Do Weighted Blankets Help Deal With Stress and Anxiety?
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Some people are lucky enough to be able to drift off to sleep in a matter of minutes, then wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Unfortunately, others are losing sleep over negative thoughts and being left awake by a sense of dread.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. However, do not worry just yet.
With the right blanket, it can feel like you are being wrapped in one giant hug, while all of your worries and fears melt away. To experience all of these benefits and more, consider trying a weighted blanket, also sometimes known as a gravity blanket.
What Are Weighted Blankets, and What Are They Made Of?
Featuring Weavve’s Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are similar to regular blankets. But what is special about them is that they have an additional weight that mimics a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation, which helps calm an overstimulated system. With the right amount of pressure, those who use this type of blanket will feel like they’re being hugged, massaged, or cuddled.
These blankets come in different sizes, weights, colors, and materials. Additionally, they are made heavy with fillers. The most common weighted blanket materials are:
- Micro glass beads
- Nano-ceramic beads
- Steel shot beads
- Plastic poly pellets
- Dried foods (Rice, beans, corn, or barley)
What Happens to Your Body When You Use Weighted Blankets?
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Weighted blankets offer a sense of comfort and security, thanks to the filling materials that make them extra heavy. To help you decide why you should give them a try, here’s what happens to your body when you use them:
If you have trouble sleeping, you have all the more reason to try a weighed blanket. It triggers the release of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep cycle and promotes restful sleep.
Gravity blankets can also create a feeling of being swaddled, which further eases the mind and body. All of these benefits promote a good night’s rest that you need and deserve.
The gentle yet firm pressure that weighted blankets offer mimics the feeling of a warm embrace. This then allows the body to release oxytocin, a hormone that slows down the heart rate and reduces blood pressure. It encourages relaxation, which helps you sleep faster and more restfully.
These blankets trigger the release of serotonin, also known as the happy chemical. It nurtures healthy sleeping patterns as it regulates sleep-wake cycles. Also, increased serotonin levels boost the mood and reduce stress.
Sleep is all about comfort, and these therapeutic blankets help you feel as cozy as possible. They help ground the body during sleep and reduce cortisol, a stress hormone that gets released from the adrenal glands in your body.
How Does Stress and Anxiety Affect Sleep?
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Feeling anxious is normal from time to time. Everyone is bound to worry over significant life changes, like getting a new job or starting a family. This could also be experienced when people are put in unfamiliar social situations.
When these feelings of dread, fear, or worry persist and become overwhelming, they can affect daily life. They could be classified as chronic stress, social anxiety disorder, or other kinds of anxiety disorders.
People with anxiety usually suffer from sleep problems. This is because they often don’t feel the sense of calm, comfort, and security that’s necessary for a restful sleep. Generally, they have trouble feeling cozy and safe because of negative thoughts or disturbing dreams.
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On the other hand, some people develop sleep anxiety. This occurs when sleepers dread going to bed at night due to the difficulty of falling and staying asleep.
Unfortunately, the more people suffer from sleep deprivation, the more they tend to feel stressed and experience anxiety. When this happens, they get stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of sleep problems and acute stress.
The best option for this dilemma is to seek treatment to manage stress and reduce anxiety. Trying a weighted blanket can be a good start.
Do Weighted Blankets Provide Stress and Anxiety Relief?
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Weighted blankets help many people enter a calm, relaxed state faster, letting them sleep better despite experiencing various types of stress and anxiety. Here are some ways they offer stress and anxiety relief:
Produces a Soothing Effect
These therapeutic blankets give a soothing effect that provides a feeling of calmness and comfort. According to the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders, weighted pressure on the body reduces anxiety and lets people feel more refreshed the next day. The researchers also noted that applying deep pressure benefits those with high levels of anxiety or arousal.
Lowers Blood Pressure Rates
Being stressed and dealing with anxiety activates the body’s fight-or-flight response. This results in an increased heart rate and shortness of breath. Without calm nerves, getting a good night’s rest is difficult.
