What is a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets are heavier than the usual comforter or down quilt. They typically weigh between 4 to 30 pounds, as the person’s size (child or adult) will determine the safest weight for that person.
The concept originated with treatment for people with a sensory disorder like autism spectrum disorder, as they suffer from anxiety symptoms. Since then, weighted blankets have been used to reduce or manage the symptoms of:
- Sleep disorders
- Nervous disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Benefits of Therapeutic Weighted Blankets
Also referred to as a pressure blanket, this special covering creates a sense of being swaddled. The physical connection that you feel provides a sense of warmth and safety that helps the body relax.
Research shows that weighted blanket therapy creates a type of physical connection that has an abundance of positive effects on hormones governing the nervous system, affecting both mood and stress level.
Improves Oxytocin: The pressure from an anti-stress blanket has been compared to a hug, which provides warmth and a sense of security. As research shows, a hug releases the hormone oxytocin in the body which helps provide a feeling of relaxation, making you feel at ease. Oxytocin also slows the heart and reduces blood pressure, also prompting the body to relax.
Boosts Serotonin & Dopamine: The therapy blanket also provides a gentle yet deep pressure that goes deep within the body. Research shows that this form of therapy, called deep touch pressure stimulation or proprioceptive pressure, promotes the release of serotonin and dopamine, two brain chemicals that that have a calming effect and combat stress, anxiety and depression.
Releases Melatonin: When the weighted blanket stimulates serotonin, melatonin hormones are also released promoting sleep and helping regulate the sleep cycle.
Reduces Cortisol: A therapeutic weighted blanket helps ground your body during sleep which may enhance the deeply calming effect. Studies show that grounding may help reduce nighttime levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that has a negative effect on blood sugar, digestion, and immunity.
Overall, the pressure of the weighted blanket provides a calming, soothing environment that is conducive to sleep, helping the anxious person get the rest they need.
How to Buy an Anti-Stress Blanket
When buying a weighted stress blanket, it’s important to consider the weight. Look for a blanket with evenly distributed weight. The weight varies based on who the intended user is and size. A child will need one that’s smaller, lighter, compared to an adult.
Adults are advised to buy one that’s 5 to 10 percent of their body weight. For children, the recommendation is 10 percent of body weight plus 1 to 2 pounds.
Also, make sure it’s created from a natural fiber, such as 100 percent cotton, which “breathes.”
Mela Comfort’s weighted blankets are intended for adults only because of the blanket’s size.
Also, some people do not adapt well to a stress weighted blanket as it may create some additional heat. Talk to your doctor before making the purchase if you have any of these health issues:
- Chronic health disorder
- Menopausal symptoms
- Circulation disorder
- Breathing/respiratory problems