The Benefits of a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are duvets that contain a heavy material, such as plastic pellets or micro glass beads. In some cases, they also contain some kind of filling, such as cotton or polyfill, which gives the blanket a more comfortable feel. They come in a variety of sizes and weights and can be used by both adults and children.
These duvets are designed to simulate deep pressure therapy. Deep pressure therapy involves applying strong but gentle pressure on the body. This pressure relaxes the nervous system and creates a sense of calmness and peace. As a result, weighted blankets have many uses and health benefits.
Some benefits of a weighted blanket are:
- Improves Sleep
Sleep is an essential part of a person’s overall health. A good night’s sleep allows the body to repair itself and be ready for another day. However, almost everyone has had trouble sleeping at one time or another. Weighted blankets provide a relieving pressure that supports a good night’s sleep. Furthermore, deep pressure therapy boosts your serotonin and melatonin levels. An increase in these hormones helps the body relax, aiding a person in falling asleep.
- Decreases Anxiety
Approximately 40 million Americans have some type of anxiety. While many people manage their anxiety with medication, a weighted blanket is an excellent drug-free alternative. The deep pressure of a weighted blanket depresses your fight-or-flight response, thereby encouraging relaxation. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that people who use weighted blankets for anxiety report less clinical anxiety than those who don’t. In fact, a study in the Journal of Occupational Therapy in Mental Health found that 63% of adults who used a 30-pound duvet had lower levels of anxiety. Studies have also shown that sleeping under a weighted blanket will decrease the chances that someone with anxiety will have a panic attack. This is because fatigue is often a trigger for panic attacks.
- Assists in the Management of Sensory Processing Disorders
Sensory Processing Disorders cause a person to have trouble processing and acting on information from their senses. As a result, they may have trouble with everyday tasks. They may also experience anxiety attacks as they struggle to process the things around them. Research has demonstrated that the pressure from a weighted blanket gives sensory input, helping a person to relax as well as reducing their anxiety.
- Helps Improve Focus for People with ADHD
One of the principal symptoms of ADHD is difficulty focusing. Weighted blankets have a calming and organizing effect on the central nervous system, helping to improve a person’s focus. Furthermore, it mimics the weighted tools often employed in classrooms to help students remained focused. These tools have been shown to positively affect students with ADHD by increasing their ability to stay on task and increasing their level of attention.
- Improves Fibromyalgia Pain
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic, idiopathic pain. It can be debilitating. There is no known cure, although some medication has been known to help people manage their day-to-day symptoms. The firm and gentle pressure of a weighted blanket help to relieve the pain of flare-ups. These duvets also help manage the anxiety that often accompanies this syndrome. The pressure of the blanket stimulates the production of serotonin, producing a relaxing and calming effect.
- Relieves Symptoms of Depression
Weighted blankets simulate the feeling of being hugged. Just as infants respond positively to being hugged, rocked, swaddled, and cuddled, so do adults. This “hug” feeling increases the calming hormone serotonin and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. As a result, feelings of depression lessen.
- Alleviates Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless Leg Syndrome, also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease, causes a tingling sensation in a person’s legs and an urge to move them continually. Consequently, sufferers find it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. The pressure of a weighted blanket helps ease the symptoms and calms the nervous system. Furthermore, Restless Leg Syndrome tends to flare up when a person is anxious. A weighted blanket helps alleviate anxiety by increasing serotonin. As a result, the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome are reduced as well.
- Aids in Managing OCD
People who have OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), often have difficulty handling obsessive and persistent thoughts and behaviors. Subsequently, they have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Although OCD presents differently in different people, the one thing all sufferers have in common is low levels of serotonin. Since weighted blankets increase serotonin levels in the brain, using a duvet helps people with OCD manage their symptoms. Additionally, weighted blankets also increase the production of melatonin, which has a calming effect and helps people fall asleep.
- Reduce Anxiety in Dogs
Dogs feel stress and anxiety, just like humans do. They also struggle with loud noises such as fireworks, thunder, and sirens. Some pet owners use unique wraps or shirts to help calm their dogs, but these options lack the pressure of a weighted blanket. The pressure of a weighted blanket works for dogs just like it does for humans. It creates the sensation of being hugged, increases levels of serotonin and melatonin, and decreases cortisol.
As a result of their many health benefits, weighted blankets continue to increase in popularity. Consequently, there are a lot of options out there. When shopping for a weighted blanket, there are two things to keep in mind. The first is the weight of the blanket. Experts advise that you look for one that weighs 10 percent of your body weight. So, for instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should select a duvet that weighs 15 pounds. Secondly, you should consider the size of the blanket. You want one that covers you comfortably but isn’t so large that you have trouble getting out from under it. Additionally, you don’t want a duvet that hangs off the edges of your bed because the weight will cause it to be pulled off your body.