When struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, or stress, sometimes small lifestyle adjustments can make the biggest difference. Changing your habits, both mental and physical, is the first step, but there are also plenty of unique pieces of equipment that can assist you in the process.
One relatively unknown solution may be to use a therapeutic weighted blanket. Numerous studies have shown that it can alleviate symptoms of the aforementioned adverse health events while you sleep or relax.
A weighted blanket is used to administer deep pressure touch simulation (DPTS) therapy. The light pressure from the blanket helps both mental and physical symptoms. It has a calming and relaxing effect on mind and body.
“Weighted blankets are one of our most powerful tools for helping people who are anxious, upset, and possibly on the verge of losing control,” according to Occupational Therapist Karen Moore.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Weighted blankets apply pressure on the body, which relaxes the nervous system. It also promotes the production of serotonin and endorphins, which has an uplifting effect, and it regulates the mood.
The Benefits of Weighted Blankets
DPTS blankets have been successfully used for others for the following conditions:
Insomnia and sleep issues
Symptoms related to autism
Aggression and anger
Symptoms associated with bi-polar disorder
Some also reported it beneficial for severe disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease and many others.
Studies Show Numerous Benefits of Weighted Blankets
– A 2008 study showed that weighted blankets are beneficial for anxiety. The study used a 30 lb. blankets on adults. In total, 63% reported a decrease in anxiety, and 78% found it calming.
– A 2015 study used 30 pound blanket on adults during an inpatient mental health hospitalization. 60% of them reported significant decrease in anxiety after use.
– Research on DPTS started as early as the 1950s. One article from 1992 found great benefits of this therapy for patients with autism. It reduces self-harming behaviors in autistic children, as well as produced better sleep. It also relaxes the muscles.
One adult autistic patient has stated, “I need heavy blankets on me to sleep well, or else my muscles won’t calm down.”
– Weighted blanket were also found to be very calming for babies.
How to Use A Weighted Blanket and Where to Get One
The general recommendation for the weight of the blanket is 10% of the weight of the person plus one pound.
The blanket can be used at night, during naps, or used casually quick calming effect. Studies have used it for as little as 10 minutes and up to 2 hours, but it can stay on as long as you would like. It is the most beneficial to have your whole body covered, but do do not place the blanket on top of the head or face as it can create a suffocating sensation.
Some blankets can offer benefits by using other sensory experiences: type of fabric used, temperature, and color and pattern.
The most well-known companies selling weighted blankets currently are: