Weighted blankets have grown increasingly popular for their ability to reduce anxiety and promote sleep. However, while these benefits have been known for quite some time, the study of why and how they work only started fairly recently.
This has led many to wonder: How do weighted blankets work? Why do they work, and how effective are they? It’s only natural to want to understand the science behind how something works, especially when it pertains to your health after all.
Here’s a quick guide about the benefits of weighted blankets and how they work, so you can know if one is right for you.
How do Weighted Blankets Work?
To better understand the benefits of weighted blankets, you also have to know how do weighted blankets work.
Weighted blankets are typically stuffed with either glass or plastic pellets. These pellets apply a light, even pressure over your body to cause a concept called deep pressure. Through deep pressure, weighted blankets can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
Deep pressure applies hands-on pressure to your body, relaxing the nervous system. It also stimulates neurotransmitters that calm your brain, such as serotonin and melatonin. Plus, it reduces cortisol, which is linked to increased anxiety and decreased sleep quality.
Weighted Blanket Benefits
The research on the full benefits of weighted blankets has not been sufficiently explored. However, it can be said for certain that they do not help people fall asleep just by being thick, cozy blankets.
The deep pressure stimulation provided by weighted blankets is widely known for its ability to improve sleep and its anxiety-reducing effects.
However, they are far more effective at doing this than many people realize. Weighted blankets are so potent at reducing anxiety that some mental health facilities use them as an alternative to restraints and medication, and some believe that they are also capable of alleviating insomnia symptoms.
Beyond reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality, weighted blankets also have a wide variety of potential psychological benefits.
Some claim that they can help alleviate symptoms of depression, ADHD, and PTSD symptoms. Weighted blankets are also used by occupational therapists when doing sensory integrating therapy.
This therapy helps children who struggle with sensory processing, a symptom often linked with autism. The weighted blanket stimulates the child’s sense of touch, allowing their brains to adapt to it. This potentially helps them manage their emotions and mental health.
What to Look For When You Shop For Weighted Blankets
When you shop for weighted blankets, it is important to make sure you buy the right size and weight, especially if you are picking out a weighted blanket for kids.
Weighted blankets typically weigh somewhere between five and 30 pounds. Going above 35 pounds for a single sleeper tends to be uncomfortable and may even cut off circulation.
Most recommend you shop for weighted blankets that are about 10 percent of your body weight. This allows the blanket to be heavy enough to give its full benefits but not so heavy that you feel uncomfortable and have restricted movement.
Do not use a weighted blanket that is too heavy to be removed by the person sleeping underneath. This causes a significant safety issue for the sleeper. In such cases, you should opt for a lighter blanket.
It is also recommended that the weighted blanket is about the same size as you. While buying a weighted blanket that is a little longer than you is fine, if it hangs off the side of your bed, it will likely slip off onto the floor. Plus, an oversized blanket will spread out the weight, and you will not feel as much pressure.
Weighted blankets tend to be warmer than the average blanket, but some are designed to be warmer than others. Certain ones may even have a polyester fiberfill added to them for extra warmth.
If you are worried about overheating in the summer months, look for a blanket that does not have this extra layer. Weighted blankets made out of cotton tend to be the coolest, most breathable option available.
You may also want to consider if you prefer plastic pellets or glass beads. Plastic pellets are cheaper, but they are also larger, often leading to bulkier blankets. Glass beads are smaller, but they are more expensive.
If you plan to share your blanket with a partner, you should make sure it is big enough to fit over both of you comfortably. You will also want to calculate your combined average weight and select a blanket according to the 10 percent body weight guideline.
Be sure to talk to your medical practitioner before using a weighted blanket if you are pregnant or have underlying respiratory or circulatory health conditions. These conditions include asthma, low blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
Weighted blankets should not be given to children under 3 years old or who weigh less than 50 pounds. Weighted blankets are not meant to be used by children who are that small. For children above that height and weight, there are blankets that are specially designed to be effective and comfortable.
Buy Weighted Blankets Today
Now that you know the answer to how do weighted blankets work, you can get started on buying the best-weighted blanket for you.
Weighted blankets help reduce anxiety and improve sleep. They also potentially provide a wide variety of other benefits. Make sure to buy one that is a comfortable size and weight to get the most out of your weighted blanket.
Check out weighted blankets today to improve your sleep quality and decrease your anxiety.