These specially-constructed blankets are all the rage, but do weighted blankets work? Keep reading to learn more.
In this article:
- What Are Weighted Blankets and What Do They Do?
- Who Would Benefit Most from Weighted Blankets?
- How Do You Use Weighted Blankets?
- When Should You Use Weighted Blankets?
- Why Should You Use a Weighted Blanket?
- Where Can You Get a Weighted Blanket?
Do Weighted Blankets Work? Yes, They Do!
What Are Weighted Blankets and What Do They Do?
Weighted blankets are exactly what they sound like—blankets that are heavier than your usual bed linens. These special blankets are purposely weighted with pellets, chains, small balls, or beads.
The idea behind weighted blankets is that it stimulates a deep pressure touch, that helps the body release the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Higher levels of serotonin and dopamine fortify you against the physical and psychological effects of stress, depression, and anxiety.
Aside from the deep pressure touch, weighted blankets also provide a grounding effect. Essentially, the grounding effect is the comforting sensation of being weighed down.
Research shows that the grounding effect can help regulate cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone responsible for the fight or flight response.
High levels of cortisol keep you alert and aroused, and are linked to insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Weighted blankets help limit your cortisol level and thus paves the way for your body’s rest and recovery.
Overall, the deep pressure touch and grounding effect from weighted blankets has a calming and centering effect on the nervous system.
What is serotonin? It is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in your well-being. It helps to regulate your mood and sleep.
What is dopamine? It is a neurotransmitter that regulates the pleasure center of your brain. Some call it the “happy hormone.”
Who Would Benefit Most from Weighted Blankets?
The great thing about weighted blankets is that it benefits both adults and kids. While healthy adults and kids benefit from the relaxing effects of a weighted blanket, it can also help soothe symptoms of certain conditions, specifically:
- Adults with chronic insomnia
- Adults who are dealing with anxiety or high levels of stress
- Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Children and teenagers with an autism spectrum disorder
Adults who deal with anxiety, stress, and insomnia will benefit from the neurotransmitters and hormones stimulated by the grounding effect and deep pressure touch. Children who have special needs also benefit from weighted blankets because it helps them calm down, relax, and transition to better sleep.
Adults or children with circulation problems, respiratory illness, or temperature regulation issues should consult their doctors before using weighted blankets.
How Do You Use Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets can be used like any other blanket. There’s really no right or wrong way to use it, as long as you’re in a safe and comfortable position.
It’s important to choose a weighted blanket that’s suitable for your size and body weight—you don’t want it to be too heavy or too light. For healthy adults, manufacturers recommend picking out a weighted blanket 7-10% of your own body weight.
The weight of the blanket may vary for children, the elderly, and adults with certain medical conditions. It’s best to have them try out the blanket and ensure that they’re able to move freely in it before allowing them to use it while they sleep.
Tip: If you’re using it in bed for the first time, it may be best to ask someone to slowly roll the blanket on top of you. That way, you give your body some time to adjust to the blanket’s weight.
When Should You Use Weighted Blankets?
Most people use weighted blankets as a sleeping aid. Many people who use it say that it’s like falling asleep in a tight, warm hug.
Even if most people use it at night to help them fall asleep, don’t let that stop you from using it during the daytime as well. Many people will continue to use their weighted blankets in various positions throughout the day.
If you want to feel cozy while you’re watching TV, your weighted blanket is the perfect companion! Drape it around your shoulders, sit back, and enjoy your show.
You can also use it while you’re working from home. If you find yourself distracted from time to time, a weighted blanket may help you focus on the task at hand.
Don’t limit your use of the blanket to these examples. Once you have your blanket, feel free to experiment with it throughout the day.
Why Should You Use a Weighted Blanket?
At the end of the day, all we really want to know is: Do weighted blankets work? Does it really help relieve stress and sleeplessness?
Studies show that weighted blankets do work! The Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders published a study in 2015 about the effects of weighted blankets on people who suffer from chronic insomnia.
The sleep test results prove that weighted blankets can help improve quality of sleep. When participants used the weighted blanket at night, they:
- Spent less time awake in the middle of the night
- Reported that it was easier to fall asleep
- Reported that they slept better
- Felt more refreshed in the morning
Another study with children with ADHD shows similar results. These kids fell asleep quicker and didn’t wake up as often in the middle of the night while using the weighted blanket, thus allowing them to reap the full benefits of improved sleep.
One of the benefits of weighted blankets is that it is an alternative, non-invasive way to help promote better sleep quality. If you’re already seeking treatment for sleep problems, a weighted blanket can be an effective supplement to your treatment plan.
Keep in mind that sleep problems, anxiety, and stress are all connected. So if you are able to improve the quality of your sleep and get the rest you need at night, you will be in a better position to manage stress or anxiety.
Where Can You Get a Weighted Blanket?
There are many weighted blankets available in the market these days, but you want to make sure you choose a brand that can provide size, color, and texture options. It’s important to pick a brand that offers weighted blankets in a variety of sizes because the optimal weight of the blanket will vary from person to person.
If you’re using the weighted blanket to help manage your sleep, stress, or anxiety disorders, it’s best to choose a brand that offers color and texture choices. It may be best to choose a color that you prefer and don’t find overstimulating.
A weighted blanket may be exactly what you need to catch all those ZZZ’s you’ve been missing. Not only is it a safe and effective way to promote better sleep, but it also helps you manage stress as well.
Are you interested in trying weighted blankets? Let us know in the comments section.