Weighted blankets are the latest product trend. But this product offers more than just warmth and comfort. It offers users the ability to relieve their anxiety.
Along with anxiety relief, there are many other benefits to weighted blankets that included helping various mental and physical ailments proven by science.
Since my own purchase of a weighted blanket, I can’t stop raving about it! I’ll admit I’m obsessed with my weighted blanket and look for any excuse to curl up with it (even when I’m not anxious).
Now I want to share with you all the benefits weighted blankets have to offer you and your mental health!
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you click on them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.
What Are Weighted Blankets?
A weighted blanket is essentially that… A blanket with added weight. It’s been used for years as an occupational therapy tool for children and adults.
Now mainstream society has caught on to the benefits it can provide outside of helping autism and other disorders.
Weighted blankets use a technique known as “deep-touch pressure.”
Applied pressure points distributed across the body produces the feeling of being ‘hugged.’ This “hug” helps the body produce two key neurotransmitters responsible for increased relaxation: Serotonin and dopamine.
When serotonin and dopamine flood your system a calming effect takes over. This has the potential to alleviate whatever stress and anxiety you’re feeling at the moment.
In a 2012 study researchers at an inpatient psychiatric facility found that patients who used weighted blankets felt less destressed, aggression and anxious.
To experience the many benefits of a weighted blanket you need to buy the right blanket weight for you!
Normal weights include anywhere from four pounds to thirty pounds. While 30 pounds may seem like a lot of weight, it depends on your weight as to how heavy you need the blanket.
Most people do not need a 30 pound weighted blanket, but a weighted blanket needs to 10% of your body weight with a variation of one to two pounds.
Here’s a quick guide to help you!
130 pounds = 13 lb blanket
140 pounds = 14 lb blanket
150 pounds = 15 lb blanket
160 pounds = 16 lb blanket
170 pounds = 17 lb blanket
180 pounds = 18 lb blanket
190 pounds = 19 lb blanket
200 pounds = 20 lb blanket
While you want the blanket to be heavy enough to provide you with comfort, you don’t want it to weigh you down were you feel like you’re having troubles breathing.
When it comes to the actual weight of the blanket, they are either made from glass or plastic pellets.
There’s really no difference between the two. Both provide the same quality weight you are seeking.
Along with choosing what the weights are made of, you also have many options for weighted blankets that include a removable cover and overall size.
Some people prefer to have a lap size blanket for occasional use, others prefer a queen size weighted blanket for everyday use.
Personally, I chose a lap size weighted blanket because I knew my husband would not want to have a queen or king size on the bed.
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Weighted blankets provide the following physical and mental benefits:
Over 40 million Americans suffer with insomnia. If you’re one of those 40 million, sleep may be eluting you. Once insomnia has a hold on you, it can be hard to get a restful night’s sleep.
After a while sleeping medication tends to lose its effect.
But weighted blankets release the chemical serotonin. Serotonin not only helps to calm you down to put you to sleep faster, but serotonin actually regulates sleep.
By covering yourself with it each night, sleep will not only come sooner, but will be deeper.
With the release of extra serotonin you can hopefully experience a regular sleep cycle with less instances of insomnia.
Improves Restless Leg Syndrome
Although there are many physical conditions that have restless leg syndrome (RLS) as a symptom, there is no known cause of the condition.
If you’ve ever had RLS before or on a consistent basis, it’s miserable! Restless legs are the sensation of the “creepy-crawlies.”
No, that’s not really a technical term to describe the feeling of restless legs, but that’s truly how it feels.
It’s an urge (no, almost compulsion) to constantly move your legs.
To get relief from restless leg syndrome many people wear compression socks to relieve the discomfort. This same pressure sought in compression socks can be found in a weighted blanket.
Just without feeling uncomfortable with compression socks.
Helps Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder is a disorder that categorized by an overreacting or underreacting response to everyday stimulation (sounds, textures, etc.).
This disorder can cause children to be easily overwhelmed with particular things in their environment.
