What Is a Weighted Blanket?
We all look forward to a night of deep restorative sleep. Hence, we resort to various accessories and means to help us reach the quest, like pink noise, white light, relaxing exercises, etc. One such accessory is a weighted blanket.
Here, we understand what it is and dig out how it aids in helping you sleep. Read on!
What is a Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets are heavier than the standard blankets as they are filled with plastic pellets or glass beads and can weigh anywhere from 5 to 35 lbs or 2 to 15 kgs.
They are available in knitted and duvet styles and render a calming effect when placed on the body. They can be used in all places, like a bed or a sofa, to help you relax.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
You might be wondering what is the purpose of a weighted blanket and how it works. As already stated, it has an extra weight of glass beads or plastic pellets.
The extra weight exerts gentle pressure on your body, like a hug or a baby’s swaddle. The exerted pressure mimics therapeutic pressure therapy or deep pressure stimulation.
The weighted blanket’s gentle pressure on the body relaxes the nervous system and stimulates the release of oxytocin. This, in turn, increases the release of feel-good chemicals like serotonin in the brain. Consequently, you feel calm, happy, and relaxed.
Herein lies the answer for what is a weighted blanket used for. It is widely used to ease symptoms of anxiety, stress, sleep disorders, chronic pain etc.
Weighted Blanket Benefits
Since the weighted blanket is nothing but a form of deep pressure therapy, there are several benefits of a weighted blanket that are scientifically backed. Wondering what are the benefits of a weighted blanket? Find them below.
1. Provides Comfort and Security
When wrapped around, a weighted blanket creates the same feeling as that of a soothing hug. As a result, it helps you relax better and fall asleep faster.
2. Ease Stress and Soothe Anxiety
Try a weighted blanket if you are wondering how to calm anxiety at night and sleep better. Users of weighted blankets have often reported its calming modality, which translates into reducing stress and anxiety.
3. Improve Sleep Quality
The swaddling feeling of the weighted blanket calms you and also helps you reduce night-time movements. It especially helps reduce symptoms of sleep conditions like Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), which disrupts a more restful sleep. It also relieves symptoms of chronic pain by helping us release our tense muscles and joints.
Simultaneously, its deep pressure stimulation helps reduce the production of the stress hormone- cortisol and increase the production of serotonin, the mood-boosting hormone, and the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
All these together induce sleep faster and help you sleep with ease. Simultaneously, it prevents sleep disruption and improves your sleep quality.
Once you have experienced the magical sleeping effect, you will never ask what is the point of a weighted blanket.
4. Calms the Nervous System
The effects of a sympathetic nervous system are anxiety, stress, fatigue, etc. All these naturally disrupt sleep. But when you wrap around a weighted blanket, it activates the relaxing parasympathetic nervous system and calms your body’s fight-or-flight response.
How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?
The weight of the weighted blanket is a vital consideration for you to reap its full benefits. Hence, you might ask, what is a good weight for a weighted blanket?
According to the Sleep Foundation, the recommended guideline is that the weighted blanket should weigh about 10 per cent of your body weight to yield the desired result. The table below gives you insight.
|Body Weights (Kg)||Blanket Weights (Kg.)|
What Are the Drawbacks of Weighted Blankets?
If not chosen correctly, a weighted blanket can cause suffocation. Its other drawbacks are:
- Its weight can make it challenging to travel with.
- Cleaning it is difficult because of the extent of care required and its weight.
- Weighted blankets may restrict airflow, which makes it harder for people with sleep apnea to breathe properly.
- Some people may feel uncomfortable and awkward initially, and it takes time to get used to a weighted blanket.
- They are far more expensive than a regular comforter.
How Much Do Weighted Blankets Cost?
A weighted blanket’s cost can vary depending on its size, weight, material used and brand. It can start from as low as Rs. 3,500/- and go even higher than Rs. 1 lakh.
Due to their unique relaxing and therapeutic effect, weighted blankets can be a wonderful panacea to soothe your sleep troubles and improve the overall quality of your sleep. However, they might not be suitable for everyone, and you should consult a doctor before using them to reap their full benefits.
Are weighted blankets good for you?
Weighted blankets offer plenty of benefits and are good for you, provided you are selecting the right weight and using standard care and precaution.
Should you use a weighted blanket every night?
If the weighted blanket works for you, it is safe to use them every night.
What happens if the weighted blanket is too heavy?
Weighted blankets of more than 35 pounds are generally considered too heavy. Using them can put too much pressure on your joints, cause discomfort, and make you feel restricted. They would also raise your body temperature and leave you more distressed than relaxed.
How do you wash a weighted blanket?
The way of washing a weighted blanket depends on its filling type. If it has a separate cover, you can wash the cover as often as required.
A weighted blanket with plastic beads or poly pellets can be machine washed in a delicate cycle but should not be cleaned at high temperatures or machine dried as it would melt its plastic beads and damage the blankets.
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