Weighted Blanket for Anxiety
Weighted blankets are cozy throws that weigh approximately 10 to 30 pounds and are filled with plastic pellets or tiny glass sand. Being under a weighted blanket while you sleep or relax has a calming effect that relieves stress, boosts mood, and lessens anxiety. Due to the heavier weight of these gravity blankets, compared to an average down quilt or comforter, it's harder to disturb yourself and move a lot while you sleep.
Are Weighted Blankets Good For Anxiety?
Thinking about what to do the next day on your to-do list or managing anxiety-related physical symptoms while you sleep is a brutal cycle that will leave you totally drained and agitated in the morning. Sometimes, it's almost impossible for people suffering from anxiety disorders to fall — and stay — asleep contentedly.
A weighted blanket's extra weight creates a deep pressure touch. People in states of sensory arousal can calm their nervous systems with the help of weighted blankets. According to a Fitbit study, it was found out most users wake up more than nine times a night.
Research shows that sleep and anxiety are closely connected. In most cases, people with GAD or generalized anxiety disorder find it hard to have a restful night's sleep. Sleep problems can exacerbate your anxiety or vice versa. While there are several other wellness claims out there on how to fix sleeping problems such as using earplugs, noise machines, and Xanax, you can get a more restful sleep by using weighted blankets.
Instead of tolerating the rattling sound of these noise machines, dealing with uncomfortable earplugs, and feeling groggy every morning after using Xanax, why not consider using a weighted blanket?
The effectiveness of weighted blankets and vests is supported by various studies. In a 2006 study for testing the effectiveness of weighted blankets, it was found out that 63% of people reported lower anxiety after using these heavier blankets. 78% of the respondents in that study claimed that the blankets were an effective calming mechanism. In another recent study, weighted blankets were found to be effective in helping people with insomnia have calmer night's sleep.
The Connection Between Weighted Blanket And Anxiety
The extra weight of a weighted blanket mimics a therapeutic procedure called DPTS or deep pressure touch stimulation. According to the University of Sydney's Ph.D., professor of occupational therapy Justin Scanlan, the pacifying sensation of hugging, massaging, or swaddling are all forms of a compression-based touch associated with deep pressure. DPTS uses applied pressure to calm the nervous system.
Some of the symptoms of anxiety disorders are physical. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) plays a major role in the way many anxiety symptoms manifest in the body. Therefore, a blanket that helps reduce the physiological arousal by acting on the anxiety symptoms associated with ANS is a viable alternative treatment option.
The ANS is responsible for your body's fight-or-flight response and energy restoration through its sympathetic and parasympathetic components, respectively. When your body is activated by a stressful situation, functions such as breathing rate increases causing shortness of breath and a pounding heartbeat: the role of the sympathetic division.
On the other hand, the parasympathetic division that restores energy slows down the breathing rate causing relaxation. Therefore, it's theorized that weighted blankets are very effective in lessening anxiety by dampening your body's fight-or-flight response and encouraging relaxation while you sleep or relax.
It's common for people with anxiety disorders to suffer from other related conditions such as depression or vice versa. In fact, most of the people who are diagnosed with depression are also found to be suffering from anxiety.
In the United States, 40 million adults are suffering from anxiety disorders, which is equivalent to 18.1% of the population annually. Anecdotal evidence has shown that weighted blankets have helped people dealing with issues such as insomnia get better sleep.
Individuals with PSTD (post-traumatic stress disorder) GAD who experience panic attacks and severe anxiety disorder episodes can combine antianxiety medications and weighted blankets to feel calmer. The blanket utilizes a grounding technique to enable people with anxiety to refocus their senses elsewhere or cause a natural distraction when anxious thoughts start carrying them away.
It acts like a therapeutic tool that individuals who are often overwhelmed by intense feelings or gory memories can use to return back to normal. However, due to the uniqueness of every stressful situation or ghastly memory, not everyone can use a weighted blanket as a grounding technique to encourage relaxation.
Wrapping yourself up with a weighted blanket can feel like a big, cozy hug. They are not only comforting but also beneficial to your overall health than their lighter counterparts.
