How Do Weighted Blankets Work? [2022 Guide]

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Are you having trouble sleeping? Sleep plays a vital role in our lives. Make sure you focus on taking all the necessary steps to help you improve your sleep quality

Weighted blankets could be the solution. How do weighted blankets work? Read on to find out how to use them to get a good night’s rest

What Is a Weighted Blanket?

In simple terms, weighted blankets are heavy blankets that can be used for therapeutic purposes. They tend to be very comforting and can be instrumental in combating anxiety, stress, depression, and more. Typically weighing between five and thirty pounds, weighted blankets are filled with plastic or glass beads, and the extra pounds provide a sense of being held, resulting in better rest and calmness. These blankets are a great way of developing a routine and are often used by people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), who have trouble sleeping

The main benefits of weighted blankets include improving sleep and rest. The extra weight and deep pressure can have a hugely positive impact on people’s ability to enjoy a more restful night of sleep. Used as a tool for pressure therapy and deep pressure stimulation, weighted blankets are also known to improve overall sleeping habits. If you are looking for ways to calm anxiety at night, then weighted blankets are one of the best solutions to try. 

DID YOU KNOW: Many weighted blankets are filled with plastic or glass pellets, rice, seeds, sand, and more. Some are actually not filled, and the weight is provided by thick, chunky, layered cotton.

How Do Weighted Blankets Work?

Weighted blankets can make your sleep better. The simplest way of explaining this effect is that they give you the perception of being hugged, making you feel safer and more comfortable. The deep pressure that is applied to the body can be vital in helping to relax the nervous system.

So, how do weighted blankets work for anxiety? A 2020 study in Sweden found that weighted blankets do indeed improve sleep in people with conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, asthma, and more. They are currently not recommended for sleep apnea, however. After four weeks of using these blankets, the subjects reported less insomnia and improved sleep quality. The general consensus is that weighted blankets have a calming effect and are good for combating restless nights, especially in children and adults suffering from autism

There are four specific conditions that weighted blankets can help with:

  • Anxiety

Anxiety is a condition that impacts 40 million Americans every year, but luckily, one of the weighted blanket benefits for adults is that they can help to ease anxiety. This happens when pressure is put on the autonomic nervous system, which helps ease the body into ‘rest’ mode, lowering the heart rate and breathing, and allowing you to feel calm. If this doesn’t help, you may want to try other methods for easing anxiety, such as crystals for reducing anxiety, meditation, or counseling. 

  • Sleep Disorders

Tossing and turning in bed is a common problem for those who experience various sleep disorders, and this is something that weighted blankets can help combat. What weighted blankets do is help you sleep by calming the body down and preparing it for rest and a proper night of sleep. 

  • ADHD

In the United States around 1 in every 10 children is affected by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This can lead to other behavioral problems, as well as to problems sleeping. By providing a sense of being hugged, these blankets can help children to focus and not be distracted by other stimulants around them. 

  • Autism

Around 1 in 60 US children are autistic, and it’s very important to take measures to make their lives more comfortable. How do weighted blankets work for autism? The evenly distributed pressure of the blanket helps calm autistic people, relieving their stress and focusing on the task at hand, whatever that may be. As in other cases, it also improves sleep.

DID YOU KNOW: Temple Grandin first discovered deep pressure therapy whilst searching for a way of calming anxiety in autistic children.

 

What Are Weighted Blankets? What Conditions They Help With How They Work
Weighted blankets are heavy blankets used for therapeutic reasons Stress and anxiety Weighted blankets use pressure to calm and relax the body
They weigh between 5 and 30 pounds Autism They provide a feeling of safety and comfort
Typically filled with plastic or glass beads Depression Using one can feel like a hug
ADHD
Insomnia

Weighted Blanket: Pros and Cons

Now, when you are looking at whether or not to go for weighted blankets, it is important to consider both the benefits and the drawbacks. This will help you determine whether they are the right fit for you, your child, or even your pet. So, let’s take a look at some of the key health benefits of weighted blankets, as well as the reasons you may wish to consider other alternatives. 

Pros

There are plenty of pros to using weighted blankets for improving your sleep and overall quality of life; here are a few of the best reasons to use these blankets:

  • They create a sense of calm and stillness and are perfect for helping children, adults, and animals alike to relax
  • What are weighted blankets made of? They contain beads that help with weight distribution and have a far more calming effect on the body than a usual blanket.
  • Improves daytime social interactions and allows you to function at the highest possible level due to a good night’s sleep. 
  • Serotonin massively impacts the sleep-wake cycle, and deep pressure touch has been found to stimulate the release of serotonin, making for a much more refreshing and restful sleep.
  • Reduction of movement at night is one of the reasons that make weighted blankets very efficient. This provides calm and reduces anxiety, helping you to enjoy a stress-free night of rest.
  • Another of the benefits of weighted blankets is that they also help to improve and ease many chronic health conditions, namely things like fibromyalgia, easing chronic pain, and making people feel more comfortable.

Cons

There are a few potential cons that come with sleeping under weighted blankets, and these are a few of the key ones: 

  • They are not environment-friendly.
  • They can become hot, and the rise in temperature when using these blankets can make some sleepers uncomfortable.
  • Weighted blankets can be a hazard for very young children that are not yet able to remove heavy blankets from their little bodies. 
  • Currently, there’s insufficient research into whether these blankets are safe for people suffering from sleep apnea or conditions such as claustrophobia
DID YOU KNOW: Applying pressure to the extremities in the form of weighted blankets can help prevent and relieve RLS.

In Conclusion

There are great health benefits of using weighted blankets, and the data suggests that they’re effective in combating symptoms related to autism, ADHD, and anxiety. The use of a weighted blanket can have a profound impact on relieving stress and discomfort, calming the mind and body, and allowing you to enjoy sensations. Weighted blankets are ideal for both adults and older children, and have even been used to help pets relax as well.

FAQ

Is it okay to sleep with a weighted blanket every night?

One of the questions most people ask when considering using weighted blankets is whether they are safe to use daily. Studies indicate that they are perfectly safe to use every night.

Do weighted blankets actually work?

Weighted blankets have been scientifically proven to yield results and improve the way people feel about themselves, in addition to reducing stress and anxiety and helping you to sleep better.

How do weighted blankets help anxiety?

How do weighted blankets work? There are a number of ways in which weighted blankets help anxiety. Mainly, the evenly distributed pressure on your body helps put your nervous system to rest, as well as ease your body and mind into a calmer state.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I've loved writing since I can remember, and back in high school, I started loving psychology as well. So I majored in it while dabbling in spirituality and yoga on the side.

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