June 01, 2023

6 Unexpected Health Benefits of Weighted Blankets

Are you someone who has heard of weighted blankets but isn't sure why people use them? This article explores what weighted blankets are, the science behind them, and how they can help with sleep, tension, mood, and other medical conditions.
Blanket draped on armchair

Are you someone who has heard of weighted blankets but isn't sure why people use them? Do you ever wonder how they can help you? 

This article explores what weighted blankets are, the science behind them, and how they can help with sleep, tension, mood, and other medical conditions.

What are weighted blankets?

Millions of people have lauded the benefits of using weighted blankets for overall health and well-being.

But what exactly are weighted blankets, and how do they vary from regular ones? 

Weighted blankets are similar to standard blankets but with added weight. Where traditional blankets typically weigh two to three pounds, weighted blankets can weigh anywhere from ten to thirty pounds.

Additionally, weighted blankets are designed to feel like a hug. The blanket’s extra weight applies pressure to different parts of the body, enabling them to simulate a hug-like effect. 

Since they mimic the sensation of being held, weighted blankets also have the same health-promoting benefits of hugging, such as decreased stress, lower blood pressure, and improved mood.

Weighted blankets are also considered a form of deep pressure therapy (DPT). DPT works by triggering pressure points in the body, which relaxes the nervous system, resulting in better mood and a calmer disposition.

Now that we've described what a weighted blanket is, let's look at some of their well-known benefits.

Six Benefits of Using Weighted Blankets

1. Improves Sleep Quality

Have you ever wondered why you still wake up feeling tired and groggy despite having 6-8 hours of sleep?

Turns out, it’s not just the amount of sleep that matters, but also the quality of the sleep

We’ve always known that clocking in 6-8 hours of sleep is essential for optimal health.  While this is true, our sleep quantity is not the only factor in a refreshed and restful slumber.

If you get enough sleep but still wake up exhausted, you might not be getting high-quality sleep.

If you find yourself in the same situation over and over again, you may want to think about using weighted blankets.

These blankets are known to induce sleep with their soothing effects and deep pressure. 

A recent study showed that prolonged use of weighted blankets was linked to better sleep quality and decreased insomnia and fatigue. 

This is because deep pressure from the weighted blankets activates sensors in different parts of the body, thus providing a sense of calmness and peace to the user. 

Furthermore, weighted blankets are shown to minimize movement during sleep as the added weight provides minimal restraint. 

Hence, people who regularly use them have a more restful slumber and a refreshed disposition in the morning. 

2. Alleviates Stress And Tension

Do you know that hugs have the power to curb and melt away tension

More than just a display of affection, hugs are a healthy gesture that helps strengthen the immune system and improve one's moods.

The act of skin-to-skin contact during a hug triggers the release of happy hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. These same "feel good" hormones are also found in antidepressants and anxiety drugs.

So if you are feeling a bit down due to so much stress, then maybe it’s time to get a hug - from a weighted blanket, that is.  

Since they are designed to mimic the act of being held or cuddled, weighted blankets produce the same positive effects that a hug provides. 

Some people who suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and other mental health problems also turn to weighted blankets to help them relax during bouts of anxiety and stress.

3. Reduce Chronic Pain

When we are in pain, our cortisol levels shoot up. As a result, our bodies are more prone to pain and fatigue. 

This is where DPT comes in.

Aside from reducing stress and anxiety, DPT can also lower cortisol and increase our serotonin levels, making us feel more grounded, relaxed, and calm.

Again, this goes back to the DPT technique, in which deep touch is used to stimulate the body’s pressure points further, resulting in a more relaxed nervous system. 

Since weighted blankets add gentle pressure to the body with their extra heft, they can serve as a natural alternative to ease pain reflexes. 

If you constantly suffer from chronic pain or have occasional muscle aches, a weighted blanket can help alleviate these painful sensations. 

4. Improves Mood

Feeling down or unusually sad? Maybe it's time you consider using a weighted blanket. 

Apart from their stress-reducing abilities, they can also improve and boost mood. 

Research shows that weighted blankets are known to help people suffering from clinical depression.

The gentle pressure from weighted blankets raises oxytocin while decreasing the stress hormone cortisol levels, making it a valuable remedy for someone having a bad day.

So, if you are looking to boost your mood, especially after a tiring and stressful day, a weighted blanket is your go-to happy pill. 

5. Alleviate Symptoms of ADHD and Autism 

Self-regulation is difficult for people with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

They are often overwhelmed by their surroundings and struggle to process information, making them more sensitive to stress and anxiety.

Weighted blankets can help relieve these symptoms by providing comfort and relaxation through DPT. 

The weighted blanket's gentle but firm pressure controls and regulates hormones.  

This relaxes the central nervous system even further, resulting in a relaxed and secure state for people suffering from these conditions.

6. Decreases Sensory Overload

It's difficult not to get overstimulated in this day and age. Simple things like the TV blaring or noisy music can often overpower our senses, leaving us feeling anxious and confused.

This disorder is known as sensory overload.

Exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and irritability are the most common symptoms of this condition.

Weighted blankets are a great tool to help decrease sensory overload and its symptoms.

Their hug-like feeling helps calm and ground the body by applying gentle pressure to sensory pressure points. 

So, if you find yourself having trouble managing daily life as a result of this, a weighted blanket can help. 

Final Thoughts

Weighted blankets are becoming increasingly popular in the market due to their surprising benefits to overall health and well-being. As a result, more and more people are considering integrating them into their daily routine.

Overall, weighted blankets can be an effective way to improve sleep quality, reduce anxiety, and alleviate symptoms of various medical conditions.