Weighted blankets are becoming very popular for their multiple therapeutic benefits. BetterBed brings you the 8 benefits of using a weighted blanket in this article and they are given below.

  1. Reduction in anxiety and stress levels
  2. Improvement in sleep quality
  3. Reduction in nighttime movement
  4. Improvement in daytime social interactions
  5. Relief for people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  6. Relief for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  7. Easing Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
  8. Relief from symptoms of fibromyalgia

Weighted blankets are inspired by the therapeutic technique of deep pressure therapy, where gentle but firm pressure is applied to the body to evoke feelings of security and calmness. They model the feeling of hugging or being held and are known to calm the nervous system. 

1. Reduces Anxiety and Stress:

Weighted blankets provide deep touch pressure stimulation, which creates a soothing effect and helps reduce stress and anxiety. The weighted blanket applies pressure on the autonomic nervous system – which controls essential functions like breathing, digestion, shivering, etc. – and puts it on ‘rest’ mode. 

Exploratory studies show that a majority of people prefer using weighted blankets as a calming means. Research on the effectiveness of weighted blankets in reducing anxiety in patients receiving chemotherapy showed that patients using weighted blankets had lower anxiety levels.

2. Improves Sleep Quality:

The deep pressure stimulation of a weighted blanket encourages the release of serotonin and dopamine, which are mood-boosting hormones that combat negative feelings. When serotonin is stimulated, melatonin is also released. Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate sleep patterns. 

The therapeutic weight of the blanket also helps reduce cortisol levels, a stress hormone that affects blood sugar and digestion. The combined effect of these three activities helps improve sleep quality.

3. Decreases Nighttime Movement:

If you are the restless type and constantly toss and turn before finally falling asleep, then a weighted blanket might help ease the restlessness and help you fall asleep earlier. A study shows that weighted blankets create a cocooning effect that decreases movement, creating a calming sleep environment. Many participants in the study reported that they slept better with the weighted blanket and woke up more refreshed.

4. Makes Daytime Social Interactions Better:

As weighted blankets reduce restlessness and improve sleep quality, people are able to wake up more rested. The better rest that they get, in turn, has a positive effect on all their daytime social interactions in school, work or other situations. When a person gets the sleep they need every night, their life improves in all aspects.

5. Helps People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

Many people with ADHD have trouble sleeping – it takes them time to fall asleep, and even once they do, they might wake up many times through the night. The deep touch pressure of weighted blankets might help reduce the stress levels of these people, creating a soothing feeling that encourages deep sleep.

A survey of parents of children with ADHD conducted in 2021 showed that children fell asleep more quickly and stayed asleep longer when they used weighted blankets. Also, they were more relaxed and experienced less frequent anxiety. All of this translated into an improvement in daily activities.

6. Helps People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can get overwhelmed by sensory stimulations around them, like touch, noise and fast movement. This makes activities like social interaction, working, and playing more difficult for them.

A weighted blanket provides comforting pressure that grounds them and helps them focus on the task in front of them. It also reduces the stress caused by the external factors mentioned above and prevents them from feeling overstimulated. Though exploratory studies and randomized clinical trials have shown that people on the autism spectrum prefer using a weighted blanket, more direct research is required on this.

7. Eases Restless Leg Syndrome:

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an irresistible urge to move your legs, usually because of an unpleasant sensation. This typically happens during the evenings, making it hard for you to sleep. It has been noted that applying positive pressure to the leg of the person suffering from RLS for a certain duration of time can help ease this condition. 

So, a weighted blanket applies the required pressure to the leg and helps the person suffering from RLS sleep better.

8. Relieves Fibromyalgia:

Fibromyalgia causes chronic pain in one’s muscles and bones, which affects sleep and causes fatigue and mood issues. Researchers believe fibromyalgia also affects how one perceives pain and amplifies all painful sensations. A 2021 randomised controlled trial showed that a weighted blanket helps alter pain perception, providing some relief.

Another study showed that correcting low serotonin levels could help patients suffering from fibromyalgia. Since weighted blankets encourage the production of serotonin, they can be effective in controlling symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Are Weighted Blankets Safe?

Weighted blankets are generally considered safe for everybody as long as they are physically able to move and lift the blanket whenever required to avoid suffocation. However, some people should take precautions and consult their doctor before using a weighted blanket. If you have any of the following problems, a weighted blanket might not be suitable for you.

  • Chronic respiratory problems
  • Low blood pressure or other circulatory issues
  • Asthma
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Claustrophobia
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

Conclusion:

Thus, we see that using weighted blankets has various benefits including improvement in sleep quality, decrease in restlessness, and reduction in stress and anxiety. Though some of these require more scientific evidence, there is no denying the fact that people who have used weighted blankets have felt a difference and prefer using it over a regular blanket. If you want to know more about the best weighted blankets read BetterBed’s weighted blanket review.

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