It seems that every month there’s a new trend claiming to help relieve stress and anxiety. After all, a lot of us need them. In the US alone, anxiety affects almost 40 million people every year and 70 million struggle with sleep disorders. Besides, mental health issues like ADHD in children affect nearly 1 in 10 GR8 kids. So, of course, everyone is happy to hear that something trendy like a weighted blanket could be a solution for these struggles.
But are they?
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
The idea behind how weighted blankets work is similar to how hugs work. When you’re wrapped in a soft, warm, and cozy hug (or blanket), you instantly feel more at ease and relaxed, don’t you? Weighted blankets work by lowering your heart rate, which is linked to overall feelings of calmness.
Effects on Our Nervous System
Whenever we’re stressed or anxious, our body’s sympathetic nervous system comes to the rescue, triggering what we know as the flight-or-fight response. This system is helpful and necessary for survival and dangerous situations. Some people are in constant fight-or-flight mode at home, work, in their relationships, and respond this way to obligations and responsibilities.
Deep Pressure Stimulation
Weighted blankets work by providing the users with something called pressure stimulation. The same pressure someone experiences with a hug or an embrace, or a massage can help the body switch the fight-or-flight response off.
What this means is that the blanket distributes weight evenly to apply gentle pressure on a large area of the body, which creates a sense of calmness and safety for those with anxiety or are overstimulated.
Inside a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets, also known as anxiety blankets, are usually filled with small plastic pellets, most brands claim to use BPA free plastic and to be FDA compliant. Other companies use glass beads, described as the texture of sand, to provide less bulky blankets. These blankets are available in many sizes and weights, depending on preference and needs. They can weigh as much as 25 pounds.
Finding the Weighted Blanket for YOU
It depends on your weight. Some manufacturers recommend that adults should find one that’s 1 to 10 percent of their body weight. For children, the blanket should be 10 percent of their body weight, plus 1 pound. A doctor can help you decide which weight is best for you, depending on your symptoms and needs.
Keep in mind that weighted blankets are NOT for everyone. If you have a chronic health condition, are going through menopause, have circulation, respiration, or temperature regulation issues, you should avoid using one.
Your GR8 View
Weighted blankets are also used to help with insomnia, chronic pain, dementia, depression, fibromyalgia, and even PTSD. Do you think they work?