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 whos 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 Alzheimers disease can use a weighted blanket when theyre 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.
What Weight Of Weighted Blankets Is Best For Anxiety
Most brands recommend choosing a weighted blanket thats 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds, for instance, choose a blanket that weighs between 7.5 and 15 pounds.
Older adults and folks with mobility issues might want to choose lighter, smaller blankets. Theyre also not recommended for pregnant peeps.
How Heavy Should A Weighted Blanket Be
Your doctor or an occupational therapist can help you to decide which weighted blanket will be the most comfortable and efficient for you.
Your own weight should help you determine the weight of the blanket. The general recommendation is to choose a blanket thats 10 percent of your body weight, adding or subtracting a pound or two depending on your preference.
Its also a good idea to choose a blanket thats made from a natural fiber, such as breathable 100 percent cotton. Polyester and other synthetic fabrics are typically much hotter.
Weighted blankets arent for everyone, since they may add some heat as well as weight. Before using a weighted blanket, you should discuss it with your doctor if you:
- have a chronic health condition
- are going through menopause
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Dementia And Alzheimers Disease
Caring for a person with dementia or Alzheimers disease is a particularly difficult prospect as it is very hard to know what will help comfort them and relieve apparent symptoms that they themselves can rarely describe.
Anxiety, insomnia and restlessness is sleep are all common in these conditions.
Several studies have found however, along with an increasing amount of anecdotal evidence that the use of a properly weighted blanket can help. Carers not only now make use of these blankets to help their affected charges sleep at night but many have also found that making use of in them in the day seems to have a calming and soothing effect as well.
Helping You Feel Where Your Body Is
Weighted blankets, along with other weighted items such as lap bags or weighted vests, have been used for a long time to help children with sensory processing disorders.
Donna Emery has been working as an occupational therapist in Queensland for about 30 years and says weighted blankets are one of the tools she uses to help kids feel calmer.
She says the pressure from a weighted blanket can help them feel their bodies better, making them calmer and more relaxed.
“Some of these children have low muscle tone and they’re not really feeling where their body is in space,” she says.
“By putting more deep pressure through their joints, it sends messages back to their brain ‘oh, here I am’.”
Ms Emery says some kids on the autism spectrum who do things like walk on their tiptoes a lot, use too much force when touching other people or flap their hands around a lot can benefit from weighted items.
“As occupational therapists we look at the pattern that children present with and try to work out what sensory patterns are going on, and then we can work out what will help the child get the sensory sensations they’re seeking out,” she says.
“There are other weighted options, like weighted vests for children that are in preschool to help them stay focused and weighted lap bags so they will sit more securely. We recommend more of those .”
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How Do Weighted Blankets Help
The theory behind how weighted blankets work for anxiety is linked to the study of deep pressure therapy .
While theres no current evidence that weighted blankets generate deep pressure stimulation, experts believe this is a fundamental component of why they can be effective.
DPT is the application of deep pressure to the body, primarily through physical touch.
Experts have been exploring the benefits of DPT on anxiety for decades. As early as 1987, research looked closely at its effects and found promising calming results for those living with anxiety.
This type of therapy works by switching your body from its sympathetic nervous system to its parasympathetic nervous system.
Your parasympathetic nervous system has the opposite effects on the body. Its the system that takes back over when you no longer need your fight or flight reactions.
Deep pressure has a calming effect on the body. Research suggests it can have immediate effects for individuals with sensory challenges, such as those with autism spectrum disorder or severely impaired by intellectual disability.
While weighted blankets, specifically, have not yet been proven to provide deep pressure stimulation, a study on weighted vests revealed that they offered a level of deep pressure that triggered parasympathetic nervous system responses.
Improves Daytime Social Interactions
Weighted blankets have been found to improve social interactions during the day for users, mainly because they are able to get restful sleep the night before.
When a person isnt able to get a good nights sleep, it impacts every aspect of their life including social interaction and performance in other areas like school or work. When a person gets their sleep back, they often get their life back too.
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Best Lightweight: Luna Weighted Blanket
To buy:$45 to $149
What you’ll love: This lightweight weighted blanket is made of super-soft, 100% cotton and is filled with durable-yet-comfortable glass beads that are carefully woven into the blanket fibers for even weight distributionso you’ll never have a saggy corner. Plus, this blanket has more than 11,000 five-star Amazon reviews, so it’s a total no-brainer.
Keep in mind: Despite it’s lightweight, some users remarked that it made them hot while sleeping.
