Thursday, May 16, 2024

Do Weighted Blankets Help With Anxiety

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Calming Our Nervous System


The body is a complex structure, with systems in place to help us regulate our functions and navigate our world. Our autonomic nervous system regulates our body’s unconscious functions, such as breathing, heart rate, blood circulation, and certain reflexes. These are, essentially, the ways that our body functions every day without us having to think about it. For example, we can breathe without having to think about taking a breath. If we could only breathe when we intentionally think about it, we would never be able to get anything else done!

When we become stressed or alerted to a threat in our environment, our sympathetic nervous system kicks into gear and says “I’ll help you!” The sympathetic nervous system is what fuels our flight or fight response. It uses the information we are taking in and tries to help us quickly respond in order to survive that moment.

As helpful as this is for our survival, it is common for people in our modern society to be in constant fight or flight mode at work, at home, in our relationships, with responsibilities and obligations. Living under this constant pressure can cause our sympathetic nervous system to operate on overdrive and can lead to us experiencing things like:

  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Increased cortisol

Insomnia And Sleep Disorders

In the 2014 crossover study on autism and weighted blankets, both the parents and children felt the weighted blankets were beneficial in reducing sleep issues.

In the using ball blankets, the weighted blanket helped reduce sleep onset time and number of nighttime awakenings in study participants.

These study results suggest an overall benefit of using weighted blankets to treat sleep disorders.

Ssnooze Weighted Blanket 20 Lbs 2019

Theres nothing about the sSnooze Weighted Blanket that really stands out, but it offers all the great benefits of the higher-ranked blankets on this list. We only wish there were more than four color options to choose from. sSnooze claims to use nano glass beads in its blankets, which might contribute to better breathability.

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Benefits Of Weighted Blankets

A lot of claims relating to the benefits of weighted blankets are anecdotal. Nonetheless, scientific research is starting to investigate the potential benefits of weighted blankets.

Some manufacturers claim that weighted blankets may be beneficial for specific conditions. This section lists these conditions along with any available scientific evidence to support or refute the claims.

Dear Parents Anxiety In Kids Is A Serious Problem

Do weighted blankets help with anxiety?

Holly*, a casting agent in Austin, Texas, had postpartum depression with her first child, Fiona, now 5 years old. Today, Holly takes medication to manage her anxiety and depression. But she also worries that anxiety might someday affect her daughter and her son, now 3.

Holly explains that Fiona could be shy and clingy. wasnt sure if that was normal kid behavior or something else, Holly says.

Then, there was what Holly now calls an incident. A few weeks into kindergarten this year, Fiona got hurt on the playground at recess and was sent to the nurse.

I think she was alone for a little bit, and then wasnt allowed to go back to recess, Holly recalls. I think she felt very out of control, which then manifested as, I dont like the nurse. Then she didnt want to go to school, and started regressing in several areas. She no longer wanted to go to cooking class, then dance class. Every day, going to school became torture, screaming, crying. It took a while to calm her down, she explains.

Holly and her husband talked to Fionas teacher and to the nurse. But after a couple of weeks, Holly conceded that she didnt have the right tools to deal with the situation. She took Fiona to her pediatrician, who asked the child a series of questions. Her pediatrician then advised her mother: She has some anxiety issues.

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How To Pick The Best Weighted Blanket For You

If you are going to try a weighted a blanket, keep in mind that they can get pricey. A 20-pound Gravity Blanket, for example, costs $189.

Committed to shelling out some cash? Zhdanova recommends sticking with a weighted blanket on the lighter side. Most experts advise choosing one thats roughly 10 percent of your body weight so if youre 150 pounds, you should buy a 15-pound blanket. Zhdanova notes that you shouldnt use a weighted blanket if you snore or have sleep apnea, because anything that is placed on your chest can disrupt your breathing even further.

But if stress, a mile-long to-do list and funneling caffeine to get through the day is the battle you’re fighting, a weighted blanket may just help you put those sleepless nights behind you.

Helping You Feel Where Your Body Is

Weighted blankets, along with other weighted items such as lap bags or weighted vests, have been used for a long time to help children with sensory processing disorders.

Donna Emery has been working as an occupational therapist in Queensland for about 30 years and says weighted blankets are one of the tools she uses to help kids feel calmer.

She says the pressure from a weighted blanket can help them feel their bodies better, making them calmer and more relaxed.

“Some of these children have low muscle tone and they’re not really feeling where their body is in space,” she says.

“By putting more deep pressure through their joints, it sends messages back to their brain ‘oh, here I am’.”

Ms Emery says some kids on the autism spectrum who do things like walk on their tiptoes a lot, use too much force when touching other people or flap their hands around a lot can benefit from weighted items.

“As occupational therapists we look at the pattern that children present with and try to work out what sensory patterns are going on, and then we can work out what will help the child get the sensory sensations they’re seeking out,” she says.

