Weighted blankets are becoming incredibly popular these days because of their ability to improve mental conditions such as autism, anxiety, sleep and insomnia, and even ADHD. Weighted blankets were originally catered to the special needs community but slowly became mainstream the moment people realized it can benefit almost anyone. It works not just for people with anxiety and sleep problems, but also on adults who want a more relaxing and sound sleep. Before we dive into the top 3 benefits of using a weighted blanket, here’s a basic rundown of what it actually is and how it works.
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Weighted blankets are simply as it states, it’s a blanket with extra weight on it. Manufacturers use several materials to add weight to it. The most common ones are glass beads, plastic pellets and even rice. If you come across blankets that have lead in them, please avoid those at all costs as they're toxic. High quality weighted blankets usually use glass beads. They’re easy to wash and have better dispersal properties making the weight even across the fabric. Adding the fluffiness of pure cotton makes it even more comforting to the touch.
How heavy the blanket should be depends on who you are buying it for. The general rule is to get a blanket that’s at 10% of your body weight plus one or two pounds. It’s not always the case for heavier adults, but for kids, it’s important to abide by this rule.
Weighted blankets help treat autism
The science behind weighted blankets lies in the concept of deep touch pressure or DTP. DTP works by gently applying pressure on the body to aid the release of serotonin, which is a chemical that promotes relaxation. Autism patients usually have trouble sleeping. With DTP, soft pressure is distributed gently across the body, which calms down the nervous system and helps reduce anxiety. Classroom performance and sensory input is also improved with the aid of weighted blankets. There have been a few studies showing how DTP directly improves classroom performance by the use of weighted vests and blankets draped over the body.
Weighted blankets help treat ADHD
Children suffering from ADHD usually have difficulty focusing on their tasks. Studies show that a 15 to 18% increase in attention span is observed among kids wearing a weighted vest to school. It also shows a considerable improvement in task completion, behavior, and level of attention to detail. This shows how deep touch pressure works in improving a person’s mental state by helping the body relax and the helping the mind focus.
Weighted blankets improve sleep
Better sleep is probably one of the biggest selling points of a weighted blanket. Knowing the science behind deep touch pressure, we can expect better sleep as serotonin is produced which calms the nervous system. But it’s not just serotonin at work, its release trigger the production of melatonin as well, which is the chemical that tells the body it’s time to sleep. This helps you get a more regular sleep schedule.