Are you struggling to sleep? Or when you do finally drop off are you finding yourself tossing and turning the whole night through? You’re not alone. The problem of too little sleep and the quest for more of it is as acute as ever. In fact, over 65% of people admit they have trouble sleeping or staying asleep most nights. If you have problems with sleeping, it might be time to invest in a weighted blanket.
What Is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket is a blanket filled with weighted materials such as plastic or metal pellets. Using the principles of Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) or Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS), the weighted blanket creates a feeling of physical pressure which results in a calming effect.
Over the years, weighted blankets have grown in popularity, offering problem sleepers an easy solution to a peaceful night’s sleep. Coming in various shapes, sizes, colours and weights, they’re an important part of many people’s bedtime routine.
Why are Weighted Blankets Useful?
Weighted blankets have multiple benefits that help support various disorders including PTSD, anxiety, depression, ADHD and autism. This is because of the calm-inducing effect the blanket has on the entire body, creating a similar feeling of being hugged, stroked or held.
The deep pressure feeling from the weighted blanket activates the release of the ‘feel-good’ brain chemical, serotonin. When serotonin is released it activates the production of melatonin, which helps promote sleep. But it doesn’t end there… Weighted blankets can also help increase the production of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for feeling relaxed. This, in turn, lowers your heart rate, which leads to the overall feeling of calmness that the blanket provides. Sounds good, doesn’t it? We think so too.
What are Weighted Blankets Used for?
There are several reasons why you might want to use a weighted blanket. Typically, the blanket is used by occupational therapists to treat patients with sensory processing disorders. And it’s used to help alleviate the symptoms of autism.
Other uses for weighted blankets include...
Anxiety and Stress Relief
Now more than ever before people are stressed, particularly amidst the global pandemic. The hustle and bustle of daily life can get you down and seriously impact your mental health. This is where weighted blankets can help! The deep touch pressure can provide you with some much-needed relief.
Helps with Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders are not uncommon. When stress and anxiety are heightened it can cause sleep disorders to begin or even worsen. As discussed above, the pressure from the weighted blankets reduces your heart rate which can have a calming effect on your body - helping you get the sleep you need, when you need it most.
Improves ADHD Symptoms
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can lead to lack of focus, restlessness and highly impulsive behaviour. Weighted blankets can help calm and soothe these symptoms by activating the release of serotonin and melatonin.
Alleviates Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Restless Leg Syndrome patients often suffer from tingling or creeping sensations in their legs which worsens at night time. This can lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia. Although some patients find relief when using compression socks, weighted blankets have been found to alleviate the symptoms of RLS too.
Eases PTSD Symptoms
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be incredibly difficult to live with. Not only does it cause flashbacks, aggression and disassociation, it can also cause significant sleep disturbances. Weighted blankets are used as a non-medical treatment, to help ease even the most severe symptoms of PTSD. The weighted pressure from the blanket emulates the feeling of being comforted or being in a protected space - creating a feeling of calm for PTSD sufferers.
Supports the Elderly
With ageing, our sleep patterns tend to change. In general, people find that ageing causes them to have a harder time falling asleep. They awaken more in the night and earlier in the morning. Weighted blankets can help with this! The sense of calm created by the weighted blanket makes it easier for an elderly person to settle down and wake up feeling refreshed.
Improves Sleep Quality and Duration
How many times have you woken up feeling tired? Or felt fatigued throughout the day? This is often caused by poor quality sleep during the night. Weighted blankets can help improve the quality of your sleep because its deep pressure helps you fall asleep faster and for longer.
Relieves Symptoms of Tourette's
Neurological disorders such as Tourette's involve repetitive movements or unwanted sounds (tics) that can’t be easily controlled. These symptoms lead to anxiety and fatigue. The deep pressure therapy from a weighted blanket can help ease these symptoms and improve sleep.
What’s it Like to Sleep Under a Weighted Blanket?
People find sleeping under a weighted blanket very relaxing and comforting. It can feel like a gentle hug... When used correctly!
For best results, the blanket needs to be evenly distributed across your whole body from the neck down - ensuring your chest and legs are fully covered. If you prefer to sleep with your feet uncovered, that’s fine - you should always feel comfortable when using the blanket.
You must use the weighted blanket properly - always read the instructions! This is because when used incorrectly the weighted blanket can lead to proprioceptive desensitization and muscle fatigue.
Also, be sure to select the right size and weight for the user. If the weighted blanket is too heavy it can restrict movement. So, take particular care with regards to small children and the elderly.
To help you get the most out of your weighted blanket we’ve answered some of the commonly asked questions.
Q: How long should a weighted blanket be used?
You should use a weighted blanket consistently every night, to feel its full effects.
Q: Who should not use a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets shouldn’t be used by children under 2 years of age due to an increased risk of suffocation. Also, weighted blankets are not suitable for people with claustrophobia, asthma or sleep apnea. We recommend consulting your doctor before purchasing a weighted blanket if you suffer from the conditions discussed or similar.
Q: Do you use a weighted blanket with a duvet?
The short answer is yes, you can use a weighted blanket with a duvet. But be sure to put the blanket on top of the duvet for best results.
We hope by reading this you now understand what a weighted blanket is and how to use it. Weighted blankets are fast becoming a special type of alternative to medication and when learning about the blankets’ benefits it’s easy to see why.
If you think that weighted blankets are for you, then check out our beautiful collection, today - you won’t be disappointed! Sweet dreams.