Weighted Blankets- Everything You Need To Know And How They Work
Depression, anxiety, stress disorders, etc are very common all over the globe. It is estimated through researchers that 5% of the total population living in the United States go through depression and anxiety disorders every now and then.
Research has done a lot of amazing studies to improve depression and related disorders of mental health like gravity blankets and recently known Ketamine to treat depression.
Although, in today’s era there is no lack of resources and therapy that can not treat such issues related to mood but developing something exciting, and using it for the benefit on regular basis without even feeling that you are going through any sort of treatment is a brilliant initiative by research in the form of Weighted Blankets.
Let’s study, explore, and witness every aspect related to these brilliant Weighted Blankets in detail through this article.
What Are Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets are also known as gravity blankets. These blankets are completely stuffed with heavy pellets. Why so? This is to improve the sleep quality as lack of good sleep for many days in a row leads to adverse health effects and escalates your chances of falling into depression.
These superbly designed blankets claim to lessen the anxiety levels in your body due to which you will be able to have a peaceful sleep more quickly. They also help with disorders and diseases like insomnia, autism, mood disorder, etc.
It is also designed for children having Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, there is a certain level of risk in it and it becomes highly important to consult an expert before having one for your child.
For a large group of people, these blankets have become a routine to relieve their stress and enjoy good quality sleep.
Benefits Of Using Gravity Or Weighted Blankets
As the name suggests these blankets contain more weight than our regular blankets. The weight is found to be between 5 pounds to 30 pounds depending upon your requirements and age group. These are highly therapeutic as while we use this blanket, pressure on our body occurs due to extra weight. This weight mimics a technique that is therapeutic in nature and known as Deep Pressure Stimulation.
The Deep Pressure Stimulation technique uses pressure to relax the nervous system. When the main part that controls our body gets relaxed we receive the following benefits.
- Pain is relieved
- Anxiety becomes less
- Mood improves
Deep Pressure Stimulation is not necessarily hands-on every time. Using weighted blankets, the pressure coming to the body comes from wrapping the blanket around our body.
Deep Pressure Technique of Stimulation has been proven to be effective for various other treatments as well and is considered brilliant by doctors. It is beneficial in massage therapy and in the usage of support animals.
Who Receives Benefits From Weighted Blankets Therapy?
Researchers are still working to find different areas of disorders where these blankets can be useful for humankind. However, there are some niches where it has done amazingly well. Let’s see one by one who needs to get a weighted blanket to enjoy its therapeutic benefits.
Autism is characterized by many signs and symptoms one of which is having trouble sleeping. This is especially seen in autistic children. A study performed in 2014, involved distributing and using these blankets for children having an autism disorder. There was improved quality of sleep witnessed in children after the use of the weighted blankets. Although the improvement was not at the peak, little changes were observed.
However, the results were not very good but children along with their parents were quite happy with these blankets as it gave them a feeling of warmth and positivity. The positive benefits were due to Deep Pressure Therapy that came with the usage of weighted blankets.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD
The use of weighted blankets for ADHD is shown by very few studies that claim it is useful. A similar product known as the weighted vest is used for more studies in the case of ADHD.
When weighted vests were used for ADHD it was seen that the hyperactive moments of the person suffering from it reduce along with improved attention.
Promising results were found in this study with astonishing outcomes. Those participants that used these weighted vests at the time of their continuous performance test were less likely to fall off during the task, leaving seats allotted, and fidgetting.
Not only weighted vests and weighted blankets, but a weighted ball blanket has also been useful to treat issues related to sleep and anxiety.
One of the main purpose or primary function for which these blankets was to have benefits over anxiety disorder or treatment related to anxiety issue.
For this, you have to understand the cause behind anxiety. Anxiety occurs due to an increase in autonomic arousal that further leads to an increase in the heart rate causing mood swings or anxiety. Researches have shown that this rise of autonomic arousal can be reduced with Deep Pressure Stimulation caused by weighted blankets.
