Anxiety plagues 40 Million Americans according to the National Institute of Mental Health.Most of us have experienced brief episodes of anxiety. But for some people, the fear of anxiety becomes a disorder that is prolonged for months, even years. The resulting stress can leave you feeling exhausted, but not enough to make you fall asleep. When anxiety prevents you from getting adequate sleep, it can set back your productivity at work, and make you irritable. The biggest concerns for those suffering from sleep deprivation are serious health risks, like having a heart attack. There is a temporary solution for anxiety sufferers of which most people are not aware. Instead of defaulting to pharmaceuticals, try weighted blankets for anxiety relief. Unlike regular coverlets, weighted blankets are genuine security blankets. The pressure from the weight creates physical and psychological advantages called Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation (DTPS). At the onset of a panic attack or irritability, pressures from the blanket exerted onto the body provide a sense of security and relief. A report by Temple Grandin Ph.D. explains the effects of DTPS:
Deep touch pressure is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, holding, stroking, petting of animals, or swaddling. Occupational therapists have observed that a very light touch alerts the nervous system, but deep pressure is relaxing and calming.The same study showed that DTPS has benefits in other clinical settings, such as those involving autistic children.
In anecdotal reports, deep touch pressure has been described to produce a calming effect in children with psychiatric disorders. Deep pressure stimulation, such as rolling up in a gym mat, has been used to calm children with autistic disorder and ADHD.
Because DTPS calms children who have sensory disorders, anxiety, and stresses related to autism, weighted blankets are often used as part of occupational therapy. Karen Moore, an occupational therapist in Franconia, New Hampshire, said:
In psychiatric care, weighted blankets are one of our most powerful tools for helping people who are anxious, upset, and possibly on the verge of losing control.So how does the weighted blanket work? Plastic poly pellets are sewn in compartments throughout the blanket for even distribution of weight. The pressure from the blanket helps relax your nervous system by touching the deep touch receptors all over your body. Serotonin is produced as a result of the stimulation from the blanket's pressure. The serotonin then converts to melatonin which is the hormone that sends signals telling your body to doze. You're essentially being hugged to sleep.
A 2012 study published in Australasian Psychiatry confirmed the effects of weighted blankets were successfully reducing distress and signs of anxiety. The blankets have shown positive results for patients with other disorders linked to low serotonin levels, like PTSD, depression, and OCD.
The typical weight of the blanket for adults is 15 to 30 pounds. But, take heed: This type of blanket is not recommended for those who suffer from respiratory, circulatory, or temperature regulation problems, or are recuperating post surgery. So where can you get one? There are plenty of options online, like Etsy and Amazon, but stores are specializing in them as well. At Magic Weighted Blanket, they refer to their product as "the blanket that hugs you back," and the store offers various sizes for children and adults.
Mosaic Weighted Blankets is another good option. They offer a variety of all-cotton, plaid, Minky striped blankets, and even DIY kits for your customization.
If you're suffering from anxiety and other forms of stress, it won't hurt to try this method that is proven to be effective. Get your weighted blanket, and feel the comfort of its hug calm your nerves as its lulled away to Snoozeville. It can work for you. And that is no blanket statement. H/T - simplemost, grandin, nih.gov, mosaicweightedblankets, lifehack, sensoryconnectionprogram, anxieties, magicweightedblanket,