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The Science Behind Weighted Blankets

If you struggle getting to sleep at night, a weighted blanket could help. In recent years, there have been an increasing amount of studies linking the use of weighted blankets to a better quality of sleep, and reductions in stress and anxiety. They’ve become a hit with many adults and children, and although a fairly new trend to the sleep aid market, their core principle of deep touch pressure stimulation has been acknowledged by therapists for generations.

Weighted blankets are used by a variety of different people, and not just those who struggle with their sleep. Many without sleep issues use these blankets to help achieve the stage of deep REM sleep faster, improving their mental wellbeing as well as their levels of productivity.

Others also use them to help alleviate any stress, anxiety or restlessness they are struggling with, making them a great investment, particularly for those who are suffering with the current COVID-19 lockdown.

How Do Weighted Blankets Work?

Weighted blankets help to provide proprioceptive input, feeding the brain’s need to place the body within its environment.

The brain continuously sends signals around the body to help it understand its surroundings. However, the feedback our bodies give is not always enough. When the brain receives insufficient feedback, it gets confused, and its reaction to this can make us feel restless and stressed. Providing the body with sufficient feedback can help to reduce this reaction, alleviating the stress and restlessness associated with it.

Weighted blankets apply a certain amount of pressure to the body, which enables the brain to access information about our place in a certain space quicker. This helps to alleviate feelings of restlessness and stress, and promotes a sense of calm and relaxation.

As previously mentioned, there have been numerous different studies conducted on the benefits of weighted blankets, some even suggesting that their use could trigger a boost in serotonin, whilst others associate their use with lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

What Are Their Benefits?

Weighted blankets can offer an array of different benefits, promoting the user’s health and overall wellbeing. By providing the brain with enough proprioceptive input, users can encourage relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety levels, helping to promote a better quality of life overall.

Additionally, numerous studies have linked the use of these blankets to increased quality and quantities of sleep, which can further help to improve how users operate throughout the day, boosting productivity levels.

The deep touch stimulation provided by weighted blankets is also suggested to be beneficial for those with sensory disorders, ADHD, PTSD and autism.

How to Optimise My Weighted Blanket

There are various different providers of weighted blankets, however, not all are optimised to provide its user with the best possible experience.

When looking for a weighted blanket, there are two major things to consider – these being its texture and weight.

When it comes to relaxation and sleep, texture plays a big role. From sheets to pillows to pyjamas, all good sleep-related/loungewear products are typically soft to the touch, and comfortable to use. In order to get the most out of a weighted blanket, it’s therefore best to find one with a soft cover to optimise your comfort levels and promote a sense of calm.

Additionally, weight is another key aspect to consider when finding the best weighted blanket for you. Firstly, it’s important to get the correct weight for your blanket; Calming Blankets claim that “Weighted blankets are designed to be 8 – 12% of your body weight. Some prefer their blankets on the heavier side, while some enjoy lighter pressure.” When picking out a blanket, it’s best to stick around this range in order to gain the most benefits.

Secondly, it’s vital to ensure that the weight is evenly distributed throughout the blanket. Many people struggle to experience the benefits of these blankets if the weight is unevenly distributed. Some products lack a sufficient amount of inner ties to hold the weight in place, making it bunch up in certain places.

When shopping for a weighted blanket, it’s important to ensure the product has made the sufficient precautions to enable even weight distribution. This will help you to make the most out of your blanket, optimising its impact.

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