If you're curious about just how a weighted blanket can help you increase your quality of life, you’re in the right place.
In this guide, we walk you through:
- What a heavy blanket actually is
- How they work and how to use them
- The benefits of using them regularly
- How they can help alleviate various medical conditions
Weighted blankets are growing in popularity. People across the globe use them to lower anxiety, symptoms of autism, and ADHD. Others simply use them to get a good night’s sleep.
What Is a Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets are simply heavy blankets.
While some can be one layer, the best weighted blankets are duvets that are filled with an inner weight. The weight ranges from 5 pounds to more than 15 pounds. The weight you need depends on your size. The guiding standard is that the blanket should be around 10 percent of your body weight.
They're typically filled with plastic pellets, poly pellets, or glass beads. Some blankets use natural fillers like rice, millet, or beans. We don’t recommend natural fillers because they are difficult to clean and aren’t very comfortable.
In the past, the benefits of weighted blankets were mostly used by occupational therapists as a therapy tool. They have gone mainstream for help with insomnia, stress, and other conditions.
How Does a Weighted Blanket Work?
Now that we've discussed what exactly they are, let's explore the benefits of weighted blankets.
Weighted blankets use Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) Stimulation or Deep Pressure Therapy. It may sound fancy, but it just refers to any form of deep pressure that’s exerted equally across the body.
It's a lot like swaddling a baby. DTP gives pressure on the baby while gently restricting movement. It can also be given through other techniques, including squeezing, stroking, and firm hugs.
When you get DTP, your breathing slows down. That causes your heart rate to slow, too. Then, your brain releases serotonin, a “feel-good” chemical that adds to feelings of well-being and happiness.
Releasing serotonin also reduces cortisol levels (cortisol is the stress hormone). You become happier, calmer, and less anxious with just some gentle pressure to soothe your parasympathetic nervous system.
Top Benefits of Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets can help you improve your mental and physical wellness:
Improve Quality of Sleep
Insomnia is a huge problem for people.
The benefits of weighted blankets can help lower those statistics.
According to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders, weighted blankets may help reduce insomnia. The participants reported that they found it easier to settle down to sleep, had better sleep quality, and woke up feeling more refreshed in the morning with the use of a weighted blanket.
Deep pressure stimulation also helps people with other sleep problems get deeper, more restful sleep. Those who suffer from restless leg syndrome, chronic pain, and even sensory issues can benefit from using a weighted blanket.
All too many of us are aware of the frustration and exhaustion that accompanies insomnia and other sleep disorders. The positive effects of a weighted blanket could help you sleep better.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
More specifically, a study published in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health shows that participants who use them experience lower blood pressure and pulse rates, which are signs of reduced stress levels.
Weighted blankets can help people who suffer from anxiety disorders, like panic attacks, improve their symptoms. The benefits of weighted blankets include increasing dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin levels and reducing stress hormones to give a calming effect to the user.
Weighted Blankets for Medical Conditions
Apart from contributing to your general well-being, weighted blankets are also proven to help with certain medical conditions.
If you (or a loved one!) has an autism spectrum disorder, ADHD or PTSD, the benefits of weighted blankets may help you and cope with your condition.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
DPT soothes the nervous systems of those with autism disorders by lowering cortisol.
It's not a new technique. Occupational therapists discovered that DPT can help, but sometimes people with autism also have sensory processing disorders and do not like to be touched. Other tools include Squeeze Machines, which are deep-pressure devices that surround the patient and give gentle, deep pressure, and heavy lap pads that give the therapy without human contact.
Therapists developed weighted blankets as an alternative to the Squeeze Machine or lap pads.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
A close cousin of the weighted blanket is the weighted vest. Weighted vests have been shown to help those with ADHD focus and concentrate better.
According to a study published in the South African Journal of Occupational Therapy Evidence, learners diagnosed with ADHD show significant improvements in in-seat behavior while wearing weighted vests.
That’s not all —in another study in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 110 children with ADHD who wore weighted vests had a higher ability to stay on task and processed and responded to stimuli more quickly.
At this point, you might be wondering… what’s the difference between a weighted blanket and a weighted vest? Can you use one in place of the other?
While weighted blankets and vests work the same way, weighted blankets are primarily used to apply DPT while one is at rest. In contrast, weighted vests give you the freedom of moving around and going about your daily activities.
If you’re reading quietly or using your laptop, and you want to use DPT to help you concentrate better, draping a weighted blanket over yourself may do the trick. You don’t have to go out of the way to purchase and use a weighted vest!
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
It’s common for those who have PTSD to constantly feel that they’re in danger. PTSD sufferers know that they’re safe, but their system remains in the “fight or flight” mode, especially when they’re triggered. As you can imagine, this is mentally and physically exhausting.
Weighted blankets are often used by occupational therapists to help patients in psychiatric care. They can help an individual reduce their anxiety and regain control of their emotions.
Experience the Benefits of Weighted Blankets
There are a lot of benefits of weighted blankets!
Whether you’re trying to alleviate the symptoms of a particular condition, or you simply want to get a better night’s sleep, a weighted blanket can help.
But it's not just us saying it. Here at Hush Blankets, we’ve had thousands of people email us to tell us that their lives have been changed after they started using our weighted blankets.
Our blankets are backed by a 100 Night Guarantee, so if you don’t fall in love with your blanket, you can return it.
What are you waiting for? Time to grab those weighted blanket benefits to help ease symptoms of anxiety and stress and finally get a good night's sleep!