Weighted Blanket Benefits
Last Updated on January 5, 2022
Many find heavy blankets beneficial to their sleep routine since they tend to reduce stress and promote calmness. The gentle deep touch pressure of a weighted blanket may help ease certain symptoms and improve sleep for people with anxiety, insomnia, or autism. If you’re reading this article, that means you are probably interested in finding more information about weighted blanket benefits, and by the end of this guide, we hope that you will learn:
- All 20 benefits that may come with a heavy blanket
- How can it affect people with different conditions
- Are there any risks of using one
- 1 What are the benefits of a weighted blanket?
- 1.1 1. Enhances the production of oxytocin
- 1.2 2. Boosts Melatonin
- 1.3 3. Reduces Cortisol
- 1.4 4. Releases Dopamine & Serotonin
- 1.5 5. Improves sleep quality
- 1.6 6. Reduces anxiety & helps with ADHD
- 1.7 7. Helps with insomnia
- 1.8 8. May ease restless leg syndrome
- 1.9 9. Potential to relieve pain associated with fibromyalgia
- 1.10 10. Alleviates PTSD symptoms
- 1.11 11. Helps with a panic disorder
- 1.12 12. Eases OCD symptoms
- 1.13 13. Eases Autism symptoms
- 1.14 14. Aids with focus
- 1.15 15. Relieves Tourette’s symptoms
- 1.16 16. Promotes a better mood
- 1.17 17. Enhances calmness
- 1.18 18. Eases pain
- 1.19 19. Aids elderly people
- 1.20 20. Relieves travel anxiety
- 2 Are there any risks of a weighted blanket?
- 3 Bottom line
What are the benefits of a weighted blanket?
The secret behind heavy blankets is a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation that uses controlled pressure to induce a feeling of calmness and relaxation. Thus, why weighted blankets have been used to reduce or manage the symptoms for people with sleep disorders, nervous disorders, mood disorders (such as depression and anxiety), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and panic disorder, restless leg syndrome, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and general stress.
This type of blanket creates an abundance of positive effects on hormones governing the nervous system, which affects a person’s mood and stress level. Let’s take a closer look at all the benefits that come with the use of a weighted blanket:
1. Enhances the production of oxytocin
The pressure from a weighted blanket is similar to a hug, which provides people with a sense of security and warmth. A study on the release of the hormone oxytocin shows that it helps create a feeling of relaxation, furthering the chances of someone feeling at ease. Oxytocin is also beneficial for reducing blood pressure and slowing the heart rate of a person. That results in improved sleep.
2. Boosts Melatonin
As we all know, melatonin is one of the best ways to regulate the sleep cycle. Using a heavy blanket helps stimulate serotonin and melatonin hormones that provide an overall soothing environment. This can help anxious people receive the sleep they need to get on with their day.
3. Reduces Cortisol
A weighted blanket helps ground your body during sleep, and that might profoundly enhance the calming effect. There is a study that shows that grounding the human body during sleep may reduce nighttime levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that often has a negative effect on blood sugar, digestion, and immunity.
4. Releases Dopamine & Serotonin
As we’ve mentioned, heavy blankets are popular due to the deep pressure stimulation they provide. With that said, it has been discovered that proprioceptive pressure, also known as deep touch pressure, promotes the release of two brain chemicals called dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals have a calming effect that combats anxiety, stress, and depression.
5. Improves sleep quality
People usually start to use heavy blankets because they have trouble falling asleep and staying that way. That occurs due to the fact that people don’t get truly restorative sleep. However, a weighted blanket can help improve sleep quality because the ep touch pressure stimulates serotonin, which is the relaxation hormone, enabling you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
6. Reduces anxiety & helps with ADHD
Typically, people need to be calm to drift off to sleep, which isn’t always an easy task, especially for people with anxiety. The deep touch pressure stimulation from a weighted blanket has been shown to offer a soothing effect that reduces stress and aids with sleep in general. It can also help people with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The reason behind this is that using a heavy blanket reduces the time it takes to fall asleep.
7. Helps with insomnia
Insomnia can come with various patterns, such as having trouble going to sleep or not being able to stay asleep. This is an issue many people face, and for most, a weighted blanket can potentially help. There is a study from 2015 in which 31 adults with chronic insomnia had their sleep tracked with both a regular blanket and a heavy one. When those individuals slept with the weighted blanket, they could sleep longer and wake up less during the night, making this product a practical non-drug approach.
8. May ease restless leg syndrome
If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, nights can be difficult. Sometimes compression socks provide some relief, but they don’t work for everyone since some might consider them uncomfortable and too tight. That’s where a weighted blanket comes in and helps you get the relaxing pressure without constriction to your legs.
9. Potential to relieve pain associated with fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a complex disease that causes chronic muscle, ligament and tendon pain, fatigue and multiple tender points on the body. It mainly affects women and can make everyday activities painful and difficult without medication. Using a heavy blanket helps patients prevent symptom flares due to the blanket’s gentle, firm pressure while reducing anxiety and depression.
10. Alleviates PTSD symptoms
If you’ve suffered a trauma in your past, a weighted blanket can provide the needed therapeutic touch. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe issue that has affected many people who have experienced a stressful or traumatic event. Research shows that a weighted blanket improves blood pressure and pulse rate while reducing anxiety in people with PTSD.
11. Helps with a panic disorder
Panic attacks are real, but a therapeutic weighted blanket may help you feel less vulnerable to them. It enables you to sleep better, wake up refreshed and be less anxious. A heavy blanket promotes the ‘calming’ hormones and neurotransmitters that help calm both your brain and body.
12. Eases OCD symptoms
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is different for each individual, some follow strict dietary or lifestyle habits, while others have obsessive thoughts and need their environment to be extremely orderly. Some researches show that the deep touch pressure feeling might boost serotonin and help keep OCD symptoms under control.
13. Eases Autism symptoms
Even though it’s not scientifically proven, weighted blankets are well known for their potential aid for children with Autism. As we’ve mentioned, deep touch pressure therapy helps children that have Autism by decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increasing levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. By doing so, the child’s moon improves, and so does their impulse control.
14. Aids with focus
School can be challenging for a child with a sensory disorder such as Autism. Many things can be overwhelming for a kid with a sensory disorder because of noise and intense colours. Heavy blankets can help a child with their focus and anxiety while also helping them sleep better at night.
15. Relieves Tourette’s symptoms
People with this neurological disorder usually have uncontrollable symptoms such as tics and movements that can cause fatigue and anxiety. That’s where deep pressure therapy can come in handy and help ease the tension and relieve some stress.
16. Promotes a better mood
The weighted blanket offers deep pressure stimulation, which can boost serotonin levels (the hormone that affects mood disorders). If you’re feeling irritable or depressed, that’s because you aren’t getting enough mood-lifting brain chemicals, and a heavy blanket can help with that. It can also reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and serve as the hug you need to improve your mood.
17. Enhances calmness
Often the stress you’ve lived through the day can affect your mood and the quality of your sleep. But when you get home and snuggle under your blanket, you will feel better due to the hug feel that helps you with hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.
18. Eases pain
For some individuals, a weighted blanket can relieve pain by helping “ground” the body during sleep by pushing it downwards. A study suggests that grounding the human body during sleep can help improve cortisol levels and create a deeply calming effect, which can help reduce stress, insomnia, and pain.
19. Aids elderly people
Older people can often transition into an unconventional sleeping pattern because they take more naps during the day and go to bed later than usual. Elderly people may also suffer from depression and anxiety, and a weighted blanket can help them sleep better and improve their overall sleep.
20. Relieves travel anxiety
Last but not least, people can feel anxious in the confined space of a car or aeroplane, even the environment in a hotel can be unpleasant for some. If you are one of those people, you can significantly benefit from a heavy blanket while travelling since it will help produce serotonin, the soothing hormone/brain chemical that has a calming effect.
Are there any risks of a weighted blanket?
The heaviness of a weighted blanket can be a factor that might cause some difficulties for people with certain preexisting conditions. If you have one of the conditions below, we highly recommend you consult with a professional to know whether a weighted blanket is safe for you. These conditions are the following:
- Claustrophobia – if you are claustrophobic, a blanket of this sort can make you feel tight and restrictive, triggering a fear response and making your stress levels skyrocket.
- Sleep apnea – is a condition in which a person stops breathing while they sleep, which can be quite dangerous on its own. A heavy blanket causes further breathing difficulties for individuals with this condition.
- Asthma – if you’re already having difficulties breathing, using a weighted blanket may worsen your condition.
- Diabetes – this issue usually cause problems with circulation, and the heaviness of the blanket may further restrict circulation.
Overall, the deep pressure stimulation from a weighted blanket offers a calming, soothing effect to most people that use it. They can be highly beneficial for people that feel tense, anxious, restless and can help them get a good night’s sleep.
Even people suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other painful conditions can find relief in sleeping with a weighted blanket. The number of people that are starting to use one is growing, and so is their popularity.
Having good sleep hygiene will improve your sleep quality but having a weighted blanket will give the soothing effect you need to relax. If you think we missed something on the subject or if you have any question and concerns, please drop us a line in the comments below, and we’d try to respond as soon as possible!