Remedies

Do Weighted Blankets Really Help With Anxiety?

Weighted blankets, whose heard of these before? I personally hadn’t heard of them up until last year. Nor had I known that they had the power to help reduce anxiety!

Now, I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical at first when I heard this fact. So I began diving into research on the subject, and was quite impressed with what I found.

Weighted blankets were generally used by those with special needs, like autism, ADHD, and sensory processing disorder, as they crave touch and pressure but are unable to tolerate typical physical touch from loved ones. Weighted blankets help to provide the calming touch that those on the autism spectrum need, in a way they can receive it.

Now, weighted blankets are used to help those who suffer with anxiety and sleeping problems, like insomnia.

What Are Weighted Blankets?

Weighted blankets are specially designed blankets that contain a weighted material, often some type of plastic bead that’s been sewn into a grid design so it disperses pressure evenly throughout the blanket. They are available in a variety of weights and sizes, and depending on your needs, you’ll want to get one that suits you.

Now, you may have never used a weighted blanket before, but you may have experienced a similar effect, say for example, when you’ve piled a heap of sheets, covers, and blankets on top of yourself in Winter to keep warm. You may have experienced that “heavy” feeling under all those covers. Another example is being hugged by someone. A simple hug can have similar effects to what weighted blankets have.

How Weighted Blankets Work

The underlying science behind weighted blankets is Deep Touch Pressure (DTP). DPT is gentle pressure distributed on the body. The pressure from a weighted blanket has been shown to actually affect the brain, causing it to release neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which help to improve mood and generate a calming effect. What’s more, the deep touch pressure weighted blankets provide aid in reducing activity in the nervous system, helping to calm it down, which is necessary for good sleep.

Weighted vests are another great tool to help with anxiety as it’s a version of a weighted blanket that you can wear on the go.

How To Find A Good Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets have become quite a common essential to many, so it’ll be easy to find them online.

Here are some things to look for when choosing your own:

  • Look for a fabric you’ll love; many weighted blankets are made with a soft fleecy or minky material.
  • Find a weight that’s best for you; as a rule of thumb, blankets should typically weigh between 5-10% of your body weight plus 1 or 2 extra pounds, though suggestions vary.
  • Choose a blanket size that works for you; sizes can range from a small lap blanket to a full bed cover.

How To Make Your Own Weighted Blanket

If you have a basic knowledge of simple sewing techniques, you may be able to try making your very own weighted blanket. Most pre-made blankets contain plastic beads, and I’m not a huge fan of plastic (to put it lightly). Avoid plastics and all their toxins by making your own weighted blanket and substituting the plastic with alternative fillers like rice or beans. Now, if you do use rice or beans to fill the blanket, this will make it non-washable, so you may want to keep this in mind.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Fabric: a soft fabric like cotton fleece is perfect. Patterns with lines like plaid can make it easier to sew a straight line and help make your grids even. You’ll need to figure out the size you’ll need and plan accordingly, ensuring you have enough for two layers.
  • Rice or glass beads for filling (not washable if using rice).
  • Thread.
  • A funnel.
  • A kitchen scale.

Instructions:

  1. Measure out the fabric and ensure the layers are even.
  2. Thread the bottom and two sides of the fabric together. Tuck in the edges to create a hem.
  3. Using a fabric pencil, draw out the grid design on the fabric.
  4. Divide the glass beads up by the number of boxes in your grid and measure out how many will go in each box.
  5. Sew the vertical lines of the grid from the bottom hem to just below the top of the blanket, leaving a couple of inches at the top.
  6. Pour enough beads in each row for one box.
  7. Thread the horizontal line over each scoop of beads in the blanket to create the first row.
  8. Repeat until you get to the top of the blanket, then finish the vertical lines at the top and hem the final edge to finish the blanket.

For a more detailed tutorial, including pictures, check out these instructions here.

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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If you’ve tried a weighted blanket before, or have suggestions on blankets you’d recommend, please share your experience in the comments below! It’s always great to get a variety of opinions and reviews.

Have a fantastic day lovelies!

Vanessa xx

 

Sources:

Ames, Casey. (January 24, 2017). Do Weighted Blankets Work For Anxiety?. Harkla. Retrieved from https://harkla.co/blogs/special-needs/weighted-blankets-anxiety

Wells, Katie. (June 18, 2018). Can a Weighted Blanket Transform Your Kids’ Sleep?. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/130140/weighted-blanket/

 

 

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