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All About Weighted Blankets

Author imageThe Mattress Warehouse

One of the best feelings in the world is getting into bed and snuggling up under your big, comfortable duvet. For a lot of people, this means laying under aWeighted Blanket.

The History of Weighted Blankets:

anxious man

Occupational therapists initially started using Weighted Blankets as a tool in occupational therapy (Sensory Integration Therapy), as a treatment for autism and other sensory focused disorders. The idea behind this therapy involves the release of your “feel good hormones”, dopamine and serotonin, stimulated by the pressure of a weighted blanket. The deep pressure can help desensitize and calm hypersensitive patients.

“It’s very much based in deep pressure helping to calm that arousal level in the system and to help with self-regulation,”
– May-Benson

Weighted Blankets are used by everyone in today’s world, and it is no longer only used for therapy. Finally, they generally weigh approximately 10% of your body weight.

What is in Weighted Blankets?

unmade bed

Weighted Blankets contain extra filling to provide the extra weight. The three most common fillings are:

  • Plastic poly pellet filling
  • Micro glass bead filling
  • Grains, dried beans or aquarium stone filling

Plastic Poly Pellet Filling:

Plastic poly pellets are made of polypropylene plastic, and it’s the most traditional filling for Weighted Blankets. When used as a filling, it is generally accompanied by cotton or polyester stuffing.

recycling

However, while poly pellet filling is durable and generally washable, it is unfortunately made from plastic. Therefore, if you’re big on saving the planet, this might not be for you. Furthermore, these pellets sometimes have a slight odour and can end up unevenly distributed in your Weighted Blanket.

Micro Glass Bead Filling:

Micro glass filling is made from tiny glass beads. These beads are significantly more dense than the plastic poly pellets. The filling is a lot more tightly packed, resulting in a thinner blanket. Furthermore, glass beads are also generally accompanied by cotton or polyester stuffing.

plant

Micro glass bead filling has many benefits: is long-lasting and washable, it shapes snuggly to the body, and there is no odour involved. Furthermore, it is more environmentally friendly than the plastic alternative.

However, these beads can also fall to a specific side and cause uneven distribution, but a good quality Weighted Blanket should have pocket stitching to avoid that.

Grains, Dried Beans or Aquarium Stone Fillings:

People generally use these filling in home-made Weighted Blankets, because it is cheap and easy to come by.

beans

Organic material is porous, making them unsuitable to washing as they will retain the water, which, in turn, may lead to mould. Furthermore, the organic filling may eventually expire and emit an odour.

Weighted Blankets: are They Child Friendly?

baby sleeping

Scientists conducted numerous studies on Weighted Blankets, and they deemed them safe to use for adults and children. Unless you have breathing problems, you’re good to go!

However, scientists agree that these blankets are not safe for babies under the age of 1, and can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This refers to the sudden, usually unexplained, death of babies in their sleep.

7 Benefits of Weighted Blankets:

blanket on bed
  • Alleviates insomnia
  • Decrease stress and anxiety
  • Eases Fibromyalgia
  • Helps with Alzheimer’s
  • Eases Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Helps with Autism and other sensory processing disorders, as well as ADHD

1. Alleviates Insomnia:

I think we can all agree that sleep is a crucial aspect of our daily lives. Constant sleep deprivation will impact every aspect of your life, from productivity to mental health. It is therefore of vital importance to alleviate your insomnia in any way possible!

girl with duvet

The deep pressure that Weighted Blankets provide, will calm you down and will promote relaxation. This, in turn, will send you off to dreamland. Simply stated, Weighted Blankets assists the body to produce melatonin (sleep hormone) this will promote improved sleep quality.

To learn more about insomnia, click here.

2. Decreases Stress and Anxiety:

Anxiety and anxiety-related disorders are one of the most common mental health problems of today’s society. Research shows that Weighted Blankets reduce anxiety in 63% of adults.

stressed man

“The idea of weighted blanket therapy, also called deep-touch therapy, goes back to a basic human behaviour known to calm us —  being held. Clinical studies suggest that when certain pressure points on the body are stimulated by touch, the brain releases serotonin. This neurotransmitter is responsible for regulating various brain functions, including sleep and mood.”
Ali Venosa

Gentle pressure on your body provides a sense of calm and safety. The boosted serotonin level decreases the level of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body.

3. Eases Fibromyalgia:

Patients who suffer from Fibromyalgia suffer from chronic pain all over their bodies. As you would imagine, this can affect every part of your day to day life and can be very debilitating. Furthermore, there is no cure currently available, which can really make you feel quite hopeless.

man in pain

Many fibromyalgia patients obtain relief through myofascial release, which includes hands-on pressure over the whole body. Weighted Blankets mimic this therapy, and can, therefore, relieve some pain.

4. Helps With Alzheimer’s:

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, nor is there a way to slow it down, but there are ways to alleviate some of the symptoms.

old man

Some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s include anxiety, depression and mood swings. Weighted Blankets can help calm down, comfort, and encourage sleep for the patients.

5. Eases Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS):

RLS is a nervous system disorder that causes uncomfortable feelings in the legs. People who suffer from RLS need to move their legs as often as possible in order to alleviate the sensations in their legs.

old woman holding her leg

Weighted Blankets create a sense of a steady hug around the legs, which calms irritated nerves and intolerable sensations. This is especially helpful because RLS is often more intense at night and can affect sleep.

6. Autism and Other Sensory Processing Disorders, as well as ADHD:

You can mimic the effects of deep touch pressure stimulation, which can help with sensory related disorders, with Weighted Blankets. This form of therapy applies firm weight to different parts of the body. The pressure calms the patients and alleviates anxiety.


man screaming

Weighted Blankets offers amazing benefits. Rest assured that it is safe for you to use, so why not go ahead and just give it a try?

Sleep well!

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