Weighted blankets are blankets that are filled with plastic or glass beads or other small round substances that make them heavier than a usual blanket. If you have ever bought and used a hot wrap filled with small beads or a neck pillow, a weighted blanket will feel like that.
Traditionally, weighted blankets are used in clinical settings to help people with specific conditions such as autism to focus on sensory experiences and to calm their nerves and emotions. However, today, companies tend to produce these blankets as a relaxation tool that would prevent both insomnia and anxiety. Theoretically, a heavier cover is better at molding your body, which makes you more secure and comfortable while you sleep. It also puts up more resistance, which makes it harder for you to turn and toss, and it also slows down your breathing and heart rate.
Some studies indicate that the sensation of a gentle, slow touch might activate specific areas of people’s brains that process emotion, as well as create pleasant sensations. If you ever had a massage or backrub before, you might have experienced this feeling.
Which Weight Should the Weighted Blanket be?
According to the experts from Coralablanket.com, you should buy a blanket that is around 10% of your body weight. Hence, if you are around 140 pounds, you should purchase a blanket that is 14-pounds heavy.
What is it Like to Sleep Under a Weighted Blanket?
A lot of people want to know the answer to this question and most people describe it as being held in a gentle hug. As previously mentioned, weighted blankets will apply an even pressure over your body that can help you keep still during the night time and it will provide a soothing effect of being gently hugged – which in return, makes people relaxed and calm.
These covers have an interior lining that is filled with evenly distributed weight. Of course, the weight will depend on the manufacturer, but it usually ranges from 4-5 pounds to 25-30 pounds. Experts suggest that 12 pounds are ideal for relaxation and sleep without creating too much heat and excessive pressure.
How do the Blankets Work?
Isn’t it relaxing and comfortable to feel like you are being hugged by someone you love? Gently applied pressure and touch have powerful and significant physical and psychological effects on your body. A weighted blanket can evoke those effects. The distributed weight by this blanket is often referred to as “deep pressure stimulation” which is the soothing feeling you get.
The Benefits of Using a Weighted Blanket
1. It Enhances Oxytocin
As stated before, the pressure from this cover feels like a hug, which provides a sense of security and warmth. As various studies show, a hug releases the hormone oxytocin that helps create a feeling of ease and relaxation. The hormone also reduces blood pressure and the heart, promoting your body to relax, hence, it improves sleep.
2. It Releases Serotonin and Dopamine
Deep touch stimulation promotes the release of two important brain chemicals – serotonin and dopamine which successfully combats depression, stress, and anxiety.
3. Reduces Cortisol Levels
A therapeutic blanket like the weighted ones can help ground your body during the nighttime which can enhance the calming effect even more. Grounding reduces the levels of cortisol during the night. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can negatively affect your immunity, digestion, and blood sugar.
4. It Boosts Melatonin
When serotonin is stimulated, melatonin hormones are released as well – which can regulate your sleep cycle. That is the real beauty of having a weighted blanket. Its pressure provides a soothing, calming environment that prompts sleep, hence, an anxious, restless, and tense person can get the needed sleep.
5. No more Insomnia
There are various patterns to insomnia. Maybe you cannot stay or fall asleep, or you might be waking up too early, whatever problem you have, a weighted blanket can help you. It can help you reduce insomnia in various ways, which makes the blankets a non-medicine approach to improving sleep quality.
As you can see, there are various benefits of having a weighted blanket. It will not only help you feel refreshed and relaxed, but it will also improve your sleep quality and boost the levels of the hormones that are important for your body to function well.