Are you and anxiety sufferer? Or does someone in your family suffer? There are many things you can do to alleviate anxiety – a not uncommon problem – and among them is one that has recently gained a lot of interest: the use of a weighted blanket. What is a weighted blanket, how can it help with anxiety, and do they really work? In this short article we will answer all of those questions, and hope to give you an understanding of why you may want to use a weighted blanket for anxiety.
What is a Weighted Blanket?
It is, quite simply, what it says: a blanket that has added weight. The weight is provided by a series of pellets or discs that are inserted into the blanket and sealed. These are usually made from glass or plastic, and serve to add weight of between 5lb and 30lb to the blanket. Therefore, it is heavier than your usual duvet or blanket.
They are available from many outlets – check the range at TruHugs for some examples of sizes, weights and prices – and are becoming increasingly popular with people who suffer from anxiety, and also children who are autistic or ADHD diagnosed. How do they help with anxiety?
How Does a Weighted Blanket Help with Anxiety?
The idea of weighted blankets comes from a therapy routine known as deep pressure stimulation. This is provided by hands-on application of pressure to parts of the body, and is known to stimulate the nervous system and alleviate anxiety. In the same way, the weight of the blanket – which is spread evenly over the body when the user is laid down – stimulates the nervous system.
The weight of the blanket also offers a sense of security, and helps with the grounding that is so important for the anxious and ADHD sufferers. It does so by effectively cossetting the body, and providing comfort that is far beyond that provided by ordinary blankets.
The grounding effect also helps to reduce the levels of cortisol that are produced in the body naturally. Cortisol is the ‘stress hormone’ so any reduction is welcome. Conversely, users also report an increase in serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’, so the effect is two-fold. Furthermore, it is known that lying down reduces anxiety, so combined with the weighted blanket there is a definite effect of calmness and reduced stress.
Should I Use a Weighted Blanket?
If you are buying a weighted blanket for yourself – an adult looking to alleviate stress and anxiety, and make it easier to sleep – many people recommend them, and they are perfectly safe. Look for one that has a weight of around 10% of your body weight for the best effect.
For younger people – perhaps your ADHD or autistic child – it is important that the age of the child is taken into consideration. Weighted blankets are not for use by toddlers or babies, so any older than 2 years old and you should be safe with a weighted blanket. It’s worth trying, so why not get one and see how things go?