WEIGHTED BLANKETS – Are They Effective for Anxiety and Insomnia?
Weighted blankets contain a new technology that is designed to be therapeutic. Pressure from the extra weight is intended to mimic a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation. This kind of stimulation uses hands-on pressure to relax the nervous system. It can help relieve pain, lessen anxiety, and improve your mood. Achieving this effect doesn’t have to be completely hands on – the same pressure comes from having the blanket wrapped around the body. This kind of stimulation has proven to be an effective part of other treatments, including massage therapy and the use of support animals. But are weighted blankets effective? And what is the science behind them?
Science of Weighted Blankets
Filled with hypoallergenic, non-toxic polypropylene pellets that are sewn into self-contained small pockets evenly distributed throughout the blanket, pellets are what make the blanket heavy. Each blanket should generally be around 10 percent of the user’s weight. This weighty technology can weigh between five and 30 pounds. According to the site MoneyPug, which is used to find medical insurance, you can find a medical equipment provider who will help you find these blankets. The soothing, calming comforts of a regular blanket are combined with a therapy tool. It depends a lot on the person, their body, and their condition. Weighted blankets can really help some people but don’t do much for others.
Who Benefits from a Weighted Blanket?
Researchers have conducted studies on the effectiveness of weighted blankets for various conditions. Although more research is needed, the results have indicated benefits for a few ailments. First, weighted blankets can help people with autism.
One of the symptoms of autism is trouble sleeping. In a crossover study from 2014, researchers investigated the effectiveness of weighted blankets for issues with sleep related to it. There was a little improvement in sleep scores from the use of the weighted blanket. Both children and adults can be helped by this. Another small research study found that the positive benefits of deep pressure therapy in some people with autism.
Another condition that can be greatly helped by weighted blankets is anxiety. It is actually one of the primary uses of weighted blankets. Research shows that deep pressure stimulation can help reduce autonomic arousal, which is responsible for symptoms of anxiety such as increased heart rate. The study found that using a weighted blanket reduced anxiety in roughly 33 percent of the participants. It also showed that for some of the study participants, lying down may also have helped reduce anxiety, suggesting that using a weighted blanket while lying down may further help reduce anxiety symptoms.
Furthermore, a person’s focus, attention, and hyperactive movements can be improved upon with use of this weighty technology. A study found promising results for participants who used a weighted vest during a continuous performance test. These patients experienced reductions in drifting off-task, leaving their seat, and fidgeting.
Finally, insomnia and other sleep disorders can be helped by weighted blankets. In a crossover study, both autism and ADHD patients said they reduced sleep onset time and number of awakenings at night. Overall, weighted blankets can help people sleep.
Brands of Weighted Blankets
There are many types of weighted blankets. The Mosaic brand carries a full line of weighted blankets that start at $125. There is also the Gravity brand, which was awarded the top-rated weighted blanket award in 2019 by Mattress Advisor. It is no surprise that these blankets are more expensive, starting at $250. And the Layla brand specializes in pillows and mattresses and also has a weighted blanket. Finally SensaCalm carries pre-made and custom weighted blankets starting at roughly $100.
The science behind weighted blankets is sound, but they are not a one-stop shop. They won’t fix everything, but they can help with symptoms from multiple diseases and ailments. These blankets are tools that you can utilize when you are having trouble sleeping or are having symptoms of discomfort or anxiety. Whatever your symptoms, they can be helped with a weighted blanket. It won’t fix all your problems, but it is one thing that can help you live a happier, healthier life. Whether you are ill or well, a weighted blanket can probably help you.