For those of us who deal with depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc., we know that part of the struggle is getting a good night's sleep. This is where weighted blankets come into the picture. Yes, a simple blanket with weights can actually calm your body down and help you get a good night's sleep. Here's how it works and its benefits!
What They Are
Weighted blankets aren't just any normal blanket. Their name pretty much explains it all: they're blankets that are weighted (usually with poly pellets) and can range from two to thirty pounds, depending on a person's size and weight preference.
How They Work
The pressure of a weighted blanket provides downward pressure on the body, which sends inputs to the brain to release a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is a calming chemical which affects a person's mood, behavior, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory and function. Due to the pressure from its weights, the blanket shapes to your body and calms you down like a nice, warm hug.
The Benefits of Weighted Blankets
The science behind weighted blankets is due to Deep Touch Pressure (DTP). DTP is a form of therapy that uses pressure to reduce stress and anxiety. The weight of the blanket imitates DTP therapy by providing downward pressure all over the body. This pressure stimulates receptors in our brains, which in turn increases serotonin production. Serotonin is responsible for regulating our mood and providing relaxation. By increasing the serotonin levels in the body, weighted blankets can help those who suffer from anxiety or insomnia.
The downward pressure from the blanket also reduces our bodies' level of cortisol, a stress hormone. This chemical in our bodies is produced during times of stress, when we think we are in danger or under attack. When we stress out, our cortisol levels escalate, which negatively affects our immune system. High cortisol levels are associated with depression, insomnia, anxiety and weight gain. By providing deep pressure touch therapy, weighted blankets calm down our bodies by reducing our cortisol production while elevating our serotonin production.
While weighted blankets are mainly known and used to help anxiety, stress and insomnia, their benefits extend far beyond this list. Weighted blankets can also help those with depression, OCD, PTSD, aggression, bipolar disorder and autism, since these disorders are all linked to low levels of serotonin in the brain. Beyond this, people have claimed that weighted blankets have helped with Tourette’s, Alzheimer’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy, Restless Leg Syndrome and even menopausal symptoms!
Where to Buy
Weighted blankets aren't the nicest on your bank account, but they can be a wonderful investment if you're someone who has trouble sleeping due to the disorders mentioned above. Keep in mind that prices vary based on the size and weight of the blanket. Here are a few weighted blankets to consider buying for yourself or a loved one.
1. Weighted Blanket by YnM
2. 15-Pound Weighted Blanket by Amy Garden
3. Weighted Blanket by ZonLi
4. The Magic Weighted Blanket
Who knew a little weight on our bodies could do so much!
Lead Image Credit: HS LEE via Unsplash