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Weighted Blankets and Muscle Recovery
Weighted blankets are gaining popularity as a way to reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
But can weighted blankets help with muscle recovery after workouts?
Let’s find out:
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What is muscle recovery?
Muscle recovery is the process of repairing the microtears that occur in the muscles due to exercise, allowing the muscles to recover and become stronger. It is essential to any athletic training regimen and involves adequate rest, sleep, nutrition, and, in some cases, compression such as through the use of weighted blankets.
Through the process of muscle recovery, athletes can reduce the discomfort caused by delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and improve their physical performance.
Do weighted blankets help muscle recovery?
A weighted blanket can help with muscle recovery after a workout by improving sleep. Research suggests that sleep is essential for helping the body recover from physical and mental stressors. Weighted blankets can increase melatonin and serotonin production, which helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
The improved restful sleep that comes from using a weighted blanket can help the body recover faster, reducing muscle soreness and fatigue.
Weighted blanket after workout
A weighted blanket can be an effective post-workout tool for muscle recovery due to its ability to provide Deep Touch Pressure (DTP), which has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels, relieve anxiety, boost melatonin production, and improve serotonin levels.
Compression from the weighted blanket is very limited on limbs but it can help to reduce inflammation and swelling after a tough workout. It can however help people get to sleep more easily and stay asleep longer. All of these benefits can help with muscle recovery after a workout.
Benefits of sleep for athletes
Nevertheless, it is well established that the more quality sleep an athlete gets, the better they perform. Several scientific studies have shown that when athletes increase their sleep to at least nine hours per night, their reaction time, turn times, and accuracy improve, and they feel happier and less fatigued after their workout.
Sleep plays a crucial role in overall wellness and performance for athletes and non-athletes alike. During sleep, the brain makes memories, processes information, and repairs muscles. Thus, lack of sleep can impact cognitive functioning, increase risk of depression, and impair muscle recovery, leading to injury.
Overall, sleep is essential for athletes to perform at their best and maintain their mental health.
Do athletes need more sleep?
Yes, athletes need more sleep, getting enough sleep is crucial for peak performance, especially for athletes. The recommended amount of sleep for an adult is 7-9 hours per night, with 9 being the ideal amount for athletes. If an athlete is preparing for a big event, it’s a good idea to get more sleep in the days leading up to it.
There are a few sleep hygiene tips that athletes can follow to maximize their performance. These include
- managing pre-competition stress with visualization, meditation
- disconnecting from electronics at least an hour before bedtime
- using a weighted eye mask to block out light when traveling for a competition
- you can travel with your weighted blanket which makes it easier to sleep during a competition
Do weighted blankets help sore muscles?
While weighted blankets may be a comfortable asset to relieve anxiety or stress and potentially result in better sleep, they are not specifically designed for muscle recovery. Weighted blankets can provide some benefit for athletes due to their ability to increase blood circulation throughout the body, reduce swelling and inflammation, and help with restful sleep. However, there are more effective options for muscle recovery and soreness.
Weighted blankets have been proven to relieve stress, which helps lead to a restful sleep. This enables the body to recuperate faster from workouts and can reduce the amount of soreness after a workout.
So, while weighted blankets might not turn you into an Olympian, they can still provide a number of benefits for athletes looking to recover from an intense workout. Ultimately, recovery is an essential part of achieving any athletic goals and weighted blankets can help the body recover quicker.
What are the benefits of using a weighted blanket for muscle recovery?
The benefits of using a weighted blanket for muscle recovery include:
- Increasing blood circulation which plays a role in recovery
- Reducing delayed onset muscle soreness
- Improving sleep, which is essential for all our systems, including the musculoskeletal system
- Reducing swelling and inflammation
- Promoting better quality, more adequate sleep
- Helping with anxiety and sleep quality
How does pressure stimulation therapy work to help with muscle recovery?
Pressure stimulation therapy is a form of massage therapy that utilizes manual pressure and vibration to help relieve muscle tension and promote muscle recovery. The process of pressure stimulation therapy works by
- applying gentle, rhythmic pressure to the affected muscles and tissues
- This pressure, combined with the vibration of the massage tool, helps to stimulate the blood vessels, promoting improved circulation.
- This in turn helps to reduce muscle tension, improve flexibility, and promote faster healing by delivering nutrients and oxygen to the muscles more effectively.
Pressure stimulation therapy has been proven to be beneficial for people with leg pain, inflammation, and other muscle-related ailments. Additionally, it can help reduce stress, boost energy levels, and improve overall wellbeing.
Are there any risks associated with using a weighted blanket for muscle recovery?
While weighted blankets can be a comfortable novelty that could help reduce anxiety or stress and improve sleep, it is not a substitute for effective recovery methods.
While compression is often utilized for injuries, a weighted blanket alone would not provide enough specific compression to the limbs to reduce muscle soreness. It might, however, help with muscle recovery by aiding in restful sleep.
While there is some evidence that weighted blankets can improve sleep, there is not enough evidence to suggest that they can have a direct correlation to muscle recovery.
Therefore, if using a weighted blanket for muscle recovery, it is important to consider other more effective options such as compression tights and to take breaks in between using the weighted blanket to ensure proper recovery.
What research has been done on the effectiveness of weighted blankets for muscle recovery?
Experts agree that the benefit of a weighted blanket is that it can improve sleep—and sleep is crucial for recovery. A recent study from Gonzaga University looked at the effect of weighted blankets on workout recovery, and found that weighted blankets can help to reduce anxiety and improve cognitive functioning.
Kane, E; Li, D; Hayes, E; Fielding, C; McGuire, J; and Thorp, DB (2019) “EFFECT OF WEIGHTED BLANKETS ON RECOVERY FROM MODERATE INTENSITY AEROBIC EXERCISE,” International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 8: Iss. 7, Article 76.
This suggests that weighted blankets may indeed be beneficial for muscle recovery, although more research is needed to confirm this.
Do weighted blankets build muscle?
While weighted blankets can help provide a restful sleep, facilitating recovery from physical exertion, they are not a substitute for a regular exercise routine or for other recovery treatments. Regular exercise is essential for building muscle and for overall wellbeing, but weighted blankets may play a role only in muscle recovery as they increase melatonin and serotonin production, helping you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Are weighted blankets good for athletes?
Numerous studies have demonstrated that weighted blankets can help athletes improve their sleep and performance. These blankets are effective in increasing the amount of time spent sleeping, while also reducing movement during sleep. They can also help athletes get enough sleep to perform their best, as research has found that more sleep can improve athletic performance.
On the other hand, sleep deprivation can hurt athletic performance, so using a weighted blanket can help athletes avoid this.