Are you someone who struggles with getting a good night’s sleep and would like to be able to fall asleep faster? Are you also someone who struggles with anxiety?
Trouble sleeping and anxiety very often go hand in hand. Racing thoughts from anxiety make it difficult to calm down and get to sleep. And not getting enough sleep makes the anxiety worse. Anxiety and insomnia can be a self-perpetuating, vicious cycle.
If you’re looking for a non-medicinal way to deal with your anxiety and insomnia, getting a weighted blanket (also known as a gravity blanket) may be the solution you’re searching for. Here’s everything you need to know about a weighted blanket for adult use.
What is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket is exactly what it sounds like – a heavy blanket. Most weighted blankets are filled with plastic pellets , glass beads or fiberfill to make them heavier.
They come in a variety of weights and sizes including twin size, full size, queen size and king size and typically range between 4 pounds to 25 pounds. The weight of the blanket you should use depends on your body weight. A 15-pound blanket is usually recommended for adults who weigh between 110 and 150 pounds. Smaller adults should use a blanket with less weight, while larger adults should use a blanket with more weight.
Weighted blankets can be very helpful therapeutic tools for people who struggle with anxiety and insomnia. Even people who don’t struggle with these issues find weighted blankets to be very comforting.
How a Weighted Blanket Can Help Stress and Anxiety
Weighted blankets have been used in therapeutic settings for many years. They were originally used as therapeutic tools for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and children with ADHD.
Therapists found that when children with these behavioral issues were unable to regulate themselves, the pressure of being held was helpful in calming them. However, actually holding these children proved difficult because many of them had an aversion to touch while they were agitated. So they used weighted blankets to simulate the feeling of being held without actual human contact.
Therapists then began using weighted blankets with other patients who had trouble regulating themselves, like patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and other anxiety disorders. They discovered that the calming effects of the weighted blanket also worked to reduce anxiety.
Since the weighted blankets were so helpful in treating anxiety, therapists posited that they could also be used to relieve chronic stress.
These days weighted blankets are no longer solely used in therapeutic settings. They’ve gone mainstream. Many people find that weighted blankets are very effective as part of a treatment plan for anxiety and that they can help reduce everyday stress.
Why Does it Work?
How do weighted blankets work to reduce stress and anxiety? Through a process called deep pressure stimulation. Deep pressure stimulation occurs when we experience pressure via touch, like when we’re getting a hug. It’s the feeling of being all wrapped up, with pressure applied evenly over the body.
Humans have known for centuries that simulating being held is comforting; that’s why we swaddle babies. What we’ve come to understand is that the same thing applies to adults. When we feel like we’re being held, we feel less anxious, and we’re better able to regulate our feelings. A weighted blanket is the perfect way to simulate being held.
Experiencing deep pressure stimulation, like when you’re under a weighted blanket, has been shown to reduce levels of the hormone cortisol, which is commonly known as the stress hormone. It also increases levels of the hormones serotonin and dopamine, which help us to feel happier and more relaxed. The increased levels of serotonin and dopamine triggered by the weighted blanket may also help with depression.
Deep pressure stimulation also activates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for calming the “fight, flight, or freeze” response in our bodies. When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, we relax.
If you struggle with anxiety or chronic everyday stress, using a weighted blanket can help trigger your body to relax in a number of ways. This can be a very effective way to manage your stress and anxiety.
How a Weighted Blanket Can Help You Sleep
Using a weighted blanket in bed can help you get better sleep in many ways. First, it can help reduce anxiety and stress. This can help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer because you’re not dealing with anxious thoughts.
Being under a weighted blanket has also been shown to stimulate production of the hormone melatonin. This is the hormone that helps regulate sleep. In fact, many people who struggle with insomnia take melatonin supplements to help them sleep. Since using a weighted blanket helps produce melatonin, it offers an alternative to taking a melatonin supplement.
Many people who sleep under a weighted blanket find that the weight helps them to stay still while they sleep. Moving around a lot while you sleep can lead to poor sleep quality, especially if you’re waking each time you move. Having the pressure of a weighted blanket on top of you may help you stay still, which may lead to fewer wakings during the night.
If your partner’s restless movements throughout the night keep you awake a weighted blanket can help with that too. Since they’re relatively thick, you won’t feel as much of your partner’s movement while under the blanket.
Generally speaking, a weighted blanket also generates more heat, so they may not be the best choice if you prefer to be cool at night. However, there do offer cooling weighted blankets, and many people find that the extra warmth contributes to the comforting feeling of the blanket.
This extra bit of comfort helps them sleep better. This is especially true for people who find it harder to sleep when the room is too cold.
Proponents of weighted blankets insist that their sleep quality is better when they sleep under a weighted blanket. They wake up feeling more refreshed than when they slept under a regular blanket or even a heavier-weight comforter.
Who Can Benefit From Using a Weighted Blanket?
The short answer is that anyone can benefit from using a weighted blanket.
This is especially true in the U.S. because many of us are touch starved. Because we’re a society that deems touch inappropriate outside of close relationships, those who aren’t close to their family and don’t have intimate partners often go long periods of time without experiencing deep pressure stimulation. Using a weighted blanket is a great way to simulate being held for those who are touch starved.
People who struggle with anxiety, chronic stress, and insomnia can also greatly benefit from using a weighted blanket.
If you’re looking for a great way to relax and get some better sleep, then a weighted blanket is perfect for you.
How Heavy Should A Weighted Blanket Be For Adults?
What should you look for when choosing a weighted blanket? The most important thing is choosing a blanket with the right weight. As we stated earlier, the right weight for your weighted blanket depends on your own weight. The package the weighted blanket comes in should specify which weight is right for you.
You should also look for a weighted blanket that comes in a material that you like. Since using a weighted blanket is a sensory experience, the fabric should be pleasant for you to touch. It defeats the purpose of the weighted blanket if the fabric doesn’t provide as much comfort as the weight.
The material is also important because sleeping under a weighted blanket can get a little too warm. The weight of the blanket provides extra warmth, so the material of the blanket doesn’t need to be too warm. This is especially true if you live in a warm climate or you want to use your weighted blanket year-round.
Finding a weighted blanket that’s easy to care for is also essential. Like with any bedding, your weighted blanket will need to be washed so that it stays healthy and hygienic.
Many weighted blankets come with covers, which makes them very easy to care for. You just wash the cover instead of the whole blanket. Make sure to read the care instructions carefully before purchasing a weighted blanket so you’re prepared to maintain your weighted blanket.
Ready to Try It?
Weighted blankets are a great way to help your body and mind relax. They can help you get a better night’s sleep, and they can be used as part of an effective treatment plan for anxiety.
Weighted blankets are also a great tool for people who are dealing with chronic, daily stress who are looking for a way to calm down.
If you’re looking for the best weighted blanket for adult use, check out our offerings today.