The weighted blanket – a way to relax

The weighted blanket – a way to relax

What is a weighted blanket?

A weighted blanket is heavier type of blanket that may be used to help people relax or to aid the treatment of the symptoms of a range of psychological issues and disorders, such as anxiety, insomnia and stress. They typically weigh anywhere between 4 and 14 kg, depending on the size of the blanket and the body weight of the user – the optimal weight is 10% of your body weight, so be sure to choose well. This will be heavier than a comparably-sized duvet or blanket and the additional weight induces a “grounding” or “earthing” effect on the body by pushing down on it during sleep to provide a calming effect and also simulate deep pressure touch (DPT) therapy, which uses firm pressure from hands to reduce anxiety and stress.

How does a weighted blanket help someone to relax?

The additional pressure that is provided on the body by a weighted blank has been shown in plentiful research from numerous studies to reduce the levels of a stress-related hormone cortisol and also increase the levels the sleep-related hormone melatonin. Together this balancing of hormone levels in the body can make it easier to calm down from the strains of work or life and ease tension in the mind so that you can fall asleep quickly and soundly. What’s more, the heavier weight of the blanket around the body is intended to feel like getting a hug – and what could be more relaxing than that? A weighted blanket doesn’t have to be used only for sleeping either, you can also try wrapping it around yourself to relax after a hard day at work or try it during meditation for extra calming.

Can a weighted blanket be used to help treat psychological disorders?

The grounding effect on the body from using a weighted blanket at night time can help to reduce the levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol. Cortisol is normally produced when the brain is alerted to danger in order to trigger a “fight or flight” response, but prolonged stress can also lead to increased amounts of cortisol in the body and can result in anxiety, depression, insomnia and weight gain if the levels don’t return to normal. Using a weighted blanket at night can therefore help to reduce stress and any consequential disorders that it can cause. Furthermore, the therapeutic deep pressure touch effect of a weighted blanket promotes relaxation and the release of feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin by the brain that can also help to treat anxiety, depression and stress. Weighted blankets can even be used to help people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

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