Can Weighted Blankets Help With Fibromyalgia?
In fact, yes, they can be quite helpful in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms.
If you're one of the 5 million people in the United States who suffers from fibromyalgia you know it's awful. You also know it causes a wide range of health problems, one of the most frustrating of which is insomnia due to the constant pain.
If you're looking for a solution to insomnia caused by your fibromyalgia, one that shows great promise is weighted blankets. Keep reading to find out more as we answer the question Can Weighted Blankets Help With Fibromyalgia? (Hint: Yes, they can!)
What Exactly Is Fybromyalgia?
If you suffer from fibromyalgia you already know it's a chronic, daily condition. You also know it affects your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, causing you to become highly sensitive to pain, sometimes even the slightest touch. With fibromyalgia, you get 'tender points' all over your body, including your chest, neck, knees, and many other places. In total 18 points can become painful, and most who suffer from this infuriating condition have at least 11 of them!
By the way, between 80 and 90% of the people who suffer from fibromyalgia are women (for some still unknown reason). Men (and sometimes even children) can have the condition too, but it's much more prevalent in adult females.
Doctors believe that the reason for these tender points is an increase in cortisol, a natural hormone involved in your body's metabolism and immune response. Usually, cortisol is a good thing but, when you have too much, your body can't heal correctly and goes into a state of chronic inflammation. This inflammation is what causes the pain and tenderness, much like a bad bruise that's tender and sore.
Of course, that's still conjectured at this point because, frankly, doctors and scientists haven't pinpointed the exact cause of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia Makes Sleeping Almost Impossible
What doctors and scientists do know, however, is that fibromyalgia causes insomnia. That's a big problem because, when you sleep, your body usually heals itself and regenerates, especially during deep REM sleep. The truth is, sleeping is incredibly important. Without its healing powers, your symptoms will get worse. Even more problematic is that you can get overly fatigued and oftentimes get 'brain-fog' too, which makes it difficult to concentrate and focus, even on simple stuff.
What ends up happening is a 'Catch-22' type situation where you have fibromyalgia and you can't sleep. This causes your fibromyalgia to get worse, which makes sleeping next to impossible, and...well, you get the picture.
Insomnia: The Silent Killer
Insomnia is incredibly detrimental to your health. It can severely affect your mood, energy levels, memory, and ability to concentrate. It can also affect your heart, cause high blood pressure, and make your immune system weak as a kitten. In short, insomnia is a killer.
Many doctors believe that, if your insomnia conundrum were removed, people like yourself who suffer from fibromyalgia would have a better chance of recovering (or at least feeling a lot better on most days). And that's where we come to the question of weighted blankets.
How Can Weighted Blankets Help Insomnia Due to Fibromyalgia?
Before we go further, and in the interest of being 100% transparent, what you need to know is that weighted blankets aren't a 'cure' for fibromyalgia, Right now, unfortunately, there is no cure. There are a few prescription drugs that, frankly, we know nothing about, and there are also several alternative treatments including massage therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture, among others.
What weighted blankets can do, and do very well, is help reduce your insomnia and, by doing that, they can help reduce your fibsromyalgia symptoms significantly.
Weighted Blankets Help You Sleep Much Better
Weighted blankets help you get the much-needed sleep your body desperately needs. They've been shown to reduce insomnia significantly and, when you sleep better, as we explained above, your body gets the chance to heal. This can significantly reduce your fibromyalgia symptoms and make your waking hours much less painful and more enjoyable.
Weighted Blankets Tell Your Body to Release "Feel Good' Hormones
The reason weighted blankets help you sleep better is they help your body manage the sensory overload being caused by the excess serotonin flowing through your body. More than that, when your body is surrounded by the feeling of a weighted blanket, it feels safe and secure. This sends a message to your brain to release the hormones serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine. These are the so-called 'feel-good' hormones that, in many fibromyalgia patients, are extremely low. All three can help you feel more calm, relaxed, and serene.
Weighted Blankets Reduce Your Hypersensitivity
Weighted blankets also help calm your nervous system which, if you're like most people with fibromyalgia, has become hypersensitive or 'hypersensitized'. That means your body reacts to even light touch as if someone was whacking you with a mallet (which is no fun whatsoever).
Weighted Blankets Ground You and Produce a Natural Analgesic Effect
Using a weighted blanket when you sleep is a type of physical therapy similar to massage therapy and acupressure. (Some call it 'deep pressure touch' or DPT therapy.) They push down on your body, creating a process called grounding that is very soothing for your brain, releasing endorphins that cause positive effects similar to serotonin and dopamine. Endorphins also cause what's known as an 'analgesic effect'. This effect blocks the pain receptors that transmit pain signals to your brain. (Think of it like natural aspirin, reducing your pain and inflammation too.)
Weighted Blankets Get Rid of Your Brain Fog
When you're able to sleep better one of the best benefits you'll receive is that your 'brain fog' will be reduced. You'll be able to concentrate better, your memory will improve and your ability to think on your feet will get better too.
Keep in mind that you can use a weighted blanket during the day also. Many people wrap one around their legs when they work or wrap themselves in their weighted blanket when they watch TV. You can even drape it over your shoulders when you're sitting at your computer or using your smartphone.
Yes, Weighted Blankets Do Help Your Fibromyalgia!
Weighted blankets help you sleep much better and significantly reduce insomnia. They also calm your nerves, release feel-good hormones and endorphins and provide therapeutic pressure both at night and during the day. In short, they work like a charm and can help you a lot.
We hope this information has given you some hope and some much-needed answers.