Do Weighted Blankets Help With Nightmares?
If you suffer from nightmares, you’re not alone. In fact, according to a recent study, nearly 8% of adults experience them at least once a month.
While there are many different ways to treat nightmares (including therapy and medication), one method could be sleeping with weighted blankets.
Weighted blankets are believed to help with nightmares by providing deep pressure stimulation (DPS), which is a type of sensory input that can help calm the nervous system.
But do they really work? Let’s take a closer look.
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Do weighted blankets help with nightmares?
Yes, a weighted blanket can help with nightmares. Studies show that weighted blankets can ease people into the deep sleep stage associated with dreaming, and in turn can reduce the frequency of nightmares. The deep pressure therapy provided by weighted blankets can also help to release feel good hormones, which can reduce symptoms of depression, fatigue, excessive worry, and overstimulation that can lead to nightmares.
Nightmares tend to be more vivid and detailed than night terrors. They often involve detailed scenes and stories that the dreamer can remember and recount upon waking. Nightmares may involve themes of being chased, danger, or other frightening situations. People who experience nightmares often recall the dream with vivid detail and can describe the occurrences in the nightmare almost as if it was a movie.
Weighted blanket for bad dreams and night terrors
Weighted blankets have been found to be effective in reducing anxiety and providing a sense of comfort and safety in those who suffer from night terrors. Those suffering from PTSD related nightmares and interrupted sleep can benefit from the calming effects of weighted blankets.
In summary, the deep touch pressure provided by weighted blankets can help to reduce symptoms that can lead to nightmares, and can provide a sense of comfort and safety to those who suffer from night terrors, PTSD related nightmares, and interrupted sleep.
How does a weighted blanket help with nightmares?
A weighted blanket can help with nightmares by providing deep touch pressure stimulation, which triggers the body to produce more serotonin. This increased serotonin helps to regulate the body’s sleep cycle, as well as reduce anxiety and stress. As a result, it is easier to settle down for sleep, sleep longer and have higher sleep quality.
People who sleep with a weighted blanket often wake up more refreshed in the morning. Therefore, by using a weighted blanket, one can more easily manage nightmares and achieve a better night’s sleep.
Do weighted blankets give you weird dreams?
Many people who use weighted blankets report having more vivid and memorable dreams, as the blankets help to induce deeper REM sleep—the stage of sleep where most dreaming takes place. Studies have also shown that dreaming is good for our psychological well-being, so don’t sleep on the power of dreamy sleep! However, for some people, this deeper sleep can result in nightmares, so it’s something to be aware of.
What are nightmares?
Nightmares are a type of dream that can cause fear, anxiety, and distress in the dreamer. They are usually vivid, detailed and often appear to be realistic. Nightmares usually occur during the later stages of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and can cause the dreamer to wake up feeling frightened, confused, and sometimes even disoriented.
What are the benefits of using weighted blankets for nightmares?
1. They can help reduce anxiety and agitation in those who suffer from PTSD
Weighted blankets can help reduce anxiety and agitation in those who suffer from PTSD and other anxiety disorders by providing deep pressure touch stimulation (DPTS) to the body. This type of pressure is calming and can help encourage the production of serotonin, which is a chemical in the brain responsible for improving mood. The weighted blankets also help to decrease cortisol levels and are an effective way of helping people to relax and initiate sleep.
A 2008 study published in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health found that weighted blankets helped to decrease anxiety in a safe and effective way and a study published found that weighted blankets served to decrease visible signs of anxiety and distress.
2. They can help people fall asleep and stay asleep longer
Weighted blankets can help people fall asleep and stay asleep longer by providing calming pressure that triggers the release of hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which can help to reduce anxiety and stress levels.
This in turn helps to increase levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and ease people into a deep and restful REM sleep, which is where dreams take place.
3. They can help reduce stress hormones and increase serotonin and dopamine levels
When we get a warm hug from someone, our body releases feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine while also decreasing our cortisol (stress) hormones, allowing us to feel more relaxed.
Self-hugging is a present method when you simply hug yourself. It can help relieve feelings of anxiety and soothe the nervous system by making you feel safe, secure, and loved.
The Butterfly Hug is used as a grounding technique which has been proven to be highly effective for anxiety, stress and feeling overwhelmed.
Weighted blankets may help alleviate OCD symptoms as people with OCD have lower serotonin levels, and medications to increase serotonin are used to treat it. By inducing the levels of serotonin and cortisol in the body, a weighted blanket can both deepen and prolong sleep, reducing or eliminating the condition of night terrors or sleep deprivation, and helping to achieve proper sleep every night.
4. They can be used as part of exposure therapy and trauma therapy
Weighted blankets can be used as part of exposure therapy and EMDR trauma therapy to help ease the symptoms of PTSD. Here is an example of how they can be used:
Step 1: Talk to your doctor or therapist about using a weighted blanket as part of your treatment plan. Make sure to discuss the appropriate size and weight of the blanket that is best suited for your needs.
