Can Weighted blankets can help reduce stress and anxiety?
Is stress and anxiety making it difficult for you to focus during the day or fall asleep at night? Then a weighted blanket may help.
Feelings of uneasiness and worry can significantly impact your overall health and wellness. This article explains how weighted blankets work on anxiety and answers questions about how sleeping under the wonderful heavy pressure of a Sommio weighted blanket can help reduce stress.
What are weighted blankets?
A weighted blanket, sometimes also called a weighted anxiety blanket, is a therapeutic tool to naturally aid sleep and mental health. While weighted blankets have recently soared in popularity, the concept of anti-anxiety blankets has been around for a while.
For many years, occupational therapists and those caring for people in the special needs community have used various weighted objects to bring about a calming, sensory experience. Today, using a weighted blanket for anxiety and insomnia is mainstream practice.
Do weighted blankets help anxiety?
Research backs up using a heavy blanket for anxiety. A study published in August 2020 found that patients receiving chemotherapy felt less anxious when they used a weighted blanket.
These findings also reiterate the benefits of weighted blankets for adults with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia or RLS, disorders like PTSD, and anyone struggling with high anxiety levels.
In a study published by Occupational Study in Mental Health, research revealed that 68% of the test group reported lower anxiety after using a weighted blanket.
What is the best weighted blanket for anxiety?
When buying a weighted blanket to ease your anxiety, consider:
- Breathability – a weighted blanket should help you sleep soundly, not wake you up because you’re soaked in sweat.
- Sustainability – is your stress-less purchase placing strain on the planet?
- Aesthetics – choose a weighted blanket that can adds something to your home decor, not a grey lumpy sandbag!
How do weighted blankets work?
Deep Touch Pressure
The pressure from a weighted blanket activates Deep Touch Pressure (DTP). There are multiple research-backed benefits of DTP, including increased serotonin (the happy hormone), increased melatonin (the sleep hormone), and decreased cortisol (the stress hormone).
Serotonin and Melatonin
Serotonin is a chemical produced by our nerve cells that acts as a transmitter, sending messages between the cells. It’s mainly found in the brain and intestines, but it’s also present in our central nervous system and blood platelets. Since it’s located in these key areas of the body, it influences various psychological and bodily functions.
Serotonin works in conjunction with other systems to regulate our blood pressure, heart rate, and mood. This last part is critical, especially when it comes to mental health. It’s considered a natural mood stabiliser, helping to control anxiety and promote feelings of happiness.
Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, anxiety, and insomnia. DTP increases serotonin levels, producing a calming, soothing, serene effect.
Serotonin naturally converts into melatonin, which is the hormone that tells your body it’s time to wind down as bedtime approaches. With serotonin levels up and melatonin naturally flowing, your body is primed for deeper, more restful sleep.
Another key element in this chemical equation is cortisol, which is your body’s natural stress hormone. It’s also been referred to as the body’s built-in alarm system, working with your brain to control your motivation levels, fear sensors, and mood.
When we’re stressed, we tend to have higher levels of cortisol in our bodies. Constant stress is essentially keeping your cortisol switch permanently ‘on’ – increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and sending other body systems into high gear too. As you may have guessed, it can also make it harder to fall and stay asleep.
Scientists conducted a study to measure the biological effects of weighted blankets on the human body during sleep. They did this by measuring cortisol levels and reporting on sleep, pain, and stress. The results?
Weighted blankets significantly reduced cortisol levels during nighttime sleep, reducing sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress. When cortisol levels drop, there’s an overall improvement in our physical and mental comfort.
On top of all of this science, snuggling under a Sommio weighted blanket brings a sense of warmth, relief, and security – often described as similar to a hug. A weighted blanket naturally mimics this comforting sensation that our bodies are designed to crave, similar to swaddling a baby.