25 Reasons Why Weighted Blankets are Key to a Good Night's Sleep
Weighted blankets are, well, weighted.
Weighing in at 15 or 20lbs, they are heavy!
... and ohh, sooooo, comfy.
You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when grandma hugs you to pieces?
That’s precisely how a weighted blanket feels.
How does it feel like a cuddly embrace from nana dearest? We’re glad you asked. Science!
Allow us to put our safety goggles on and explain…
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Deep Touch Pressure, or DTP for short, was a term coined by the very charismatic Dr. Temple Grandin - the most celebrated doctor in the field of autism research.
She devoted her career to children living with autism, helping them live fuller, richer lives.
Dr. Grandin discovered DTP while searching for a natural remedy for anxiety among children. The challenge was that the solution could not feel confining, or restrictive - as this would heighten anxiety, rather than lower it.
While watching the dairy cows graze at her farm, inspiration struck! And she invented a real life “hug machine” - brilliant!
True to its name, this extraordinary therapeutic tool applied gentle, even pressure on the body, and the pleasant embrace stimulated the release of serotonin — the happiness chemical in the brain.
The lightbulb went off and it was clear as day: Our bodies respond to gentle pressure in the most miraculous way - by releasing feel good endorphins throughout our circulatory system, making us feel peaceful, content and secure.
This kickstarted the development of weighted blankets that had precisely the same physiological effects as the famous “hug machine”.
See, just like the “hug machine” - weighted blankets utilize DTP - and that’s what makes you feel like you’re being given the most incredible, comforting hug.
And what happens when you’re hugged? Turns out, a lot:
1. Adrenaline, Cortisol & Norepinephrine levels, the three major stress hormones, immediately drop
2. Blood pressure levels normalize, lowering our resting heart rate, making us feel at ease
3. Happiness hormones flood the body (oxytocin, serotonin)
4. We experience a deep, innate sense of security
There’s no two ways about it.
DTP is profound; both in its simplicity and effectiveness.
Now, should you go on a DTP-fueled, stranger hugging frenzy?? Ofcourse you should!
….. but before you hug everyone in line at Tim Horton’s, let us make a recommendation: Try a weighted blanket, first! (It hugs you back, and doesn’t give you side-eye.)
Like a hug, a weighted blanket comforts you through the night with a soothing embrace, bringing with it all the extraordinary benefits that DTP provides.
Ok - so quick recap:
1. Dr. Temple Grandin discovered Deep Tissue Pressure (DTP)
2. DTP lowers anxiety levels and floods your body with happiness hormones
3. You just hugged 11 people before grabbing your double-double
4. You realize full-time hugging isn’t sustainable, and you’re wisely considering a weighted blanket. Smart. I like your style!
So, we now know how weighted blankets work. But, why-oh-why would we need such a glorious blanket? I’m glad you asked.
Sit back, relax, and sip on your Latté young jedi…. class is in session.
Are you sleep deprived?
Within a 5km radius, chances are there’s a Starbucks or Tim’s near you. Why is that?
If coffee jolts you into the most productive version of yourself, then you already know the answer; We need caffeine!
Why? Because we are habitually sleep deprived.
Sleep deprivation is an interesting phenomena - everything is amplified and dulled at the same time. Sounds are louder, emotions are hotter; and yet our reflexes and recall skills are much slower- ever notice that?
Being chronically sleep deprived is never a laughing matter… almost never :)
Have you ever:
- Gone grocery shopping, in your house slippers
- Put both contacts in one eye
- Forgot to put deodorant on
- Left the iron on (only to torture yourself wondering if you left it on)
- Worn your shirt inside-out
- Left your keys in the door lock, overnight!
- Forgot where you parked your car
- Called one of your kids by the others name
- Put the dust pan in the fridge, and the milk on the floor by the broom
- Looked for your glasses while they’re on your head
- Put the ice cream back, in the fridge
- Went to bed, forgetting the dogs were outside
- Wore two different black heels
Sleep is a retreat from the world.It’s essential for our health and development. Newborns and toddlers spend more than half of every day asleep. And while many adults try to get by with less, most people need between seven and nine hours each night to perform and feel their best.
