Is there anybody out there that couldn’t use a better quality of sleep these days?
More and more folks are turning to one particular comfort measure that has been a growing fad for a few years now: weighted blankets.
Weighted blankets were originally used as a part of clinical therapy treatments for both adults and children struggling with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even autism.
These days though, anyone can pick up a weighted blanket on the Internet or even at most discount department stores and benefit from this popular relaxation-inducing tool.
Weighted blankets are typically sold in weights between five and 30 pounds, with the recommended weight for each individual being roughly 10-percent of their own body weight.
For two people sharing a blanket, it’s best to add their body weights together and buy a blanket that is 10-percent of that weight.
How does a weighted blanket work?
The pressure of the blanket results in a lowering of the heart rate, which often leads to a feeling of calm. For many people, this helps reduce anxiety and stress and can even make for a better night’s sleep.
At a bare minimum though, it’s super cozy and is often compared to the physical benefits of a big, warm hug. Sounds good, right?
These are five reasons you might want to try a weighted blanket:
Anxiety relief is one of the main reasons weighted blankets have grown so much in popularity in recent years.
According to Healthline, the pressure of weighted blankets can help reduce the responses of the autonomic nervous system (involuntary or unconscious reactions) which is responsible for many symptoms of anxiety-like increased heart rate and irregular breathing.
The benefits of weighted blankets for people with insomnia and other sleep disorders that result in a difficult time falling or staying asleep are almost a side effect of their anxiety-reducing benefits
The reduced heart rate and slower breathing that many people experience when using a weighted blanket can make it easier to fall asleep since the body is in a more relaxed state going into the sleep cycle.
For some people, using a weighted blanket may have similar relaxation effects to a light massage.
The pressure from the blanket may help reduce pain reflexes and keep the limbs in place, reducing sensations caused by conditions that cause an individual to experience chronic pain.
Although the use of weighted blankets hasn’t been specifically linked to a decrease in discomfort for individuals suffering from osteoarthritis, anecdotally the effect that it seems to have for people suffering from chronic pain seems to also apply for those with joint pain caused by arthritis.
Since many people who have osteoarthritis have trouble sleeping due to the discomfort, the sleep-inducing benefits of a weighted blanket may also be helpful.
Some research studies have shown that deep pressure massage may benefit individuals on the autism spectrum, and it has become a widely used occupational therapy method for autistic individuals.
Using a weighted blanket may have similar calming effects, and help ease the stress of social and/or overstimulating situations.
The use of weighted blankets is widely considered safe, however, individuals with asthma, sleep apnea, or those who struggle with claustrophobia, may want to avoid using them or consult with a physician prior to giving them a try.