In the search for a perfect night’s sleep many people try out different things, magnesium, melatonin, sleep masks, sleep aid, relaxing pillows such as CBD pillows, and others. If you’re one of the people who is exhausting all the options to improve sleep health, perhaps you shouldn’t give up yet.
A lot of people report having an improved sleep cycle as a result of snuggling together with a weighted blanket. Reportedly, weighted blankets help people have an easier time falling and staying asleep, due to applied pressure that acts on the human body.
To explore what it is and how it works we decided to test it out. Here are the answers to all questions you might have had in the past but didn’t know where to ask.
Weighted Blanket For Anxiety: Quick Summary
- Weighted blankets are therapeutical blankets that are used to improve symptoms of anxiety and insomnia and help people and children have a lasting and sound night rest.
- Weighted blankets use deep touch pressure therapy to mimic the sensation of hugging and massaging to soothe the person who’s feeling stressed and anxious.
- Weighted blankets can be quite beneficial for children who have autism or ADHD.
- When picking a weighted blanket, consider 10% of your weight and add a few more pounds if you need.
- Weighted blankets are woven with glass or metal beads that increase the weight of the blanket and distribute them across your body.
- Weighted blankets are quite safe, but they are not recommended for babies and toddlers younger than two.
- Anecdotal evidence shows that even people with Alzheimer’s disease can use a weighted blanket when they’re agitated.
- Other evidence suggests that weighted blankets can soothe the symptoms of PTSD, especially of war veterans.
- You can buy quality weighted blanket from seller like Gravity and Layla, know more details on question #13.
Weighted Blankets: 15 Things You Need to Know Before Buying
If you haven’t heard about weighted blankets before, the following paragraphs will explain to you what they are. If you already got familiar with this piece of bedding, here you’ll learn everything you need to know to sleep soundly.
1. What Is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket, like its name suggests, is a heavier blanket compared to the one you already use to sleep. They started being made out of a belief that heavier weight over your body may induce happiness and relaxation hormones that would make falling asleep easier.
However, picking the right weighted blanket isn’t easy, mainly because weight plays an important factor. The weighted blanket needs to be quite heavy, so if you’re underweight or overweight a certain blanket won’t work right for you.
We can say that our body has senses that act as some type of sensor. Those sensors are responsible for triggering hormonal and other chemical reactions in our body that may make us more relaxed and help us fall asleep easier. That’s exactly what the weight behind the weighted blanket works.
The weighted blanket, besides the regular materials, is also stuffed with tiny plastic pellets, as well as other materials such as glass. They’re put across the blanket to add more pressure on your body, which results in relaxation and an easier time falling asleep.
This pressure that acts relaxing on us is known as the Deep Touch Pressure (DTP.) When the pressure is applied to our body, the brain triggers certain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. As you may know, low dopamine often results in anxiety, so higher amounts of dopamine often lead to relaxation.
It’s worth noting that this pressure also triggers melatonin, a natural chemical that is responsible for telling us when it’s time to sleep. It also has a soothing effect on our body and helps our muscles, joints and nervous system relax.
2. How Does Weighted Blanket Work?
The deep pressure therapy from DPT helps release various chemicals, including those that we mentioned in the earlier paragraphs. Serotonin is the happiness hormone, so it helps soothe any sadness, nervousness, and uneasiness, regulating the brain functions that may be disrupted.
Besides serotonin, dopamine, and melatonin aid, the weighted blanket can also help the production of oxytocin which is a hormone that helps with feeling relaxed and laid back. That’s because the blanket over your body acts like a massaging tool that calms and relaxes the body.
Oxytocin is responsible for dropping the body temperature and blood pressure, which are two key factors in having an easier time falling asleep.
There are many types of weighted blankets, but what you’ll choose depends on factors such as weight, size, material, which is mainly an individual factor. Depending on the blanket and material you choose, it may be helpful to both children and adults who want to rid themselves of anxiety.
Additionally, different research shows that weighted blankets help children with some type of autism as well as other neurological disorders.
Weighted blankets can also help with sensory processing disorders which are often responsible for anxiety and panic attacks. Those, especially, apply to children with autism or ADHD, where sensory issues lead to emotional and behavioral changes.
That’s where the weighted blanket comes in, to soothe the sensory issues with a deep and restorative massage.
Weighted blankets, don’t feel much different than getting the hug we need so much. Additionally, our brain reacts accordingly, releasing the chemicals we need to feel calm and soothed.
3. Does Weighted Blanket Help With Anxiety?
Weighted blankets are used by both children and adults alike and they produce the so-called earthing and grounding effect when the blanket acts upon your body to alleviate tension.
The DPT that is a result of weighted blanket pressure over the body also reduces chronic stress, which is effective when it comes to battling anxiety.
But, how do we get stressed and anxious in the first place? One of the key culprits of feeling anxious is the lack of dopamine, as well as high levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a chemical released in our brains whenever we think we’re exposed to some type of danger or attack. As a result, gathering stress results in the release of even more cortisol.
Various research has proven that the calming effect of DPT therapy of weighted blankets can help drop the levels of cortisol and also help with anxiety.
High levels of cortisol can also be bad for our overall health and cause different conditions like anxiety, panic attacks, depression, weight gain, insomnia, and others.
The massaging and grounding effects of weighted blankets help release the hormones mentioned earlier, among which neurotransmitters like serotonin are the most important. There are various studies to back it.
For example, one study showed that sleeping underweighted a blanket helps balance out the cortisol levels in the body.
The second study looked into how effective the weighted blankets are, finding that the 30-lb-weighing blankets help reduce anxiety attacks, with over 50% efficiency in the clinical trials.
4. Who Should Use Weighted Blankets?
There are many reasons why you should use a weighted blanket to sleep better, here you can find whether you fit into the profile of people who can benefit from using a weighted blanket.
Insomnia is one of the most severe sleep disorders, affecting a lot of people in the USA and the world. However, growing evidence suggests that a weighted blanket can be used for treating insomnia in both adults and children.
A study conducted earlier in 2020 discovered that after prolonged use of weighted blankets, the Insomnia Severity Index dropped. Another research study conducted by Swedish researchers found that using a weighted blanket can also drop the severity of insomnia disorder.
With that in mind, using weighted blankets is efficient in treating insomnia-like disorders and helping people fall into deep and restorative sleep.
But, how does that work? Serotonin acts in a relaxing way towards the sleeper, making him or her feel happier and more relaxed. Additionally, the chemical melatonin is released, which is extremely important when it comes to controlling the nervous system and sleep cycle.
Even if the person is unable to sleep, when you’re under the soothing weight of the weighted blanket, your body will get a signal about when it’s time to sleep. The DPT can also act as a massage and decrease the activity of the nervous system.
The reason this works as a sleep therapy is that serotonin and melatonin are connected. The melatonin is improved by releasing more neurotransmitters such as serotonin. After enough serotonin is produced in the body, that generates and improves melatonin production.
In combination with low light, quiet ambient, and enough cool temperature, melatonin can help your body and brain fall asleep. Keep in mind that sleeping in a light environment can alter the effect of melatonin. That happens because the brain thinks that it’s still day, indicating that it’s not time to sleep yet.
We explained earlier how weighted blankets work with people experiencing anxiety. Oftentimes, anxiety can lead to insomnia, so the combination of the same neurotransmitters, hormones, and other chemicals produced in the body DPT massages and soothes your body into deep and restorative sleep.
People Who Experience Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are usually accompanied by feeling stressed and anxious. They can also come out of nowhere, and be unexplainable. All in all, it’s a disruptive and unnerving set of emotions that you can’t explain, resulting in racing heart rate, feeling extremely scared, and struggling to catch a breath.
Panic attacks can leave you feeling as if you’re dying, even though that’s not true. However, considering that weighted blankets work wonders for anxiety, they can be quite helpful with panic attacks if used properly.
While some people may feel claustrophobic and end up feeling even worse with weighted blankets, others report feeling less tense when laying under the weighted blanket, ultimately resulting in less chance for panic attacks when laying under the weighted blanket.
War Veterans & PTSD
War veterans sacrificed everything to keep the country protected and safe. However, as a result of living on the edge, they suffer various traumatic events that can lead to disorders. Although the evidence is only anecdotal a lot of war veterans reported to have soothed their PTSD thanks to the use of the weighted blanket.
As a result of PTSD, many people suffer from recurring nightmares that can affect them even throughout the daytime. That’s why weighted blankets are a great asset to having a peaceful and restful night’s sleep, free of unnerving nightmares that feel real.
Similarly, the evidence of weighted blankets helping people with Alzheimer’s is only anecdotal. However, a lot of people and nurses in the nursery homes cover the patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease with a weighted blanket, to soothe and relax them when they’re feeling agitated. This can also help them have an easier time falling asleep and relaxing in the night.
Deep massage can help soothe pain in the knees caused by osteoarthritis. This claim has even been backed by a study that looked into several patients with osteoarthritis and how knee massage can help.
Although weighted blankets can’t directly help with osteoarthritis, the DPT massage effect that the blanket creates may help alleviate the pain of osteoarthritis patients and allow them to sail into the dreamland easier.
There’s also growing evidence that deep massage which is similar to the one produced by the weighted blanket can help people who are suffering from different chronic pain. Additional research has shown that weighted blankets can help with chronic pain.More to know: 8 Benefits Of Weighted Blankets: Why It’s Good For Sleep
5. Can Children Use Weighted Blankets?
The answer is yes.
Weighted blankets are a sensory-calming strategy in aiding your child to fall asleep. However, it’s important to first consult your healthcare provider about whether it’s safe for your child to use a weighted blanket. Additionally, it’s extremely important not to force your child to sleep with one if they don’t want to.
