Weighted blankets calm anxiety, according to science. In its simplest form, a weighted blanket is just that. A blanket that is intentionally heavier than a standard blanket. Remember how it felt to crawl underneath one of your great-grandmother’s quilts and how the heaviness of it felt comforting? It’s kinda like that. A study published in 2015 found that a weighted blanket lengthened average sleep time. The study also found a decreased disruptive movement of people suffering from insomnia. Study subjects also reported that they “liked sleeping with the blanket. They found it easier to settle down to sleep and had an improved sleep.”
Who Should Use a Weighted Blanket?
There are a number of different people who could benefit from using a weighted blanket. For starters, the deep pressure sensation of a weighted blanket covering the body has been described by some to be like “a big hug”. The deep pressure is relaxing and calming, which is especially useful for sleep. Special attention is paid to the texture of the blanket for those who are particularly touch-sensitive. Weighted blankets first gained their popularity among children and adults with sensory processing disorder (SPD).
Additionally, weighted blankets have been helpful for those affected by insomnia. Furthermore, it is also helpful for those with chronic pain. This can include fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome. The use of a weighted blanket is an excellent coping strategy for decreasing stress, increasing focused thought, and combating cravings for those who live with depression, mania, anxiety, psychosis, paranoia, trauma or who are undergoing detoxification.
How It Can Help
Hands down, weighted blankets have a profound and effective non-pharmaceutically-based effect on the user. Weighted blankets can help sufferers “self-organize”, decrease anxiety, and relax. They can be used both during a crisis state and as a preventative.
Weighted blankets tend to be on the larger side. They are large enough to cover an adult’s entire body. The weight of these blankets is well dispersed. Weighted blankets aren’t heavy enough to pin a person down. However, they are heavy enough to make your movements feel conscious and deliberate.
It’s a Way to Stay Grounded
Anxiety thrives under chaos. That’s why coping skills that ground you are such wonderful tools. Some situations require certain coping skills. Maybe you utilize deep breaths on a crowded subway train. Or perhaps you use a quick 5-minute meditation during a work crisis. Weighted blankets can have the same kind of effect.
It Helps You Get Better Sleep
Are you a person who has trouble falling asleep? What about staying asleep? PTSDJournal.com explains there’s a study that shows sleeping with a weighted blanket can reduce insomnia and anxiety. It says the blanket will mold to your body shape “like a warm hug.” Not to mention that the pressure will help relax your nervous system. The benefits also go back to the neurotransmitters from deep touch – the serotonin produced will convert into melatonin, which is your body’s natural sleep hormone.
Yet while weighted blankets have a number of pros, it has its downfalls as well. Weighted blankets can make it really hard to get out of bed in the morning. So, if you are a person who struggles with depression, adding this to your toolbelt may not be so helpful. Next, you need to keep an eye on pets and young children if you have a weighted blanket. These blankets come with a warning for a good reason. Any human or animal under 50 lbs could get stuck underneath the weight of the blanket. Lastly, weighted blankets are expensive. They tend to sell around $279 a blanket.
Let CPA Help Too!
We know you need a toolbox full of skills in order to cope with the challenges life throws at us. At CPA, we will always encourage patients to explore coping mechanisms that work best for them. However, we also know that a number of those skills come from counseling and different methods of therapy. Cristina Panaccione and Associates has two locations in the South Hills. We are currently accepting a limited number of new patients, so check out our videos to learn more about how we can help teach you the skills to fight depression and anxiety!
For those interested in learning more about weighted blankets. Check out this post.
Danielle A. LeFevre
Danielle A. LeFerve is a Nationally Certified Counselor with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health. She has an eclectic history of work experience which has afforded her the opportunity to work with both children and adults. She is knowledgeable in the areas concerned with Mood disorders, ODD, conduct disorders, crisis management, trauma, suicidality, family conflict, and life transitions. And she uses a person-centered, humanistic approach along with cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and attachment theory. She understands that life is a journey, one of which that is not always a smooth ride. That’s why she is here, to help you navigate the detours. She is passionate about facilitating a healthy overall well-being for all individuals, as she works to help you further your life goals.