Everyone loves a good sleep, but for some, it can be hard to come by. Work stress, improper sleeping schedule, and even uncomfortable bedding may contribute to the lack of sleep. But, could weighted blankets be the answer to everyone’s sleeping woes?
Although the concept of heavy blankets has been around since the 1990s, using them to help the sleeping patterns of individuals is fairly recent.
Are Heavy Blankets Effective?
Each year, there seems to be a new fad that people seem to be interested in. Most of these trends, however, are short-lived. While weighted blankets have been used for years, their growing popularity in recent years can make many skeptics raise their brows. After all, how can a blanket be used to improve your sleep quality? It is essential to look at how they work to understand why weighted blankets can be useful and seem so popular.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Weighted blankets can weigh anywhere between 5 to 30 pounds (or 2 to 13 kgs). This extra weight mimics deep pressure stimulation, which is a therapeutic technique often used to lessen anxiety, relieve pain, and even improve mood. This technique has also been effective as a supplementary treatment, such as using a support dog or massage therapy.
Deep pressure stimulation does not necessarily need to be hands-on. Similar pressure can be mimicked with heavy blankets by wrapping the blanket around a person’s body.
How Can Weighted Blankets Help You?
Research into the effectiveness of weighted blankets has been going on for many years. Several findings point to these blankets helping with anxiety, sleep disorders, reducing stress, and more. Here’s how they can help you sleep better:
- A Decrease in Cortisol Level: Cortisol can be seen as an “alerting” hormone in the body. Generally, there is a natural drop in the cortisol level in our body during the evening. This is the body’s natural mechanism, which helps us to relax and feel less alert. However, feelings of anxiety or stress may interfere with this natural drop. Deep pressure stimulation has been shown to decrease cortisol levels in our body, which is mimicked by weighted blankets.
- Increases Oxytocin: Heavy blankets may increase the production of oxytocin. Although scientists are still trying to understand this hormone, it is evident that oxytocin helps in regulating the sleep cycle. It also helps induce a sense of calm and attachment, just like when you receive a long, warm hug. Since weighted blankets mimic the gentle pressure, these blankets increase oxytocin, thus improving sleep quality.
- May Increase Serotonin: Serotonin is a popular hormone that most people know as a “feel-good” hormone. When a weighted blanket is used, serotonin production may increase. However, serotonin is not only a feel-good hormone. Instead, it is also a precursor to melatonin – a critical hormone that helps induce sleep. When serotonin levels are disrupted, melatonin levels are also affected, leading to low sleeping schedules.
Hence, weighted blankets are not merely a popular trend. Instead, they are backed by years of research, which proves their efficiency. The use of these blankets, thus, can help in improving sleeping patterns and aid sleeping disorders. If you’re having trouble sleeping and looking for a new way to help you sleep, weighted blankets can be worth a try.