benefits of weighted blankets

Weighted Blanket Benefits

Benefits of using a weighted blanket

Weighted blanket benefits are endless. These special blankets are likened to a saving grace for people who suffer from emotional and mental health disorders. Whether you’re ailing from depression, insomnia, anxiety or stress, weighted blankets are highly comforting. Nowadays, even healthy individuals are opting for weighted blankets, bearing in mind their varied health-linked benefits.

Why deep sleep is important?

Recent research studies suggest that going into deep sleep is extremely important. You can improve your overall wellbeing if you enjoy deep sleep during nighttime. Deep sleep helps in the body repairing process, boosts immunity, revitalizes the body cells, among other health-related advantages.

Not all sleep is equal. The experts say that deep sleep should compose 10 to 20 percent of your sleep. Sleeping well has a variety of benefits, they help in greater cognitive functions, you can improve your productivity at work. The experts suggest keeping a regular sleep schedule – notwithstanding weekdays or weekends – to get better deep sleep.

What is a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets weigh heavier than your normal blankets. They are an innovative concept for inducing relaxation of the body. The general recommendation is to go with the ones that weigh around 7-12% of your body weight but it also depends on the person using it.

They are stuffed with weighted materials for their heaviness. These include glass micro-beads, plastic pellets, and discs. The fillings are uniformly distributed over the surface of the blanket, providing the ideal weight for the entire body.

Weighted blankets are different from your oversized comforters or quilts. They contain several pockets which have weighted objects like pellets or beads for bulking them. The separate pockets are darned together, similar to a patchwork quilt. In turn, they distribute the small-sized weights evenly throughout the body.

The uniformly-distributed weight rouses the pressure points across the body, propelling the calming of the nervous system. The soothing effects of gravity blankets on the nervous system is what helps in coping with the sensory-linked and anxiety issues that are caused by the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Moreover, this sense of calm drives the body into restful sleep.

Some varieties of weighted comforters are composed of softer materials (such as cotton) and look like conventional duvets. Many people prefer cotton weighted blankets for their breathability aspects.

What does a weighted blanket do?

The concept of weighted blankets is based on Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) or Deep pressure Stimulation (DTS). Due to the weighted physical force of such blankets, the body tends to relax while drifting into restful sleep.

What is Deep Touch Pressure?

Weighted blankets are effective for they apply the concept of Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation, they put adequate pressure for eliciting the nerve endings beneath our skin. The arousal of the nerve endings leads to successive actions within the nervous system. DTP lowers blood-pressure levels and heart rate and also the heaviness of the blanket restricts your movements. All these factors create a suitable atmosphere for the body to enter into ‘deep sleep’ mode.

How does a weighted blanket work?

Because of the weight of weighted blankets, the sympathetic system tends to shut down while letting the parasympathetic nervous system take control. As such, the body comes to a stage of rest and digest. In turn, the body releases a host of hormones, as seen below:

  • Serotonin: a hormone that enriches the mood and controls anxiety and depression symptoms

  • Dopamine: a hormone that manages attention span, memory, motivation, and pleasure

  • Oxytocin: a hormone that helps the body to adjust to emotional upheavals

  • Melatonin: the sleep-inducing hormone. Higher melatonin levels in the brain help to restore the body’s natural circadian rhythms while facilitating sleep.

How to use a weighted blanket?

The medical experts suggest using a weighted blanket for individuals suffering from psychological disorders so they remain calm. Going by the universal notion that hugs have a comforting effect on the body, weighted blankets were designed to offer a reassuring cuddle.

A calming hug grounds the body and, in turn, facilitates sleep. The concept dates back to the initial years of the 20th century when weighted blankets were recommended for children who were ailing from anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, among other emotional disorders – they remained calm with the use of weighted blankets. Hence, the use of weighted blankets was prescribed as another option for a consoling hug.

Nowadays, occupational therapists are increasingly using weighted blankets for patients as part of Sensory Integration Therapy. Weighted blankets are effective for alleviating the symptoms of depression, anxiety, sensory processing disorder, and autism.

What are the benefits of a Weighted blanket

Due to hectic daily schedules, you may experience stress. Now, to lower your stress levels, consider using a weighted blanket. They work in a holistic manner to minimize stress in the body, among other benefits.

Additionally, emotional health disorders can disrupt our sleep patterns. Thus, we cannot enjoy a good night’s sleep. Sure, you can take sleep medicines to fall asleep. Though, they come with a range of side effects. Instead, opt for natural therapies, under which weighted blankets are a viable remedy.

Weighted blankets are advised for people suffering from high-stress levels and busy lifestyle, panic and anxiety attacks, depression, insomnia and other sleep troubles.

What is a weighted blanket used for?

Usage of a weighted blanket benefits in the following ways when managing disorders.

Alleviates Stress

Stress can lead to deterioration of our overall health. However, weighted blankets work via deep touch pressure mechanisms and help in stress-relief.

Eases Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

As part of the RLS, patients experience a tingling sensation in their legs. The disorder symptoms can worsen when they are in bed. As a result, they cannot sleep and, thus, suffer from Insomnia and other sleep disorders.

The urge to move one’s legs can be discomforting when traveling via car or airplane too. The use of compression socks can help in alleviating the RLS discomfort. Though, weighted blankets are helpful to impart the desired comfort as well.

Autism: Relief for sensory-related disorders

Conflicting brain signals can give rise to sensory issues, leading to anxiety pangs. Also, both patients suffering from anxiety and children ailing from autism have similarities. Both undergo emotional turmoil.