With a weighted blanket, the deep pressure on the body activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This calms the nerves, encourages relaxation, and slows down functions, including lowering the heart and breathing rate.
Provides a Grounding Effect
The deep pressure from the blanket pushes the body downwards. This provides an earthing or grounding effect, a process that roots people in the present moment.
The blanket works by reducing night-time cortisol levels, which distracts the brain and makes it forget about anxious thoughts. It is especially helpful for those who tend to overthink, and their senses often bring them elsewhere.
Are Weighted Blankets Worth Trying for Anxiety and Stress Relief?
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There are a plethora of factors and benefits you should take into consideration when buying a weighted blanket for yourself.
Several studies show that weighted blankets can develop feelings of relaxation, comfort, and security. While they serve as evidence that they can indeed reduce stress and anxiety, remember to be realistic about your expectations. Results vary from one person to another.
Also, although gravity weighted blankets can be a potential tool for stress and anxiety relief, they should not be treated as a primary treatment for diagnosable mental health conditions. They may also be unsuitable for those who are claustrophobic or have an underlying condition. Consult a doctor to relieve severe symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Other Ways Weighted Blankets May Help
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Gravity blankets can reduce or manage the symptoms of different health problems. For this reason, it is used as a therapeutic tool in some treatments. Here are other weighted blanket benefits:
Eases Sensory Processing Disorder Symptoms
These blankets are often part of sensory integration therapy, a type of occupational therapy. They help regulate the sensory experiences of people with autism or other sensory processing disorders. Thanks to a safe sensory experience offered by the blankets, patients learn to process and react to sensations more effectively.
Promotes Better Sleep for People With Insomnia
People with insomnia likely toss and turn throughout the night. Because of a lack of rest, they end up feeling extremely tired and exhausted.
To hopefully get better sleep, many of them resort to popping sleeping pills. While these medications are often effective, they usually have undesirable side effects.
The better option is using weighted blankets. It is now considered a safe non-drug intervention to treat insomnia. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, insomnia patients with psychiatric disorders who used this blanket experienced improved sleep, less daytime sleepiness, and reduced insomnia severity.
Relieves PTSD Symptoms
People with PTSD usually experience flashbacks and nightmares. These symptoms tend to get worse at night.
Thankfully, a weighted blanket may help alleviate these symptoms. It stimulates the body through deep touch pressure stimulation, which triggers serotonin production. In other words, it not only relieves PTSD symptoms but also helps regulate the body’s sleep cycle.
Helps Alleviate Panic Disorder Symptoms
These blankets apply firm and gentle pressure to the body. Since using them feels like receiving a full-body hug, they calm the mind and the body by promoting calming hormones and neurotransmitters. This means that they can help avoid meltdowns and let people with panic disorder rest easier.
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Dealing with stress and anxiety is not an easy feat. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, it can interfere with your daily life and hinder you from getting a good night’s rest.
The good news is that bedtime shouldn’t have to feel like torture. With weighted blankets, you can feel relaxed and enjoy better sleep.
Before buying, it’s advisable to get a blanket that weighs approximately 10% of your body weight. Don’t forget to check the fabric to ensure optimal comfort. After all, you don’t want to feel too hot or suffocated by your blanket.
If you’re now ready to buy a weighted blanket in Singapore, check out our ultimate guide to weighted blankets!
Weavve’s Weighted Blanket
Weavve’s weighted blanket is designed with smaller compartments for even weight distribution, which helps you relax by simulating the feeling of being held or hugged. Additionally, our weighted blankets are hypoallergenic and non-toxic with a breathable fabric that is machine and dryer safe, so you can be sure to get a good night’s sleep.
Weavve’s Lyocell Duvet
Want something lighter? Try our lyocell duvet instead.
Weavve’s TENCEL™ Lyocell duvet is the first in Singapore featuring 100% pure TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres in both its exterior fabric and inner filling, providing you with great thermal regulation properties for maximum comfort and rest.