Weighted Blankets for Sleep and Anxiety: Why You Probably Want To Try This

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Even though we constantly hear about the importance of what we sleep on, it turns out that it is equally important to take care of what we sleep under.  You have surely heard of weighted blankets so far, but do you have an idea of what they really are, and why they have skyrocketed in popularity over the last two years?

Well, these blankets are a safe and effective non-drug therapy for anyone seeking a solution for loss of sleep and relaxation.

Karen Moore, OTR/L, an occupational therapist in Franconia, N.H.  explains:

“In psychiatric care, weighted blankets are one of our most powerful tools for helping people who are anxious, upset, and possibly on the verge of losing control. These blankets work by providing input to the deep pressure touch receptors throughout the body. Deep pressure touch helps the body relax. Like a firm hug, weighted blankets help us feel secure, grounded, and safe.”

Moreover, W. Chris Winter, M.D., president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine and author of “The Sleep Solution” says:

“Constricting movement through swaddling and hugging creates a sensory input to the cerebellum that has a calming effect in humans and most animals, and in some, the effect is nearly immediate.”

Sleepers have confirmed the benefits of weighted blankets too many times, so we decided to review their effects as well:

1. Improve and Promote Restful Sleep

Weighted blankets relax the body and help you feel safe, and trigger the serotonin release in the body, which calms you, treats insomnia, and helps you fall in a restful sleep.

2. Reduce Anxiety

These blankets treat anxiety and help in the treatment of trauma, depression, paranoia, PTSD, detoxification and so on.

Studies have also shown that weighted blankets calm dental patients, and are beneficial in the treatment of anxiety from obsessive-compulsive disorder, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral palsy.

3. Improve Focus

Studies have shown that weighted vests improve the focus in the classroom, even in children with ADHD. The effects of weighted blankets are similar, as they treat issues with sensory overload, and reduce self-stimulating behaviors, like fidgeting or stimming.

4. Ease Transition Times

Certain changes in class can cause distress in children, so many special education teachers utilize weighted blankets to ease these transitions.

5. Calm Meltdowns

A weighted blanket is something you should definitely try in case you have a child with special needs, such as autism, or a child who struggles with frequent meltdowns. It calms their anxiety and frustration as it gives a hug, and scientists have found that it also reduces distress in psychiatric patients. 

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Note that you should avoid these blankets if you suffer from some kind of circulatory or respiratory condition.  Weighted blankets weigh around 15 to 30 pounds, so it would be best to seek guidance from your doctor about its use.  And then, just enjoy your well-deserved sleep!


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