There have been a lot of different sleep and bedding trends and innovations over the years. One that you’ve probably heard of that has risen in popularity rather dramatically in the last few years is weighted blankets. Although they may seem like they are new, they are anything but as they have been in production for several decades and have been used to help children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder find some relief.
If you are not on the spectrum and have different ailments, a weighted blanket could still be a worthwhile investment. They have been known, for example, to help with conditions like ADHD, anxiety, restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia and insomnia to name a few.
Do they work though? That’s the subject we are going to expand upon in the following post.
First things first, let’s look at what they are.
What Are Weighted Blankets?
Blankets with weights maybe a too simplistic a description, even if it is completely true. Let’s open it up a little. For the most part, weighted blankets are no different to look at than standard blankets. The difference comes with the filling inside. Rather than fiberfill or down, they use either plastic or glass pellets. Although, saying that, there are some out there with both.
What you will find is that most manufacturers make their weighted blankets with lots of sections filled with pellets or beads that are designed to give you a balanced distribution of the weight, which makes them also perfect blankets for couples. You can even get some with washable and removable covers which makes them much easier to clean.
Now let’s get down to the real nitty-gritty…
How Do They Actually Work?
The key to why lying under a piece of heavy fabric or blanket helps you to feel less anxious and stressed and therefore relaxed and comfortable, is what is known as deep pressure stimulation and deep pressure touch. This form of therapy takes various forms, from waddling for babies to massage and even hugs. Basically, when an even amount of pressure is used on your body, that is a deep pressure touch. This form of therapy has been shown to provide various benefits, including the increase in melatonin, serotonin and dopamine, all hormones related to relaxation, mood and telling our brains its night time and time to get some sleep, while reducing the hormone, cortisol, that our bodies produce and release when we are stressed.
There is also evidence that deep pressure touch can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. That’s the part of our body that puts us into that state of relaxation that helps us to sleep. This is the direct opposite of the sympathetic nervous system which sets off our ‘fight or flight state.
As we are not able to have massages every day of our lives, unless we live with a masseuse or physical therapist of some kind, and you don’t want to be swaddled, the best alternative is a weighted blanket at liveenhanced.com.