“There are other weighted options, like weighted vests for children that are in preschool to help them stay focused and weighted lap bags so they will sit more securely. We recommend more of those .”

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Is There A Better Option

In addition, keep in mind there may be better, evidence-based solutions out there for your sleep struggles, particularly when it comes to chronic insomnia, which is defined as having trouble falling or staying asleep for at least three nights a week for three months or more.

“For insomnia, the first-line recommendation now is a specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques, practices that are supported by evidence from controlled trials,” says Dr. Cusin.

CBT is typically administered in a four- to 10-week program that helps you make lasting changes to your sleep habits, including limiting the amount of time you spend in bed. This helps to train you to avoid being in bed unless you are sleeping. CBT can be challenging and typically works best when performed by a professional.

Why Are Kids So Anxious

Weighted Blankets. Do they help with anxiety?

The primary sources of anxiety, Stahler says, are twofold: brain wiring and parenting. Put simply, some brains are wired with anxiety more than others. As for the parenting component, theres the genetic element.

Anxiety goes back as far as three generations, Stahler says, and then theres the modeling parents are exhibiting for their children, like obsessive use of hand sanitizer or preoccupation with germs.

Plus, thanks to increased tiger parenting and overscheduling, kids today have less time for play and thats how kids work things out, adds Stahler.

Ann, an organizational consultant in Portland, Oregon, who has a 10-year-old with anxiety around doctor and dentist visits as well as a 7-year-old with social anxiety, has tried to mitigate that by sending her children to a Waldorf School, with limited media and ample time among trees.

Kids arent getting enough time out in nature. Theyre spending too much time on devices, which changes brain structure, and our world today is a constant bombardment of senses, says Ann. Theres no way a sensitive kid can navigate all the things coming at them all the time.

Ann has a history of panic attacks and comes from a long line of sensitive people, she explains. Shes done much work on her own anxiety which has in turn helped her manage her childrens.

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What Are The Best Weighted Blanket Brands

As someone whos always had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep a weighted blanket has helped me immensely in staying calm and relaxed at night. I get up less in the middle of the night, have stopped tossing and turning, and wake up feeling more refreshed and less groggy. Here are five of my favorite weighted blankets to try right now.

Sleep Problems In Children With Adhd

Similarly to children with ASD, many children with ADHD have sleep disturbances, such as trouble falling asleep and waking up several times throughout the night. Unlike children with ASD, however, weighted blankets proved useful in some instances in children with ADHD who had difficulty sleeping.

A study involving 21 children ages 8 to 13 years with ADHD and 21 healthy controls found that the use of a weighted blanket improved the time it took to fall asleep and the number of awakenings.

A more recent study examined 120 patients who were randomized to either a weighted metal chain blanket or a light plastic chain blanket for four weeks. Researchers found that weighted chain blankets are an effective and safe intervention for insomnia in patients with ADHD and other psychiatric disorders.

It is important to note that, despite positive findings in several of these studies, they are limited by their small size, short duration, and/or lack of diverse subjects. Further research on the benefits of weighted blankets is needed in all of these therapeutic areas.

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What Is A Weighted Blanket Good For

Weighted blankets work using a technique called deep touch therapy, also known as DTP. By placing pressure on the body through the additional weight, this can lead to happy hormone serotonin being released in the brain, in a similar way to a warm hug. Through applying even pressure to your body, weighted blankets have been shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels and help you feel more relaxed, all of which can contribute to a restful eight hours.

What Is A Weighted Blanket

Weighted Anxiety Blanket 6.8kg

Weighted blankets, which can weigh anywhere between 3 and 30 pounds, are filled with layers of tiny pellets packed within the fabric. Theyre designed to apply even pressure across your entire body, similar to what you feel when youre draped with a lead apron before getting dental X-rays. That extra pressure makes many people feel more secure as they lie in bed, creating a sense of relaxation that helps them fall asleep.

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Weighted Blankets Have Long Been Used For Certain Conditions They May Provide Benefits For People With Insomnia And Anxiety But Research Is Scarce

Some people count sheep at night. You count worries. If you often find yourself lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling, you may be looking for solutions to help you get back to sleep. One new approach that doesn’t involve drugs or doctors is becoming increasingly popular: weighted blankets.

These blankets look like regular blankets, but they’re filled with plastic beads or pellets to make them heavier. They typically weigh from 3 pounds to upwards of 20 pounds. Companies are marketing them as a solution for insomnia as well as nighttime anxiety and stress reduction. And people are buying. Sales of the blankets have surged in the past two years.

Common Symptoms Of Ptsd

Although symptoms vary, there are four hallmark signs of PTSD, per the APA.

An individual doesnt have to experience all four categories of symptoms to be diagnosed with PTSD, and its actually uncommon for a person to suffer with all four. However, even one type of symptom can seriously interfere with an individuals everyday life.

