What is a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket is a specially designed blanket that uses additional weight to provide a sensation of pressure that has a calming effect on the body. This pressure, also known as deep touch pressure, has been shown to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety and stress, and improve sleep quality, making weighted blankets a popular choice for those seeking natural ways to improve their overall well-being.
Are weighted blankets beneficial for Anxiety?
Weighted blankets have become increasingly popular in recent years as a means of providing comfort and relief for those suffering from anxiety. But what exactly are weighted blankets and how do they work?
A weighted blanket is a blanket that is filled with high density glass beads that adds weight to the blanket. The added weight is distributed evenly throughout the blanket, providing a sensation of being hugged or held. This sensation is believed to have a calming effect on the body, which can help to reduce feelings of anxiety.
Weighted blankets are often used as a form of therapy for individuals with anxiety, as well as for those with conditions such as autism, ADHD, and insomnia. The pressure provided by the blanket is thought to mimic the sensation of a hug or a comforting touch, which can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
One of the key points behind the effectiveness of weighted blankets is the concept of "deep touch pressure." Deep touch pressure refers to the sensation of being held or hugged, which is believed to activate the release of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating mood and emotions, and is often referred to as the "feel-good" chemical. By activating the release of serotonin, deep touch pressure can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
Another point is that the weight of the blanket helps to stimulate the production of melatonin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating sleep. Melatonin is often referred to as the "sleep hormone," and is responsible for helping the body to relax and fall asleep. By stimulating the production of melatonin, a weighted blanket can help to improve sleep quality and reduce feelings of anxiety.
While the exact mechanisms behind the effectiveness of weighted blankets are not fully understood, there is a growing body of research that suggests that they are beneficial for reducing symptoms of anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders found that adults with insomnia who used a weighted blanket experienced a significant reduction in symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. Another study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing found that children with autism who used a weighted blanket experienced a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and improved sleep quality.
How heavy should a weighted blanket be?
Weighted blankets are available in different weights, sizes and designs. While there is no exact science behind how heavy your weighted blanket should be, a general rule of thumb is to choose a blanket that is around 10% of your body weight. However, users are welcome to go heavier/lighter depending on their comfort level.
It is also important to note that weighted blankets are not a cure for anxiety, but they are helpful as a complementary therapy.
In conclusion, weighted blankets can be an effective tool for reducing symptoms of anxiety. By providing a sensation of deep touch pressure, weighted blankets can activate the release of serotonin and melatonin, which can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and improve sleep quality.