We all have that favorite fuzzy blanket, sweatshirt or cup of tea that allows us to curl up and relax after a long day. Your anxious dog might have a compression vest that helps them feel more safe and content. Why not choose a prescription-free comfort item that is scientifically proven to naturally make you feel better?
Weighted blankets have become the latest self-care product everyone wants to try. While they were more difficult to come by in past years, you can now find weighted blankets on Amazon, Etsy, and even in stores like Target and Walmart. These praised blankets have been shown to benefit health and reduce stress.
There are many different health issues and chronic conditions that weighted blankets can help with. According to Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, “Weighted blankets may provide sounder sleep, reduced feelings of anxiety, and lessening in ADHD and ADD symptoms.” Studies also show that they can help those with insomnia, PTSD, cerebral palsy, and restless leg syndrome.
So how can something as simple as a blanket filled with beads make such a difference? The added pressure is likened to the feeling of a hug, which is comforting for many. “These blankets work by applying additional pressure to the body,” Backe says. This applied pressure on the body releases dopamine and seratonin—two feel-good chemicals that heighten mood.
That added weight can also help you sleep better and longer. “The goal is to give you a sense of calmness, which can reduce stress, as well as help you to stay asleep so your body can go through the necessary stages of sleep to allow you to wake up fully rested,” certified sleep science coach Bill Fish of Tuck.com says.
Experts recommend you start with a blanket that is roughly 10 percent of your body weight. Too much extra weight, especially when you sleep, can actually make you feel trapped or smothered. “If you are unable to roll over in with your weighted blanket and have any feeling of being ’trapped’, it's recommended that you look for something a bit lighter,” Fish says.
Fish also recommend that, if you have a sleep partner, you should each have your own blanket. No more worrying about your partner stealing the blanket in the middle of the night!
Although weighted blankets have been proven to help with many health issues, anyone can reap the benefits of using a weighted blanket. Whether you use it as a coping mechanism during an anxiety attack or just want to curl up under it after a stressful day at work, it may be just the trick to help you relax and improve your mood.