Are weighted blankets really worth the investment?
Weighted blankets are heavier than the kinds of blankets people usually buy. They typically weigh anywhere from 4 to 30 pounds, making them heavier than the average comforter or down quilt. For many people who have disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, or autism, weighted blankets may provide a safe alternative to medication or other types of treatment. They can also be used to complement existing therapies.
Research has shown that weighted blankets can help reduce symptoms and manage these conditions. They promise to improve your sleep and ease anxiety by mimicking the feeling of a cozy hug. Who wouldn’t want that? Find out if you too should give these adult security blankets a try.
Why use a weighted blanket
Weighted blankets are typically filled with plastic poly-pellets(think Beanie Babies, that late-1990s toy craze), weighing anywhere from 4 to 30 pounds. The way the blanket cocoons the body is a form of deep pressure therapy — firm squeezing, stroking, swaddling, and massage that calms the nervous system and reduces high arousal levels in adults and children.
The pressure stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system — the part of the body responsible for turning off your stress response, making you feel peaceful and relaxed.
Weighted blankets and sleep
For years, children with developmental disorders — particularly autism — have used weighted blankets to sleep more soundly. However, research is thin on whether they actually work. In a 2014 study, a weighted blanket didn’t help autistic children fall asleep faster, wake less often, or sleep longer. However, the children and their parents said they preferred the weighted blanket over the normal one.
There’s some evidence that weighted blankets could help adults with insomnia. A 2015 study from Sweden found that people with moderate insomnia slept longer and moved less when using a weighted blanket.
Weighted blankets and anxiety
According to Ellen Vora, M.D., a holistic psychiatrist, weighted blankets may turn down anxiety by recalibrating our nervous system. Our ancestors made a point to keep infants in constant physical contact with another person, usually the mother, she says. Nowadays, babies typically spend a lot of time in cribs, strollers, and swings, depriving them of close touch.(Please keep in mind that weighted blankets should never be used on children under age 3.)***
So should you buy one?
Keep in mind that a weighted blanket is just one tool in your arsenal. Dealing with anxiety and sleeplessness generally requires a multi-pronged approach that can include therapy, medication, and dietary changes.Most companies allow returns within a week and up to one month after purchase, so you have a bit of time to try out your blanket. Bear in mind it needs to at least appear unused — so giving it a proper test run is difficult. They’re also an investment — most weighted blankets for adults cost $200 or more.But it’s an easy hack that’s “safe, non-invasive, and with high potential benefit,” says Vora. “In summary, it’s worth a try.” At World Stem Cell Clinic, we believe that that having an informed parent–in an effort to empower him and his family– is the only way to for us to deliver optimal healthcare. Visit our website to find out more about our services and let us be part of your journey. You are not alone!