Is It Safe For Babies And Toddlers
We mentioned earlier that heavy blankets for kids should only weigh a few extra pounds, and they can be used to help children with different conditions such as ADHD and Autism. However, they may be dangerous for infants due to the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome , which can happen if a baby becomes too warm while asleep or becomes trapped in the bedding.
We recommend following the guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics by not placing any bedding in the cribs of children under a year old. When it comes to toddlers, we recommend asking your pediatrician if a weighted blanket is right for your child.
Should You Use A Weighted Blanket
While there is no robust evidence that weighted blankets are truly effective, for most healthy adults, there are likely few risks to trying one other than price. Most weighted blankets cost at least $100 and often more than $200.
But Dr. Cusin says that there are certain people who should not use a weighted blanket or should check with their doctors before doing so, including people with
certain other sleep disorders
respiratory problems or other chronic medical conditions.
Also, check in with your doctor or a trained therapist if you are interested in trying a weighted blanket for a child.
If you do decide to try a weighted blanket, be realistic about your expectations and realize that results may vary.
“Blankets may be of help for anxiety or insomnia,” says Dr. Cusin. But just as swaddling works for some babies and not others, weighted blankets won’t be a miracle treatment for everyone, she says.
Other Ways Weighted Blankets May Help
Weighted blankets were originally developed as a treatment for some of the anxiety tendencies associated with people diagnosed with autism.
However, weighted blankets may be used to reduce or manage the symptoms of:
People who are good at crafts may be interested in making their own weighted blanket at home.
For some, the idea of creating a weighted blanket is a fun challenge. For others, a homemade weighted blanket may be a way to reduce costs.
Whatever the reason, people considering the choice between purchasing a premade blanket versus making a weighted blanket should take some of the following into consideration:
Getting weight right in a homemade blanket may be difficult. Buying a premade blanket can help with getting the right weight for the person using it.
Manufacturers have to follow strict guidelines for their products. Therefore, the materials used need to pass certain criteria that help ensure safety and quality.
Time vs. cost
It may save money for a person to purchase the materials and make a weighted blanket. However, creating the weighted blanket will mean time spent crafting it.
For some, this may be a suitable trade off. However, for those looking to save time, the extra money spent may be worth the cost.
Purchasing a new weighted blanket means the product is likely to come with a limited warranty to replace the blanket if it is defective. There is no such protection with a homemade blanket.
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Why Weighted Blankets Help
Weve scratched the surface of deep touch therapy in weighted blankets, but why does the comforting pressure of DTP work?
The power of the hug all circles back to the beauty of hormone regulation, specifically our stress and feel-good ones. Lets dive deeper into why these wonderful little hormones are so important.
Mostly, we want to praise our happy hormones, including oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, and commend your weighted blanket on decreasing cortisol as well, a major stress hormone. Here are our major players:
Regulating these hormones is vital to managing anxiety and improving our overall health and well-being. DTP assists in this act when we just cant seem to get a grasp. The ultimate result of weighted blankets is the lowering of stimulation and arousal while simultaneously improving rest and relaxation. The hugging sensation that comes from weighted blankets lets the body know that its safe, increasing the release of these happy hormones and thus, creates a relaxed physiological response. Run, dont walk to the purchase button.
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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Potential Downsides To Weighted Blankets
Using weighted blankets carries little risk of harm for most people, Scanlan says. However, he does recommend checking in with your doctor if you plan to sleep with one, just in case. For instance, someone with respiratory or circulatory problems may want to make sure the added weight doesnt exacerbate their symptoms.
Another thing to consider is temperature regulation if you live in a warm climate or are just a generally sweaty sleeper. The only negative feedback I have heard about is that they can be a bit too hot to use in Australian summers, Scanlan says. Thomas adds that the added weight could theoretically exacerbate hot flashes in people going through menopause.
Also, make sure youre OK with becoming accustomed to sleeping under a weighted blanket. They can be something that a person learns to require in order to fall asleep easily, Schneeberg says. Unfortunately, weighted blankets arent exactly easy to haul around when youre traveling or otherwise sleeping somewhere that isnt home.
Finally, the biggest downside may be price, Thomas says. You can find weighted blankets on Amazon for anywhere from about $50 to $500. However much you spend could be a worthy investment or a total waste of money, depending on what you get out of it. And as far as the quality of what youre getting, its hard to go on much besides the reviews. Weighted blankets dont get seals of approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or any other regulatory body.
