What Is The Science Behind Weighted Blankets?

             Science Behind Weighted Blanket

Introduction

Weighted blankets have become a standard component of stress alleviation, and sound sleep practices for many individuals for a good reason. Weighted blankets may help patients with anxiety, autism, and insomnia, among other ailments, according to research. Weighted blankets have also been tested for their effectiveness in reducing physical and emotional symptoms. 

The main idea of this article is about the health benefits of weighted blankets. Also, this article will help you to know how a weighted blanket works. Continue reading to obtain answers to some of the often-asked questions concerning anxiety blankets for adults.

What Is A Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets are therapeutic blankets that weigh 2.27 to 14 kg. Pressure from the added weight simulates the effects of deep pressure stimulation, sometimes called pressure therapy. The blanket you select should ideally weigh 10% of your body weight. 

Weighted blankets are part of deep pressure stimulation, which uses pressure to calm the nervous system. It simulates the feeling of being hugged or held. This exercise could benefit:

  • decrease the sense of pain
  • lessen anxiety symptoms
  • reduce depression symptoms

The Science Behind The Weighted Blanket

 A weighted blanket applies "pressure therapy," similar to being hugged, swaddled, caressed, or held, and soothes you all over your body. Weighted blankets work by exerting a consistent, firm pressure similar to deep pressure stimulation. Hugs and massages with firm pressure on you cause your parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) to be activated, which promotes the "rest and digest" response. While this system functions, your breathing becomes slow and deep, your heart rate drops, and your body relaxes. 

Weighted blankets also aid in relaxation by promoting the release of feel-good hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin while reducing the stress hormone cortisol. In addition, weighted blankets are also thought to stimulate the hormone melatonin, which prepares our bodies for sleep.

What Are Weighted Blankets Made Of?

Several materials, including cotton, flannel, bamboo, linen, and rayon, are used to make weighted blankets. In addition, a weighted blanket's fill, which gives it its weight, are high density glass beads.

Micro Glass Beads

Another frequently utilised substance is plastic poly pellets; however, micro glass beads offer a smooth and sustainable substitute. Micro glass beads are widely used due to their affordability and accessibility, however, they aren't entirely non-toxic and can have an uncomfortable sound and texture that some people may find irritating.

How Does A Weighted Blanket Work?

Weighted blankets get extra bulk from substantial fill, setting them apart from conventional choices. The majority of weighted blankets are inherently warmer and cosier due to the added weight. However, some cooling models are made to be breathable, making them suitable for use all year long.

The hypothesis behind the extra weight is that it promotes melatonin, which lowers anxiety and promotes sleep (a sleep hormone). According to some scientists, weighted blankets may also increase other naturally occurring hormones, such as serotonin and dopamine, directly linked to happiness. Another alleged benefit of weighted blankets is lowering cortisol, a naturally occurring steroid associated with stress.

The usefulness of a weighted blanket largely depends on the weight difference between it and the user, regardless of whether you're searching for additional warmth or other potential benefits. A weighted blanket should generally be about 10% of the user's weight. A weighted blanket may make the sleeper feel insignificant if it isn't heavy enough. On the other hand, a blanket too heavy may make it difficult to move and may be uncomfortable.

10 Benefits Of Using A Weighted Blanket

Although weighted blankets are designed to reduce anxiety in people, they also have a number of other benefits.

1. Rising Serotonin Levels 

One benefit of weighted blankets is that they increase serotonin levels. They also produced the same kind of deep pressure stimulation that hugs offer. Weighted blankets are supposed to do this via reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Both of these are decreased by elevated serotonin levels, or "happy, feel-good" hormones.

2. Reduced Movement

The restriction of movement is another benefit of weighted blankets. If you frequently toss and turn at night and wish to be more static, it can appeal to you (or not wake up your partner as much). But, again, the weight of the blanket doesn't encompass you; it just helps keep you still. 

3. Higher Oxytocin Concentrations

In addition to serotonin, a calming weighted blanket may increase oxytocin levels, another "feel-good" hormone, in our brains. We feel safe, at peace, and less anxious as a result. The general air of tranquility.

Users who use weighted blankets relate the feeling to being held by a close friend or relative. In addition, the weight and sensation encourage you to relax and decompress.

4. Improved Quality Of Sleep 

One of the most significant benefits of using a weighted blanket is that it helps you sleep better. The weight of the blanket makes you feel cradled, which may even cause fewer nighttime awakenings. The benefits above also make it possible for you to fall asleep, and anxiety blankets are said to improve that slumber.

5. Creates a Calming Effect

One of the health benefits of a weighted blanket is that it creates a calming effect. Since users usually assert that they have soothing effects, weighted blankets are frequently also used by people who are stressed or hyperactive. Weighted blankets help calm everyone, from children to animals to adults. 

6. Reduces the Activity of the Nervous System

According to weighted blanket science, an overactive autonomic nervous system can cause anxiety, hyperactivity, and other issues. Using a weighted blanket will help your nervous system go into "rest mode," which will minimise anxiety symptoms like rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath.

7. Reduces Nighttime Movement

Having a weighted blanket on top of the body as you sleep can help lessen movement if you frequently toss and turn at night. Studies support that a weighted blanket's "cocooning" effect helps lessen nighttime movements and promote more profound, more peaceful sleep.

8. Soothes Panic Disorder

People of all ages have been proven to experience fewer panic attacks and avoid crises by wearing heavy blankets and jackets. This enables people to live more regularly, sleep better, and advance in various ways.

9. Lowers the Incidence of Seizures

Although not every person who uses a weighted blanket will say the same things, possible advantages include a decline in seizure frequency. In addition, deep pressure stimulation positively affects the parasympathetic nerve system, which causes the body to feel generally well.

10. Increases Feelings of Security

Weighted blankets have been shown to improve emotions of security, particularly when wrapped around the body to provide a swaddling effect. In addition, this emotion can benefit you in other aspects of your life, such as sleep quality and anxiety.

Conclusion

A weighted blanket is a great self-care investment because it provides deep pressure therapy, which releases pleasant hormones like melatonin, serotonin, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors in your brain. You can thus unwind, relax, and sleep more swiftly and deeply as a result. Ideally, you are now aware of how a weighted blanket works. Near the end of this article, we have answered a few queries about the weighted blanket alternative.

FAQs- 

Here are some frequently asked questions about the science of weighted blankets:

1. Are weighted blankets scientifically proven?

Studies have revealed that weighted blankets may reduce anxiety in some circumstances, even if there isn't strong evidence to support their effectiveness.

2. Are there any health risks for weighted blankets?

Using a weighted blanket carries minimal dangers. However, manufacturers advise against using weighted blankets for toddlers younger than 2 years old since they may raise the danger of asphyxia. Before giving your child a weighted blanket, check with your pediatrician.

3. Why do weighted blankets feel heavier than they are?

A weighted blanket is heavier than a regular blanket because it contains glass beads that are spread uniformly to add weight. Weighted blankets frequently range in weight from 2.2 to 14kgs.

4. What is the psychology behind weighted blankets?

Your autonomic nervous system enters "rest" mode under the pressure of weighted blankets, which lessens some anxiety symptoms, including rapid breathing and heart rate. 

  1. Why should you sleep with a weighted blanket?

Deep pressure stimulation, used by weighted blankets, is hypothesized to enhance levels of the hormone melatonin, which promotes sleep, decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and stimulates the creation of the hormone serotonin, which improves mood. This might enhance the general effectiveness of sleep.

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