Additionally, researchers have found that people with PTSD also frequently suffer from co-occurring disorders, such as fibromyalgia.

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I Tried A Weighted Blanket With Cooling Tech To See If It Could Soothe My Pandemic Anxiety

Ive never been the greatest sleeper. Im anxious and prone to overthinking. I get sweaty at night and tend to throw my blanket onto my poor partner in the middle of the night. This all became worse when the pandemic hit, and my anxiety went into overdrive.

Im not alone in this experience. A recent study conducted in China found people had higher rates of insomnia, acute stress, anxiety, and depression in the wake of the pandemic. Notably, the data showed a 37 percent increase in the rates of clinical insomnia since the beginning of the pandemic.

When I was asked to test drive Toronto-based Gravids 3.0 weighted blanket with cooling technology, I was a bit skeptical. Previously, I had tried a weighted blanket but didnt like it because of how hot I got and how unevenly distributed the weight was. And to be honest, pre-pandemic, I didnt think of myself as someone with serious enough sleep issues to need a weighted blanket. But now, the possibility of more sleepless nights, without overheating, was incentive enough to at least try a different product that might help.

Weighted blankets are therapeutic blankets that weigh anywhere between 5 to 30 pounds. The weight, which is distributed throughout the blanket using glass beads, grains, or plastic pellets, provides deep pressure stimulation all over your body. This is thought to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system and help you relax by slowing down your heart rate.

Try A Weighted Blanket For Anxiety And Ptsd

Will A Weighted Blanket Help Stop Anxiety, Insomnia, or Stress?

Anxiety and PTSD can take a toll on your life and your sleep habits. A weighted blanket may help you manage your PTSD symptoms, get higher quality sleep, and improve your overall health. SensaCalm has made the highest quality weighted blankets right here in the U.S.A. for a decade. Order your weighted blanket today. Questions? We love to hear from our customers. Give us a call at 855-736-7222 or use our contact form to get in touch.

How do you manage your PTSD symptoms? Let us know by tweeting us .

Disclaimer: The content on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before undertaking any type of therapy or treatment.

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Best For Kids: Sivio Weighted Blanket For Kids

To buy: $30 to $44

Weighted blankets are beneficial for kids, especially those with ADHD, according to research. The catch: Your little one shouldn’t use the same weighted blanket as an adult. Instead, a 3-pound, 5-pound, or 7-pound option will be better suited to their body size. This kids weighted blanket not only comes in fun, colorful patterns that children are sure to love, but it’s also received more than 4,000 five-star reviews from shoppers. Bonus: A 100% cotton cover makes it breathable, even in warmer seasons.

“The first night we used it for my daughter she slept SO WELL!”said a shopper. “She has a very difficult time falling asleep for quite some time now, we started seeing a slew behavior specialist, and she recommended a weighted blanket for her. I purchased this one when we got home from our initial appointment and I have NOT been disappointed with this blanket yet, and I don’t think I ever will be.”

Treatment Options For Ptsd

There are many types of therapy and treatment for anxiety and PTSD. What works for one person may not be as effective for another, and you may have to experiment with a few different therapies before finding what works best for you.

Its also important to see a doctor or therapist who specializes in the treatment of PTSD. As the Anxiety and Depression Association of America states, It is important for anyone with PTSD to be treated by a mental health care professional who is experienced with PTSD. Some people will need to try different treatments to find what works for their symptoms.

Some common treatment options for PTSD include:

Mental health professionals also stress the importance of addressing the side effects of PTSD. As many PTSD and anxiety sufferers know, lack of sleep is a common side effect. When your mind is consumed with worry and stress, its often difficult, if not impossible, to shut it off and settle down for the night.

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Are More Kids Living With Anxiety Today

Holly isnt alone. I interviewed several parents whove lived with anxiety, whose children have also exhibited anxious behaviors.

Anxiety in children is decidedly more proliferate now than it was a generation ago, says Los Angeles-based family therapist Wesley Stahler. She adds that there are a lot of different factors stoking it, including genetics. Parents often come in and blame themselves for the genetic component, Stahler says. But in reality, theres more at play. Theres a historical context, compared to when we were kids, she explains.

Add to that the tension over the political divide pre- and postelection, and anxiety today seems to have become a widespread family issue. Whats even more important to know is that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States.

Anxiety is defined as the inability to tolerate discomfort, Stahler explains, and perceiving things that arent an actual threat as a threat. Stahler adds that 1 in 8 children and 1 in 4 adults have anxiety. Anxiety manifests in physiological and psychological ways, including stomachaches, nail biting, inflexibility, and difficulty with transitions.

People experience a fight-or-flight response to the perceived threat. Often anxiety in children is misdiagnosed as attention deficit, Stahler says, which can look like kids who cant sit still. Fidget spinner, anyone?

As a result, Rachel has consciously changed her vocabulary and strategies for dealing with families.

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