Weighted blankets, also known as gravity blankets, became quite a hit in the last few years, starting right before the pandemic. Many people are quickly discovering the benefits a weighted blanket can bring, and as the weighted blankets became easier to acquire, their popularity increased.
What is a Weighted Blanket, and How is One Made?
As the name suggests, weighted blankets are a soft outer cover filled with a heavy inner filling. They usually weigh between 4 to 30 pounds, depending on individual preferences—for example, the heavier options are better suited for adults, whereas lighter options are safer for children.
The filling is made out of cotton, bamboo or polyester, and the inside padding is combined with weighted pellets, usually made from glass. This combination prevents the filling from coming loose and ripping inside. It keeps the blanket even and the weight distribution balanced. After the preparation stage, the filling is placed evenly in a cotton, bamboo, faux fur and polyester cover.
Before becoming more popular with the general crowd, weighted blankets were used by therapists and psychiatrists as tools for treating patients with different disorders.
But nowadays, anyone who wants to improve their sleep or treat sensory issues such as autism and Sensory Processing Disorder (i.e., SPD) can buy a weighted blanket.
When using a weighted blanket, the pressure it provides releases serotonin, the chemical in charge of your mood, in your brain. Weighted blankets also improve oxytocin levels, a hormone responsible for your states of relaxation and ease. So, there’s no surprise why a sudden feeling of relaxation and calmness flows through people when snuggling with a weighted blanket!
Weighted Blankets Benefits
The benefits of weighted blankets are so impressive that even specialists recommend them to their patients!
#1: Better Sleep Quality
So many people with sensory issues find themselves unable to catch a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, a weighted blanket can prevent them from moving around in their sleep (i.e., the main link to sleep quality) and improve their sleep time.
#2: Diminished Anxiety Levels
The body’s constant response to stressors (i.e., anxiety) can impact your sleep quality by disrupting your sleep and causing sleep disorders. Using a weighted blanket can help calm your nervous system and lower your anxiety levels, leading to a good night’s sleep.
#3: Weighted Blankets are Great for People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Weighted blankets are an excellent choice for children and adults with ADHD because they work similarly to the deep touch pressure technique. The comfort and pressure the blankets provide will make the patient feel more relaxed, secure and safe. Also, a weighted blanket can help people transition from a high-energy stance to a low-energy one and increase melatonin production for a better sleep schedule.
#4: Weighted Blankets Benefit People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Some specialists found that weighted blankets can also benefit people with an autism spectrum disorder. When using a weighted blanket, the pressure can make people feel like they are being hugged by someone, bringing comfort and ease.
#5: They Aid with Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be disruptive to people’s everyday life. The fatigue, depression and insomnia symptoms can turn up at any point of the day and last for an undetermined amount of time. The best combatant against these symptoms is serotonin, and weighted blankets help the brain release more of this chemical, thus improving your mood and helping you cope with chronic pain symptoms.
#6: Weighted Blankets for Pregnant Women
Many women want to enjoy the benefits of weighted blankets but are concerned about their future babies. Is it safe to use a weighted blanket during pregnancy? The answer is yes, for most women. Although a 25-pound blanket may seem too heavy for the unborn baby, the weight is not dangerous and does not put a lot of pressure on the baby bump. On the contrary, weighted blankets can be the perfect remedy for a pregnant woman since pregnancy can heavily influence a woman’s sleep quality.
#7: Weighted Blankets Improve Melatonin Production
Melatonin is a hormone directly linked with your brain’s serotonin production and sleep cycle. As weighted blankets encourage the production of serotonin, melatonin production improves as well, helping your body better manage your sleep cycle.
#8: An Excellent Choice for People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Using weighted blankets improves the production of serotonin, which is why many people experiencing OCD have shown signs of improvement after using a weighted blanket.
A Parting Reminder
Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep, especially after a long and stressful day. If you have a disorganized sleep cycle, consider looking for a weighted blanket—it will keep you sound asleep at night and away from unnecessary medication!