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How Does A Weighted Blanket Help Anxiety

Weighted Blankets For Adhd

Mayo Clinic Minute: How weighted blankets may lift anxiety

Researchers at Temple University found that 95 percent of participants with ADHD in a study improved when they received sensory intervention. The interventions offered included deep pressure touch therapy and a variety of strenuous exercise. As one researcher stated, We found significant improvement in sensory avoiding behaviors, tactile sensitivity, and visual auditory sensitivity in the group that received treatment.

If your therapist uses deep pressure touch therapy, he or she may suggest using a weighted blanket so you can continue to receive the benefits at home.

How To Sleep With A Weighted Blanket

Did you know that you can use a weighted blanket for sleep stress and anxiety? In those moments before we hit the hay, the pressures and burdens of the day can often weigh heavy on our mind. However, a weighted stress blanket could be the perfect tool in your search for a peaceful nights rest. In this article, you will learn about how stress impacts our lives, how a weighted blanket can help, and some stories from satisfied members of the YNM community who combated their stress levels with a stress relieving weighted blanket.

From the experience and benefits. Techniques and body position, or just asking, are Weighted Blankets safe to sleep with? There are a lot of questions about what its like! In this article, we will do our best to answer these questions for you, and provide user reviews from YNM customers so you dont just have to take our word for it!

To help you better understand the experience, we must first recap on how they work!

What Weighted Blankets Are

Weighted blankets tend to look a lot like other cozy throws. The difference is that theyre typically filled with tiny glass sand or plastic pellets that help distribute approximately 10 to 30 pounds of weight evenly over the wearers body while they relax or sleep.

It varies how much weight people prefer in a blanket and there is no standardized recommendation, although many experts advise using one that is about 10 percent of your body weight, Lynelle Schneeberg, Psy.D., a behavioral sleep psychologist and a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, tells SELF.

In the past, weighted blankets have most often been utilized as a therapeutic tool for people with autism. Some occupational therapists and parents have used weighted blankets in an effort to lower stress and agitation in people with autism.

The recent explosion in mainstream weighted blanket popularity, however, appears tied to a constellation of factors. Some think increasing awareness of mental health conditions like anxiety and the importance of sleep coincided withand probably helped to promoteimmense interest in a 2017 crowdfunding campaign for the Gravity Blanket, a mass-market weighted prototype that raised $4.7 million in pledge money. Gravity Blankets campaign also garnered criticism for language that reportedly suggested weighted blankets could treat anxiety and other mental health conditions, though that language was later removed.

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Q: Am I Going To Share My Blanket

It is perfectly possible to share your weighted blanket with your partner, you just need to make sure you factor this in when selecting the size of it.

Both of you need to feel comfortable underneath it and the pressure needs to be distributed as evenly as possible still.

To choose a weighted blanket for a couple, calculate their average weight and then select a blanket based on the 10% guidance.16

We hope this article has answered your queries, as well as filled you in on weighted blanket benefits, best practice advice on choosing them and more.

For more insight on how to have a better nights sleep if you have anxiety, check out our comprehensive guide to anxiety to help manage it.

21 September 2021

What Weight Should You Get For Your Weighted Blanket

A weighted blanket might help your pandemic anxiety  DLSServe

The first question is how to choose the right size weighted blanket. The rule of thumb for this is 10% of your body weight plus a pound or two.

If you weigh 150 pounds, youll most likely want a blanket that weighs 16 to 17 pounds. If you are buying a weighted blanket for a young child that weighs 30 pounds, then a 4 to 5-pound blanket is what youll want.

Also Check: How Can I Get My Anxiety Under Control

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.

How Weighted Blankets Work

Weighted blankets act like a hug, using a technique called deep pressure stimulation to make the user feel more secure. This is a deep touch pressure applied to the body by hands, tools, or blankets that can relax the nervous system.

Temple Grandin first discovered deep pressure therapy when searching for something to ease the anxiety of children on the autistic spectrum. She wanted to provide something for these patients that didnt feel confining or restricting, so she came up with a hug machine that applied gentle pressure to the body. When she did this, she noticed a release of oxytocin in her patients.

Using this research, weighted blankets were developed. They give a similar experience to the hug machine by lightly pressing on the body and stimulating a similar release of oxytocin.

Weighted blankets act as a form of deep pressure therapy that can increase the amount of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These are feel good chemicals that can cause the user to feel a sense of calm, happiness, and well-being. Weighted blankets have been used to treat symptoms of autism, sensory processing disorder, and depression for this reason.

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Are More Kids Living With Anxiety Today

Holly isnt alone. I interviewed several parents whove lived with anxiety, whose children have also exhibited anxious behaviors.

Anxiety in children is decidedly more proliferate now than it was a generation ago, says Los Angeles-based family therapist Wesley Stahler. She adds that there are a lot of different factors stoking it, including genetics. Parents often come in and blame themselves for the genetic component, Stahler says. But in reality, theres more at play. Theres a historical context, compared to when we were kids, she explains.

Add to that the tension over the political divide pre- and postelection, and anxiety today seems to have become a widespread family issue. Whats even more important to know is that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States.

