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Sleep disorders have many causes, from disrupted biological signals and chemical deficiencies, to anxiety and depression. Not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on the human body, producing many physical and emotional issues. It can decrease focus at school and work, create a mental fog, and make it difficult for your body to properly heal and grow. Much of the cell growth your body experiences occur during sleep, so when your body misses out on sleep, it can’t do its job.
Sleep disorders have been linked to heart disease, and other serious health issues. Once your doctor understands the cause of your insomnia, he or he can begin treatment. This might include medication or therapeutic devices. For some individuals, meditation and sleep scheduling helps. One approach that has been linked to success with insomnia is deep pressure touch therapy, or DPT. This works by implementing gentle but even pressure across the body, stimulating serotonin production and promoting relaxation.
Weighted blankets have become a staple tool in the delivery of deep touch pressure therapy, especially for children. OK.gov, an Oklahoma government website focusing on community services, writes; “Weighted Blankets are a safe and effective non-drug therapy for anyone seeking a solution for loss of sleep and relaxation. They are a popular sensory therapy for children, teens and adults with ADD/ADHD, ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). They provide the feeling of being secure, grounded and safe.”
How Does the Therapy Work?
When it comes to sleeping, deep touch therapy works by increasing serotonin, which in turn helps produce melatonin which is a natural hormone that regulates sleep patterns. Go Ask Alice, a correspondence from Columbia University explains; “What is known is that higher serotonin levels are related to a more positive mood and higher energy levels. Lower serotonin levels, on the other hand, may be related to lower energy levels, negative moods, increased irritability, and depression.”
Weighted blankets help to ease tension in the body, provide focus on one thing instead of several, and increase feelings of safety and security. Weighted blankets have a similar foundation to the “hug box” invented by Temple Grandin, a woman who was diagnosed with autism and was one of the first to share her story publicly. It delivers evenly distributed pressure which resembles the feeling of a warm hug. Think of the way that you liked to be wrapped as a small baby, swaddled in a snug receiving blanket. A weighted blanket gives the same feeling for children or adults, calming and increasing the length and quality of your sleep.
Weighted Blanket Designs
Weighted blankets are made using a comfortable outer fabric, such as minky fleece, and weighted poly-fill beads inside. The beads are sewed into pouches inside the blanket for even distribution and added security. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, weights, and colors, so that you can choose the best product for each use or user.
Weighted blankets should be 10% of your weight plus one or two pounds, and should be based on your ideal weight for height and structure, rather than actual weight. If you are overweight, don’t base your blanket weight on your current weight, but the weight that your doctor suggests is best for your body type.
You can make or purchase a weighted blanket which is small for your lap or shoulders, or full-sized for your bed. They work well as travel aids for nervous flyers, or individuals who get homesick when away from their own bed and family.
More Benefits of Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets, and similar products, such as weighted vests, have provided major advancements in the field of studies involving ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety disorder, and more. A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy reported positive effects on children with ADHD who wore weighted vests as part of a trial. The team writes; “Although wearing a weighted vest is not a cure-all strategy, our findings support the use of the weighted vest to remedy attentional and on-task behavioral problems of children with ADHD.”
The blankets have also been used to treat restless leg syndrome, symptoms of cerebral palsy, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Individuals who experience sensory disorder symptoms have described the use of a weighted blanket as helping to give their body spatial presence at night. Some people have trouble distinguishing where their body ends and the bed begins, weighted blankets help distinguish this, calming anxieties and promoting relaxation.
Who Should Use Weighted Blankets
Anybody can use a weighted blanket, whether you suffer from one of the above disorders, or you simply require a little extra help sleeping. Children and adults can use weighted blankets, and they can be used at home, at the office, or while travelling. If you’re interested in using weighted blankets, but you’re concerned about the way it might affect a medical condition, speak to your physician. These tools have been deemed safe for use, as long as the blanket is of the correct weight for your height and build, and is kept away from the face and mouth.
Where to Buy
You can purchase weighted blankets through several retailers, including The Weighted Blankets company, where we supply the highest quality products in a variety of colors and sizes. Select a customized blanket from an assortment of fabrics and styles, and discover how weighted blankets can change the way you sleep forever.
You can also make your own weighted blanket at home using poly-fill beads and a soft material of your choosing. Be careful when choosing your pattern, and make sure all beads are secured before use.
If you suffer from insomnia, or another sleeping disorder, give weighted blankets a try for yourself. These therapeutic tools have shown some highly positive results in sleep studies, making them a staple for occupational therapists and consumers around the world.