Can we get better sleep quality with weighted blankets?
What if we told you that you can improve your sleep quality with weighted blankets? Sounds like magic, but it actually has to do with deep pressure stimulation (DPS). We’ll be covering (no pun intended) all there is to know about the weighted blanket and how it can be therapeutic to give us a good night’s rest.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Cognitive fog, fatigue, melancholy, and worry are all indicators of insufficient sleep. Yet there’s good news—research has shown that weighted blankets may help people with anxiety, autism, and insomnia.
So what are these weighted blankets and how do they work? These therapeutic blankets are thicker than your standard blanket and weigh anywhere between 5 and 30 pounds while giving us deep pressure stimulation due to its increased weight. This kind of stimulation doesn’t necessarily energize us, rather it’s the exact opposite. The pressure helps increase the flow of dopamine and serotonin to the brain and relaxes our nervous system. It’s similar to the feelings of receiving a snug hug.
Other than to improve sleep quality with weighted blankets, they can also relieve the perceptions of pain and depression along with reducing symptoms of anxiety. According to research, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) that controls the body’s ability to relax may be stimulated by applying deep pressure to the body. Weighted blankets have been shown to reduce the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which regulates the “fight or flight” response. When the PSN and SNS function together, they can cause a relaxing effect.
Widespread pressure on the body has also been demonstrated to boost levels of oxytocin, a “feel good” hormone that has a sedative effect on the brain and aids in relaxing and sleep. Weighted blankets also stimulate touch therapy and provide increased feelings of security, which in result can provide a boost in calmness and confidence.
Can’t wait to get better sleep quality with weighted blankets? When selecting the best weight for your blanket, a general rule of thumb is to choose one that’s 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. It’s recommended that adults should select one ranging between 12 to 30 pounds. Children under 70 pounds should select a 3 to 8 pound blanket while children over 70 pounds should select a 5 to 15 pound blanket.
We want to note that when shopping for a weighted blanket, choose one that has good airflow and is made with breathable cotton. Once you’ve found the perfect blanket, it’s time to curl up and sleep tight!