On the shelves of stores or on the internet, at least somewhere a weighted blanket must have caught your eye and left you wondering why it is getting so increasingly popular.
A weighted blanket is one that has glass or plastic beads, or discs filled in a cover of cotton or another softer material. Such a blanket weighs between 5 to 30 pounds and you have to carefully pick the right weight for yourself. Though you’d think it would weigh heavily on you, the overall feel is comfortable and light.
It is said that by wearing a weighted blanket when sleeping, you sleep better because it destresses and makes you feel less anxious. This quality of it makes it perfect for people who have restless leg syndrome, chronic pain, ADHD, autism, insomnia or another health complication which keeps them from relaxing down at night and catching a proper amount of zzz.
But does a weighted blanket actually work to enable better sleep or are these claims hollow? Do these blankets deserve all the hype? Let’s see what science says about them.
What Do Science And Researchers Say About Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets enable better sleep – that’s a fact supported by science, not a myth or an advertising policy. In fact, people who have slept using these blankets have also given their thumbs up to it. You see, a weighted blanket applies equal pressure on the body, a phenomenon that science has labelled as “deep touch pressure.” This “deep touch pressure” has a therapeutic effect and it makes one feel secure, less anxious and as if he is being gently hugged.
The compression offered supports the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone and serotonin, the happy hormone. What’s more, wearing a weighted blanket also minimizes the release of cortisol, which is the stress hormone. The overall effect is relaxing. This is not where the surge of good hormones ends though. The hug-like sensation of a weighted blanket also encourages the release of oxytocin which lowers blood pressure as well as slows down heartbeat.
A Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders study found that 4 out of the 5 participants who slept with a weighted blanked slept better, longer, and woke up more refreshed. Another study, this one published in 2012 in the journal Australasian Psychiatry found that participants who were in a mental psychiatric unit felt lower anxiety and stress when they slept with a weighted blanket on. This shows that weighted blankets have science’s support.
To sum up, weighted blankets are popular because they enable better sleep and yes, science does support the effect they have a therapeutic effect. These blankets encourage the release of oxytocin, serotonin, and melatonin which relax one and help one fall asleep. At the same time, the blanket’s use also controls cortisol and lessens stress and anxiety. For this reason, people who have trouble sleeping, are recommended to try weighted blankets.