How do heavy weighted blankets help you to sleep better?

How does a heavy weighted blankets help you to sleep better?

In a world filled with stress, anxiety, and the potential for sleepless nights, the pursuit of a restful sleep experience is becoming increasingly important. Many individuals grappling with these issues turn to unconventional yet effective solutions. One such remedy gaining popularity is the use of heavy-weighted blankets. 

What is a weighted blanket?

As the name suggests, a weighted blanket is a blanket filled with materials such as glass beads or plastic pellets to add extra weight. Typically, these blankets weigh anywhere from 5 to 30 pounds, with the optimal weight being around 10% of the user’s body weight. This additional weight is distributed evenly across the body, creating a gentle, comforting pressure which can mimic the sensation of being hugged or swaddled.

What are the benefits of a weighted blanket?

Weighted blankets are great to help calm a restless body. They can also help reduce the feelings of anxiety, and of course help with sleep problems.

Anxiety

One of the primary benefits of a weighted blanket is its potential to alleviate anxiety. The deep touch pressure provided by the blanket stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being and relaxation. Research has shown that using a weighted blanket can significantly reduce anxiety levels in individuals, making it a potential non-medical intervention for those dealing with anxiety disorders.

Insomnia

For individuals struggling with insomnia, the calming effect of a weighted blanket can be transformative. The gentle pressure helps regulate the nervous system, promoting the release of melatonin, the hormone responsible for inducing sleep. Studies have indicated that using a weighted blanket can improve sleep onset latency and overall sleep quality.

Chronic pain

Weighted blankets have also shown promise in providing relief for individuals dealing with chronic pain conditions. The even pressure distributed by the blanket can help alleviate muscle tension and joint discomfort. Research suggests that using a weighted blanket can be an effective complementary therapy for managing chronic pain, improving both physical and psychological well-being. We advise anyone with chronic pain to see a qualified healthcare practitioner before trying a weighted blanket to ensure safe usage.

Autism

Weighted blankets have been embraced in the autism community for their potential to address sensory processing challenges. The deep touch pressure can have a calming effect on individuals with autism spectrum disorders, helping to reduce sensory overload and improve focus. While more research is needed, anecdotal evidence and preliminary studies suggest positive outcomes.

Concentration and focus

The sensory inputs provided by the weighted blankets have been linked to improved concentration and focus. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with attention-related challenges, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The calming effect allows for enhanced cognitive performance in various daily activities.

Regulation of the Autonomic Nervous System

The deep touch pressure from weighted blankets helps balance the autonomic nervous system, which governs involuntary bodily functions. This regulation improves heart rate, blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health.

Comfort and security

Beyond clinical applications, the comfort and security provided by a weighted blanket extends to the general population. Being held or cocooned can promote a sense of safety and relaxation, making it an attractive option for those seeking comfort in times of stress or unease.

Instances where weighted blankets may not be appropriate

Despite their widespread benefits, there are certain situations where using weighted blankets may not be advisable, necessitating careful consideration and consultation with healthcare professionals.

Respiratory conditions: Individuals with respiratory issues, such as COPD or asthma, should use weighted blankets cautiously, as the added pressure may impede chest movement, potentially worsening breathing difficulties. Alternative sleep aids may be more suitable for those with such conditions.

Circulatory issues: People with circulatory problems, like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), should be mindful of the impact of weighted blankets on blood circulation. Consulting healthcare providers is essential to determine the appropriateness of weighted blankets in these cases.

Young children: Weighted blanks are not recommended due to safety concerns. Infants may be unable to remove the blanket themselves, posing potential risks of entanglement or suffocation.

Cognitive Impairment: For individuals with cognitive impairment, careful assessment is necessary to determine whether they can communicate discomfort or the desire to remove the blanket. Monitoring by caregivers and healthcare professionals is crucial to ensure safety and comfort.

Where can I get a weighted blanket from?

In pursuing improved sleep, exploring various options and finding what works best for you is essential. With a plethora of options online, purchasing through reputable sources ensures that you receive a product that is both high quality and effective. Here are three websites where you can explore and purchase weighted blankets:

Amazon: A widely recognised online marketplace with various options and customer reviews.

Online Home Shop: A specialised online store offering bedding products, including weighted blankets.

The Range: A reputable retailer with a dedicated section for weighted blankets, providing choices for different preferences.

Weighted blanket coupled with other options

Finding a solution for better sleep and relief from anxiety, heavy weighted blankets emerge as a promising option. The science behind the benefits, coupled with the first-hand experiences of users, reflects the potential of these blankets to enhance sleep quality and overall well-being. If you find yourself wrestling with sleep disturbance, a weighted blanket might provide the comforting embrace you need for a more restful night’s sleep.

However, it may be that a weighted blanket alone isn’t enough and your your sleep remains unsatisfactory. If you have tried a weighted blank and your sleep quality hasn’t improved there are lots of other things you can do to improve it.

How to fall asleep quickly

8 breathing techniques for help fall asleep at night

What is deep sleep and how can you increase it to get a better night’s rest?

What is the best position to sleep in?

References:

Disclaimer:

The articles in the Sleep Psychiatrist blog have been written by Dr Dipesh Mistry. They are for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be regarded as medical advice. Always seek advice from your sleep physician, personal physician, psychiatrist, or any other suitably qualified healthcare professional in relation to any interventions or treatment for your sleep, mental health or physical health.

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