Weighted blankets have become increasingly popular within the marketplace despite being around seemingly forever. Weighted blankets have been used for a long time as a sensory tool to help calm kids with autism or other behavior disturbances [1]. Despite being used for a long time, they have really only gained mainstream appeal in recent years. If you are thinking about hopping on the weighted blanket trend yourself, there are plenty of reasons to consider it. Below, we will be going over some of the different health benefits that weighted blankets can have for those with anxiety. 

Some Of The Different Health Benefits Of Weighted Blankets: 

1. Reduce Stress

The blankets are intended to work much in the same way that a hug works. That is, by reducing one's susceptibility to stress as indicated by studies [2]. The weighted blanket is designed to provide ample stimulation to key pressure points throughout the body through deep pressure touch. This inherently promotes relaxation which can help to improve one's ability to remain calm. The use of these blankets can cause an increase in hormones in the brain which can naturally provide countermeasures against excess levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). In fact, a study conducted showcased that grounding the body was an effective way to reduce night-time levels of cortisol and helped to help the body realign with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm profile [3].

2. Reduce Anxiety

The blankets have been proven to be a natural and effective treatment to combat anxiety directly so they can also be called as anxiety blanket. There was a study that showcased that not only was a 30-pound weighted blanket safe to use for participants but of the participants, 65% reported lower anxiety levels after using it [4]. As a result, it can be noted that the blanket can be directly tied to feelings of calmness and reduced anxiety. In general, anything that makes you feel more comfortable and that enhances your relaxation can improve your anxiety levels. Specifically, weighted blankets increase levels of feel-good hormones in your body known as 'oxytocin.' Therefore, using one while you are sleeping can help you feel much less anxious and much more relaxed overall [4].

3. Improve Sleep

One of the main causes of sleep disorders is a lack of sleep or a lack of quality sleep. Believe it or not, but over 40 million Americans alone suffer from chronic and long-term sleep disorders [5]. What's worse, these sleeping disorders can lead to anxiety and enhanced stress levels. Thus, it is a cycle that continually repeats itself. Those who suffer from a lack of sleep end up suffering from anxiety. Increased anxiety and stress can lead to further problems with being able to fall asleep and remain asleep. Thus, it is a cycle that continues on and on. By using a weighted blanket, you should be able to enhance the quality of sleep that you are able to get and improve your ability to actually fall asleep. Therefore, if you are one of the many who suffers from a sleeping disorder caused by anxiety, it can prove to be very beneficial in that regard. Plenty of research and studies have shown that weighted blankets can provide a calming and relaxing effect, relieve anxiety, and other things that can help improve one's sleep. Participants in this study had a much calmer night's sleep with decreased movements [6]. Likewise, they even believed that they were able to sleep much more comfortably and that they felt much more secure while sleeping.

Overall, there are plenty of different benefits that can come from using a weighted blanket for those that suffer from anxiety. Whether your anxiety stems from a lack of sleep or other lifestyle factors, you should be able to improve it with the use of weighted blankets. At worst, it couldn't hurt. As mentioned, these blankets have proven to be safe for use even up to 30-pounds. In general, manufacturers recommend you use a weighted blanket that equates to around 10% of your total body weight. That way, you can feel comfortable while sleeping with it rather than feeling too restricted in your movements. If you are looking to purchase one yourself, you should be looking to purchase one from a high-quality and reputable brand. 

 

References;

[1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/

[2] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797614559284

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15650465/

[4] https://www.sleep.org/articles/will-a-weighted-blanket-help-you-sleep-better/

[5] https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/sleep-disorders

[6] https://www.jscimedcentral.com/SleepMedicine/sleepmedicine-2-1022.pdf

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