Those who understand how important sleep is and how important it is to wake up fresh and energized the following morning, understand that great sleep comes with great sleeping gear.
You need a proper mattress, supportive pillow, an adequate temperature, and moreover, you need a proper bed routine. But, did you know that you can add a weighted blanket to support your sleep?
Sleep Benefits Of Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are becoming more and more popular by each passing day. Moreover, some adults with anxiety, insomnia, and depression, are re-discovering the feeling of security and safety with this latest sleeping gear. But how it works?
Weighted blankets can benefit your sleep in many different ways, from decreasing anxiety to increasing serotonin, to even reducing restlessness. But, before we elaborate on this one more, let’s first learn what weighted blankets are and how they work.
What Is A Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets are commonly filled with plastic pellets to add weight, ranging from about 4 to 25 pounds. You need to pick the heaviest blanket, based on your weight. For many people, weighted blankets are a routine part of their sleep and they love it mostly for one reason. Weighted blankets are awaking that feeling of a ‘hug’.
Many compare using these blankets with the feeling of the X-ray ‘apron’ the dentist put on you. Moreover, a weighted blanket gives you a feeling of security. Finally, a weighted blanket works by securing you in one place.
What Are The Benefits Of A Weighted Blanket?
It is important to get familiar with all the benefits that weighted blankets can provide, so you can easily decide if this sleep trend is for you or maybe you should think twice.
1. It Decreases Anxiety
If you don’t know how to deal with racing thoughts that start as soon as you are about to leave your home, or as soon as you lay down, the chances are that you are suffering from some form of anxiety. If you can’t sleep because of all the noise, you should do something to decrease that.
This is where a weighted blanket steps in. A weighted blanket could help by decreasing activity in the nervous system and lessening anxiety. If you support this usage with an adequate meditation, a weighted blanket might be the right thing for you. You should be able to faster and easier drift off.
2. It Increases Serotonin
Weighted blankets are specially designed to provide gentle and warm pressure on the user that mimics the feeling of being held. This feeling is also known as Deep Touch Pressure. So far, it’s confirmed that this type of pressure can increase serotonin.
In humans, serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for proper sleep regulation. Moreover, it provides a calming effect. In a similar way, weighted blankets and their feeling of ‘providing a hug’ is responsible for creating oxytocin.
Oxytocin is responsible for stress and pain relieve while boosting your immune system at the same time. In addition, it helps you sleep better at night.
3. It Can Reduce Restlessness
If you often found yourself having trouble to sleep and next to that you toss and turn a lot throughout the night, a weighted blanket may help. Initially, the blanket provides a gentle force across the body, and it helps to deter movement and even encourage stillness during sleep.
4. Ease Restless Leg Syndrome
Those who are diagnosed with this condition (RLS) often describe their sensations as if a spider crawling up and down their legs. These symptoms are reserved for the night, and therefore it interferes with sleep.
Restless leg syndrome can be challenging to deal with, therefore, many use weighted blankets to add weight on their legs, and according to their experiences, it helped them a lot.
5. Alleviate Symptoms Of PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is usually linked to veterans, although it may appear in individuals who experienced traumatic or a stressful event. The main issue with PTSD is that works on triggers, which lead to sleep problems. So, using weighted blankets reduces blood pressure together with pulse rates, providing a better sleeping environment.
6. Aids The Elderly
As we age, our sleep-wake cycle changes and often comes to the point that we barely get 8 hours of sleep at night. In some elderly, this lack of sleep leads to insomnia, which can be linked with dementia, and overall wellness. That being said, the use of weighted blankets can signification improve overall sleep.
7. It Makes You Asleep Faster
Overall, the effects of weighted blankets are in a way similar to swaddling a newborn. Why? Well, the deep pressure creates a calming effect that promotes relaxation and sleeping on your part. This way you will experience light and deeper sleep much faster.
8. Enhances Sleep Quality
If you sleep poorly, the chances are that the following day you will feel exhausted and grumpy. Moreover, even if you get the suggested number of hours it doesn’t mean that you will instantly feel energized and rested. Therefore, the quality of sleep is important, which is where using a weighted blanket comes in. The added weight gives you a comforting feeling that will allow you to sleep better at night.
9. Creates A Focus On ADHD
Patients who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may have difficulty focusing, regardless of whether they are kids or adults. In addition, they may be impulsive and restless. Children with autism, as well as the adults, have found that their sleep quality is enormously improved with the help of weighted blankets because of the deep touch pressure stimulation.
According to recent research, weighted blanket therapy starts a type of physical connection that has a positive effect on hormones governing the nervous system, affecting stress level, and affecting mood level as well.
In addition, according to some findings, weighted blankets can also help students focus, including teens and college students. After all, schooling tends to be pretty intense and for some even stressful, so having a ‘hug’ during the night should help, by lowering upsets and frustration.
But… What Are Weighted Blankets Really?
As the name suggests, weighted blankets are unique blankets that come with extra weight in them. Although they all have the same purpose, to ease many of your troubles and support your sleep, there are few things that you should take into consideration:
- Materials: this is an important component when you are thinking about weighted blankets. After all, materials that are used play a large part in its weight.
The two most common materials for these blankets are glass beads and plastic pellets, although lead, rice, and millet are used as well. When it comes to the outside materials, they may vary.
If possible, always opt for breathable cotton, it’s more suited for skin. It’s proven that people can benefit from breathable cotton as long as the room is kept cool.
- Weight: The main characteristics with these blankets is their weight. They work by adding weight to your body so you should know that 10% of the ideal body weight should be added with this blanket.
The formula for children is 10% of the correct bodyweight and 1-2 pounds. However, you should always check with your pediatrician before introducing a heavy blanket to your child due to the risk of suffocation or smothering.
For example, nowadays everyone is choosing a duvet cover because they provide easy care. In addition, lap pads are also available as are weighted vests.
How To Use A Weighted Blanket
You should use a weighted blanket just like any other blanket. Just before you make the final purchase, make sure that your blanket is heavy enough and that it provides the needed pressure.
On the other hand, a weighted blanket shouldn’t be too heavy and to limit your movement, to feel you uncomfortable, or to cause overheat in bed. All in, those effects can all be counterproductive to sleep.
Some people find it pleasant to sleep with less clothing with a weighted blanket – if you are one of those people, go for it. However, don’t expect that this blanket will instantly do wonders for your sleep. This is just an addition to existing sleeping habits. That being said, don’t slack off on the rest of your sleep hygiene. Always follow the basics, as they are key for healthy sleep:
- Stick to your bedtime routine and sleeping schedule. Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day.
- Avoid too much light before your sleep.
- Don’t eat heavy food, drink alcohol, or heavy workout before your sleep.
- Manage stress.
Are Weighted Blankets Safe?
In general, weighted blankets are safe to use, although they should be kept off of the neck and the face while you’re sleeping. It’s the best to keep weighted blankets away from children under three, or actually anyone weighing less than 50 pounds. Why? They pose a suffocation hazard. Weighted blankets contain plastic poly-pellets, and young children could choke on it, in the event that a blanket is damaged or torn.
Sleep Benefits Of Weighted Blankets – Conclusion
Weighted blankets are specially designed to stimulate a hug, which has a calming effect. They were originally used to help children with autism to sleep better, and nowadays in adults, they mostly work as a calming effect.
Weighted blankets are generally safe to use, but you should be careful when it comes to children using them. They promise to add to your sleeping environment, ease anxiety, and improve your sleep by mimicking the feeling of a cozy hug.