually get all of the amazing benefits of this incredible blanket.
7 Benefits of weighted blankets
Weighted blankets deliver so many benefits… They include:
1. Easing insomnia and improving sleep
Until you experience insomnia, you may never truly understand what it is and how it can disarray your daily activities. The deep touch pressure you experience from using weighted blankets helps promote the secretion of serotonin and melatonin in your brain, helping you relax better, and giving you a night of uninterrupted sleep.
This 2015 study demonstrates that weighted blankets can be used as a non-pharmacological way to help people suffering from insomnia.
“Using weighted blankets in adults leads to a decrease in the production of sleep spindles, which are important for memory consolidation, hence resulting in increased sleep time.”2015 by Dr Gaby Badre, a sleep specialist and neuropsychologist.
2. Weighted blankets can reduce anxiety for adults & kids
Anxiety is caused by an excess secretion of the stress hormone known as cortisol. A rise in the secretion of this hormone (cortisol) will result in decreased melatonin production, hence causing anxiety, which may also result in insomnia.
Several factors can trigger anxiety: studies show that over 40 million people in the US suffer from this disturb. Studies show that just like a hug, weighted blankets have the same calming and relaxing impact when anxiety kicks in.
Even more, suffering about anxiety to go to the dentist? Especially for kids, a weighted blanket can help in reducing also this type of anxiety.
Want to know more tips to reduce anxiety? Here are 7 ways!
3. Weighted blankets can Reduce stress for both adults and children
Weighted blankets can help also in reducing your level of stress by stimulating the production of melatonin. In fact, a weighted blanket feels a lot like a warm hug! You can also learn more about 10 effective ways to relieve stress and the 5 most common signs of stress.
4. Weighted blankets can combat Attention-deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD) and enhance focus
ADHD is mostly associated with Lack of focus. This mental disorder affects almost 6.4 million children between the ages of 4 and 17. In addition, it is estimated that around 60% of these kids carry this disorder into adulthood. Even if there are medications used to manage this disorder, weighted blankets are also an option for managing ADHD and improving focus.
5. Weighted blankets can decreases post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a stress-related disorder, usually caused by a traumatic event in a persons’ life. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), PTSD “is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or other violent personal assault.”
Most people with this disorder end up seeing a therapist. However, a therapist may not always be available to you. Hence a weighted blanket can also help you ‘relax’ every time you experience a crisis or re-live a traumatic experience. Through deep touch stimulation, a weighted blanket can help get you into a relaxed state by reducing physical pain, relieving you of stress, enhancing your sleep and boosting your overall mood by increasing your oxytocin levels.
6. Weighted blankets can help to manage Autism
Autism patients tend to respond positively to hugs and gentle touch. Even if this disorder has no cure, researchers discovered possible ways to manage the symptoms. Hence, just like a hug and mild touch would help an autism patient relax and even sleep better, a weighted blanket provides the same benefits.
You can learn more about the common symptoms of Autism here.
7. Ease pains without any medication
If you prefer to manage pain rather than take drugs to stop it, then a weighted blanket is the perfect companion for you. In fact, it provides a deep touch stimulation, it can be soothing and even help you forget about your pain for a while.
And more use cases…
What is science saying about Weighted Blankets?
If you are interested in knowing more about what science tells us regarding the benefits of weighted blankets, here’s an interesting article.
Factors to consider before buying a weighted blanket
Weighted blankets provide some amazing benefits, but it is important that you take the following factors into consideration when buying them.
Weighted blankets should be about 10% of the bodyweight. You can decide to go for a lighter or heavier one. Although within certain limits, the more a weighted blanket weighs, the more beneficial it is.
Choosing the type of fabric you are comfortable with is also important. There are different fabrics to choose from. These fabrics range from cotton to flannel, cotton-satin, Minky, linen-rayon, and fleece. Your choice of fabric depends on your preference and whether or not you have allergies.
If you are buying a weighted blanket for a person with any medical condition, be sure to check in with a medical practitioner or therapist as it may not be safe for certain persons to use.
For example, persons with claustrophobia or respiratory diseases may find it difficult to enjoy the benefits of weighted blankets fully.
Weighted blankets are not ideal for babies, children under 6 years of age and frail elders because their bodies may not be able to handle the weight of the blanket. The blanket may even restrict their movements, hence causing more harm than good.
Weighted blankets come in various sizes, and so, when buying one, it shouldn’t be bigger than your bed size. In fact, it should be an exact fit for your bed size.