Step 2: Start using the weighted blanket in a safe and comfortable environment, like your own bed. Place the blanket over your body and spend a few minutes relaxing and feeling the soothing pressure of the blanket.
Step 3: When you feel ready, start incorporating the weighted blanket into your exposure therapy sessions. As you face the triggers that cause your anxiety and PTSD symptoms, use the blanket as an anchor of comfort and safety. Allow the calming pressure of the blanket to reassure you that you can handle the situation and that you are safe.
Step 4: After each exposure session, take the time to relax and enjoy the calming effects of the weighted blanket. During this time, you can practice deep breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques to help you process the experience.
By using a weighted blanket as part of your exposure and trauma therapy sessions, you can reduce your feelings of anxiety, fear and distress that arise when facing triggers. This can help you to feel more in control of your emotions and better able to cope with the effects of PTSD.
Do weighted blankets cause nightmares?
Many people have reported that they tend to experience more nightmares when they use a weighted blanket. This connection is supported by anecdotal evidence, though no peer-reviewed study has been conducted to explain the phenomenon.
There are several possible reasons why weighted blankets might cause nightmares. Weighted blankets can make people fall into very deep sleep states, so they might be more prone to having nightmares.
In order to avoid nightmares, it is important to establish a good sleep pattern and spend some time preparing for bed before using the weighted blanket. If this does not help, then the weighted blanket might not be the best solution for the person.
What causes nightmares?
1. Traumatic events
Traumatic events are experiences that cause intense feelings of fear, horror, or helplessness in a person. These experiences can range from natural disasters to violent personal assaults, and can leave lasting psychological scars. People who experience traumatic events can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is characterized by anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and difficulty sleeping.
The reason why traumatic events cause nightmares is because these experiences are so emotionally and physically intense that the brain can’t process them properly. As a result, the brain often tries to find ways to cope with the trauma, and nightmares are one of the ways it does this. Nightmares are a way for the brain to sort out and make sense of the trauma, and can therefore help the person to cope with the event and come to terms with it.
In conclusion, traumatic events cause nightmares because they are so intense that the brain can’t process them properly. Nightmares are one of the ways the brain uses to help the person cope with the experience and come to terms with it.
2. Stress and anxiety
Nightmares can be caused by stress and anxiety, which are commonly experienced by individuals who have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster, car accident, or loss of a loved one.
Symptoms of PTSD include anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and difficulty sleeping, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event, jumpiness, and difficulty becoming attached to other people or engaging in social situations. Stress and anxiety can lead to a physical reaction known as the “flight or fight response,” which can include a rapid heart rate and breathing. The weight of a weighted blanket can be a form of deep pressure stimulation that signals the nervous system to be at rest.
3. Bad dream, Night terror, Nigthmare
What causes bad dreams? Bad dreams, nightmares, and night terrors can be caused by a variety of different factors, such as bad sleep hygiene, being a night owl, poor eating habits, stress, anxiety, and the consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes. Keeping a dream journal and practicing lucid dreaming can help to identify any triggers and to manage stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, avoiding certain foods and getting adequate sleep can help to prevent bad dreams. Avoid coffees too late as falling asleep after drinking coffee is not funny.
4. Poor sleep hygiene
Poor sleep hygiene is the lack of consistent sleep habits and routines. This can result in changes in sleep quality and quantity, and can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Poor sleep hygiene can lead to an increase in night terrors, nightmares, and other sleep disturbances.
When we lack consistency in our bedtimes and wake times, our bodies’ circadian rhythms become disrupted and our natural sleep/wake cycles are thrown off.
As a result, our bodies do not get the restful sleep that we need for optimal functioning during the day. Additionally, when we do not get enough quality sleep, our bodies cannot produce the hormones necessary to regulate our emotions, which can lead to more vivid and intense nightmares.
For example, if someone is stressed, they may not be able to fully relax and fall into a deep sleep. Without a deep sleep, the person is more likely to experience night terrors, as this is the stage of sleep when they occur.
5. Mental health disorders
Mental health disorders that can cause nightmares include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
- PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that develops after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as combat exposure, sexual or physical assault, or a serious accident. Symptoms of PTSD include anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and difficulty sleeping.
- GAD is an anxiety disorder characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday activities or events.
- Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder in which a person experiences unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear that can last for several minutes or longer.
- ASD is a disorder that affects communication and behavior, and individuals with ASD can experience stress and anxiety from social interactions or too much stimulation.
Nightmares can be a symptom of these mental health disorders, so it is important to consult a medical or mental health professional if you are experiencing recurrent nightmares.
Are weighted blankets effective for people with PTSD?
Weighted blankets have been found to be a useful and effective treatment option for those suffering from PTSD. These cozy blankets apply a gentle, yet firm pressure to the body that activates the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing the body to relax and release hormones that make the person feel safe and comfortable.