Often the disorder causes high levels of anxiety. Research studies have observed a “calming effect” on children with Sensory Processing Disorder when weighted blankets are used.
Lowers ADHD Symptoms
Also known as Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, this disorder causes a lack in concentration and focus.
Similar to the “calming effect” observed in individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder, deep-touch pressure is also able to soothe those with anxiety related to ADHD.
Not only does it relieve anxiety, but weighted blankets can improve mood and sleep for individuals with these ADHD symptoms.
Specifically, fibromyalgia pain. Fibromyalgia is a condition in which an individual suffers with constant dull ache throughout their body.
There’s no known cause for the condition, but it may be attributed to high stress levels, genetics and past physical and emotional trauma.
Whatever the cause may be… It’s an unpleasant condition that can be lifelong and debilitating.
Through the use of a weighted blanket, those with fibromyalgia can find relief from flare-ups through deep-touch pressure.
Lowers Stress Levels
We already know that deep-touch pressure releases serotonin in the body to produce a calming and happy feeling when used.
But consistent use of a weighted blanket actually has the ability to lower stress levels.
When we are overly stressed. Our bodies release a stress chemical known as cortisol. This nasty chemical only aids to increased levels of anxiety.
But weighted blankets reduce cortisol levels resulting in an increased “good” mood and lower stress.
Alleviates Symptoms Of PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an illness that falls under the anxiety spectrum. It’s diagnosed in anyone who has experienced a traumatic event in their life. PTSD use to be solely diagnosed to veterans returning from war.
But now the disorder criteria has expanded to include many different traumatic events in life that can include car accidents, assault or rape.
As long as symptoms of PTSD were triggered by a traumatic event.
For sufferers of the mental illness, weighted blankets can offer relief from symptoms such as depression and insomnia.
Research found patients with PTSD who used a weighted blanket experienced the following benefits:
Lower blood pressure
Reduced pulse rate
In fact, the study found that lessened anxiety was felt by 63% of the participants.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is another mental illness in the anxiety spectrum that’s categorized by obsessive thinking and repetitive behavior.
While OCD requires both therapy and medication, a weighted blanket can help alleviate symptoms by increasing serotonin levels.
Since OCD is linked to low serotonin levels, individuals with the disorder can have a natural way to managing the symptoms.
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My Experience With Weighted Blankets
Like you I heard about the new craze of weighted blankets. So I sat down and researched all the benefits people were experiencing. From there… I knew I had to have one!
Honestly, when I first bought it I had low expectations about the actual benefits people were raving about. But I’m a skeptic by nature.
However, I will try anything natural to relieve my anxiety!
I purchased a 15 pound lap size blanket and it’s perfect. I don’t feel suffocated or held down in any way. Which this was a surprise to me because I have very bad claustrophobia.
Instead, a felt an immediate sense of relief and calmness.
I use my weighted blanket every time I feel my anxiety start to rise. This usually happens with panicked thoughts, shaking and increased breathing.
With anxiety it’s important to use the blanket before a full panic attack takes place.
Even if I don’t have time to just lay underneath it, I will drape it over my shoulders and back or lay it across my lap. But most of the time my entire body is underneath it.
Since I have increased anxiety at night, this blanket works amazing for that!
Here are all the benefits I personally experience from using a weighted blanket:
- The ability to fall asleep within minutes
- A deeper sleep with less dreaming
- Alleviates my Restless Leg Syndrome
- I wake feeling refreshed and rested
- Lowers my anxiety quickly (I combine the weighted blanket with deep breathing exercises)
- Provides an overall calm feeling
A weighted blanket is the best thing I EVER purchased for my mental health!
No it does not take the place of medication and regular therapy that may or may not be needed for your situation/illness, but it’s a natural way to boost feel good chemicals in your brain.
This will only help benefit you from alleviation of a multitude of symptoms related to mental and physical health.
So what are you waiting for?! Try a weighted blanket and see the benefits for yourself!