Simplesleep’s weighted blanket is refreshingly low tech. There are no sensors, no plug-ins, no apps to download. It’s just a quilted comforter filled with tiny beads, that rests on your body like a giant golden retriever. It can recalibrate your nervous system and maybe even cure your insomnia.
Here are the 25 benefits of Simplesleep's Weighted Blanket....
The Benefits of a Weighted Blanket
Stress, anxiety and many other conditions can prevent a good night’s sleep. While there are medications available to induce sleep, many people prefer to try a more natural approach first. A weighted blanket can help with a variety of issues. Here are a few:
1. Soothes Anxiety
One of the more common uses for a weighted blanket is to soothe anxiety. While a weighted blanket can be used during the day, many people find it's most effectively used at night to quell the effects of sleep anxiety. Studies show weighted blankets provide both physiological and psychological benefits.
2. Creates a Calming Effect
People who use a weighted blanket often report a calming modality and for this reason, it’s often used for people who are stressed or who have a disorder that makes them hyperactive. The blankets have been helpful for calming everyone from college students to animals!
3. Improves Daytime Social Interactions
Weighted blankets have been found to improve social interactions during the day for users, mainly because they are able to get restful sleep the night before.When a person isn’t able to get a good night’s sleep, it impacts every aspect of their life, including social interaction and performance in other areas. When a person gets their sleep back, they often get their life back too.
4. Eases Insomnia
As we’ve mentioned, weighted blankets are helpful when it comes to inducing sleep and improving sleep quality. For this reason, many people with insomnia find weighted blankets helpful. Studies show the use of a weighted blanket increases sleep time, decreases movements and improves sleep.
5. Increases Serotonin
Serotonin impacts the sleep-wake cycle by regulating the sleep stages and impacting the depth of sleep. Deep pressure touch has been shown to stimulate the release of serotonin, helping the user sleep more peacefully and soundly.An illustration showing a closeup of a serotonin molecule in the brain.
6. Treats PTSD
Weighted blankets have been successful in treating some of the negative symptoms of PTSD by relaxing the nervous system. This can help patients with trauma relax, feel more grounded and safe.
7. Decreases Nervous System Activity
When the autonomic nervous system is overactive, it can lead to anxiety, hyperactivity and a slew of other issues. Weighted blankets can de-active the nervous system and put it into "rest mode," mitigating the effects of these conditions.
8. Reduces Nighttime Movement
Having a weighted blanket on top of the body while sleeping can help reduce movement throughout the night. Studies back up this claim — the ‘cocooning’ provided by a weighted blanket can reduce movements during the night, leading to a more restful sleep.An illustration showing where a weighted blanket rests on pressure points on the legs to reduce movement.
9. Eases Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes involuntary and rapid movement of the legs. This tends to happen when the person affected is trying to fall asleep. It’s been noted that applying pressure to the extremity of the legs for a significant amount of time can decrease symptoms of RLS.
10. Helps With Fibromyalgia
Users with chronic pain such as fibromyalgia have found comfort from the use of a weighted blanket. The blanket can help ease symptoms while helping to break the cycle of anxiety and depression that often accompanies the illness.
11. Reduces Heart Rate
Touch therapy has been found to decrease heart rate. A weighted blanket simulates touch therapy, providing similar benefits. The calming, grounding effect can be helpful to stop symptoms of anxiety or other illnesses that induce a quickened heart rate.
12. Increases Focus in the Classroom
Students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have found DPS to be very helpful. Participants in one study found that when they wore a weighted vest, task completion improved, as did attention to the task and overall behaviour.
13. Lowers the Incidence of Seizures
Not all individuals who use a weighted blanket will report the same benefits, but potential positive effects include reduced incidence of seizures. DPS has positive impacts on the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing the body to experience an overall sense of wellbeing.
14. Improves Communicativeness
Another observed benefit of DPS includes increased communicativeness, particularly in children on the autistic spectrum. The feeling of safety and grounding may have something to do with this benefit.
15. Soothes Panic Disorder
Heavy blankets and vests have been shown to decrease panic attacks and prevent crisis states in people of all ages. This allows them to lead more normal lives, get better sleep and improve in many other areas.
