Do Weighted Blankets Work? 14 Benefits of using Weighted Blankets

by Daniel JN June 02, 2020 5 min read

Do Weighted Blankets Work? 14 Benefits of using Weighted Blankets

Weighted Blanket Benefits

Weighted blankets which were formerly a device of the therapists have become a normal part of healthy sleep and stress relief habits. Weighted blankets have a long record of use in sensory integration therapy and are sometimes referred to as gravity blankets.

This therapy helps people with autism, anxiety and other issues to focus on sensory experiences. The blankets help to improve calmness and relaxation.

 

How do Weighted Blankets Work?

As implied by the name, this type of blanket is a throw-size blanket filled with materials like poly pellets, discs, polypropylene plastic beads or breathable cotton material.

Weighted blankets work based on deep touch pressure which helps to provide a calming effect to the body system. The blanket employs the principles of Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) to calm the body system arousal level. The idea behind deep pressure touch is that it enables the secretion of two neurotransmitters- dopamine and serotonin- which make people feel more relaxed. You can also read about our top 17 weighted blanket picks for Canada.

 

Benefits of Weighted Blankets

The deep pressure stimulation by the blankets helps to relax the nervous system which may help relieve pain, improve mood, and lessen anxiety. Below are a few benefits from the weighted blanket.

 

Restless leg syndrome

 

1. Relieves Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is a condition characterized by a nearly irresistible urge to move the legs, typically in the evenings. Restless legs syndrome typically occurs while sitting or lying down. It generally worsens with age and can disrupt sleep.

Patients with restless leg syndrome repeatedly complain of a tingling or crawling sensation in their leg. The symptoms may occur frequently at night which often leads to an uncomfortable sleep and at times insomnia. The constant urge to move the legs often makes traveling by car or plane a terror for individuals with this syndrome.

Constant pressure on the leg often relieves the problem for some patients with many turning to compression socks to get relief. Weighted blankets can alleviate this problem by providing deep pressure while overcoming the challenges of compression socks.

 

Anxiety

 

2. Reduces Anxiety

Weighted blankets offer treatment for anxiety. Although there are several ways to deal with anxiety, research has shown that deep pressure touch can reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

The blanket feels more like getting a gentle but firm hug from a partner. And with the blanket, you can get the hug anywhere- from your sofa to your bed. With weighted wraps, you can enjoy the feel when in your car or office.

 

Stress

 

3. Relieves Stress

Everyone experiences stress at some point, either after a bad day at work or an argument. Stress can have a negative impact on your mental, emotional and physical health. The deep touch pressure provided by a weighted blanket can help provide relief from stress.

 

4. Ease Insomnia

You might conclude that insomnia is a little pothole on the driveway to a comfortable sleep until you experience it. Insomnia may interfere with an individual's activity through a lack of concentration or slowness in activity.

Weighted blankets work based on the principle of deep touch pressure. This results in the stimulation of serotonin secretion, a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep.

 

5. Improve Sleep

Quality sleep is required to restore and prepare you for the next day's task. You may experience bad sleep and not suffer insomnia. Fatigue, at times, may result in tossing and turning in the bed. The deep touch pressure of a weighted blanket can boost the serotonin level. This helps to have a more restful sleep. You tend to fall asleep faster, sleep longer and you wake fully recharged. You can check out our article on how to fall asleep fast, to aid you in going to bed at the right time.

 

6. Enhances Focus in ADHD Patients

Lack of focus is a common characteristic of attention-deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD). It often results in restlessness, impulsiveness, and inability to complete a task in affected individuals. ADHD can affect both children and adults.

Deep touch stimulation offered by a weighted blanket has been attributed to reduce anxiety, enhance mood, and sleep. It also addresses symptoms related to ADHD. Weighted vests have been found to improve attention and reduce hyperactive movement in ADHD patients.

 

7. Help Older People

It is common for the elderly to experience changes in their sleep cycle. Older people are at higher risk of experiencing chronic insomnia, anxiety, depression or stress and these can result in other health challenges. A weighted blanket can help to improve their sleep and leave them waking up more refreshed.

 

8. Relieves Symptoms of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects anyone who has been through a traumatic or stressful event. Although commonly attributed to veterans, it is often seen in people who have been involved in a physical assault or car accidents.

With symptoms of PTSD often including insomnia and depression, weighted blankets help to reduce the blood pressure, pulse rate and make PTSD patients less anxious.

 

9. Manages Autism Symptoms

Although there is no cure for autism, researchers found out that it is possible to manage the symptoms. One of the therapies that have an increased indication of autism symptom management is massage or touch therapy.

Touch therapy has been reported to have an instant and lingering effect on the body system. This includes a reduction in the level of cortisol (stress hormone) and an increase in serotonin and dopamine (neurotransmitters) which function in mood regulation, impulse control, and more. Weighted blankets offer deep touch pressure which can aid in the management of autism symptoms.

 

10. Relief Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory processing disorder is likened to a traffic jam. The information that gets into the brain, gets clustered, and mixed up which can lead to anxiety and breakdowns. This disorder can be more challenging for young kids. Weighted blankets reduce the anxiety that is associated with a sensory processing disorder. It produces a calming effect on both kids and adults.

 

11. Ease Pain

A weighted blanket is a natural alternative to ease pains. Researchers found that massage therapy is a home treatment for chronic pain. This shows that the extra pressure offered by a weighted blanket can help ease the feelings of pain.

 

12. Aids the management of OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by consistent and obsessive thoughts or behavior. The disorder has a large range of symptoms and it is exhibited differently for everyone. OCD has been attributed to low serotonin levels in the body. A deep touch pressure therapy, offered by a weighted blanket, can boost serotonin secretion which eases the severity of OCD.

 

13. Enhances Oxytocin Production

Research has shown that a hug releases the hormone oxytocin in the body which helps create a feeling of relaxation. The pressure felt from a weighted blanket is similar to the feeling of a hug, which helps provide a sense of warmth and security.

 

14. Enhances Melatonin Production

When serotonin is stimulated from the feel of the weighted blanket, melatonin hormones are also produced, which helps promote sleep and in regulating the sleep cycle.

 

Risks Associated Weighted Blankets

Well, everything that has an advantage should have a bit of a disadvantage attached to it. For a weighted blanket, there are very few risks attributed to the use.

● It shouldn't be used for toddlers under 2 years old (consult your pediatrician before you use)
● It is not suitable for individuals with;
    •    Obstructive sleep apnea
    •    Asthma
    •    Claustrophobia

Weighted blankets help to improve sleep, although some people find sleeping under a lot of pressure comfortable while others don't.

Weighted blankets are available in different sizes and weights which can be used by adolescents and adults to boost the sense of relaxation. For adolescents and adults, it is unlikely to cause any harm. However, it is not recommended to be used on babies and small children as it is likely to cause harm.

Get yourself a nice, warm (or cold), cozy weighted blanket Weighted Blanket

Daniel JN
Daniel JN