These heavier blankets vary in material, shape, and size. So, you should choose a gravity blanket based on your personal preferences, not solely aesthetics or budget.
How Weighted Blankets Help
If you're looking for a drug-free way of dealing with sleep deprivation issues caused by anxiety, then weighted blankets are better alternatives. Although these blankets are not an end-all-cure-all solution, they are perfect for improving your ability to relax and sleep more comfortably.
Despite the lack of enough scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of weighted blankets in helping deal with anxiety issues while you sleep, a lot of consumers have supported this product. There are hundreds of online consumer reviews from satisfied customers who attest that a weighted blanket has been a helpful alternative treatment for reducing anxiety disorders when they sleep.
Due to the heart palpitations associated with anxiety, some people are forced to wear heart monitors for several days on end. Furthermore, in today's fast-paced world, anxiety levels seem to be climbing at a higher rate than ever before.
Some people find it hard to handle life's challenges without pushing themselves too hard. This leads to unfathomable encounters and stressful situations, such as panic attacks and anxiety.
Regardless of whether you're an anxious person or not, it's crucial to stay safe by being more proactive about your overall wellness. With a weighted blanket, you can treat your anxiety at night and allow yourself to feel more refreshed when you wake up. The weighted blankets work by:
· Reducing your moving and fidgeting
Some people toss and turn in bed several times in a single night. Anxiety can intensify these sleeping issues and cause even worse sleep disorders. For instance, being anxious about the next day's project presentation or test can disturb your sleep. But this does not mean that all people who experience sleeping problems are suffering from anxiety symptoms.
The deep pressure that a weighted blanket creates will calm you and prepare your body to rest comfortably. The blanket lowers your breathing and heart rate so you can calm down enough to fall asleep. Using a weighted blanket will help you feel refreshed the following morning.
A weighted blanket is designed to cover your entire body. Therefore, you'll tend to think twice before you move and fidget in bed. Its design is subtle—it makes every movement seem more measured and conscious, rather than pinning you down entirely.
· Melting your anxiety away
The blanket gives you the ability to control your anxiety. Whenever you start feeling anxious, you find a way of grounding yourself with the weighted blanket. In other words, you simply reach for the weighted blanket and utilize its pressure to facilitate that feeling of groundedness every time you experience deep breaths. The blanket simulates a cuddle-like feel, which is a unique comfort that is universal to humankind.
· Helping you stay asleep
It's common to find people who love using heavy comforters in the summer simply because the weight of hefty blankets is thrilling to them. If you have a problem of falling asleep more quickly and staying that way until morning, then using a gravity blanket may help you solve these concerns. Even if you're a pretty good sleeper, it's hard to fall asleep and relax comfortably without turning and tossing if you're anxious.
But, with a weighted blanket, you'll be able to drift off within minutes and stay asleep without experiencing any disruptions. Interestingly, you can even stave off the urge to get up and go to the bathroom at an ungodly hour when you sleep under a weighted blanket.
Dealing with nighttime anxiety is a huge problem for most people. There are other effective ways of dealing with this anxiety, such as getting out of bed as soon as you start feeling anxious and practicing a relaxation exercise. But, waking up several times to do non-stimulating activities every time you feel stressed and overwhelmed in bed, can be tiring.
Using a weighted blanket, on the other hand, to reduce anxiety and improve your sleep quality is a more viable alternative treatment option. However, if you have other sleep problems such as obstructive sleep apnea or snoring, using a blanket with extra weight may not be comfortable to your chest.
Wrapping It Up
Weighted blankets are no longer a preserve for psychiatry clinics and therapists; their popularity has incredibly surged in the recent past. If you or your loved one is struggling with anxiety issues, these gravity blankets can be an excellent option.
However, due to the extra weight of these gravity blankets, children under the age of 3 shouldn't use weighted blankets because they can cause suffocation. Also, people with temperature regulation issues, respiratory issues, and chronic health conditions should first consult with a doctor before using a weighted blanket.