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 holistic health that can assist you in the process.
One relatively unknown solution may be to use a therapeutic weighted blanket.
Numerous studies have shown that these specialized blankets can alleviate symptoms of the many adverse health events while also helping you to sleep or relax.
These weighted blankets are typically used to administer deep pressure touch simulation (DPTS) therapy. The light pressure from the blanket helps both mental and physical symptoms.
For many people, the blanket 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.
Because of the continuing rise in mental health and other similar health problems, the blankets have become more and more popular in the past few years.
According to an online poll from the American Psychiatric Association, 40 percent of Americans said they felt more anxious in 2018 than they did in 2017, the latter of which also saw a 36 percent increase over 2016.
But weighted blankets can help provide higher-quality sleep for people who feel anxious at night, especially those who sleep alone. They may not be a cure-all, but they are helping people making progress in combating their issues, and getting better sleep.
“The first night’s sleep was indescribable. It does interesting things to the blood flow on your lower extremities. It was like someone was giving me a hug at just the right pressure points,” said one user, Morgan Heitel-Grantham, who has diabetes, about her November 2018 weighted blanket purchase to USA Today.
“The sleep was so deep that my toddler jumped on top of me, adding even more weight, and I didn’t even notice.”
Even doctors have been seeing positive results for patients, including one prominent sleep doctor.
“The pressure a weighted blanket provides when someone is trying to relax into sleep can be comforting,” said Dr. Lynelle Schneeberg, a behavioral sleep psychologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “People like the feeling of getting a hug or a massage. Sleeping under a weighted blanket provides a similar feeling.”
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Weighted blankets apply pressure on the body, which relaxes the nervous system.
They also promote the production of serotonin and endorphins, which has an uplifting effect, and 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 users have also reported the blankets to be 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 blankets were also found to be very calming for babies in another study.
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:
-SensaCalm: available in different colors, patterns, and weights
–Mosaic Weighted Blankets also have weighted belts, shoulder wraps, and vests