Rave review: “The weight has stayed evenly distributed. No worries about leaking beads, the edges of the blanket have a secure binding all around. The material is lovely, I have both a gel cooling bed and pillow as I am sensitive to excess heat, and I don’t find this blanket to hold more heat than the blanket it replaced,” said a buyer.
What Is The Best Weighted Blanket For Anxiety
When buying a weighted blanket to ease your anxiety, consider:
Our Napper weighted blankets tick off all three things on this list. Made from sustainably sourced plant-based fabrics, our breathable Napper collection offers you a choice between a 15, 20, or 25 lb weighted blanket in an array of stunning shades, designed to complement any couch.
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How To Choose A Weighted Blanket
If you have decided that you might like to give sleeping with a weighted blanket a try to help you relieve anxiety, insomnia or one of the other conditions ding so might be beneficial for youll find that there are increasing number to choose from.
So how do you choose the right one?
Here are some pointers:
Who Shouldnt 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, its important to highlight that not everyone may feel comfortable with using one. Heres what you should know.
- Weighted blankets can take time to get used to, so you may feel uncomfortable for some time.
- It can cause you to get hot and sweaty during summer, or hot nights in general.
- Theyre regularly more expensive compared to other blankets on the market.
- Theyre simply not everyones cup of tea.
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How Heavy Of A Weighted Blanket Should You Use
Manufacturers typically recommend adults use a blanket thats equal to 10% of their body weight. As for thickness, thats determined by the kind of filler. The glass beads used in weighted blankets are tiny, much smaller than the plastic pellets, making those blankets typically thinner than the plastic pellets blankets.
If sleep temperature is a concern, there are a wide range of options. From blankets that use bamboo as a cover material for cooling to weighted blankets with some extra filling for warmth, there are options for you wherever you fall on the sleep comfort scale.
Who Can Benefit From Using A Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets have potential benefits for all kinds of sleepers, especially those who experience a high amount of stress or who have certain medical conditions. In particular, weighted blankets may provide therapeutic benefits for those with autism, anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder .
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Other Benefits Of Weighted Blanket Use
When weighted blankets were first used clinically, they were most often utilized to help patients with insomnia and anxiety.
As they have been used more widely its been found, both via anecdotal evidence and some limited research that their use maybe helpful in managing and or alleviating sleep hygiene issues associated with other mental and physical conditions as well.
Here is a look at some of these conditions and what a weighted blanket may offer to those dealing with them.
Are Weighted Blankets Good For Autistic People
The weighted blankets therapeutic use for autism came about as a result of sensory integration theory. It suggests deep pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system for some people who are sensitive to touch.
Sensory differences are common in autism. You may crave touch or shy away from it. You may also experience sensitivities that involve your other senses and body awareness.
If you have touch sensitivity, irregular sensations can be agitating and unbearable. You might find firm, widespread contact more comfortable and even soothing.
Signs of touch sensitivity may include:
- withdrawing from touch
- refusing clothing or food with certain textures
- dislike of getting hands covered in something
- touching things only with the fingertips to keep contact minimal
- dislike of having skin or hair washed
Under sensory integration theory, using weighted blankets, toys, or vests may ease hypersensitivity to touch.
How you relate to your body with autism may also have something to do with the comfort of a weighted blanket, according to Rebecca Jackson, vice president of programs and outcomes and board certified cognitive specialist for Brain Balance in Cary, North Carolina.
Individuals with autism often have dampened perception of their ability to sense and feel their own bodies, she explains. Each joint in our body has receptors sending constant messages to our brain providing input over position and movement.
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Is It Ok To Sleep With A Weighted Blanket Every Night
The therapeutic benefits of a weighted blanket are best felt when used consistently. It’s a little bit like training your brain your weighted blanket is telling your body every night that you are safe and well. The sense of comfort this provides trains our bodies to release those “happy hormones”… leaving us feeling calmer and more peaceful the next day.
Calm The Nervous System
An overactive nervous system can lead to anxiety, hyperactivity, rapid heart rate, and shortness of breath, which are not conducive to sleep. By distributing an even amount of weight and pressure across the body, weighted blankets may calm the fight-or-flight response and activate the relaxing parasympathetic nervous system in preparation for sleep.
Although many people report improvements from these popular blankets, there is debate as to whether weighted blankets offer all of the benefits that manufacturers claim. As with any product touting medical benefits, its wise to proceed with caution.
Anyone who has persistent sleep problems should talk with a doctor, who can best assess their situation and determine whether a weighted blanket could be an effective part of a comprehensive treatment approach.
