October 16, 2020
How Do Weighted Blankets Ease Anxiety?
We dig into the science of how weighted blankets help you naturally overcome feelings of stress and anxiety.
Is anxiety making it difficult to focus during the day or fall asleep at night? Others are off counting sheep, getting crucial restorative rest, and you’re wide awake counting worries instead?
A weighted blanket can help.
While stress can be temporary, many of us are dealing with non-stop anxiety. These feelings of uneasiness and worry can significantly impact overall health and wellness. This post explains how weighted blankets for adults with anxiety work and answers often-asked questions about reducing stress by sleeping under the delightfully heavy pressure of a Napper.
What are weighted blankets?
A weighted blanket, sometimes also called a weighted anxiety blanket, is a therapeutic tool to naturally aid sleep and mental health. While weighted blankets have recently soared in popularity, the concept of anti-anxiety blankets has been around for a while.
For many years, occupational therapists and those caring for people in the special needs community have used various weighted objects to bring about a calming, sensory experience. Today, using a weighted blanket for anxiety and insomnia is mainstream practice.
Do weighted blankets help anxiety?
Recent research backs up using a heavy blanket for anxiety. A study published in August this year found that patients receiving chemotherapy felt less anxious when they used a weighted blanket.
These findings also reiterate the benefits of weighted blankets for adults with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia or RLS, disorders like PTSD, and anyone struggling with high anxiety levels.
Experts from the American Sleep Association, Harvard University, and The Cleveland Clinic also acknowledge the benefits of a weighted blanket for anxiety. In a study published by Occupational Study in Mental Health, research revealed that 63% of the test group reported lower anxiety after using a weighted blanket.
What is the best weighted blanket for anxiety?
When buying a weighted blanket to ease your anxiety, consider:
- Breathability – a weighted blanket should help you sleep soundly, not wake you up because you’re soaked in sweat.
- Sustainability – is your stress-less purchase placing strain on the planet?
- Aesthetics – choose a weighted blanket that can double as home decor, so you’re not dealing with the eye-sore of something dull draping over your couch.
Our patented Napper weighted blankets tick off all three things on this list. Made from sustainably sourced plant-based fabrics, our breathable Napper collection offers you a choice between a 15, 20, or 25 lb weighted blanket in an array of stunning shades, designed to complement any couch.
What about a weighted blanket for kids with anxiety?
The Nappling is our 8 lb weighted blanket designed especially for kids. It harnesses all the stand-out features and benefits of our signature Nappers, resized to suit kids ages four to fourteen.
Curious how these anxiety-easing benefits are brought about? Read on.
How does a weighted blanket work?
Let’s break down the science of sleeping under a Napper.
Grounding aka earthing
“Grounding” or “earthing” of the body – pushing it downwards with the help of substantial weight – helps us feel more relaxed. In turn, this reduces feelings of tension for drifting off to dreamland with greater ease. Is this sounding a little too hippy-dippy? Keep reading.
Deep Touch Pressure
Coupled with the effects of “earthing,” the science behind weighted blankets boil down to the added pressure activating Deep Touch Pressure (DTP). There are multiple research-backed benefits of DTP, including increased serotonin (the happy hormone), increased melatonin (the sleep hormone), and decreased cortisol (the stress hormone).
A closer look at serotonin
Serotonin is a chemical produced by our nerve cells and acts as a transmitter, sending messages between the cells. It’s mainly found in the brain and intestines, but it’s also present in our central nervous system and blood platelets. Since it’s located in these key areas of the body, it influences various psychological and bodily functions.
Serotonin works in conjunction with other systems to regulate our blood pressure, heart rate, and mood. This last part is critical, especially when it comes to mental health. It’s considered a natural mood stabilizer, helping to control anxiety and promotes feelings of happiness. A pretty powerful chemical!
Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, anxiety, and insomnia. DTP causes serotonin levels to spike, having a calming, soothing, serene effect.
Serotonin naturally converts into melatonin, which is the hormone that tells your body it’s time to wind down as bedtime approaches. With serotonin levels up and melatonin naturally flowing, your body is now primed for deeper, more restful sleep.
Another key element in this chemical equation is cortisol, which is your body’s natural stress hormone. It’s also been referred to as the body’s built-in alarm system, working with your brain to control your motivation levels, fear sensors, and mood.
Reduced cortisol levels
When we’re stressed, we tend to have higher levels of cortisol in our bodies. Constant stress is essentially keeping your cortisol switch permanently ‘on’ – increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and sending other body systems into high gear too. As you may have guessed, it can also make it harder to fall and stay asleep.
Scientists conducted a study to measure the biological effects of weighted blankets on the human body during sleep. They did this by measuring cortisol levels and reporting on sleep, pain, and stress. The results?
Weighted blankets significantly reduced cortisol levels during nighttime sleep, reducing sleep dysfunction, pain, and stress. When cortisol levels drop, there’s an overall improvement in our physical and mental comfort.
We love to be cuddled
On top of all of this science, cozying up under a Napper brings a sense of warmth, relief, and security – often described as similar to a hug. A weighted blanket naturally mimics this comforting sensation that our bodies are designed to crave.
Ever wonder why babies sleep better when they’re swaddled? Our knitted weighted blankets draw on the same concept of applying gentle full-body pressure to help grownups struggling with stress or anxiety. Who knew that a bit of delightful pressure (the physical kind, not the hustle and bustle kind) was the ticket to more calm and better sleep?
Along with wrapping up in a cozy Napper or Nappling, it’s helpful to incorporate complementary stress-reducing strategies like:
- Maintaining a balanced diet
- Staying connected – don’t underestimate the power of a good laugh with a loved one
• Recent studies affirm that weighted blankets lower anxiety.
• The science behind weighted blankets comes down to what’s called Deep Touch Pressure (DTP), and DTP brings a bunch of research-backed benefits.
• Unlike conventional weighted blankets, our patented knitted Nappers are filler-free – this means more even weight distribution, more effective DTP, and more calm.
Did you know?
Chocolate can help increase serotonin levels, and many foods, like grapes, strawberries, and tomatoes, have been known to increase your melatonin levels.