[Ad / gifted] Since I researched and wrote about how a sensory compression blanket can benefit kids with anxiety, I’ve been really curious about whether a therapy blanket might also benefit me, too. I’ve suffered with anxiety for a long time now, so anything that may alleviate the symptoms is worth exploring.
When I was approached by helpsleep.com to review one of their adult’s therapy blankets I was intrigued to try it out and see what results I got.
You can check out the science behind how a weighted blanket works in my kids review here:
Therapy Benefits of a Weighted Blanket
Before I talk about my experience using the compression blanket I was kindly gifted for the purposes of this post, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of a weighted blanket:
1. Boosts Oxytocin
Because compression blankets mimic the effects of a hug, oxytocin is release which can induce feelings of relaxation.
Oxytocin also slows the heart and reduces blood pressure, prompting the body to relax.
2. Releases Dopamine and Serotonin
Therapy blankets also provide DTP (deep touch pressure), or proprioceptive feedback, stimulating the release of dopamine and serotonin, which have a soothing effect on the body.
3. Decreases Cortisol
Using a gravity blanket may also reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone which has a negative impact on various bodily functions including blood pressure, digestion, and immunity.
4. Increases Melatonin
Melatonin is released alongside serotonin, which regulates the sleep cycle, improving sleep quality.
5. Reduces Insomnia and Nightmares
The pressure from a therapy blanket provides a calming environment, conducive to sleep. A 2015 study in the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders found that participants had a calmer night’s sleep using a weighted therapy blanket, and this may be due to DTP triggering the release of hormones which dampen down arousal.
With this in mind, a gravity blanket may be an effective alternative to using drugs to manage insomnia.
Interestingly, a weighted blanket may also help to prevent nightmares.
6. Alleviates Anxiety and Agitation
We respond to the weight of a compression blanket similarly to that of human touch. This naturally induces relaxation and combats restlessness. As discussed more in my previous post focusing on anxiety in children, this can be especially helpful for children displaying symptoms of ADHD, sensory processing disorders, and autism.
7. Can Decrease Pain
The calming and soothing effect of a therapy weighted blanket not only reduces the stress hormone cortisol, but some also report a reduction in pain. DTP helps to ‘ground’ the body during sleep, and this is shown in many cases to improve or eliminate stress, sleep disruption, and pain.
8. Induces Calm
As the pressure from the gravity blanket soothes and relaxes away tension, calm and relaxation is enhanced.
9. Promotes Good Mental Health
Many mental health disorders are linked to serotonin deficiency, anxiety, and elevated levels of stress; through a reduction in cortisol and increased release of serotonin, the pressure of a weighted therapy blanket can ease and relieve issues including symptoms of OCD, PTSD, Tourette’s and panic disorders, while simultaneously promoting a good mood.
As you can see, there are many fantastic reasons to see whether a therapy blanket could benefit you.
Here’s how I’ve got on…
My Experience With a Weighted Therapy Blanket
This gravity blanket could not have come at a better time for me: we’re in the middle of lockdown, life is peculiar to say the least – and it certainly brings its challenges.
So of course I’ve been feeling anxious – the entire world has been. But more than that, my youngest began to feel frightened at night times and, long story short, I’ve set up a camp bed in her room. It was the only way to guarantee a restful night for both of us, and needs must.
I might write more about the rationale behind the decision soon, and how it’s worked out for us, but suffice to say, I needed to contrive a comfortable bed on the floor, and I had to improvise. A big cosy blanket to help make me comfortable has been a blessing, even without the additional benefits of the therapy aspect.
Are They All Expensive, Or Will a Cheap Weighted Blanket Work?
I’ve always been one of those people who has to sleep with a blanket, even on the hottest summer nights, it feels somehow comforting. So I’ve not been at all surprised by the fact that I luxuriate in climbing into my camp bed in the middle of the night when Elfin wakes me, despite it meaning I have to leave my own bed!
It’s difficult to quantify results without having a team of scientists measuring my hormone levels, and I shan’t pretend that I’ve been finding the past few weeks a breeze; let’s face it, we’re still experiencing a global pandemic. Life is not normal.
But I can attest to the quality of the compression blanket, and the comfort it brings. And I can tell you how both my girls love to crawl in with me in the mornings for a snuggle before we start our day.
If you’re looking for a cheap weighted blanket that offers good quality and comfort, you can’t go wrong with this product.