In studies, it was shown that 32 participants having anxiety issues were able to reduce anxiety by 30 to 33% after usage of weighted blankets. Moreover to receive the utmost benefits of these blankets, use them while lying down. Research claims that the percentage of reduction in anxiety symptoms is more when these blankets are used while lying down.
Sleep Disorders Or Insomnia
In a crossover study conducted previously in 2014, it was found that parents along with children who replaced their regular blankets with weighted blankets were able to sleep more peacefully and has a better sleep quality than those who slept with regular light-weight blankets.
Also, there is a significant reduction in the onset of sleeping time, and the number of times people woke up at night also reduced proving quality sleep for healthy functioning of the body and nervous system.
Overall, by looking at these results we can say that claims made by weighted blankets researchers are quite true and believable.
There are no direct researches that claim weighted blankets benefits regarding osteoarthritis (degeneration of underlying bones and joint cartilages causing stiffness and pain).
However, there is a study that provides a link through massage therapy as deep pressure stimulation is also used in massage. The study conducted on a group of people having osteoarthritis were given massage therapy that involved deep pressure stimulation and the results were quite impressive. People felt the pain reduced after therapy.
Similarly, weighted blankets can also be used for Osteoarthritis as both involved deep pressure techniques.
Another similar condition such as osteoarthritis. It involves massage therapy as a home treatment to relieve the pain. The study conducted showed that while exponentially pressure was increased every time while performing pressure therapy, there was a significant reduction in pain overall.
With this, we can conclude indirectly that weighted blankets can be used by applying a little bit more weight every time where that pain is high. This can lead to relief in the pain over a span of time.
There are some benefits when it comes to medical procedures while using weighted blankets.
In 2016 a study was conducted which focused on participants that were undergoing tooth extraction for their wisdom tooth. Some of them were provided with weighted blankets and others with regular ones. it was shown that people who had weighted blankets wrapped around them faced fewer symptoms of anxiety than another group.
A similar procedure was carried out for molar extraction in some adolescents. The group having weighted blankets again faced very fewer symptoms of anxiety than other people.
The use of gravity blankets also helps in calming the heart rate and a stable condition in difficult times.
Different Risks Involved In Using Weighted Blankets
When it comes to daily use, there are few risks associated with weighted blankets that should be taken into consideration before thinking of buying these blankets.
According to the manufacturers, it is suggested that these blankets should not be used for children under the age of 2 or toddlers as there is an evident risk of suffocation due to heavyweight blanket. If you still feel like trying one due to any circumstances, always visit a pediatrician to get useful suggestions for the same.
You are advised not to go for weighted blankets if you are suffering from any issues that are mentioned below.
- Asthma or breathing problem which can be harmful at night.
- Sleep apnea (Obstructive) causing disruption in breathing pattern.
- Claustrophobia, the tight blanket might trigger chances of being claustrophobic.
Tips Before Buying Perfect Weighted Blankets
Keep in mind these tips given below to choose the perfect weighted blanket for you.
- In general, the weight of a weighted blanket in pounds should be nearly 5% to 10% of your body weight.
- Measure the size of your bed and bring a similar size blanket.
- For adults, medium to large-sized blankets should be used. The range may vary from 12 pounds to 30 pounds.
- For a toddler or a child having a weight of 20 pounds to 70 pounds, the weighted blanket should be ranging from 3 to 8 pounds.
- For a child that weighs between 30 pounds to 130 pounds, you can opt for a blanket that weighs from 10 pounds to 15 pounds.
- Adults who are older may choose a blanket of medium size and weight. The range of weight should be from 5 pounds to 8 pounds.
If you want therapy to be useful at home or home-based therapies to treat serious problems like anxiety or depression, Weighted blankets are a great option for you. They provide similar benefits that massage therapy provides that is the benefits of deep pressure stimulation.
As mentioned above, weighted blankets have shown to be useful for various predicaments and disorders like autism, anxiety, ADHD, etc through different studies conducted. They have the ability to calm your restless body and improve sleep quality.
Based on your body weight you may choose the perfect blanket for you by looking at the tips before purchasing a weighted blanket. You can get a good quality weighted blanket at the cost of 150 to 200 USD as well.