Do Weighted Blankets Help with Anxiety?

Do weighted blankets help with anxiety

Having a warm blanket on your lap when you are tired, sleepy, or just want to relax can be wonderful. However, what about when you are anxious? Can a blanket also provide the same feeling of comfort when our bodies and minds are not feeling relaxed at all? 

Do weighted blankets help with anxiety? 

The anxiety we feel drains us and has negative health effects. 

As per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), approximately 6.8 million adults in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders. Additionally, anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of 13-18-year-old children.

Using a weighted blanket will help you reduce the negative effects stress and anxiety have on your life, sleep, and everything else. These days, weighted blankets are more mainstream due to their many benefits, and they are being used more widely.

Do Weighted Blankets Help with Anxiety?

What are Weighted Blankets?

Compared to other cozy throws, weighted blankets tend to appear similar. Their most notable difference is that they contain glass sand or plastic pellets that evenly distribute weight up to 30 pounds across the wearer’s body. This allows users to receive deep pressure and a sense of calm. There is no standardized weight recommendation for blankets, and people prefer to have blankets around 10 percent of their body weight.

What is the Purpose of Weighted Blankets?

Weighted blankets do not require a reason to be used. You may toss and turn at night, making you less inclined to kick something with some substance. The most common reasons people use weighted blankets are to help with sleep disorders, anxiety, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Often, these conditions involve sensory issues that are improved by applying pressure. If you suffer from depression, you can find comfort in a weighted blanket. It might be a good idea to try a weighted blanket if you’d enjoy the calm of being embraced.

How Does a Weighted Blanket Work?

Weighted blankets help relax the body through continuous, firm, and gentle pressure. A weighted blanket may not seem like an essential item; however, you may know its benefits if you’ve ever slept underneath a heavy blanket. In contrast to regular blankets, weighted blankets are designed for therapeutic purposes. Deep touch pressure therapy, known as deep touch pressure stimulation, has effectively reduced anxiety, both in children and adults. The deep touch pressure therapy can be experienced by massage or wearing products such as a weighted blanket, wrap, or vest.

The weight of a blanket has been found to have a real impact on anxiety in scientific studies. During a study, participants reported feeling less anxious and feeling more refreshed after waking up under deep pressure on their bodies. Researchers found in another study that people who used weighted blankets to sleep felt less anxious and had lower blood pressure. 

According to a study by Taylor Francis Online, 63 percent of the participants felt less anxious when using the weighted blanket, and 78 percent believed it calmed them. This is good news for people who wake up to panic attacks. Whether you use a weighted blanket while sleeping while working, or in your downtime, exploring deep pressure touch therapy may be an excellent idea.

What do Weighted Blankets Do for Anxiety?

Stress causes anxiety because your nervous system reacts to it. As you experience anxiety, your brain alerts your body that it must prepare for a threat. When your sympathetic nervous system kicks into high gear, you’re ready to deal with whatever comes your way. Anxiety, however, can sometimes persist. It is possible that it will linger or that the stress may never fully disengage. As a result of this constant state of nervous system arousal, your body can begin to wear out. Using a weighted blanket might be helpful to break the cycle, letting your parasympathetic system take over.

Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of weighted blankets. Researchers from the National Library of Medicine have found weighted blankets work and are safe for conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder in a randomized controlled study. The reduction of anxiety was also observed in a study evaluating patients receiving chemotherapy and a study following adults undergoing mental health treatment. According to a systematic review of eight studies that examined the effects of weighted blankets in reducing anxiety, their use appeared to be beneficial. Researchers noted, however, that a limited amount of research exists on the topic.

Top Weighted Blankets for Anxiety

Gravity Weighted Blanket

Our pick for the best-weighted blanket for adults is Gravity. You can’t go wrong with great user reviews, high-quality materials, and a nifty system of ties. Moreover, the blanket features elastic button connectors and a zipper to ensure that the glass beads remain evenly distributed at all times. Finally, the blanket comes with a super soft and comfortable microfiber cover.

Depending on your preference, you can choose between weights of 15 pounds, 20 pounds, and 35 pounds. The blanket measures either 4 x 6 feet or 7.5 x 7.5 feet. Although the king and queen-size blankets are available, the company does not suggest couples share them since using a blanket is supposed to be a “grounding” experience. The inner layer and outer cover are made of breathable fabrics, and the duvet cover can be machine washed.

Reviewers have praised the gravity-weighted blanket for its effectiveness for insomniacs and anxiety sufferers. Additionally, Gravity offers weighted sleep masks, pillows, and sheets, which will completely transform your bedroom into a cocoon.

YnM The Original Cotton Weighted Blanket

There are nearly 44K reviews on Amazon for YnM’s weighted blanket, with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5. Overall, people really like it. A cozy blanket from the brand is made with eight layers, including a cotton/polyester blend cover, fiberfill, and glass beads. The product is available in various colors, sizes, and weight options, ranging from 5 to 30 pounds. They are made from 100% cotton and filled with tiny, evenly distributed glass beads that feel comfortable against the body. Reviewers praise the blanket’s special construction, which keeps the beads evenly distributed throughout.  

