Pros and Cons of a Weighted Blanket
The product that helped many to improve their overall health and everyday functioning, the weighted blanket, is becoming even more popular each day. With celebrities announcing their positive experiences and recommendations, for many people, it started to look like a temporary fad.
The truth is, a weighted blanket is a great concept and it’s been used for decades in acute psychiatry. The entering of this therapeutic tool into mainstream use is a logical consequence of modern living.
Stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia. Almost every person today has experienced psychological and emotional problems. This is where the powerful effect of the weighted blanket comes to help. Moreover, it has the ability to deal with the symptoms of “modern diseases”.
Let’s look at the concept, the pros and the cons of the use.
The Concept of the Weighted Blanket
The simple idea of adding a little bit of extra weight to a blanket turns out to be a very powerful therapeutic tool for humans. Psychiatrists started using the concept for children with severe disorders like autism, ADHD, anxiety, and post-traumatic disorder.
The calming method of the hug is very universal for the humankind, therefore, the blanket performs a comforting hug. The extra weight that is added on the skin triggers positive changes in the nervous system.
Today’s sophisticated weighted blankets can be manufactured with different fabrics, sizes, and weights. The additional weight is provided by the glass or plastic-made microbeads that are evenly spread on the surface of the blanket.
A weighted blanket should weight 8-10% of the user’s body in order to provide the maximum benefit!
The use of weighted blanket results in deep pressure touch DPT stimulation. The additional weight added on the body triggers the nerve endings underneath our skin. The consecutive processes that follow, lead to activation of the parasympathetic system – the rest and digest response. In this state, the body relaxes and feels safe and secure.
The secretion of the serotonin, dopamine, melatonin, and oxytocin under the commands of the sympathetic system results in satisfaction, calmness and leads to sound sleep. That said, here are the pros of using a weighted blanket:
- Fights off stress
- Prolonged stress activates the sympathetic system in the body. This results in the secretion of the stress hormone – cortisol and adrenaline. Its role is to prepare the body to flight or fight the potential “danger” – this is how our body perceives stress. A weighted blanket is an instant switch. The DPT immediately makes the switch from sympathetic to parasympathetic and the stress levels are slowly decreased. The body relaxes and promotes the feeling of calmness.
- Helps in reducing Insomnia and disrupted sleep
- The DPT triggers the secretion of serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a regulator of the sleep-wake cycle and a precursor of melatonin. The melatonin is a hormone that is secreted in the night and tells the body that it’s time to sleep. If the sleep-wake cycle is disrupted by the low levels of these hormones a person is unable to fall asleep. Therefore, the use of a weighted blanket will increase the levels of melatonin in the blood and promote a good night sleep. In many surveys, it’s stated that a weighted blanket also helps in longer and undisrupted night sleep.
- Helps with Anxiety and Depression
- Anxiety, depression and almost every other psychological state or disorder are linked to low levels of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin in the brain. Sleeping with a weighted blanket will restore the hormonal balance in the brain and body. The normal to higher levels of serotonin and dopamine help in mood-regulation, feeling of satisfaction, happiness, and content.
- It might be too heavy
- The most important thing when purchasing a weighted blanket is to find the perfect weight for you. In many cases, a too-heavy blanket can feel uncomfortable, give soreness and not provide all of the expected benefits.
2. It’s too heavy to carry around or to travel with
- Moving the blanket around the house might be a bit of a challenge. The weight also makes it unsuitable for carrying around with you when traveling.
- It’s space consuming
- A weighted blanket has a much bigger size than a normal one. When folded you will need bigger storage.
- Keep away from pets and children
- A weighted blanket designed for adults is way too heavy for small children and pets. If by any chance they find themselves stuck under they may end with injuries.