Weighted blankets have received a lot of attention recently. A video on Facebook that went viral and got over 34 million views about their benefits caused a spike in interest.
However, if you are unfamiliar with weighted blankets, you may be wondering why they are getting so popular and what is the point of having a heavy blanket.
This is a quick article that will explain what the purpose of weighted blankets are and how they are used.
A weighted blanket is exactly what it sounds like, a blanket with extra weight added to it. However, weighted blankets can vary in a number of ways.
The first is the size of the blanket. Weighted blankets are designed specifically with the user in mind. What this means is that the weighted blanket’s weight should correlate with the weight of the person using the weighted blanket.
The rule of thumb is 10% of the user's bodyweight plus a pound or two. So a 50lb child would need a 7lb blanket, while a 150lb person would want a 17lb blanket. Most blanket's dimensions get larger as the weight gets larger.
Another area that weighted blankets vary is what is used to weigh down the blanket. Some places use glass beads, while others use metal or even rice and barely. At Harkla, we use food-grade poly pellets mixed with pp cotton.
A third difference is the fabric that weighted blankets are made with. This can be a personal preference choice when purchasing a weighted blanket. We simply recommend looking for one that is easy to wash.
Lastly, you’ll see a difference in whether a weighted blanket is one or two pieces. At Harkla, we made ours a duvet style that is two pieces, which allows for easier washing as you can simply take the cover off and wash that if needed.
So now that you know what a weighted blanket is let's look at why you would want to consider using one.
The science behind weighted blankets is called deep touch pressure, or DTP for short. DTP is the term for gentle weight distributed across your body. You can get the benefits of DTP from things like massages or hugs.
Deep Touch Pressure has been shown to reduce activity in the nervous system, which helps give a feeling of calm.
It’s also beneficial because a few studies show that DTP can increase serotonin levels in the blood. Serotonin is important for mood regulation, brain development, sleep, appetite, aggression, and sensory processing.
These two benefits combined make weighted blankets a great option as a drug-free way to calm down. Whether that is before bed or after a stimulating activity, weighted blankets can help alleviate anxiety and bring a sense of calm.
Because weighted blankets are great for relieving anxiety and giving a sense of calm, there are a number of people who have taken to weighted blankets as a form of therapy.
Traditionally, it has been those with special needs. Children with ADHD, autism and sensory processing disorder have all benefited from weighted blankets, particularly since they tend to naturally be low in serotonin, which makes feeling relaxed more difficult.
Others who have found weighted blankets beneficial and people with anxiety and sleeping disorders. Whether they are diagnosed or just self-diagnosed, people anxiety and sleeping disorders benefit from the calm feelings weighted blankets can help release.
However, it seems like weighted blankets are becoming more and more popular for people without any diagnosed disorders. People are finding them beneficial to help calm down before bed and deal with the day-to-day stress that comes with living in the modern world.
A weighted blanket serves the purpose of helping give a feeling of calm and reducing anxiety through the use of deep touch pressure.
If you have any questions about weighted blankets, please ask in the comments so we can share the answers with others!
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