How can something so simple as sleeping with weighted blankets be a solution to stress, anxiety, insomnia and more?
Similar to getting a massage, pressure exerted over the body has physical and psychological advantages. According to Temple Grandin, Ph.D.
“Deep touch pressure is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, holding, stroking, petting of animals, or swaddling. [sic] Occupational therapists have observed that a very light touch alerts the nervous system, but deep pressure is relaxing and calming.”
So, How Does It Work?
A weighted blanket molds to your body like a warm hug. The pressure also helps relax the nervous system. It’s a totally safe and effective non-drug therapy for sleep and relaxation naturally. Psychiatric, trauma, geriatric, and pediatric hospital units use weighted blankets to calm a patient’s anxiety and promote deep, restful sleep. In a similar way to swaddling comforting an infant, the weight and pressure on an adult provides comfort and relief.
When pressure is gently applied to the body, it encourages serotonin production, which lifts your mood. When serotonin naturally converts to melatonin which is a hormone, your body takes the cue to rest.
Weighted blankets are typically “weighted” with plastic poly pellets that are sewn into compartments throughout the blanket to keep the weight properly distributed. The weight of the blanket acts as deep touch therapy and acts on deep pressure touch receptors located all over your body. When these receptors are stimulated, the body relaxes and feels more grounded and safe, and clinical studies suggest that when deep pressure points are triggered they actually cause the brain to increase serotonin production.
Weighted blankets are especially effective at alleviating anxiety. A 2008 study published in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health showed that weighted blankets offered safe and effective therapy for decreasing anxiety in patients. These results were confirmed in a 2012 study published in Australasian Psychiatry, which indicated that weighted blankets successfully decreased distress and visible signs of anxiety.
Using Weighted Blankets
The weight of the blanket will depend on your size and personal preference, but the typical weight for adults is around 15 to 30 pounds in the blanket. Experts recommend seeking the guidance of a doctor or occupational therapist if you have a medical condition. Do not use weighted blankets if you are currently suffering from a respiratory, circulatory, or temperature regulation problem, or are recuperating post surgery.
Where To Buy?
There are many website where you can purchase a weighted blanket in tons of choices of fabric and weight, or you can even make your own! There are specifically blanket shops, such as Magic Blanket. Another good option is Mosaic Weighted Blankets which sells all-cotton versions. Amazon, Etsy and Ebay all sell them, and therapy and special needs stores like National Autism Resources also sells them. You can find them in a variety of sizes, colors, and fabrics, and this is one simple change that can make a HUGE difference in your life!
Featured photo credit: Photographee.eu via shutterstock.com
|||^||Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, TEMPLE GRANDIN, Ph.D.|
|||^||Weighted Blankets for Insomnia and Anxiety, Underground Health Reporter|