It seems like a lot of celebrities can’t get enough of their newly discovered and already a favorite blanket. The announcement of the benefits they enjoy by using weighted blankets made the product very popular in the past two years.
A weighted blanket, also known as gravity or heavy blanket, is a therapeutic tool used in acute psychiatry for treating psychological disorders such as autism, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic disorder.
Recently, the weighted blanket entered into mainstream use. Despite the fact that celebrities are promoting the product, it’s not just another enforced and pricey fad. It’s a very powerful tool that helps a person deal with all of, so to say, problems of modern living.
“Copyright: Unsplash/author: Simon Matzinger / I License: CC0 Public Domain”
What is a Weighted Blanket?
Once an improvised therapeutic tool, a weighted blanket today is a quality manufactured product. It’s made to resemble an ordinary blanket, except that it’s designed to weight more than a usual one.
The additional weight provided by microbeads and sewed inside the fabric is where the magic comes from. This magic is defined by science as the deep pressure touch stimulation DPT. The DPT can trigger changes in the nervous system and secretion of hormones that can change the body’s state. Moreover, it can lead the body to relaxation, calmness and into a deep sleep.
Weighted blankets today can be manufactured from different fabrics, in different sizes and even custom-tailored for a specific user. Commonly recommended weight for adults is the 15Ib weighted blanket.
Let’s look at the benefits that the use of a weighted blanket provides.
Fights Away Insomnia
The mainstream use of the blanket started off as a safe alternative for dealing with insomnia. As many people suffer from sleeping problems it’s safe to say a weighted blanket is a modern-day hero.
The DPT stimulation mentioned above triggers a change in the nervous system. Moreover, it activates the state of rest and digest – the parasympathetic system. This division of the nervous system puts the body in a relaxed state, promotes calmness and satisfaction. Consequently, it leads the body to deep and restoring sleep.
The chemical reactions that start with the DPT stimulation lead to the secretion of the following parasympathetic hormones that help with sleep disorders:
- Serotonin – sleep-wake cycle regulator. Promotes sleep and it’s a precursor of melatonin.
- Melatonin – regulates the body clock. It’s the hormone that puts the body into the sleeping state.
Once the blanket is put on the body, it acts as an instant switch to the rest and digest state. What follows is a chemical reaction that is more powerful than any worrisome thought, stress or anxiety. The secretion of the hormones does its job in calming, relaxing and putting the body into deep and undisrupted sleep.
You will sleep like a careless little kitty!
Helps in Fighting Anxiety and Depression
Once the parasympathetic system takes over the control, the secretion of the happiness hormones starts. Here they are:
All of them promoting “feel-good” vibes.
Anxiety, depression and many other psychological disorders are directly linked to low levels of these hormones in the body. Therefore, the use of the blanket will restore the balance of the hormones and by increasing the levels of happiness hormones, it will ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The higher levels of these hormones result in the feeling of satisfaction, happiness, calmness and content.
By buying a weighted blanket you literally buy happiness!
Mighty Stress Reliever
As an instant switch from sympathetic to the parasympathetic system, the weighted blanket is an instant stress reliever. Here is how:
- The body perceives stress as a danger. Therefore, it activates the sympathetic system – the fight or flight response. This system uses the cortisol and adrenaline hormones. They keep the body alert in order to fight the danger or escape from it.
- A prolonged state of stress results in inability of the nervous system to switch back to parasympathetic – rest and digest state. This means the body is constantly stuck in the same tense feeling.
- Among several other methods as relaxation techniques, meditation or medications, the weighted blanket is stated to be the most effective and safest solution. Its assistance in regulating the nervous system helps in restoring body balance.
- Prolonged use of the blanket will increase the levels of the beneficial hormones mentioned before, therefore the body will be able to regulate stress levels more efficiently.
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