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How To Use A Weighted Blanket
Theres no right or wrong time to use it.
If youve had a difficult day at work, you may want to come home and spend an hour on the couch with your weighted blanket. If youre having trouble sleeping, you may want to use your weighted blanket all night.
What can matter, though, is the weight of your blanket. You might prefer a lighter blanket, while someone else may want theirs to be as heavy as possible.
Generally, most manufacturers recommend starting with a blanket that weighs approximately 10% of your body weight.
If youre considering a weighted blanket for your child, a healthcare or mental health professional can help you decide what weight is appropriate.
Using a blanket thats too heavy for a child could increase the chances of suffocation.
Certain health conditions might also prevent you from using weighted blankets for anxiety.
If you experience breathing issues, claustrophobia, or circulatory conditions, your healthcare professional may suggest alternative methods of DPT.
Decreases Anxiety In Pets
Pooches are well known for their sensitivity to loud noises. Sometimes all it takes is one firework and in the blink of an eye, theyve shot to the corner of the room and remain there, quivering, for the rest of the evening.
As discussed earlier, weighted blankets are effective at reducing anxiety in humans. So why shouldnt this work on animals? Many owners claim they soothe their pet and help them relax during times of stress.
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How To Use A Weighted Blanket To Catch Better Zzzs
Sleeping with a weighted blanket is like receiving a hug all night long. The gentle pressure of a weighted blanket helps relax and calm the body, allowing you to slip into the perfect slumber.
If anxiety, insomnia, or stress impacts your sleep, its the perfect night time companion to help you achieve the deep sleep youre longing for. If youre not sure how to use a weighted blanket, the tips below will guide you to make the most of its calming benefits.
Weighted Blanket Benefits For Adults
There are many benefits of weighted blankets for adults, including:
- Weighted blankets can help to reduce anxiety and stress levels.
- Weighted blankets can help to improve sleep quality.
- Weighted blankets can help to ease muscle tension and pain.
- Weighted blankets can be used as a tool for relaxation and Mindfulness.
- Weighted blankets can help to boost mood and energy levels.
- Weighted blankets can help to improve concentration and focus.
- Weighted blankets can help to reduce fidgeting and restlessness.
- Weighted blankets are a safe and natural way to provide calming and comfort.
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How Are Weighted Blankets Made
Heres a theory worth exploring. You know when you are half asleep and your body will suddenly jolt as though you had just fallen from a height? One theory amongst evolutionary biologists is that our ancestors would sleep in trees to avoid land predators at night. This reaction we experience could be from our hyper awareness to prevent ourselves from falling from great heights. If only our ancestors had a weighted blanket for sleep anxiety, we might not experience this strange phenomenon today!
However, as humans evolved throughout time, our reliance on our body to protect us and help us survive has diminished. Unfortunately, the brain is still geared to perceive threats all the same. Its unable to tell the difference between a predator, or the anxiety we feel towards giving an important presentation. The chemical reaction within our bodies still align with the fight, flight, or freeze response.
We will experience various conditions like an increase in our heart rate, our chests can feel tight and we struggle to react as we want, or our ability to focus is greatly diminished. So how does a weighted blanket for anxiety come into this?
Mayo Clinic Minute: How Weighted Blankets May Lift Anxiety
Anxiety can cause sleepless nights. But is there anything you can do to calm the worrying and relax? Some people claim that wrapping up in a weighted blanket reduces their symptoms of anxiety.
Dr. Adam Perlman, Director of Integrative Health and Wellbeing Mayo Clinic Florida, says research offers insight into how weighted blankets may work.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg is in the downloads at the end of the post. Please “Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.” Read the script.
Do weighted blankets really reduce anxiety?
“Do they work, and if they work, how do they work?” Dr. Perlman asks.
Dr. Perlman says small clinical trials “have shown that people who use weighted blankets do report better sleep. They report less stress and anxiety, and there’s even one small study where they reported less pain.”
Weighted blankets may cause the same responses in your body that happen when you get a hug. You get a surge of feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin.
“A decrease of cortisol, which is sort of our stress hormone, and an increase of serotonin and dopamine two neurotransmitters that really affect our mood,” Dr. Perlman says.
The blankets help you feel grounded and relaxed, which may help you sleep better.
“What is it about the blankets that give this, perhaps, simulation of a hug or an actual hug that leads to our feeling more relaxed, and maybe better able to sleep? Again, that comes likely through the physiologic response in the body,” Dr. Perlman says.
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