Anxiety is defined as the inability to tolerate discomfort, Stahler explains, and perceiving things that arent an actual threat as a threat. Stahler adds that 1 in 8 children and 1 in 4 adults have anxiety. Anxiety manifests in physiological and psychological ways, including stomachaches, nail biting, inflexibility, and difficulty with transitions.

People experience a fight-or-flight response to the perceived threat. Often anxiety in children is misdiagnosed as attention deficit, Stahler says, which can look like kids who cant sit still. Fidget spinner, anyone?

As a result, Rachel has consciously changed her vocabulary and strategies for dealing with families.

Weighted Blankets For Sensory Processing Disorder

How to use a Weighted Blanket for Anxiety

Sensory processing disorder can take one of two forms. Some children and adults with sensory processing disorder are hypersensitive to stimuli and may become overwhelmed by noise, crowds or touching. In other people, sensory processing disorder takes the form of hyposensitivity . This group may have difficulty sensing noises, touch and other stimuli. Whereas someone who is oversensitive might avoid hugs or touching, an undersensitive person may actually seek it out. In some cases, people with undersensitivity also have a very high pain tolerance.

Therapists and medical professionals offer a variety of tools and therapies to help treat the symptoms of sensory processing disorder. For example, your therapist may have suggested a weighted blanket as a way to help you or your child handle the issues associated with the disorder. Because a weighted blanket is an object and not a person, children who are hypersensitive may respond better to it because they get to control the blanket. In other words, they decide how much or how little touch they would like to experience and can adjust the blanket to cover the areas where they feel they can tolerate pressure. And for adults and children who are hyposensitive, the blanket provides the firm, gentle pressure they crave.

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How To Buy The Weighted Blanket Of Your Dreams

Heres what you should consider when choosing your new weighted blanket.

  • Price. Keep your budget in mind when shopping around for weighted blankets. There are dreamy options for less money you just might sacrifice longevity or durability after a wash or two. Always look to reviews to see what real customers have to say about the products value for the price.
  • Materials. Nubby, plush polyester will feel cozy when youre cold. Breathable tencel will help keep hot sleepers cool. Weigh the materials quality and breathability against your sleep needs and preferences.
  • Weight. Heavier doesnt always = better. In general, opt for a blanket that is 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. When in doubt, go lighter. Fortunately, most brands offer their blankets in a variety of weights.
  • Size. Weighted blankets arent usually designed to cover the whole bed. Theyre basically a smidge bigger than your body. But if your partner wants to get in on the cocooning action too, opt for a double-sized weighted blanket.

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.

The sympathetic nervous system is whats responsible for survival mode. Its your fight, flight, or freeze response a natural reaction to stress exposure.

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.

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Weighted Blankets For Adults With Anxiety: 5 Tips For Managing Panic Disorder

Living with panic disorder doesnt have to mean being helpless or forever burdened by panic attacks that can strike at any time. There are plenty of strategies and techniques that can help you relax and banish anxiety including using weighted blankets to help you soothe yourself. Here are five tips for taking control of your panic disorder.

What Are The Benefit Of Weighted Blankets

How a Weighted Blanket Can Reduce Anxiety and Improve Sleep

It helps me to wind down after work, says Amy Beth Gardner, a mental health provider in New Hampshire, of her weighted blanket. Sometimes its just an extra way for me to ground myself and transition from work mind to home. It helps me to feel balanced.

Some other science-backed benefits?

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Why Are Weighted Blankets Good For Anxiety And Insomnia

Anxiety and insomnia are often closely linked, as the first can trigger the latter.

According to Penn Medicine, severe cases of anxiety cause a physical reaction in which your body feels as though its in a constant state of stress. This reaction from your nerve system is known as flight or fight response. Symptoms can include a rapid heart rate and breathing.

However, the weight of these blankets puts pressure against your entire body and signals your nervous system to be at rest, which should lower your heart rate and leave you feeling calmer.

A 2006 study looked at the effect of weighted blankets on a group of 32 adults. They found that 63 percent of participants reported lower anxiety after using them.

Want to know more? Check out our guide on how anxiety affect our sleep.

Why Do Weighted Blankets Help With Autism And Sensory Processing Disorder

The benefits of hugging and cuddling are well-established. Oxytocin is an important neurotransmitter that helps people feel relaxed, calm and generally happy. As Christopher Bergland at Psychology Today writes, Oxytocin is a hormone directly linked to human bonding and increasing trust and loyalty. Studies have shown that cuddling can produce oxytocin, which boosts an individuals sense of wellbeing.

In fact, the benefits of hugging and cuddling are so well-known that theyve been incorporated into various forms of therapy. Research has shown that deep touch pressure therapy can boost oxytocin in people with autism, anxiety and sensory processing disorder.

When you have a sensory processing disorder, however, touch and tactile sensitivity can cause anxiety, an unsettled feeling and even pain. Adults and children with sensory processing disorder or autism cant always tolerate hugging or cuddling. This is where a weighted blanket may help. By applying firm but gentle pressure, a weighted blanket delivers all of the benefits of a hug without forcing unwelcome or unpleasant body contact with another person.

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