How We Chose The Best Weighted Blankets
There are a lot of weighted blankets on the market. To find the best weighted blankets for anxiety or just good old-fashioned snoozing, we analyzed the bunch based on the following factors:
- Weight. OK, so this is a given, but we made sure every blanket on the list is *actually* weighted. There are oodles of weightless blankets, comforters, and throws on the market and we love them too! but you wont find them here.
- Budget. We aimed to include a range of prices so that everyone can find a weighted blanket that works with their wallet.
- Coziness. Does the blankets outer layer feel nice to the touch? Is it soft? Yeah, we know coziness is a little touchy-feely, but this is a collection of blankets. Isnt that the point?
- Vetted products only. Were sticklers about high quality sleep products. Thats why we put every single one through a vetting process to ensure that its made by a company known for crafting high quality products. We also make sure each company doesnt make any unsupported health claims, engage in any shady business practices, or have any lawsuits concerning their products.
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Weighted Blankets Have Long Been Used For Certain Conditions They May Provide Benefits For People With Insomnia And Anxiety But Research Is Scarce
Some people count sheep at night. You count worries. If you often find yourself lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling, you may be looking for solutions to help you get back to sleep. One new approach that doesn’t involve drugs or doctors is becoming increasingly popular: weighted blankets.
These blankets look like regular blankets, but they’re filled with plastic beads or pellets to make them heavier. They typically weigh from 3 pounds to upwards of 20 pounds. Companies are marketing them as a solution for insomnia as well as nighttime anxiety and stress reduction. And people are buying. Sales of the blankets have surged in the past two years.
How Did Weighted Blankets Come About
Weighted blankets were derived from the Squeeze Machine, which is a therapy tool created by autism researcher, Temple Grandin.When she was young, Dr. Grandin saw cows being led through a compression device that was designed to hold them in place while administering vaccinations.
While the cows were initially displaying a large amount of anxiety, Dr. Grandin realized that they suddenly become calm and docile upon being squeezed by the machine.
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Weighted Blankets Promote Restful Sleep
Often times, sleeping will be a major problem for those that suffer from anxiety. This can come from not being able to calm down as well as not being able to slow down the running thoughts in ones head. One study found that people who used weighted blankets have calmer nights of sleep, with a reduction of movement.
The participants noted that they had a more comfortable, deeper sleep. Again, this is due to increased serotonin levels. Serotonin is linked to melatonin, which is the chemical in the body that regulates our sleep/wake signals. When serotonin levels are optimal, this signals melatonin to do its job, which is managing sleep patterns.
It doesnt really matter where your anxiety arises from, it appears that a weighted blanket could help you reduce it and get better sleep. Whether its autism, restless leg syndrome, PTSD, OCD, or bipolar, using DTP to increase serotonin can have a very positive effect on those health conditions.
Keeping Our Nervous System Calm
Our bodies contain a variety of systems that regulate our functions and assist us in navigating the world around us. The autonomic nervous system controls unconscious functions like respiration, heart rate, and blood flow. Our sympathetic nervous system is activated when we are experiencing prolonged stress and anxiety, signaling that we are facing a threat and must fight or flee. In times of high anxiety, weighted anxiety blankets activate our parasympathetic nervous system. Hence, weight blankets aid digestion, stabilize, and restore equilibrium by stimulating the muscles in the body.
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First Of All: What Is A Weighted Blanket
Unlike your average duvet cover, weighted blankets are filled with tiny plastic pellets to make them super-heavyIm talking up to 25 pounds. And thanks to the extra heft, theyre credited with bringing calm to the person under them.
Sensadream Cooling Weighted Blanket
Apparently, the confined sensation mimics the comfort of a gentle hug which promotes the release of feel-good chemicals that some say even relaxes them enough to sleep more deeply. “What they provide is a sense of tactile grounding in the body,” says Lara Fielding, PsyD, clinical psychologist and author of Mastering Adulthood: Go Beyond Adulting to Become an Emotional Grown-Up. These blankets have the symbolic ability to make people feel anchored enough to focus on the present and feel more relaxed, says Fielding.
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How Do They Help
There have been numerous studies that dealt with weighted blankets and their impact on adolescents, adults and other control groups. A study showed that weighted blankets worked well with people who were showing significant symptoms of anxiety and depression. The control group which used weighted blankets showed a significant decrease in their symptoms as compared to the people who did not.