Autism is a developmental disorder; the patients have difficulty when interacting with others. Also, they are not able to communicate properly and their learning ability is affected. Parents of children having autism are often recommended to use weighted or calming or gravity blankets. Medical researchers vouch that gravity blankets can help children with autism.

Medical professionals have been treating autism with weighted lap pads, weighted blankets and weighted vests through the years. Small and uniformly distributed pockets containing polypropylene pellets constitute the calming blankets. These stuffing materials are bulky due to which the blankets can apply gentle but firm pressure throughout the body.

Using a weighted blanket (sometimes called as gravity blanket) on a child with autism calms and grounds their body. Similarly, people suffering from anxiety are relieved with weighted blankets for they get the feel of a soothing hug.

How weighted blankets are helpful for Autistic Children:

Offers sleep benefits: Weighted blankets boost serotonin levels in the body which regulates sleep due to which the person enjoys restorative sleep.

Lowers Anxiety: Gravity blankets improve the functioning of the nervous system by reducing stress levels. In turn, the person calms down while easing into ‘sleep’ mode.

Improves ability to focus: Research studies indicate that children with autism benefit by wearing weighted vests at school. They recorded having greater concentration levels and could more effectively complete tasks.

Read more about Autism and Weighted blankets here.

Increases focus of ADHD patients

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome (ADHS) patients display a variety of symptoms. These include impulsiveness, restlessness, and inability to concentrate.

The use of weighted blankets during sensory integration therapy has a relaxing effect while reducing anxiety, probably owing to the release of melatonin and serotonin hormones.

In all, weighted blankets can help to improve your mood which is why they pose as a good option for AHDH patients.

Aids the elderly groups

As people become older, their sleeping habits change. Also, they tend to suffer from Insomnia due to chronic pain, anxiety, and stress. More so, they need a comforting hug, as all humans do. Weighted blankets are recommended by the sleep experts to help them sleep better at night.

PTSD

Individuals who have been part of traumatic or stressful events are known to have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which causes incapacitating stress.

PTSD affects mainly the veteran community, studies suggest 11-30% of veterans and around 7-8% of Americans suffer from PTSD – notwithstanding gender and other societal barriers even childhood trauma could be a risk for the development of PTSD.

PTSD Anxiety and Depression are interrelated, the symptoms tend to overlap. Common symptoms of both disorders are emotional turbulence, difficulty in sleeping, and lack of interest in daily activities.

For easing the effect of the traumatic events, a range of therapies is available:

  • medications

  • various types of natural therapies

  • inoculation training.

In recent times, the use of weighted blankets is common for dealing with PTSD because Weighted blankets are a good way for people to catch up on their lost sleep.

There are some Medications and a host of therapies for the treatment of PTSD.

  • Medicinal Drugs

  • Therapy

  • Extended Exposure

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Nowadays, weighted blankets are a preferred method for people to sleep better also for PTSD patients because they can sleep soundly which helps to reduce their symptoms.

Read more about PTSD and the possible treatment options including utilisation of weighted blankets in our article.

Depression

A mental health condition where the patient remains constantly depressed and loses interest in activities, thereby, leading to impairment in daily activities befits the description of clinical depression. Having the disorder can interfere with daily duties and result in lower work productivity in many cases. Further, depression has a bearing on relationships and other serious health conditions.

Depressive patients show symptoms such as sadness, lack of interest in activities.

Signs of Depression

  • Tiredness or fatigue

  • Weight loss and appetite loss

  • Insomnia or sleeping troubles

  • Suicidal notions

  • Weight gain or increased appetite

  • Unable to concentrate

  • Atypical slow movements

For more information on treatment of depression read our detailed article about the possible Natural Remedies of Depression.

Anxiety and Stress

Any person who suffers from stress and anxiety displays symptoms – both psychological and physical ones.

Physical symptoms anxiety and stress:

  • headaches

  • stomach pain

  • increase in heartbeat

  • dizziness

  • tendency to urinate frequently

  • muscle tension

  • tiredness

  • shaking

  • sleeping difficulties

  • diarrhea

  • appetite changes

Some common emotional or mental symptoms of stress and anxiety:

  • concentration troubles

  • restlessness

  • uncontrollable anger

When someone suffers from stress and anxiety for long time, the possibility of them ailing from health issues cannot be ruled out. Stress anxiety depression, diabetes, cardio-linked issues and panic attacks are some disorders they are likely to suffer from.

Here you can read more about Anxiety and Stress related signs, symptoms and remedies.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder. As a result, they may obtain inadequate rest or have poor-quality rest. When they wake up, they may not really feel rejuvenated. People who have insomnia have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. You might have problem concentrating or remembering which may prevent you from doing your best at work or school. Insomnia can cause daytime drowsiness and also the absence of energy. It could make you feel nervous, clinically depressed, or cranky.

Insomnia can be acute (temporary) or chronic (recurring) and is caused by circumstances such as stress and anxiety at the office, family stress, or any stressful occasion. Acute insomnia lasts weeks, while chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer.

The majority of chronic insomnia are secondary, which means they are the signs and symptom or side effect of some other problems, maybe medicines, rest problems can also trigger secondary insomnia. Numerous life adjustments can activate primary insomnia, consisting of long-lasting stress and anxiety and emotional upset.

Read more here about the Signs, Symptoms and also about the possible Natural Remedies for Insomnia.

Do weighted blankets really work?

We are constantly working to improve our lives and sleeping well at night is the easiest way to achieve the desired results. If you sleep well, your chances of suffering from any mental disorders are far lesser, you can enhance your productivity at work and maintain friendships and relationships.

Weighted comforters impart several health benefits and do not pose any harm – a win-win situation.