16. Increases Feelings of Security
Weighted blankets, especially when wrapped around the body to create a swaddling effect, have demonstrated increased feelings of security. This feeling can help generally with better sleep and even help with sleep anxiety.
17. Can Ease Alzheimer's Symptoms
One common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is depression, affecting between 5 and 20 percent of patients. Fear and fatigue can manifest when people with Alzheimer’s try to make sense out of the world and aren’t able to. A weighted blanket has been shown to decrease these feelings of depression and anxiety in some cases.
18. Helps Manage OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been linked to low serotonin levels and as we cited earlier, a weighted blanket can help increase the release of serotonin in the body. The use of a weighted vest during the day can help, but during the night a weighted blanket is best.
19. Eases Symptoms of Autism
Another common use of weighted blankets is to lessen negative symptoms for those with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). Studies show that touch therapy can relieve ailments like muscle spasms and social anxiety. A weighted blanket may provide similar effects.
20. Calms People With Sensory Disorders
Many parents of children with sensory disorders find that weighted blankets are a good tool to have on hand. This is because of the feeling of comfort and security they provide. The therapeutic relief of a weighted blanket can also extend to those with other developmental disorders.
21. Alleviates Symptoms of Menopause
Many women who go through menopause find that they experience sleep disruptions; they also report anxiety and depression. A weighted blanket can help with all of these symptoms, making it easier to get a good night’s sleep.
22. Improves the Mood
Using a weighted blanket can lead to overall improvements in mood because they increase the production of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Combined with a decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone), this can have a significant impact on a person’s mood.
23. Induces and Improves Sleep
Findings show that people who use a weighted blanket often notice they sleep longer, have fewer disruptions during their sleep and experienced overall improved sleep. There have also been reports that a weighted blanket can help people fall asleep faster.
24. Reduces Sugar Cravings
Depression, fatigue and poor sleep hygiene and other mood disorders sufferers frequently show strong cravings for sugars. By improving your sleep and mood, you decrease the sugar cravings.
25. It improves your mental acuity i.e. you feel sharper
Using a weighted blanket can help increase the brain's production of serotonin, which can help you feel relaxed and fall into a deep, restorative sleep that you can sustain all night long. You'll wake up alert and sharp.
How a Weighted Blanket Works
It's easy to understand how a blanket might provide a source of comfort — after all, many people enjoy curling up under the covers. It’s common for children to have a favourite blanket they carry around with them as a comfort tool and many adults even own a favoured throw blanket.Weighted blankets take this to the next level. Using the principles behind deep pressure therapy weighted blankets evenly compress the body and induce feelings of calm and safety.
Dr. Temple Grandin first discovered DPT when searching for something to ease the anxiety of children on the autistic spectrum. She wanted to provide something for these patients that didn’t feel confining or restricting and came up with a “hug machine” that applied gentle pressure to the body. When she did this, she noticed a release of oxytocin in her patients.Using this research, weighted blankets were developed. They give a similar experience to the “hug machine” by lightly pressing on the body and stimulating a similar release of oxytocin.
How to Choose and Buy a Weighted BlanketThe best way to choose a weighted blanket is to determine the right weight for your preferences. It’s generally accepted that the most effective weight is 10 percent of a person’s body weight. So a person that weighs 150 pounds will choose a 15 pound blanket.Blankets range in weight from 15 to 20 pounds and the price will vary slightly depending on the weight. Many companies fill their blankets with plastic poly pellets or glass beads, but we recommend micro-glass beads for maximum comfort.Choose a weighted blanket that is breathable, allows for air-flow and has a comfortable outer layer.
How to Use a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets can be used very similarly to regular blankets. Most weighted blankets are designed to replace the comforter on a bed.The user should ensure the majority of their body is covered, starting at the neck down to the toes for maximum benefits. This will result in an even distribution of weight and allow the blanket’s calming effects to take place.
Weighted blankets have many uses and can provide numerous benefits for those suffering from conditions like anxiety and pain. They can also be helpful for those who are experiencing sensory issues or who are on the autistic spectrum.When using a weighted blanket, it can be helpful to include nice soft sheets and a fluffy pillow to round out the perfect, cozy sleeping situation.