Updated at: 22-11-2021 - By: Jane Brody

As someone who has struggled to sleep in the past due to anxiety or stress, I’m sure you’d appreciate any help you can get in getting a decent night’s rest. But for some, it’s a lot more difficult.

A psychologist argues that “some people go to bed ready to fight,” PsyD Scott Bea. At that moment, their brains begin to function normally. I feel like I’m running a marathon with my thoughts.

Weighted blankets may sound a little strange, but they’re all the rage for reportedly reducing anxiety and promoting sleep. Is it possible to get a good night’s sleep by smothering yourself in a blanket that weighs as much as a toddler?

What are weighted blankets?

For those who have difficulty sleeping, weighted blankets are loaded with plastic pellets or glass beads that make them feel like dental X-rays on a bed-sized scale. Devotees claim that they may alleviate stress and help you get a good night’s sleep by weighing between five and 30 pounds.

Because of the added weight, deep pressure, it’s hoped that it will assist alleviate anxiety and keep sleep at bay. There’s more to come on that later.

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How heavy of a weighted blanket should you use?

Adults should wear a blanket that is 10% of their body weight or more, according to manufacturers’ recommendations. The thickness of the filler is regulated by the material used. To compensate for the glass beads’ smaller size compared to the plastic pellets, weighted blankets often have a more slender profile.

There are a broad variety of choices available if sleep temperature is an issue. Whether you’re looking for a cooling bamboo-covered blanket or a weighted blanket with extra stuffing for warmth, there’s a blanket out there for you.

Do weighted blankets work?

Maybe? Several weighted blankets are available for purchase on the internet. There aren’t as many studies on how effective they are. Weighted blankets have been proved to be helpful in lowering anxiety in some cases, according to research.

  • A 5-minute nap under a 30-pound blanket reduced the anxiety of 63% of 32 adult volunteers in a research.
  • For those who have been hospitalized for a mental health crisis, weighted blankets have been shown to reduce anxiety by 60%.
  • Even though it seems encouraging, the evidence linking weighted blankets to insomnia is weaker, and there simply aren’t many research on the topic.

As Dr. Bea puts it, it’s too early in the process to draw any scientific conclusions. However, he points out that the existing studies are rather small and have a lot of limitations. Weighed blankets haven’t been studied extensively yet, therefore we can’t say for sure if they have a significant impact.

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4 Ways Weighted Blankets Can Actually Help You

With the perfect blanket, wrapping yourself in a blanket can feel like a big hug. The first step is to make sure it’s soft, warm, and cozy. Have you ever wondered how your blanket’s weight influences its comfort? Weighted blankets can be more soothing and possibly beneficial to your health than their lighter counterparts.

Weighted blankets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. To make them heavier, they’re frequently stuffed with microscopic plastic pellets. Small children can benefit from blankets with just a few additional pounds on them. Those with more than a 20-pound weight gain may be best suited for adults.

1. Anxiety

At some point in our lives, we all encounter anxiety. It’s a sensation of dread and apprehension about the future. A rise in heart rate and a quickening of the breath are signs your body is preparing itself for stress.

An anxiety disorder may be present if your anxiety is persistent and interfering with your regular activities. Even if you don’t have an upcoming event in mind, you may find yourself too concerned with mundane concerns. As a result, your body may feel as if it is constantly in a stressful scenario or setting.

Your body’s autonomic nerve system, which is responsible for basic biological activities including breathing, digesting, sweating, and shivering, adapts to the environment around you. The “fight or flight” reflex is a common term for this.

Some of the symptoms of anxiety, such as a rapid heartbeat or breathing, can be alleviated by the use of weighted blankets. This can help bring a sense of serenity to the entire body.

2. Sleep Disorders

You’re not the only one who experiences occasional bouts of restless sleep. Over 40 million people in the United States have a long-term, chronic sleep disorder, which affects about 20 million people every year.

If you have a sleep disturbance, stress and worry can cause it to develop in the first place, or they might exacerbate it. Even if you don’t have an anxiety disorder, stress and anxiety can have a negative impact on your sleep. “Anxiety about the next day’s test or presentation can keep you awake at night,” said Martin L. Levinson, MD, FACP, FCCP, a physician at Penn Sleep Center Cherry Hill.

As your heart and breathing rate slow down, you’ll obtain the rest you need to feel rested the next day. Weighted blankets do this by putting pressure on your body.

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3. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

When it comes to paying attention and sitting quiet, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have a difficult time controlling their impulses.” As Dr. Levinson explains, “This might cause problems in the classroom or at home, and it can have a negative impact on the student’s learning and relationships with friends and family.”

Distractions such as other people’s voices or the weather can be a problem for children with ADHD. Keeping their attention on the teacher’s speech is more difficult for them.

To discourage youngsters from being distracted by other sensory stimulation, such as noises, weighted blankets activate the sensation of touch. As a result, they may be able to focus better, stay seated longer, and fidget less during class. You can acquire a weighted vest instead of a blanket for your child if they don’t want to use one in class.

4. Autism

Dr. Levinson explained that “social engagement might be difficult for someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).” Stress and worry can be exacerbated by this, making it difficult to concentrate and perform well at school or the workplace or in public.

Weighted blankets can help patients with Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD) alleviate stress and increase their ability to concentrate. As a bonus, it can help them feel like they’re being recognized.

Sensory stimuli, such as noises and touch, may also be too much for people with Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD). Activities like playing, working, and socializing can be more difficult because of this. A weighted blanket can genuinely bring relief from over-stimulated feelings and allow people to rest.

Do you want to learn more about anxiety-relieving products like weighted blankets? Request an appointment with a Penn Medicine primary care physician online or by calling 800-789-7366 to discuss your anxiety and how you can cope.

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