This blanket cannot be machine washed, which is one of its drawbacks. I suggest that you purchase a separate duvet cover that you can wash whenever you want. This blanket is highly recommended by reviewers because it reduces tossing and turning and allows them to sleep more deeply. Additionally, some say it’s one of the coolest and most breathable weight blankets on the market because of the breathable cover material.

Bearaby Cotton Napper

Cotton nappies have always been in high demand, and for a good reason. Chunky knit blankets come in six solid colors and look lovely draped over a couch. This brand claims that a blanket’s weight comes from the fabric, hand-knitted into chunks of deliciously heavy material. Choosing this one is the best option if you dislike the look of fuzzy fleece fabric. The knitted style appears to be a trendy throw rather than a typically weighted blanket. Because it has an open structure, it will distribute weight evenly when layered over another blanket.

Reviewers say they feel calm and secure under this heavy blanket. Their favorite thing about it is its beauty and high-quality construction. This soothes anxiety on both emotional and physical levels.

How does a Weighted Blanket Help with Anxiety?

Dealing with anxiety with weighted blankets

Typically, weighted blankets are safe and can reduce anxiety for children and adults. Many people benefit from them by achieving a relaxed state, enabling them to sleep better. While sleeping, a weighted blanket helps ground your body by pushing it downward. Among the many benefits of weighted blankets are:

Promotes Deep Pressure Stimulation

Weighted blankets simulate deep pressure touch (DPT), relieving anxiety and chronic stress by using firm, hands-on pressure. This repair helps calm a stressed and overstimulated body. Pressure applied properly has the same effect as being hugged, embraced, massaged, or cuddled. When the body experiences anxiety, the sympathetic nervous system shifts to the parasympathetic nervous system.

Keeping Our Nervous System Calm

Our bodies contain a variety of systems that regulate our functions and assist us in navigating the world around us. The autonomic nervous system controls unconscious functions like respiration, heart rate, and blood flow. Our sympathetic nervous system is activated when we are experiencing prolonged stress and anxiety, signaling that we are facing a threat and must fight or flee. In times of high anxiety, weighted anxiety blankets activate our parasympathetic nervous system. Hence, weight blankets aid digestion, stabilize, and restore equilibrium by stimulating the muscles in the body.

The Best Way to Pick the Right Weighted Blanket for Anxiety?

Make sure you do the math. Weighted blankets are typically recommended for people weighing approximately 10% of their body weight. As such, if you weigh about 150 pounds, a 15-pound blanket would be ideal. It doesn’t have to be exact; an exact range within 7-12% is considered acceptable. People with mobility problems and older adults may wish to choose lighter, smaller blankets. 

Avoid using oversized blankets. You shouldn’t let your blanket hang off the side of your bed: It may fall off during the night due to the weight. Having a larger size also means the weight is distributed more evenly, so you won’t feel as much pressure. Although you might have a larger bed, consider using a twin or individual-sized weighted blanket.

Use with caution. Anyone unable to move freely under a weighted blanket shouldn’t use one. While they are sometimes used for children as a therapeutic method, you should speak to their pediatrician first.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are weighted blankets effective for treating anxiety?

There’s still plenty of research to be done before weighted blankets can be taken as an official anxiety treatment. Still, some evidence shows that weighted blankets can reduce anxiety and pain and improve sleep. Additionally, they’re relatively easy to find and are available at various prices, so if you’re looking for relief from anxiety, they’re definitely worth a try.

Who shouldn't use a weighted blanket?

Weighted blankets are generally not recommended for toddlers under two years of age due to the risk of suffocation. Weighted blankets are not recommended for patients with circulatory or breathing problems such as diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, or claustrophobia. You should also refrain from using them if you are pregnant. If you think you might benefit from a weighted blanket, you should talk to your healthcare provider.

Do weighted blankets help kids with anxiety?

Children struggling with anxiety and insomnia may find weighted blankets helpful. However, they should not be used by very young children due to their weight. Before trying one, parents should ensure the correct weight is used and consult their child’s pediatrician. Ensure that your child can cover and uncover himself or herself at night and that he or she can pick up the blanket if it falls off. Children that cannot lift a weighted blanket themselves should not be given one.

Why are weighted blankets so popular?

A growing number of weighted blankets are currently being sold in retail stores. The fact is that they are beginning to pop up in stores everywhere as people seek different ways to reduce their anxiety. The marketing of weighted blankets and testimonials about their benefits have led to their increased use among individuals without special medical conditions or needs.

Conclusion

Sleeping with a weighted blanket can help you feel more relaxed and calm, so you might sleep better. Weighted blankets may effectively manage symptoms of multiple mental health disorders, particularly when used in conjunction with other therapy. 

If you have restlessness or anxiety, you can sleep better with a weighted blanket. Having a weighted blanket around feels like a warm embrace that is calming and comforting. Scientific research also supports the positive effects of these stylish blankets.

Mike Horton (head of Weighted Living)

by Mike Horton

Mike is one of the lead editors at Weighted Living and the author of this article. He's become fascinated with weighted products (a bit too much we think) and loves to see all the different ways they can improve our loves. He's written quite a few weighted product guides as well.

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