Using Weighted Blankets to Stay Calm
It feels that there are a ton of products available recently to help your mental health, particularly with calming anxiety. Some use essential oils, or you may have heard of light lamps, and of course, the classic stress relief ball.
Weighted blankets have started to become more popular recently. These products are a level up if you’re the type of person who finds comfort in burying yourself under the covers as a coping mechanism to calm down: they’re heavier versions of regular blankets ranging from 4 to 30 pounds specifically designed to help those with disorders just as anxiety, autism, and insomnia, with physicians recommending getting one that’s 10% of your body weight. The weight is evenly distributed and is meant to help “ground” the user – not in a way that traps them – but provides some sort of stability as they relax or sleep.
The benefits of weighted blankets are mostly from people sharing anecdotes, or their personal stories about it, but some researchers have found that using a weighted blanket shows an increase in activity in people’s parasympathetic system (or the part of the nervous system that your body uses to rest and stay calm). Others have found that 78% of participants in their study preferred a weighted blankets as a calming mechanism and 63% reported lower anxiety. Users who have shared their experiences with weighted blankets include not just those experiencing anxiety, but PTSD as well, stating that it serves as a distraction for their brain.
What’s important to keep in mind is that there hasn’t been as much research on the product and you should not use this if you have conditions such as sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, respiratory and/or circulation problems, or have a chronic health condition. Because of the weight and the material, weighted blankets can have a tendency to get too hot too, which may not be the best option during the summertime. It’s also not a cure-all: weighted blankets shouldn’t be used everyday nor as a substitute for therapy or medication.
If you have trouble sleeping at night due to anxiety or because of depression, need help coping help with anxiety or panic attacks, or just need something to help keep you calm when things get too overwhelming however, using a weighted blanket may be an option to consider.
Have you ever used a weighted blanket? How do you think they would be different than regular blankets? What other mechanisms have you used to relax and keep calm when you’re feeling overwhelmed?