How to Use Weighted Blankets for People with Anxiety and Sleep Disorders

Weighted Blanket

Stress can cause significant sleep issues, not just minor disturbances but serious ones. Many people experience difficulties such as insomnia, where they find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. This can have a profound impact on overall health and well-being. 

When it comes to improving sleep, there are numerous lifestyle changes you can make, but a fundamental factor is often overlooked: your bedding. Specifically, weighted blankets have gained attention for their potential to enhance sleep quality.

The weighted blankets have gained popularity in recent years as a tool for improving sleep and reducing anxiety. These blankets are designed to provide gentle, evenly distributed pressure across the body, which can have a calming effect. If you or someone you know is dealing with anxiety or sleep disorders, a weighted blanket might be a helpful addition to your routine. Here’s how to use them effectively:

Understanding Weighted Blankets’ History

Weighted blankets have an interesting history that dates back centuries. In various forms, they have been used across different cultures for therapeutic purposes. One notable example is the use of heavy blankets in psychiatric hospitals in the 1940s to help calm patients with sensory processing disorders and anxiety.

However, over time, their use declined, possibly due to advancements in other therapeutic treatments or shifts in medical practices. It wasn’t until recently that weighted blankets re-emerged into popular culture. This resurgence is largely attributed to their reported benefits in reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, and improving sleep quality.

Modern weighted blankets are typically filled with materials like glass beads or plastic pellets, evenly distributed to provide gentle pressure evenly across the body. This deep pressure stimulation is believed to increase serotonin production and decrease cortisol levels, which can help alleviate stress and anxiety.

In recent years, anecdotal evidence and some research studies have supported these claims, leading to increased interest among individuals seeking non-medication-based treatments for anxiety and sleep disorders. As a result, weighted blankets have gained popularity and are now widely available in various weights and sizes to cater to different needs and preferences.

Their resurgence also coincides with a broader movement towards holistic and natural approaches to health and wellness. Many people find weighted blankets to be a comforting and effective tool in managing symptoms related to stress and sleeplessness, contributing to their growing adoption in both therapeutic settings and everyday use at home.

What Are Weighted Blankets? 

Weighted blankets are heavier than regular blankets, typically filled with materials like glass beads, plastic pellets, or other weighted materials. They come in various weights, generally ranging from 5 to 30 pounds.

The idea behind their use is to mimic a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation (DPS), which can promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Benefits of Weighted Blankets

  • Reduces Anxiety: The gentle pressure from a weighted blanket can stimulate the production of serotonin and melatonin while decreasing cortisol levels. This helps in creating a sense of calm and well-being.
  • Improves Sleep Quality: Many users report falling asleep faster and experiencing deeper sleep with a weighted blanket.
  • Provides Comfort: When used with the original weighted pillow by Quiet Mind the feeling of being swaddled can be particularly comforting for individuals with anxiety or sensory processing disorders.

Choosing the Right Weighted Blanket

The weighted blankets come in different sizes, and materials and therefore its imperative to look into the considerations before choosing the right weight blanket as per your needs.

1. Weight Considerations 

When selecting a weighted blanket, a general guideline is to choose one that is about 10% of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, a 15-pound blanket is a good starting point. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns, especially for children or individuals with specific health conditions.

2. Material and Fillings 

Weighted blankets come in a variety of materials. Some have removable covers for easy washing, while others are made from breathable fabrics like cotton or bamboo. The filling can affect the overall feel of the blanket, so consider whether you prefer glass beads, plastic pellets, or other materials.

3. Size and Coverage

Ensure the blanket is large enough to cover your body but not so large that it hangs off the edges of your bed. A blanket that fits your body size will provide the most effective pressure.

How to Use a Weighted Blanket

Using a weighted blanket effectively involves several key steps to maximize its benefits and ensure comfort. Start by choosing the right weight, typically around 10% of your body weight, to provide gentle pressure evenly across your body.

Lay the blanket evenly over yourself, covering from shoulders to feet, and avoid having it cover your head to prevent discomfort. It’s best to use the blanket during relaxation times such as reading or watching TV, rather than during activities requiring mobility.

Start with shorter sessions of 15-30 minutes if you’re new to using a weighted blanket, gradually increasing the duration as you get used to the sensation.

Be mindful of temperature as weighted blankets can generate heat; opt for breathable fabrics or use in a cool environment to prevent overheating.

Lastly, consult a healthcare provider if you have medical conditions or concerns about using a weighted blanket. Following these steps ensures safe and effective use, harnessing the blanket’s potential to reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.

Safety Tips

  • Avoid Overheating: Make sure the blanket you choose is breathable, especially if you tend to get warm at night.
  • Consult a Professional: If you have any medical conditions, such as respiratory issues or joint problems, speak with a healthcare provider before using a weighted blanket.
  • Supervision for Children: Weighted blankets can be helpful for children with anxiety or sensory issues, but they should always be used under supervision and never be too heavy for the child to remove on their own.

Final Thoughts

Weighted blankets can be a valuable tool for managing anxiety and improving sleep quality. By choosing the right blanket and integrating it into your routine, you may find a significant positive impact on your overall well-being.

Always consider your personal needs and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns. With the right approach, a weighted blanket can provide comfort and support for a restful night’s sleep.