Weighted blankets have gained popularity in recent years for their potential health benefits.
These blankets got their inspiration from a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation, in which controlled and solid pressure is used to induce a calm feeling that helps reduce stress and improve the sleep routine.
Moreover, a weighted blanket’s soft pressure can help improve sleep for individuals with anxiety, autism, or insomnia. It also helps to relieve symptoms of certain conditions.
While individual experiences may vary, here are some commonly reported benefits of using a weighted blanket. But before that, let’s look at what a weighted blanket is.
What is a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket is a type of blanket that is filled with small weights, such as plastic pellets or glass beads, to make it heavier than a regular blanket. The added weight of the blanket provides deep pressure stimulation, which can have a calming and soothing effect on the body.
Weighted blankets typically range in weight from around 5 to 30 pounds (2.3 to 13.6 kilograms), although the optimal weight depends on the individual’s body weight and personal preference. The blanket size can also vary, from small lap-sized blankets to larger ones that cover the entire bed.
The weighted blanket filling is distributed evenly throughout compartments or pockets to ensure that the weight is distributed uniformly. This prevents the weights from bunching up or sliding to one side of the blanket.
Weighted blankets are often used as a therapeutic tool to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality. They can be used by people of all ages, including children and adults, and are available in various colors, patterns, and materials to suit individual preferences.
7 Health Benefits Of Using A Weighted Blanket
Here are the seven significant health benefits of using a weighted blanket:
1. Improved sleep quality
2. Reduced anxiety and stress
The gentle pressure of a weighted blanket can have a calming effect on the nervous system. This may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress by promoting the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are associated with feelings of relaxation and well-being.
Weighted blankets cause deep pressure stimulation, which reduces autonomic arousal. This arousal plays a role in many of the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate.
3. Alleviation of insomnia symptoms
People with insomnia may find relief from using a weighted blanket. The blanket’s weight can simulate the feeling of being hugged or held, creating a sense of security and comfort that can aid in falling asleep and staying asleep.
In addition, the deep pressure stimulation provided by weighted blankets can help to relax the nervous system. This may also lead to a reduction in heart rate and breathing, making it easier to relax and get a good night’s rest.
4. Potential mood enhancement
The deep pressure stimulation provided by a weighted blanket may help increase the production of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. This can contribute to an overall sense of calm and well-being.
5. Assistance with sensory processing disorders
Individuals with sensory processing disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may benefit from using a weighted blanket. The added weight can help regulate sensory input, potentially reducing sensory overload and promoting a sense of calm.
According to a 2014 study, weighted vests have been used in ADHD therapy to improve attention and reduce hyperactive movements. The study found that participants who used the weighted vest during a continuous performance test experienced promising results. They showed reductions in behaviors such as falling off task, leaving their seats, and fidgeting.
6. Relief from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Some people with RLS have reported finding relief when using a weighted blanket. The blanket’s weight and gentle pressure may help reduce the discomfort and urge to move associated with this condition, allowing for more restful sleep.
7. Enhanced focus and concentration
For individuals with ADHD or difficulty concentrating, a weighted blanket can provide a grounding effect that promotes focus. The gentle pressure may help reduce restlessness and improve attention span.
As you have seen, the health benefits of using weighted blankets are impressive. Nonetheless, although weighted blankets may offer potential benefits, they may not be suitable for everyone. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using a weighted blanket, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns.