Weighted blankets can help reduce stress, ameliorate anxiety, improve sleep, and create a feeling of calmness. That’s a pretty impressive list of benefits that can be achieved without medication. Read on to learn what weighted blankets are, what other benefits are associated with them, and how to get one.
About Weighted Blankets
While a typical blanket is comprised of one layer of material designed to keep a person warm, a weighted blanket is lined with materials—usually plastic poly pellets or rice—to make the blanket heavier. Weighted blankets range from 4 to 30 pounds, and research suggests that people should use a weighted blanket that’s about 10% of their weight. Weighted blankets are warm and comfortable and imitate a hug or being held. This increasingly popular alternative to medication and other kinds of therapy also provides numerous health benefits.
The Benefits of Weighted Blankets
Exercising and eating healthy food takes planning and effort. Imagine if you could enjoy a long list of health benefits just from sleeping or sitting under a specific kind of blanket. Well, you can! Here are some of the potential ways a weighted blanket could help you or your family:
- Reduce anxiety. Approximately 30% of US adults suffer from some type of anxiety, which can cause fear, worry, and sleeplessness. Weighted blankets generate deep pressure touch (DPT), a type of pressure therapy that helps release dopamine and serotonin, feel-good hormones the brain makes that help reduce anxiety. In one study 63% of respondents reported reduced anxiety following weighted blanket usage.
- Reduce stress. Not everyone has been diagnosed with or experiences symptoms of anxiety, but everyone feels stressed from time to time. Weighted blankets use gravity to push the body downwards in a motion called “earthing” or “grounding.” Research indicates that grounding during sleep might reduce cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Reducing cortisol not only decreases stress levels but also positively influences blood sugar levels and the immune system.
- Improve sleep. Weighted blankets can help improve sleep quality and longevity, especially in those who suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) and insomnia. First of all, using a weighted blanket can help your body produce melatonin, the chemical that helps the body relax when it’s time to sleep. A study by the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders found that participants who slept under a weighted blanket slept for longer, moved around less during sleep, and reported feeling refreshed in the morning.
- Soothe children. Keith Zivalich, founder of The Magic Weighted Blanket, said, “[A weighted blanket’s] extra pressure is helpful for kids of all kinds, but particularly for kids with autism and sensory processing disorders.” Weighted blankets can help your kids sleep better and may even help them concentrate in the classroom.
- Help with much more. Weighted blankets have also been found to assist those with depression, weight gain, sensory disorders, and more.
How to Get a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets come in all different shapes and sizes. You can get adult-sized ones or smaller, lighter ones for your kids. You can also purchase tiny weighted blankets that are intended to rest in your lap while you work at your desk or watch TV. Now that you know what a weighted blanket is and how it could benefit you and your family, you’re probably wondering how to get one. You can buy one or make one. Just make sure you get one that’s made out of comfortable, breathable material and that’s the proper weight for the individual who is going to use it.
- Lora’s Weighted Blankets. Lora makes custom weighted blankets. If you’re looking for something specific but don’t want to make it yourself, this might be the route for you.
- Buy it online. The Magic Weighed Blanket company, mentioned above, lets you pick colors and materials. A simple Google search will show you a lot of other options as well. Just be sure to choose comfortable, breathable materials and the correct weight.
- Make it yourself. If you have the time and skills, you may want to make your own weighted blanket. You’ll need a sewing machine, fabric, a small scale, a ruler, thread, measuring tape, and rice. Click here to learn how to make your own essential oil weighted blanket.
Though using a weighted blanket doesn’t present major risks, you should always read manufacturing warnings before using one. Use special caution when giving a weighted blanket to a child; consult a phyisican or occupational therapist first to ensure you’re using the correct weight. Especially if you have a chronic health condition, are going through menopause, have circulation or respiration issues, or have trouble regulating your temperature, make sure you talk to a doctor before using a weighted blanket.