Now I'm sure you've heard of important blankets. Last year, they rose to new heights of popularity, thanks in large part to the $ 4 million Kickstarter campaign for Gravity.
Important blankets are hardly new. Companies have been doing them for decades and they have long been accustomed to helping calm children with autism spectrum disorders.
At present, the list of conditions that weighted blankets (and other important products, such as vests) help from insomnia and stress to anxiety and ADHD.
Removing all hype, weighted blankets can help us feel less stressed and sleep better? Read on to find out.
What is a weighted blanket?
Important blankets are similar to a duvet or quilts, but filled with glass beads or plastic pellets instead of down or fiber filling ̵1; although some important blankets have both fiber fills and weights.
Most important blankets have many compartments filled with beads or pellets to give even weight everywhere. Some have a washable lid that makes them easy to clean.
Why do important blankets work
What is it about lying under a heavy blanket that makes us feel less stressed and more relaxed? It is about gravure printing (also called deep-pressure stimulation).
Intaglio printing can take many forms, including swelling (for infants), massage, hugging and pressure evenly applied to your body. It has been shown to reduce cortisol, the hormone that our bodies release when they are stressed, and increase serotonin and dopamine, hormones that promote relaxation and regulate our mood.
It is also said to trigger our parasympathetic nervous system, which puts our body in a state of relaxation. It is the exact opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, where our bodies enter the "fight or flight" state.
Because most of us cannot get massage every day, and it is not practical to be swaddled as an adult (unless you are in Japan), a weighted blanket gives a deep print to relax.
They are celebrated as a medically available way to deal with stress and anxiety, but they are not a substitute for medication and other treatments prescribed by your doctor or other medical professional.
Can weighted blankets help with anxiety, PTSD or insomnia?
As important blankets grew in popularity, it also made claims that they can help treat some mental health conditions. However, weighed blankets generally fall under the FDA's Low Risk Health Guidelines, which means they should not require treatment or cure of any medical condition. They should only be marketed to support the well-being of someone living with depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.
As said, studies have shown that people using important blankets report that they feel less anxiety. One such study had participants using a 30-kilogram weighted blanket, and 68 percent reported feeling less urgent.
For anyone who struggles to go to sleep or fall asleep, there is some evidence that a weighted blanket can help. One study showed that adults who slept with a weighted blanket spent more sleep and did not wake up so often compared to sleeping with their regular bedding.
Although there is little research that important blankets can help manage PTSD, they have been used in hospital psychiatric wards as a tool to calm patients with various mental health conditions.
Do I need a weighted blanket?
Considering that weighted blankets are expensive, they are not an obvious purchase for everyone.
Whether you are going to get a great deal depends on your bank account and what you hope to get out of using one. They can be a calming tool to help manage stress and encourage restful sleep, but they are not the end-all, where-everything.
Personally, I like my blanket and use it to relax after a stressful day. It is easy to fall asleep during it, but I almost always push in the middle of the night. Do I need it? No, but it is one of many useful tools I use to deal with anxiety and stress.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for health or medical care. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goal.