If you’re reading this, you probably already have some idea of what weighted blankets are. If not, you can read what weighted blankets are and how to choose one from here. Now, once you know the basics of weighted blankets, you probably start wondering… what’s the science behind weighted blankets? Do weighted blankets work, for real?
In this post, we seek answers to all the burning questions that you’ve got about the effectiveness of weighted blankets, once and for all. Ready? Let’s roll!
According to multiple studies, weighted blankets help to alleviate stress and anxiety. We’ll get to these studies soon, but first, let’s have a look how weighted blankets work.
Magic behind weighted blankets actually lies in DTP – Deep Touch Pressure. It is a form of tactile sensory input, which is often provided by holding, hugging, swaddling, and squeezing. The benefits of hugging and cuddling are well-known. Oxytocin is an important neurotransmitter that makes people feel relaxed, calm, and generally happy. It has been increasingly used in mental health care settings for crisis intervention as it gives subjects feelings of safety, relaxation, and comfort. DTP acts as a calming or focusing agent for the autonomic nervous system for patients with high levels of anxiety.
Weighted blankets provide deep touch pressure to your body while you sleep. Studies have found that applying deep touch pressure through weighted blankets can alleviate symptoms of sleep-related problems like insomnia, stress-related problems like anxiety, depression, and even chronic pain conditions.
Weighted blankets have been around for almost a century- from rehab centers to therapy for children with special needs. That’s because of their scientifically-proven ability to help us relax. Weighted Blankets were created to help patients suffering from ADHD, OCD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia, and problems with falling asleep.
The secret is DTP, or Deep Touch Pressure, which helps people fall into a deeper sleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up incredibly refreshed. It’s heavenly.
The reason this happens is, DTP reduces cortisol, also known as “the stress hormone,” while releasing serotonin, “the happy hormone,” and melatonin, “the sleep hormone.” It’s more than just the weight, it’s backed by science.
Using a weighted blanket has a positive impact on your sleep, both objectively and subjectively. In one study, there were several physiological and behavioral measures improved during weighted blanket use. With a weighted blanket, people had a calmer night’s sleep, with a decrease in movements. Subjectively, they believed that using the blanket provided them with a more comfortable, better quality, and more secure sleep. In conclusion, a weighted blanket may reduce insomnia through increased tactile and proprioceptive inputs and may provide an innovative, non-pharmacological approach and complementary tool to improve sleep quality.
If weighted blankets work because of DPT, and DPT can be administered through hugs, then why can’t we simply use hugs to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety? If you live alone, you probably won’t see your close friends and family every single day – and this might make it hard for you to get DPT when you need it the most. Even if you’re living with a partner or close friend, they might not be available to help you ease your stress or anxiety 24/7. But weighted blanket is available all the time.
If you feel the urge to read more scientific articles about DTP, Weighted blanket and sleep, you can find them below.
Physiological Effects of Deep Touch Pressure on Anxiety Alleviation: The Weighted Blanket Approach
Positive Effects of a Weighted Blanket on Insomnia
Exploring the Safety and Therapeutic Effects of Deep Pressure Stimulation Using a Weighted Blanket
A randomized controlled study of weighted chain blankets for insomnia in psychiatric disorders