Many people who suffer from the debilitating effects of anxiety find that pharmaceuticals are ineffective or would simply choose to address their conditions without this medication. For these anxiety sufferers the weighted blanket has been found helpful and provides a number of balancing benefits.

Stress and anxiety are a natural part of life and can reach higher levels during times of change and emotional upheaval. Big decisions, breakups, moves, new positions and responsibly can all add their weight to the load of anxiety. These can often lead to crippling fears and restlessness that sap mental and physical capacities and can affect the quality of life.

Anxiety disorders can be managed in a wide variety of ways. Often a combination of lifestyles changes and medication can help to alleviate the suffering to a certain extent. Weighted blankets also have implications to countering the physiological effects of stress and anxiety.

 

What are weighted blankets?

The weight of a weighted blanket should be selected to match the needs of the individual. For example, an adult will need a much heavier blanket than a child would use. The weight is evenly spread across the fabric proportionally to the size of the blanket and specific need of the individual.

The concept is that the thermal benefits of the blanket combined with the pressure of added weight closely imitate the feeling of being held reassuringly. There is reason to believe this can have a positive effect on moods. This has made the weighted blanket a popular alternative for combating the effects of anxiety and other disorders of the senses.

 

Benefits of Weighted Blankets

Weighted benefits have been found to provide a set of benefits to those with anxiety related conditions. The evenly distributed pressures are said to mimic the sensory experience of receiving a hug.

Weighted blankets have been studied for their imitation of “deep pressure touch stimulation.” This is said to have a soothing effect on people’s moods and allows them to calm their nervousness. This has many implications for addressing the effects of anxiety.

 

Mimicking a Hug

Hugs are healthy! According to clinical research a hug a day can help the individual feel more at ease. When people hug, the initiate the release of oxytocin an important hormone that regulates blood pressure and reduces the heart rate. This allows the individual to be calm and at peace.

The weighted blanket provides a measure of the warmth and security provided by a hug. Both hugging and sitting beneath the weighted blanket applies a gentle warming pressure that reaches pervasively through the body allowing for better relaxation.

 

Releasing Serotonin

Other clinical studies have shown that the pressure applied by the use of a weighted blanket can boost the production of specific chemical transmitters of the brain. Serotonin is one of these important neurotransmitters that is part of the body’s “feel good” chemical array.

 

Release of Melatonin

Melatonin is another important neurotransmitter that allows the body to prepare for the sleep cycle. Improved levels of melatonin allow the body to achieve a higher quality sleep which has more healthy implications for balancing the body’s chemical array. Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin and the pressure therapy felt through a weighted blanket can improve sleep cycles as well.

 

Improves Sleep

In addition to the increased production of melatonin, which improves sleep habits, the sensation of the weighted blanket can also improve sleep cycles through the feeling of being cradled like a baby.

In theory, the pressure of the weighted blanket has the same feeling of being swaddled as an infant and this conveys the feelings of safety and security. As a result, the mind is allowed to relax, and the body is soothed.

 

Other Conditions Weighted Blankets May Address Include:

–autism

–post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

–sleep disorders

–nervous system disorders

 

Potential Risks

There are no major risks associated with this type of treatment. The only important point is to properly suit the weight to the individual. An adult weighted blanket would be constricting and uncomfortable for a smaller child.

 

Homemade or Store Bought?

While the process of making your own weighted blanket is fun and cost effective, some experience is needed to make a suitable product. Those who have experience in arts and crafts must consider the following important pointers for making a suitable weighted blanket.

Proper weight: Getting the weight just right is an important part of making a good blanket. This is where the premade option can save some time and ensure a proper experience and comfortable even feel.

Materials: There are a strict set of manufacturer’s instructions for producing a safe product. Be sure the weighted blanket you make is made of materials that won’t cause any breathing difficulty or fire hazards.

Time vs. cost: Unless you have experience in making blankets, the time it will take to repurpose a blanket or make your own weighted blanket from scratch will be considerable. This is another way a premade option may better serve your immediate purposes.

Warranty: a reputable manufacturer of weighted blankets will provide a warranty for the products they provide. The level of craftsmanship attained by the individual will decide the longevity of a homemade weighted blanket.

Mistakes: Another good reason for considering the premade option would be the waste of time, materials and effort invested in creating a blanket that is flawed or faulty. Then there will be the need to purchase the readymade option anyway.

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