Weighted blankets have gained considerable attention in recent years for their potential to improve sleep quality and provide relief from various mental and physical health issues. These blankets are filled with materials like glass beads or plastic pellets, giving them a heavier weight that distributes gentle pressure across the user’s body. This blog post will explore the benefits of weighted blankets, covering sleep improvement, anxiety and stress reduction, mental health support, and physical health benefits. We’ll also discuss factors to consider when choosing and using a weighted blanket.
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One of the most significant benefits of weighted blankets is their ability to enhance sleep quality. This can be attributed to several factors:
Faster Sleep Onset
Weighted blankets can help users fall asleep more quickly by promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. The gentle pressure they provide simulates a comforting hug, which can encourage the body to relax and drift off to sleep.
Longer Sleep Duration
A weighted blanket’s calming effect can not only help users fall asleep faster but also promote longer sleep. The even distribution of weight may discourage tossing and turning, leading to more restful, uninterrupted sleep.
Reduced Nighttime Awakenings
The deep pressure stimulation provided by weighted blankets can minimize nighttime awakenings, allowing users to enjoy a more restorative sleep. The blankets’ gentle pressure helps to soothe the nervous system, which may lead to fewer disruptions during the night.
Improved Sleep Quality
By contributing to faster sleep onset, longer sleep duration, and reduced nighttime awakenings, weighted blankets can ultimately help improve overall sleep quality. Restful sleep is essential for physical and mental health, making weighted blankets an invaluable tool for many individuals.
Anxiety and Stress Reduction
Weighted blankets can also be effective for reducing anxiety and stress, thanks to their deep pressure stimulation and calming effect:
Deep Pressure Stimulation
The deep pressure provided by weighted blankets can help to relax the nervous system, creating a sense of calm and security. This type of pressure is reminiscent of a hug, which has been shown to increase serotonin and oxytocin levels in the brain. These hormones are associated with feelings of happiness and relaxation.
Release of Serotonin and Oxytocin
The deep pressure stimulation provided by weighted blankets can increase the release of serotonin and oxytocin, neurotransmitters that contribute to a sense of well-being and relaxation. Serotonin is essential for mood regulation, while oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone” because it fosters feelings of trust and bonding.
Lowered Cortisol Levels
Weighted blankets can help reduce cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can interfere with sleep and contribute to anxiety. By reducing cortisol levels, weighted blankets may promote relaxation and alleviate stress.
Sense of Security and Calm
The gentle pressure of a weighted blanket can provide a sense of security, much like a hug or being swaddled. This feeling can be especially beneficial for individuals who struggle with anxiety or stress-related sleep disturbances.
Mental Health Support
Weighted blankets may also offer mental health benefits by alleviating symptoms of various conditions:
Alleviates Symptoms of PTSD
Weighted blankets can provide a sense of security for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The deep pressure stimulation may help to reduce anxiety, nightmares, and insomnia often experienced by those with PTSD.
Supports ADHD Management
Individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may struggle with sleep disturbances and difficulty focusing. Weighted blankets can improve sleep quality and provide a calming effect, which can be particularly beneficial for those with ADHD.
Reduces Symptoms of Depression
The release of serotonin and oxytocin triggered by the deep pressure stimulation of weighted blankets can help alleviate depressive symptoms. By promoting relaxation, improving sleep quality, and fostering a sense of well-being, weighted blankets can be a helpful tool for managing depression.
Enhances Emotional Regulation
The calming effect of weighted blankets can help individuals with emotional regulation difficulties, such as those experienced by people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). By promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, weighted blankets may contribute to more stable emotional states.
Physical Health Benefits
Weighted blankets can also offer relief for various physical health issues:
Relieves Restless Leg Syndrome
People with restless leg syndrome (RLS) often experience discomfort and an uncontrollable urge to move their legs, which can interfere with sleep. Weighted blankets can provide gentle pressure on the legs, potentially reducing the symptoms of RLS and improving sleep quality.
Reduces Chronic Pain
The deep pressure stimulation from weighted blankets may help alleviate chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia or arthritis. The gentle pressure can encourage relaxation and soothe the nervous system, potentially providing relief from pain and discomfort.
Improves Sensory Processing Disorder Symptoms
Weighted blankets can be particularly beneficial for individuals with sensory processing disorder (SPD), who may have difficulty processing sensory input from their environment. The deep pressure stimulation can help regulate sensory input and provide a calming effect.
Supports Autism Spectrum Disorder Management
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may experience sensory sensitivities, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Weighted blankets can help manage these challenges by promoting relaxation, improving sleep quality, and providing deep pressure stimulation for sensory regulation.
Also, check out our guide to find all the information you need to choose the perfect blanket for your home.
Factors to Consider When Choosing and Using a Weighted Blanket
When selecting and using a weighted blanket, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure safety and maximize the blanket’s benefits:
Weight and Size Selection
Weighted blankets should be approximately 10% of the user’s body weight to provide effective deep pressure stimulation without causing discomfort. The size should be suitable for the user’s body, covering them comfortably without hanging over the bed’s edges.
Material and Construction
Consider the materials used in the weighted blanket, such as the filler, fabric, and stitching quality. Look for hypoallergenic, breathable, and durable materials to ensure the blanket’s longevity and comfort.
Some weighted blankets can trap heat, making them uncomfortable for hot sleepers. Look for blankets with moisture-wicking, breathable materials or those with cooling technology to ensure a comfortable sleeping temperature.
Care and Maintenance
Choose a weighted blanket that is easy to clean and maintain. Some blankets have removable covers for easier washing, while others may be machine washable. Always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to keep the blanket in optimal condition.
Better Sleep Classic Weighted Blankets
The Better Sleep Classic is a luxurious weighted blanket designed to improve your sleep quality and comfort. Available at Better Sleep’s online store, this innovative blanket offers a perfect blend of style, functionality, and relaxation. Expertly crafted with high-quality materials, the Better Sleep Classic features a sumptuous minky cover and glass bead filling, providing an evenly distributed weight that helps to alleviate anxiety, stress, and insomnia. With its wide range of color options and a choice of five different weights, the Better Sleep Classic caters to individual preferences and allows users to find the perfect fit for their needs.
Weighted blankets can offer a range of benefits, from improved sleep quality to relief from various mental and physical health issues. By promoting relaxation, reducing anxiety, and providing deep pressure stimulation, these blankets can be an invaluable addition to many individuals’ self-care routines. When selecting a weighted blanket, it’s crucial to consider factors such as weight, size, materials, temperature regulation, and care to ensure safety and comfort. With the right weighted blanket, users can experience the numerous benefits and enjoy a more restful, rejuvenating sleep.
National Library of Medicine
Findings: Only 8 studies were included: 4 Level I, 2 Level III, and 2 Level IV studies. The outcomes of these studies suggest that weighted blankets have the potential to be beneficial…
In one study of 32 adult volunteers, 63% reported lower anxiety after lying under a 30-pound blanket for 5 minutes.
The pressure of weighted blankets puts your autonomic nervous system into “rest” mode, reducing some of the symptoms of anxiety, such as a quickened heart rate or breathing. This can provide an overall sense of calm.