Weighted blankets are an up and coming trend in the realm of sleep and anxiety calming. If you’ve heard of this handy tool, you might be wondering what it can do for you.
Weighted blankets actually have a long, research-backed history in helping people overcome difficult circumstances. They were often used in decades past in mental health asylums to help patients calm down when having an episode.
It’s only in recent years that they’ve become mainstream, thanks to research that has come out to support their effectiveness at benefiting a myriad of disorders. Blanket retailers like Swadl are working to prove that fact. If you want to know what all the fuss is about, consider these effective weighted blanket uses.
1. Sensory Disorders
Sensory overload is the body’s way of telling you that you’re receiving too much stimuli at once. Those with related disorders can get incredibly stressed and anxious from things like crowding, too much media, lights that are too bright, and similar uncomfortable situations.
Weighted therapy of any kind has been shown to increase levels of serotonin, which is a brain chemical associated with reducing stress and improving mood. The increased serotonin can significantly decrease stress caused by sensory overload.
About one in every three people experiences mild to severe insomnia. Lack of sleep can evolve into a myriad of physical and mental health problems.
Getting a good night’s sleep is hard for anyone suffering from insomnia, but weighted blankets can help. Research shows that this method of therapy releases melatonin, the chemical in the brain associated with making one sleepy.
3. Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless or fidgety legs can suddenly occur for a variety of reasons, including age, menopause for women, iron deficiency, pregnancy, or medication. It can also be associated with serious illnesses like Parkinson’s.
It’s uncomfortable, to say the least, and it can cause problems like insomnia. Weighted blankets have been known to combat the restlessness and help you sleep better.
4. Autism Spectrum Disorder
Several studies have shown the effectiveness of weighted blankets in helping those with autism cope. Those with autism are low on serotonin levels, which can easily make them feel stressed in certain situations.
Weighted blankets can be used to help autistic individuals sleep and relax. Other applications like weighted vests can also help them remain calm in any environment as well as improve behaviors in social settings.
5. Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety can be the root of many of the problems mentioned already, but it can also refer to its own specific set of issues. Those with high-anxiety often turn to weighted blankets for increased serotonin levels and the overall calming effect of the blankets.
Weighted blankets simulate the effect of receiving a hug. Those with anxiety often feel calmer and safer in a weighted blanket as a result.
6. Nervous System Disorders
Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other nervous system issues can impact memory and functionality. Weighted blankets can’t reverse the effects of these disorders, but they can help reduce some of the negative side effects.
Those with nervous system disorders often turn to weighted blankets to help them sleep, maintain a positive attitude, reduce anxiety, and calm down when they’re stressed.
More than 25 percent of Americans say they’re constantly stressed, and that number can increase based on factors like politics, financial crises, and life decisions. Stress is a growing problem among the working class, and weighted blankets make a great solution.
The release of both serotonin and melatonin mean that not only do weighted blankets improve moods, but they also improve sleep. Both factors, along with the simulated feeling of a hug, are essential for calming stress and inducing relaxation.
8. Classroom Focus
Studies on in-seat behavior, attention spans, task completion, fine motor activities, and other positive on-task behaviors are in support of using weighted applications for kids. These vests work to reduce self-stimulatory behaviors like fidgeting, allowing kids to apply their focus to the classroom.
Weighted blankets have a similar effect and, when used at night, can help children get used to the feeling of a constant heavy presence around them. It can help them sleep better and do well in school the next day.
9. Difficult Transitions
Transitions are extremely difficult for children with autism and sensory disorders, but they can also be hard on kids without disabilities. Transitions are always easier when there’s a set routine in place, and weighted blankets can help with that.
Even though things might be changing around them, their comfortable, weighted blanket will still be there to comfort them at night. The chemical releases and feelings of peace can make a huge difference in their ability to handle difficult changes.
Classroom behaviors, social interactions, on-task focus, and other ADD struggles can all be improved with the use of weighted blankets. Alongside the chemical releases, they’re also a great therapy aid.
Many children with ADHD use weighted blankets to relax after a stressful school or therapy session. It helps them return a little normalcy to their world in any situation.