Weighted Blanket for Anxiety: A Hug for Emotional Health
A weighted blanket for anxiety? Is it possible that a blanket may be the key to achieving your health goals? Today we will explore how weighted blankets have a positive impact on your physical health and mental and emotional wellbeing.
What Is A Weighted Blanket?
As the name suggests, weighted blankets are specially made heavy blankets. The weight will vary depending on if the blanket is made for children or adults. It is weighted by sewing in a weighted material (like poly or plastic pellets, glass beads, or weighted disks), around two otherwise soft layers.
A weighted blanket mimics the sensation of being hugged, a concept that gave rise to baby swaddles. Although weighted blankets are not suggested for babies or children too small to move or remove the blanket if needed, it enables that sense of safety, love, and support for people of all ages.
Weighted Blanket for Anxiety: How Weighted Blankets Work
Weighted blankets activate the brain due to the pressure put on the skin’s sensory system. It has to do with the proprioceptive sense that informs your brain about your body’s position in space, enabling it to relax (or not).
A weighted blanket triggers a calming hormonal response by the release of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin that occurs when the skin experiences light pressure. The concept is not all that different than the benefits of a hug, which makes the nervous system feel safe and protected.
Oxytocin is a potent chemical, and once it’s release, it leads to:
- Lowering the heart rate
- Calming nerves
- Reducing stress (cortisol) levels
- Decreasing blood pressure
- Boosts optimism
- Increases self-esteem
- Boosts metabolism
Weighted Blanket for Anxiety
The feel-good chemicals released thanks to the sensory pressure of a weighted blanket can instantly reduce feelings of anxiety. In today’s increasingly stressful world, many people lay in bed with thoughts racing through their heads– keeping them tired but wired. The release of oxytocin can help calm a racing mind and help you ease into a deeper sleep, faster.
Weighted Blanket for Reduced Restlessness
Another benefit of a weighted blanket is that the gentle physical pressure can keep you from tossing and turning too much during the night. This pressure is especially useful when two people are sharing a bed, to ensure that you’re not waking up your sleep partner every time you roll over. Studies also suggest that the weighted blanket can reduce the instances of restless leg syndrome.
By minimizing movement during the night, you increase the quality of your sleep and likelihood of tapping into those more profound states of sleep.
Weighted Blanket for Anxiety: The Benefits of A Weighted Blanket
Many of the hormonal benefits of weighted blankets mentioned above help you achieve a deeper and longer sleep. Although they are in of themselves benefits, a consistent good night’s sleep has a powerful ripple effect on your health and wellbeing.
Some of the benefits of sleeping more prolonged and deeper include:
- Lowering the risk of heart disease
- Improving skin health
- Lowering the risk of cancer
- Improves weight loss efforts
- Boosting the immune system
- Reducing brain fog
- Increasing mood
- Improving insulin sensitivity
Weighted blankets were first ‘discovered’ by occupational therapists for sensory integration therapy. The calming results were so profound with patients suffering from autism, anxiety, depression, and sensory processing disorders. Encouraging a good night’s sleep sets up the following day for all the benefits mentioned above, both in those suffering from sensory processing issues and those merely trying to optimize their sleep.
Weighted Blanket for Anxiety: Finding A Good Weighted Blanket
Ideally, you want to avoid a blanket that is weighted using any toxic materials. We like Xalm Blanket because they use odorless, hypoallergenic glass beads instead of plastic. The beads are spread out thanks to the stitching pattern, ensuring that the weight is distributed evenly throughout the whole blanket. Xalm is made of high-quality materials that will last, and soft, breathable fabric.
You also want to ensure that the blanket has sufficient weight. The general suggestion is to get a blanket that weighs 5 to 12 percent of your total body weight. The blanket size should be enough to cover your entire body, or ideally, the full size of the bed.
Weighted blankets created a calming hormonal response by putting pressure on the body’s sensory system. Applying pressure on you while you sleep increases the release of various feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. As a result, a longer and deeper sleep which leads to a wide range of benefits from reduced brain fog, lower instances of cancer and heart disease, and improvements in skin, insulin sensitivity, and mood. These blankets are made by enveloping a heavy material (like plastic pellets, glass beads, or weighted disks) in a soft fabric. Ideally, a weighted blanket will weigh about 5-12 percent of your total body weight for optimal results.
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