Benefits of a Weighted Blanket
If you’ve ever crawled into thick winter blankets or woken up with the comforting heaviness of a pet snuggled on top of your body, then you have unknowingly experienced a taste of the good that a weighted blanket and Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) can do.
The weighted blanket is a therapeutic instrument that psychiatrists and therapists have been using for years and is now going mainstream, for good reason.
What is a weighted blanket?
If you’re one of the few who are unfamiliar with the weighted blanket, here’s the long and short of it: it’s precisely what it sounds like. That is, it’s basically a blanket that has got a little bit of heft to it. You might be wondering how added weight to bedroom linen could incite so much hype. If you want to know why this therapy tool has been gaining so much popularity, read on.
Benefits of a Weighted Blanket
1. They help break your insomnia spells
To people who haven’t experienced it, insomnia may be thought of as merely a small inconvenience. But if you’re one of the 40 million Americans who have no other choice but to function with little to no sleep, insomnia is a terrible affliction that offers no respite.
The underlying science behind a weighted blanket is called Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS). It refers to a type of touch therapy that relaxes the nervous system. Firm squeezing, hugs, or hand-holding are some examples of DPS. The use of special massage tools or products that can be worn or wrapped around the body, such as vests or blankets, are also some ways to practice DPS.
When done properly, DPS triggers a chain reaction in the body that releases an overall sense of calm and peace, allowing the body to fall asleep faster and more naturally.
2. They calm your body down
The blanket’s evenly-distributed weight works by pressing the entire body down. It’s what is also known as "earthing" or "grounding". According to numerous studies, grounding may help reduce nighttime levels of cortisol.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that helps the body respond to stress. It’s sometimes called the “stress hormone” because during times of intense stress, cortisol levels in the body go up like crazy. This hormone is best known for helping fuel your body’s “fight-or-flight” instinct in a crisis. But if you are constantly under stress, your alarm button stays on for long periods. This could lead to a number of health problems, such as headaches, heart disease, anxiety, depression, digestion issues, trouble sleeping, and weight gain, among the many.
Using deep pressure touch and grounding technology, weighted blankets promote relaxation and soothe your body.
3. They are a natural solution
While prescriptions are a very helpful way to treat mental illness and sleep disorders, having a non-medicinal alternative is also just as helpful, especially for those who are not able or do not wish to take psychiatric meds. Adding this one extra step to your self-care routine could significantly improve your sleep-related problems, so what’s there to lose?
4. They alleviate anxiety
There’s a ton of scientific evidence that link anxiety and sleep together. Having problems with sleep can often trigger feelings of anxiety. People who suffer from this condition find that they sleep better on days when their symptoms are at bay.
A research conducted back in 2012 by the Australasian Psychiatry delved into the use of sensory rooms in an acute inpatient psychiatric unit. The study showed that there was a significant reduction in distress and improvement in a range of disturbed behaviors in the individuals who used the sensory room. Additionally, those individuals who used a weighted blanket reported significantly greater reductions in distress and clinical-rated anxiety than those who did not.
This is the reason behind why a large number of patients with autism may respond to the use of a weighted blanket or vests during moments of sensory overload.
5. They're for more than just anxiety
Sure, weighted blankets are used mostly for anxiety and problems related to sleep. But there is a wide range of other conditions that can truly benefit from the use of these therapeutic tools.
Check out the list below for a comprehensive list of conditions that could be eased with a little extra weight: