Weighted blankets are hitting the spotlight nowadays. Browse your social media accounts, and you’ll notice numerous ads about them. Even e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay are awash with variants of weighted blankets.
Come to think about it. There must be something behind the product’s popularity. Could it be the comfort that it gives? What makes a weighted blanket different from a regular blanket?
Well, weighted blankets are known for their health benefits. It has unique features that make it a prized item for those seeking alternative healing. But before we discuss these, let us first define what a weighted blanket is.
What is a Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets are a specialized form of blanket designed to relieve stress and create a calming effect. As the name suggests, they come with extra weight. Thus, they are heavier than regular sheets.
That is because they contain different kinds of fillings, such as glass beads, plastic pellets, sands, and rice. These fillings come in various weights and sizes and can be used by both kids and adults. By the way, glass beads for weighted blanket are a favourite option.
Some weighted blankets contain extra layers of fabric to increase their heaviness. It is this excess weight that gives the weighted blankets their health benefits. That is because the extra weight induces Deep Touch Pressure (DTP), otherwise called Deep Pressure Stimulation.
Given the popularity of weighted blankets, you can buy them from practically anywhere, from department stores to chain drug stores. Numerous specialty stores online also offer different sets and types. Most are handmade blankets, but you can also buy materials that you can sew yourself.
Health Benefits of a Weighted Blanket
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, weighted blankets exhibit deep touch pressure. Numerous studies have shown that such pressure can help promote a healthy physical, mental, and psychological living in many ways.
Here are some benefits you can get. These are all to give you more reason to buy your weighted blanket.
Breaks an Anxiety-Insomnia Cycle
Anxiety and insomnia sometimes come hand in hand. In other words, people who experience anxiety can also have sleeplessness as a consequence. Increased cortisol levels in the body exacerbate the problem. Unfortunately, there are a lot of daily happenings that can boost one’s cortisol level.
To give you a background, cortisol is the hormone released when you are stressed, angry, worried, or not in a good mood. It also occurs when your body is in a fight or flight mode.
Now weighted blankets can help lower your cortisol level. With their extra weight, they press down on the body, creating an earthing or grounding effect. According to HealthLine, grounding helps lessen nighttime cortisol levels. It adds that by inducing deep touch pressure, weighted blankets promotes relaxation and break such a cycle.
Weighted Blankets can Calm your Body
Numerous studies have shown that weighted blankets help reduce the activities of the parasympathetic nervous system. It is responsible for the body’s fight and flight reaction. That may sound a little bit scary, but it’s a beneficial effect.
Experts, however, recommend that you should buy blankets that weigh five to ten percent of your body weight. If you are not sure how to go about this, you can always consult a clinical expert to help you determine the right weight for you.
Another study showed that using a 30-pound weighted blanket led to a reduction of nervous system activities among the subjects. On the other hand, 63 percent of the participants exhibited lower anxiety. That shows that the participants developed physiological changes as the weighted blankets calmed them down.
Helps Improve Sleep Quality
Do you continuously experience difficulty catching sleep? Or you can comfortably sleep but then wakes up after a couple of hours? If not, you sleep for eight hours, but you feel drained and exhausted?
If so, you might be struggling with insomnia. To deal with that, you can always try conventional approaches such as pills and other prescriptions. Unfortunately, these pose side effects and can even worsen the problem. Fortunately, there are alternative methods that can help address the problem without side effects. Using a weighted blanket is one of them.
According to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders, using a weighted blanket increased the sleep bout time of the participant and decreased their movements. The participants also reported that it was easier for them to fall asleep and had improved sleep because they felt refreshed in the morning.
They can Improve Focus
Since we usually place weighted blankets on beds, some might think that they only contribute to a night of better sleep at night. But some studies have shown that they can also work during the day.
One of these studies involved students who exhibited attention difficulties and hyperactivity. The researchers timed them to measure their on-task behavior. Based on the results, the kids’ ability to stay on task increased by 18 to 25 percent while wearing a weighted blanket.
Another study revealed that its participants significantly improved in their in-seat behavior while wearing weighted vests. They also showed increased task completion speed and more considerable attention to a task.
Helps lessen dependence on pills
This last point does not mean that you should do away with conventional medications. At some point, you will still need such a form of treatment. However, for many people, alternative approaches provide them a cheaper way of healing symptoms.
Using weighted blankets, for one, can help address different forms of illness. So if you don’t want to take medications, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor to recommend an appropriately weighted blanket for you.
However, take note that some weighted blankets are costly but not as expensive as most modern treatment approaches. The price ranges from $100 to $200. Some premium brands fetch much higher rates.
The good thing about it? Science and empirical evidence prove the ability of weighted blankets. Thus, you can be sure that you’ll feel and get better by using them. Plus, you don’t suffer from side effects that you usually get from pills and medications.