What Are the Benefits of a Weighted Blanket?
Have you heard the hype about weighted blankets? Weighted blankets are gaining popularity as a tool to help people sleep better. So what makes a weighted blanket so unique?
The idea behind a weighted blanket is that it applies gentle, comforting pressure to the body, helping to relax muscles and promote feelings of calmness. From helping to reduce stress and anxiety to aiding in improved sleep quality, weighted blankets have a range of impressive benefits.
If you’re considering investing in a weighted blanket for yourself or a loved one, keep reading to learn more about the potential benefits of this specialized sleep aid.
The Science Behind Weighted Blankets and Better Sleep
While regular blankets can provide warmth and comfort, weighted blankets offer something extra.
A weighted blanket is typically made with a heavy fabric, such as cotton or polyester, and filled with materials like poly pellets or glass beads to add extra weight. The weight of these fillers helps to create a feeling of deep pressure stimulation in the body, which is believed to provide a calming effect.
The idea of deep pressure stimulation and its potential calming effects isn’t new; it was originally used as a therapeutic technique for children with autism or sensory processing disorder.
When using a weighted blanket, your body responds to the pressure by prompting your body’s central nervous system to release serotonin and promote melatonin production.
These hormones help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and promote feelings of relaxation. Weighted blankets are also a popular choice for those who experience insomnia, as the relaxed feeling it provides can help to induce sleep.
Mental Health Benefits of Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are often recommended to those who experience anxiety, as they can provide a calming sensation that helps reduce stress and tension.
When using a weighted blanket, it’s believed that the gentle pressure on your body’s autonomic nervous system will help activate a relaxation response, which helps to alleviate anxiety symptoms.
For people with autism, ADHD, and other conditions that cause a heightened sense of sensitivity, weighted blankets can provide an extra layer of comfort. The increase makes it easier to stay focused and relaxed.
Comparing the Restfulness of Weighted Blankets to Regular Blankets
Weighted blankets offer a much deeper level of restfulness than regular blankets. The weight of the blanket can make it easier to stay asleep because your body is being comforted by the sensation of being hugged or embraced.
Compared to regular blankets, weighted blankets can help reduce the number of times you wake up during the night and increase sleep efficiency. Weighted blankets are also known to provide better REM sleep, which results in more energy during the day and improved alertness.
Studies have also found that weighted blankets can help to improve sleep latency or the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Weighted Blanket
When selecting a weighted blanket, it’s essential to consider factors such as size and weight. The recommendation for adults is to choose blankets 5-10% of their body weight for optimal results. Generally, weighted blankets are available in sizes from five to 30 pounds.
Consider any allergies or sensitivities to particular fabrics or fibers. Weighted blankets are usually made from materials like cotton, polyester, or bamboo, so selecting one that won’t cause any irritation or allergic reactions is important.
Weighted blankets won’t necessarily cause you to overheat, but if you’re prone to overheating, it might be best to choose a natural fiber like cotton for better air circulation. You can also use a weighted blanket that has a wide knit.
Tips for Staying Cool and Comfortable with a Weighted Blanket
For some, a weighted blanket might feel too warm or too heavy. To stay cool, only use a sheet or a very light comforter over your weighted blanket; this will help to keep your body temperature regulated while still providing the sensory benefits of the blanket.
Keep your bedroom temperature comfortable for sleeping by keeping a consistent temperature (between 65 and 70 degrees) throughout the night.
You can also choose a weighted blanket with adjustable weights, which allows you to add or remove weight as needed; this can help make the blanket more comfortable and provide just the amount of pressure you need.
Finally, if your weighted blanket feels too heavy, try folding it in half or leaving part of it off your body. By doing this, you can maintain the soothing qualities of the blanket while avoiding feeling too weighted down.
Weighted blankets can benefit many people who struggle with sleep issues such as insomnia, anxiety, and sensory sensitivities. The extra pressure of the blanket helps to stimulate relaxation and makes it easier to stay asleep throughout the night.
When selecting a weighted blanket, consider the size and weight to find the optimal combination for your body. Additionally, do not forget to consider the fabric material and temperature regulation if you’re prone to overheating during sleep.