A well-liked therapy is the use of a weighted blanket to help those who suffer from insomnia cope with their condition. The blanket decreases fasces and blood pressures as well. Several studies have demonstrated that weighted blankets assist in reducing high blood pressure (hypertension) and stress. Other stressful circumstances such as traumatic events can prompt physiological overreactions in the human body, including an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and increased breathing rate. The blanket decreases these physiological reactions, which enables the person to cope with his or her anxiety and stress more easily.
One of the primary symptoms of insomnia is a decreased ability to get quality sleep. Although many people experience episodes of restlessness, there is usually a greater degree of discomfort experienced during the middle of the night. This discomfort often results in a great deal of disrupted sleep, interrupting the continuity of slumber. Weighted blankets are often used during the process of sleep maintenance, and they make it possible for individuals struggling with insomnia to maintain a comfortable sleeping position.
It’s been proven that a weighted blanket can help you maintain proper joint mobility while you sleep. This in turn improves your posture and decreases the risk of common repetitive stress injuries. Many people are surprised to find out how flexible their muscles become after only a few weeks of using a weighted blanket. If you are looking to sleep more flexibly then getting a weighted blanket along with the right size mattress for you is the best option. This increased flexibility helps to promote better posture, less tension, and better blood flow throughout the body.
Helps Relieve Stress
It is well known that stress can be detrimental to health. The tendency to become stressed is often directly related to the degree of body fat. When body weight is evenly distributed, the stress hormone, cortisol, is less likely to be released into the bloodstream. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can initiate several negative physiological responses, including irritability and depression. By providing an even distribution of body weight, the weighted blanket helps to relieve this stress through stimulation of the endocrine system.
If you’re suffering from a bad night’s sleep then it’s likely because your body is dealing with too much stress and not enough rest. Studies have indicated that even small weight loss gains can have a huge effect on reducing your blood pressure and other stress-related diseases. Good quality and well-made weighted blankets can make you feel more rested, which can lead to a better quality of life overall.
Increases Sensory Distress
Research has indicated that individuals with autism, as well as those without autism, respond favorably to the use of a weighted blanket. Individuals with autism tend to have lower levels of serotonin, which is an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Low levels of serotonin can result in the development of behaviors such as hypersomnia, difficulty falling asleep, and the inability to remain awake through the early morning. Individuals with autism feel like they cannot function normally while awake, and a weighted blanket can increase their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Helps Reduce Anxiety
It is also widely recognized that anxiety is linked to the degree of deep pressure touch. When an individual feels they must use their arms to avoid being uncovered, they may be suffering from an anxiety attack. A sensory disorder symptom common among those with autism is the inability to feel the sensation of excessive deep pressure. A weighted blanket can help alleviate this problem through stimulation of the endocrine system. As the pressure drops below the level of deep pressure, individuals with autism can relax and fall asleep easier. The same endocrine effects can be achieved with the use of a blanket, however; it is unlikely that the blanket alone will be able to eliminate all symptoms of an anxiety attack.
Boosters Cognitive Function
A sensory disorder symptom that frequently appears during times of intense stress or depression is decreased cognitive performance. A weighted blanket can increase brain activity by keeping the body weight and stretching the muscles of the head and neck. The act of relaxing the neck and back also helps relax the face, improving the facial expression recognition of stressful situations. Individuals with autism often find themselves unable to smile, laugh, or even utter the words “calm down.” Using a blanket as a sensory enhancer can boost cognitive performance while reducing emotional stress and depression.
Improved Sleep Quality
Many people with sensory processing disorders report improved sleep quality after using a budget-friendly weighted blanket. Some individuals even report better night rest and less tossing and turning! Other individuals report a change in their overall mood, greater energy, and an overall sense of mental well-being. Many people sleep through the night because of the heaviness of the blanket. The act of putting weight on the head provides additional support for the neck and spine. This improved sleep quality continues to benefit the patient until they can return to their normal sleeping position.
Increase Your Hearing
We all know that sound reduction is very important for those who suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where during deep sleep your breathing is repeatedly interrupted due to lack of oxygen. Worn thin blankets or heavy blankets that are placed over your head can greatly reduce this problem by creating a barrier against outside noise. Also, if you use a weighted blanket when you sleep then you can further block out external noise. Research has also indicated that listening to white noise (like a fan or radio) can also help to increase the quality and quantity of your sleep.
These are just some of the many sensory benefits of weighted blankets for those with autism and sensory processing disorders. Dr. Dimitriu is currently completing a study to determine whether the use of these blankets affects motor function during sensory integration. She is hopeful that the study will yield important information about how to reduce the risk of developing sleep apnea with the use of sensory enhancing blankets. In the meantime, Dr. Dimitriu’s products provide a safe, affordable option for individuals suffering from sensory processing disorders, including autism.
So, while the initial cost may put some people off of a weighted blanket, these benefits will soon be clear to you. The real investment will be the many nights you’ll spend lying back, feeling happy and peaceful. So many people suffer from insomnia that these added benefits could mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and poor sleep. For the long-term benefit, investing in a good quality blanket for yourself is a great way to improve your lifestyle.