The benefits of weighted blankets

Have you ever used a weighted blanket? Either for yourself or someone in your family? How did you find it?

I first bought a weighted blanket when all the schools re-opened after being closed for COVID-19. One of my children was struggling with the transition back into school and was consequently very unsettled at night time. After looking into the benefits of these blankets I thought it was well worth a shot.

What I discovered was that if I could get him to stay underneath the blanket for long enough it most certainly worked, I had no doubt about that, the challenge was getting him underneath and lying still long enough for the blanket to work it’s magic.

Weighted blankets are similar to standard blankets but with added weight. Where traditional blankets typically weigh one to two kilos, weighted blankets can weigh anywhere from 4 to 10 kilos.

Weighted blankets are designed to feel like a hug. The blanket’s extra weight applies pressure to different parts of the body, enabling them to simulate a hug-like effect. 

As they mimic the sensation of being held, weighted blankets also have the same health-promoting benefits of hugging, such as decreased stress, lower blood pressure, and improved mood.

Weighted blankets are thought to be a form of deep pressure therapy (DPT). DPT works by triggering pressure points in the body, which relaxes the nervous system, resulting in better mood and a calmer disposition. Let’s look more closely at some of the known benefits of weighted blankets.

1. They improve the quality of sleep

Have you ever wondered why you still wake up feeling tired and groggy despite having 6-8 hours of sleep? For years I blamed my tiredness on having children who didn’t sleep much, then I blamed it on grief. Now I really think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever been a great sleeper and often when I sleep for longer (say 7 hours) I feel worse. Turns out, it’s not just the amount of sleep that matters, but also the quality of the sleep. I know my sleep quality is really poor and I’m pretty convinced now that is the issue.

If you get enough sleep but still wake up exhausted, you, like me might not be getting high-quality sleep. If you find yourself in the same situation over and over again, you may want to think about using weighted blankets. I’m planning on giving this a go, so I will let you know how I get on.

A recent study showed that prolonged use of weighted blankets was linked to better sleep quality and decreased insomnia and fatigue. This is because deep pressure from the weighted blankets activates sensors in different parts of the body, thus providing a sense of calmness and peace.

Weighted blankets are such that your ability to move around is reduced. The weight of the blanket acts as a form of restraint.

2. Helps to Combat Stress And Tension

Since they are designed to mimic the act of being held or cuddled, weighted blankets produce the same positive effects that a hug provides. 

Some people who suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and other mental health problems also turn to weighted blankets to help them relax during bouts of anxiety and stress.

3. Reduce Chronic Pain

When we are in pain, our cortisol levels shoot up. As a result, our bodies are more prone to pain and fatigue. Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) can help with this.

Aside from reducing stress and anxiety, DPT can also lower cortisol and increase our serotonin levels, making us feel more grounded, relaxed, and calm. With DPT deep touch is used to stimulate the body’s pressure points further, resulting in a more relaxed nervous system. 

Since weighted blankets add gentle pressure to the body with their extra heft, they can serve as a natural alternative to ease pain reflexes. 

If you constantly suffer from chronic pain or have occasional muscle aches, a weighted blanket can help alleviate these painful sensations. This also applies to growing pains in feet and legs in children.

4. Improves Mood

Feeling down or unusually sad, concerned that a child is feeling that way? A weighted blanket may help. Apart from their stress-reducing abilities, they can also improve and boost mood. 

Research shows that weighted blankets are known to help people suffering from clinical depression. The gentle pressure from weighted blankets raises oxytocin while decreasing the stress hormone cortisol levels, making it a valuable remedy for someone having a bad day.

So, if you are looking to boost your mood, especially after a tiring and stressful day, a weighted blanket is your go-to happy pill. 

5. Alleviate Symptoms of ADHD and Autism 

Self-regulation is difficult for people with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. They are often overwhelmed by their surroundings and struggle to process information, making them more sensitive to stress and anxiety.

Weighted blankets can help relieve these symptoms by providing comfort and relaxation through DPT.  The weighted blanket’s gentle but firm pressure controls and regulates hormones.  

This relaxes the central nervous system even further, resulting in a relaxed and secure state for people suffering from these conditions.

6. Decreases Sensory Overload

It’s difficult not to get overstimulated in this day and age. Simple things like the TV blaring or noisy music can often overpower our senses, leaving us feeling anxious and confused. This state is known as sensory overload.

Exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and irritability are the most common symptoms of this condition. Weighted blankets are a great tool to help decrease sensory overload and its symptoms.

Their hug-like feeling helps calm and ground the body by applying gentle pressure to sensory pressure points. So, if you find yourself having trouble managing daily life as a result of this, a weighted blanket can help. 

Final Thoughts

Weighted blankets are becoming increasingly popular due to their surprising benefits to overall health and well-being. As a result, more and more people are considering integrating them into their daily routine.

Overall, weighted blankets can be an effective way to improve sleep quality, reduce anxiety, and alleviate symptoms of various medical conditions.

Although evidence is still scarce and inconclusive, weighted blankets have continuously lived up to their claims, as evidenced by a number of consumer feedback and clinical studies. You only have to read the reviews from people online to see the benefits they bring to the individual.

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