Weighted Blankets: The Benefits
Updated: Feb 20, 2020
If you have not heard of the new phenomenon, then I'm here to tell you all about it. 2020 is all about weighted blankets and weighted blanket therapies. Although this is not a new revelation, it has been catching a lot of attention recently and for good reason. The benefits of using a weighted blanket are so high that many people are looking at Amazon and various other sites to find the best ones on the market.
What Are Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets are just like normal blankets but with a specific weight to them. They are designed to provide comfort and ease to users. Many of these blankets are filled with BPA free glass beads which are stitched or placed in the lining of the blanket. This is where they get their weight from. Many companies use similar designs or techniques to create their weighted blanket but the main difference is the stitching and material they use for the actual blanket.
The Science Behind Weighted Blankets
There is a vast catalog of research done on weighted blankets, looking at the effects it has on people with different disabilities. For the most part, weighted blankets help people with sleep issues, mental health problems, ADHD, RLS, fibromyalgia and the list goes on. This is because the weighted blanket releases endorphins or happy hormones which lowers your arousal or flight or fight energy. By lowering this part of the body, your comfort and relaxation levels are able to increase.
Weighted blankets mimic a therapy called: Deep Pressure Simulation
Deep Pressure Stimulation
Deep pressure stimulation releases serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that make people feel calm. Research suggests that slow and gentle touch can stimulate portions of the limbic system, the brain's network for processing emotion and fear. This plays into that fight or flight feeling. So when this deep pressure stimulation occurs it triggers those happy hormones which lower your fight or flight pathway, those feelings of anxiousness and worrying. The result is feeling more calm and relaxed, which is why it helps people sleep and stay asleep throughout the night. If you've ever felt like your mind is racing or your heart is pounding while trying to sleep, a weighted blanket would help calm that fight or flight response. Many people use this type of therapy for anxiety, depression and sensory processing disorders.
Weighted blankets mimic deep pressure stimulation by applying even weight across the body allowing the release of happy hormones to make you feel calm and relaxed. In order to get the best results from weighted blankets, the blanket should weigh about 10% of your body weight. This is because you want a comfortable weight your body can handle that will also trigger that deep pressure stimulation. Many companies are tapping into the weighted blanket market because the results have been tremendous. As people learn more about the benefits and are becoming more open to the idea of weighted blanket therapy, more and more come on the market. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It allows customers to weigh their options, find what material works best for them and how they react to the weight.
I've been using a weighted blanket for about a year now. I use mine almost every night. It definitely helps me calm down and feel more relaxed when trying to sleep. Although, I have not found that it helps me stay asleep during the night. I do find that it lowers my anxiety when trying to go to sleep or when watching something on my laptop.
Having the luxury of working for a UK based weighted blanket company has definitely opened my mind up to more to the idea of deep pressure stimulation and learning more about the effects weighted blankets have on people with anxiety. It also allows me to learn and hear others' experiences which help me to know I'm not alone with some of my everyday struggles. From my work experience, I've seen nothing but positive outcomes from using weighted blankets. Using weighted blankets works best when paired with other calming techniques such as deep breathing, colouring, and the list goes one. To learn more about calming techniques click here.
Do you use a weighted blanket? How does it make you feel? Let me know in the comments below!