Another study was conducted on adolescents who were undergoing a molar extraction. Getting a tooth removed is a very painful process and leads to a lot of anxiety before the procedure. Adolescents were put under weighted blankets during the procedure in this study.
Surprisingly, the adolescents with weighted blankets showed less anxiety during the procedure as compared to the control group that did not use any additional reinforcements. A reason behind why this happened is because weighted blankets work to reduce the heart rate. Painful medical procedures often work to increase the blood pressure of the patient and cause them to be nervous about the possible complications.
Using weighted blankets during anxiety-inducing situations help researchers understand the extent to which these blankets can help. One also needs to understand that they are very different from normal blankets as they are designed to carry some significant weight. That being said, they should not be too heavy because it will cause the opposite effect.
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How To Use A Weighted Blanket For Anxiety
If you have an anxiety disorder or know someone who does, then you probably know how difficult it can be to deal with on a regular basis. Sometimes, anxiety is triggered by a phobia or a traumatic event, while other times it seems to come out of nowhere. Anxiety can take on many different forms, and all of them can make your life miserable in some way or another.
Fortunately, thats where weighted throw blankets come in. Designed to mimic the feeling of a gentle hug, these soothing blankets use a technique called deep pressure touch stimulation to promote a sense of calm and relaxation.
If youre looking for a natural way to ease anxiety symptoms, a weighted throw blanket could be the therapy tool you need to get things under control. Below, learn more about weighted blankets and how to use one for anxiety.
Benefits Of Using A Weighted Blanket
The sensation of a weighted blanket does more than just have a positive impact on a persons mood, it can help reduce anxiety. The science behind a weighted blanket is similar to the emotional benefits of a hug: when people hug, their bodies release the hormone oxytocin, a hormone that helps provide a feeling of relaxation. The same principle applies for infants that are swaddled tightly, they feel safe and secure. Putting pressure on the body in certain areas triggers the release of serotonin and melatonin, which can help improve mood and help with falling asleep.
Because of its calming properties, weighted blankets can also reduce the stress hormone cortisol a sort of built-in alarm system for your stress and anxiety response which is particularly helpful at night. Beyond thwarting your ability to fall and stay asleep, high levels of cortisol can wreak havoc on your immune system, increase blood sugar levels, and negatively impact the digestive tract. Over time, these elevated stress hormone levels can result in many different complications, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and weight gain.
Do Weighted Blankets Successfully Treat Anxiety
More research is needed before weighted blankets are an official treatment for anxiety, but theres def some evidence that weighted blankets can reduce anxiety and pain and improve sleep. Yay!
Theyre also pretty easy to find and available in a wide range of prices, so we def think theyre worth a shot if youre looking for some anxiety relief.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
There are very few studies that examine the use of weighted blankets for ADHD, but a 2014 study was performed using weighted vests. In this study, researchers explain that weighted vests have been used in ADHD therapy to improve attention and reduce hyperactive movements.
The study found promising results for participants who used the weighted vest during a continuous performance test. These participants experienced reductions in falling off task, leaving their seats, and fidgeting.
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Where To Buy Weighted Blankets
Some insurance plans will cover the cost of a weighted blanket if you have a prescription from your doctor. This is something that you can talk with your physician or psychiatrist about.
If you’re going to be purchasing one, you can find them in all kinds of different places. Online you can find them at Amazon, Etsy, and even Bed Bath & Beyond. Or, you can also find online instructions on how to make your weighted blanket. This is a great way to save some money and possibly reuse items that you already have at home. This also allows you the benefits of controlling the weight of your blanket instead of having to go with the options that are provided.
If you’re going to be buying a blanket, make sure that you compare the prices at several different locations. This will help you know that you’re getting the best deal possible.
Healthlines Weighted Blankets Review
Blanket tried: 15-pound weighted blanket, 4 feet wide by 6 feet long.Verdict: Took a while to get used to, but it was eventually effective.Reviewers notes: Over the next two weeks, I slept with the weighted blanket each night, and woke up beneath it each morning. I began to feel a beautiful sense of calm when Id cozy up underneath it before bed. I enjoyed the feeling so much I even began using the blanket when reading before bed or surfing the internet on the couch.Link to review: Healthline
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