It’s however important that only children older than three years and heavier than 50 pounds can use weighted blankets. Otherwise, you can risk death by suffocation, as there have been several cases associated with the use of weighted blankets.
6. Does Weighted Blanket Help With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Weighted blankets and their calming therapy can aid children suffering from ASD in attempts to have an easier time falling asleep and calmer nights. It’s often advised by the therapy workers who want to help children feel less restless during the night.
However, not all children will react the same. While most children like the soothing and calming therapy utilized from the weighted blankets, some children may feel claustrophobic and face even more difficulties falling asleep.
It’s important not to force your child to sleep with weighted blankets if they don’t feel comfortable with it.
7. Can Children With ADHD Use Weighted Blankets?
Just like children with autism, SPD, and autism spectrum disorders, children who have ADHD can benefit from using a weighted blanket.
It’s no secret that children affected by ADHD have a problem regulating and calming themselves, which often affects their sleep cycle and ability to fall asleep. For the longest of times, occupational therapists advised children with ADHD to use weighted blankets. Now, they’re widely available.
The beneficial effects of weighted blankets have even been caught in a study, where children affected by ADHD slept for 14 days using a deep pressure stimulation, similar to that in weighted blankets.
The authors saw an improvement in the sleep schedule of those children, as well as the span of attention throughout the day.
8. Are Weighted Blankets Safe For Babies And Toddlers?
As mentioned earlier, weighted blankets aren’t safe for toddlers younger than 3 and lighter than 50 pounds. With that in mind, weighted blankets aren’t safe for babies and toddlers. Even when choosing a weighted blanket for your child you need to be careful not to pick the filling option that is heavier than 10% of the child’s weight plus additional few pounds.
Weighted blankets, like their name suggests, are heavy and can end up suffocating babies and toddlers who shouldn’t be exposed to heavyweight.
9. Who Shouldn’t Use Weighted Blankets? Are There Risks?
Weighted blankets are safe nearly for everyone. Other than toddlers younger than 3 and babies, there are no groups of people who should be excluded from using weighted blankets.
While there are also no risks associated with using weighted blankets, it’s important to highlight that not everyone may feel comfortable with using one. Here’s what you should know.
10. What Are Weighted Blankets Made Of?
What is that which gives the weighted blankets their weight? Let’s check out? Other than the quilted materials that add comfort to using them, weighted blankets also consist of:
- Pellets – Weighted blankets have pellets made out of metal or glass. Usually, they can have small beads infused or sewn in the guilted material. When choosing the weighted blankets, it’s best to choose glass pellets, as they are the most comfortable, smoothest and so tiny that you can’t normally feel them and get uncomfortable.
- Metal chains – While some blankets can have glass or metal pebbles or pellets, or even poly pebbles, there are weighted blankets with metal chains sewn in. The chains can work better because the weight is equally distributed across the entire, sewn between different layers.
- Cover – The pellets, beads, pebbles, or chains are then covered with a quilted cover of the blanket that feels soft, comfortable, and is easy to remove and wash. After all, if you’ll use your weighted blanket often, it’s impossible for it not to get dirty. The material that is most commonly used in weighted blankets is cotton. But you can also find mink fur, duvet covers, silk, and more.
11. How To Clean Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets are relatively easy to clean. A lot of options come with a zippered cover. You can simply remove the cover and machine wash it.
Some options can even be tumble-dried. Make sure to read the specification of the product, as there could be some exceptions when it comes to maintenance. With some products, even the inner filling can be either spot-cleaned or machine-washed.
12. What Is The Maximal Weight That’s Permitted In Weighted Blankets?
There’s no limit when it comes to using weighted blankets. Some research found that adults are safe sleeping under as much as 30 lbs blanket.
However, blankets that weigh 30-35 lbs are mainly designed so that they’d fit on Queen and King beds, meaning they are more suitable for couples who prefer sleeping under the same weighted blanket.
13. Where to Buy Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets can be found in both online stores and street shops. Here, we’re recommended the best online weighted blanket manufacturers.
14. Can You Make Your Weighted Blanket?
People often don’t know which weighted blanket weight to choose and are worried about picking the wrong option for themselves or their child. Weighted blankets can be expensive so before deciding to invest up to $300, you can also make a DIY blanket or get one at an affordable price on Etsy.
Making a weighted blanket is pretty easy if you have a sewing machine and some equipment in your hands. Usually, a weighted blanket consists of three layers – front, back, and the middle layer that consists of glass beads. If you can’t find the right beads, you can also fill your blanket with sand.
15. Can Weighted Blanket Help With Anemia?
Considering that weighted blankets make you feel warm, cozy, and soothed, a lot of people ask whether weighted blankets can help soothe strong anemia symptoms. While weighted blankets aren’t a therapy for anemia, sleeping with one can help people with poor blood circulation caused by anemia.