Did You Know…that weighted blankets can help you sleep better and ease anxiety?
Troubled by loss of sleep and grappling with anxiety? A weighted blanket might be a wise health investment. A weighted blanket molds to your body like a warm hug, and the pressure helps relax the nervous system. It’s a totally safe and effective non-drug therapy for sleep and relaxation naturally.
Doctors Love It
Doctors and occupational therapists traditionally use weighted blankets to treat sensory disorders, anxiety, stress, or behavioral issues related to autism. Psychiatric, trauma, geriatric, and pediatric hospital units use weighted blankets to calm patients’ anxiety and promote deep, restful sleep.
Weighted blankets are typically “weighted” with plastic poly pellets that are sewn into compartments to keep the weight properly distributed. The weight of the blanket acts as deep touch therapy. Deep pressure touch of any kind—such as that experienced with massage—acts on deep pressure touch receptors located all over your body. When these receptors are stimulated, the body relaxes and feels more grounded and safe. Clinical studies suggest that when deep pressure points are triggered they actually cause the brain to release more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that improves mood and encourages relaxation and calm.
Deep touch therapy also helps redirect the pain or any anxious emotions you may be feeling. Your central nervous system can only send so much sensory information up to the brain at any given time, and by stimulating different deep pressure touch points, more positive sensory information is channeled to the brain for processing. Imagine it this way: you stub your toe and what does your friend do? Gives you a punch to the arm…that way your toe no longer feels the pain because your brain is processing the punch!
Ease Anxiety Naturally
What do depression, anxiety, aggression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bi-polar disorder all have in common? They are linked to low serotonin levels, and by stimulating the brain’s release of serotonin, weighted blankets may help alleviate anxiety and related disorders.
People battling with depression, mania, anxiety, trauma, and paranoia, or undergoing detoxification have reported relief from symptoms when using weighted blankets. Experts say that weighted blankets can offer therapeutic benefit to those suffering from:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cerebral palsy
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Bi-polar disease
- Sensory disorders
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sleep disorders
- Dental anxiety
- Menopause symptoms
Weighted blankets are especially effective at alleviating anxiety. A 2008 study published in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health showed that weighted blankets offered safe and effective therapy for decreasing anxiety in patients. These results were confirmed in a 2012 study published in Australasian Psychiatry, which indicated that weighted blankets successfully decreased distress and visible signs of anxiety.
The weight of the blanket will depend on your size and personal preference, but the typical weight for adults is around 15 to 30 pounds. Experts recommend seeking the guidance of a doctor or occupational therapist if you have a medical condition. Do not use weighted blankets if you are currently suffering from a respiratory, circulatory, or temperature regulation problem, or are recuperating post surgery.