Using a weighted blanket for anxiety is as simple as wrapping yourself up in the cozy fabric and letting the deep pressure stimulation work its magic, and magic is exactly what it will feel like as the blanket will transform the way you feel in all aspects of your life. You’ll be wondering why you didn’t get one before. Various studies have confirmed that weighted blankets can help treat insomnia and reduce fatigue, depression and anxiety during the night and well into the day. They can also be used to help adults and children struggling with autism or ADHD to fall asleep and stay asleep, so they can get the rest they need. But the benefits of using a weighted blanket don’t end there. In this article, we weigh the pros and cons of weighted blankets to help you decide if it’s finally worth the investment (it is!).
Benefits of Using A Weighted Blanket for Anxiety Relief
When weighted blankets first came to the market, the idea that a blanket could feel so good seemed strange. Many people describe it as feeling like you’re getting a hug or being snuggled to sleep, or having someone you love calm and soothe you through moments of stress and anxiety. And until you try one for yourself, it can be difficult to imagine that a heavy piece of fabric can provide so many benefits. So, to encourage each one of you to start using a weighted blanket because I know just how beneficial it can be as an anxiety tool, I’ve put together this list of the top scientifically-proven benefits of weighted blankets.
Weighted Blankets Reduce Anxiety in Less Than 5 Minutes
It takes as little as 5 minutes for you to start experiencing the anxiety-reducing effects of weighted blankets, according to new studies. In one study, approximately 63% of people felt less anxious after lying under a weighted blanket for only 5 minutes. Another study conducted on mental health patients in a hospital showed 60% of people experienced less anxiety after using a weighted blanket.
The Deep Pressure Releases Happy Hormones
It’s hard to imagine that a weighted blanket can feel like a hug, but they certainly do. It all comes down to deep pressure stimulation or what is commonly referred to as pressure therapy. This is a firm, gentle pressure that is applied to the body that is proven to relax the nervous system. It creates an overall sense of calm and well-being by releasing your happy hormones, serotonin and dopamine.
Increase Melatonin Production
Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone and is commonly used as a natural sleep aid by those who aren’t producing enough. With the deep pressure applied on the body by weighted blankets, serotonin is released which is a neurotransmitter that helps your body produce more melatonin.
Fall Asleep Faster, Get Quality Sleep and Stay Rested
A common symptom of anxiety is struggling with sleep or staying to sleep. The anxious thoughts make it difficult to fall asleep at night and even if you do manage to get some shut eye, those same thoughts can send you shooting right out of your bed. But sleep is absolutely imperative for your mental health as it affects various parts of your brain that are responsible for emotional and mental health. Not getting enough quality sleep can even lead to the development and progression of mental illness. So, sleep should be at the top of your priority list and snuggling up in a weighted blanket can help you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep for better quality rest.
Treat Chronic Insomnia with Weighted Blankets
Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, are fairly common in people with anxiety because it’s difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep when your mind is racing. However, weighted blankets can be a safe and effective part of treating insomnia and other related sleep conditions. Studies found that insomnia patients with psychiatric disorders experienced reduced insomnia severity, improved sleep and less daytime sleepiness when sleeping with a weighted blanket. Other studies have found that when people with chronic insomnia use weighted blankets, they sleep longer and spend less time awake in the middle of the night.
Whether you’re struggling restlessness caused by sleep anxiety, ADHD or another condition, the pressure on the body provided by weighted blankets can help calm your body, so you’ll be less likely to experience the movements and uncomfortable sensation of restlessness. This also allows you to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
Weighted Blankets Calm The Nervous System
The benefits of using a weight blanket for anxiety can be harnessed any time of day or night, as the pressure calms your nervous system and body making it easier to relax. By putting your autonomic nervous system into “rest” mode, you can also reduce some of the symptoms of anxiety, such as a quick heart rate or fast breathing, to achieve an overall sense of calmness. Studies also show that 78% prefer the weighted blanket for anxiety when trying to calm down.
Soothe Aches and Pains
If you’re struggling with acute or chronic pain, weighted blankets can help reduce ache and pains, according to studies. They can also be used to ease one-off aches caused by anxiety symptoms and to reduce one’s perception of pain.
Help In Stressful Situations
Weighted blankets and deep touch pressure have been used to help comfort and relax people in particularly stressful situations, such as while at the dentist. So, if you feel nervous about a car ride, sleeping at a friend’s house or moving away for college, bringing a weighted blanket can make that experience feel a little bit (or a lot) better.
Induce Greater Relaxation
Thanks to the deep touch pressure, weighted blankets can also be used to induce more relaxation. The more serotonin you have in your body, the greater relaxation you can achieve.
Reduce Nervous System Activity
With anxiety, your nervous system’s activity is buzzing. There is so much more going, which keeps you wired, alert and in the “flight or fight” mode. Weighted blankets have been scientifically proven to reduce nervous system activity, which decreases overall anxiety.
Choosing a Weight for your Weighted Blanket
The most important thing about using a weighted blanket is to get one in the right weight. Many researchers found that the heavier the blanket, the better the benefits but you must find one that is appropriate for your weight and that, of course, feels good. The general rule of thumb when choosing a weight for your weighted blanket is to go with one that is be around 10% of your body weight.
Whether you’re looking for a knitted weighted blanket for anxiety, insomnia or to boost your sleep quality, you just can’t go wrong. The benefits of weighted blankets are backed by a plethora of research and flow into all aspects of your mental health. From easing anxiety symptoms to calming your physical body, a weighted blanket is certain to make you feel good.