Heavy Blanket — Light Sleep: 5 Benefits of Weighted Blankets

By Yraa #ability, #acceptable, #accompanied, #according, #action, #activity, #adult, #affecting, #age, #alcohol, #already, #amount, #any, #apnea, #approximately, #ask, #asleep, #aspects, #associated, #attached, #attacks, #attention, #author, #avoid, #baby, #balance, #based, #bed, #bedtime, #been, #being, #benefits, #between, #blanket, #blankets, #blood, #Body, #buckwheat, #called, #calm, #cases, #century, #chemical, #child, #children, #chronic, #Clinical, #come, #comfort, #comfortably, #conditions, #connection, #contraindicated, #cortisol, #cycles, #decrease, #decreases, #deep, #deficit, #depression, #desire, #determined, #did, #different, #difficult, #digestion, #disorder, #disorders, #disruption, #distributed, #doctors, #down, #drink, #drop, #drowsiness, #earlier, #easier, #eat, #effect, #effective, #effects, #energy, #enough, #especially, #even, #evening, #evenly, #every, #example, #excess, #exert, #experience, #experiment, #expert, #extra, #Eye, #Face, #fact, #factors, #fairly, #fall, #faster, #feel, #feeling, #few, #fewer, #fibers, #fight, #filled, #find, #five, #foam, #follow, #formation, #found, #functions, #gadgets, #gentle, #given, #gives, #goal, #Good, #growing, #had, #hard, #heads, #Healthy, #healthyinfo, #heart, #Heat, #heavier, #heavy, #held, #help, #helping, #Helps, #hormonal, #huge, #hygiene, #ideal, #ideally, #imagine, #improve, #improving, #increased, #increases, #insomnia, #interfere, #involved, #issue, #just, #key, #kg, #kilogram, #known, #lack, #last, #later, #lead, #least, #leg, #lengthen, #less, #let, #level, #levels, #Light, #lights, #long, #love, #lower, #made, #maintain, #maintaining, #maintains, #major, #makes, #making, #manage, #market, #masks, #mass, #Massage, #may, #measured, #melatonin, #mental, #mind, #mixed, #moderation, #mood, #move, #much, #natural, #needs, #nervous, #new, #night, #nightmares, #normal, #occur, #old, #older, #options, #ordinary, #our, #part, #participants, #patients, #pattern, #pay, #people, #period, #phase, #physical, #physiological, #pillows, #plastic, #play, #plays, #point, #popular, #pounds, #powerful, #practices, #preparing, #problems, #process, #produces, #production, #Products, #promotes, #proper, #protective, #proven, #provides, #psychological, #psychologist, #quality, #rate, #ready, #really, #reasons, #receives, #recommend, #Reduce, #reduces, #reducing, #reduction, #regular, #relaxation, #relaxing, #release, #relieve, #rem, #remember, #remove, #reported, #required, #research, #researchers, #response, #rest, #restless, #result, #return, #rhythms, #right, #role, #safety, #said, #schedule, #scientists, #Secret, #see, #sense, #serious, #serotonin, #several, #shift, #showed, #shown, #side, #signs, #Skin, #sleep, #Sleeping, #social, #Soft, #solves, #some, #sometimes, #soundly, #special, #standard, #stick, #still, #stimulates, #stimulating, #studied, #studies, #study, #suffer, #suitable, #symptoms, #system, #t, #technology, #tend, #therapeutic, #therapist, #thereby, #think, #those, #throughout, #times, #tired, #today, #too, #touch, #true, #under, #uniform, #USA, #used, #useful, #using, #variety, #various, #versatile, #version, #very, #wake, #was, #way, #weight, #weighted, #weights, #were, #White, #who, #wide, #worked, #year

A wide vari­ety of mem­o­ry foam pil­lows and mat­tress­es, var­i­ous fab­rics for bed linen, eye masks and lights imi­tat­ing dawn — which has not appeared on the mar­ket for sleep prod­ucts in recent years. But weight­ed blan­kets are a break­through in sleep tech­nol­o­gy. In the USA, such blan­kets have already entered the top 10 best gifts and “inven­tions of the year”, their man­u­fac­tur­ers are becom­ing dol­lar mil­lion­aires, and sales are grow­ing every day. What’s the secret? Is it true that a heav­ier blan­ket solves prob­lems with insom­nia and rest­less nights? Healthy­in­fo under­stands the “hard” issue. Spoil­er: yes, appar­ent­ly, these blan­kets real­ly work as well as sleep­ing pills!

What is a weighted blanket?

In fact, weight­ed blan­kets are not a super new inven­tion, this year it is exact­ly 20 years old. It was at least in 1999 that occu­pa­tion­al ther­a­pist Tina Cham­pagne began to use this non-stan­dard ver­sion of calm­ing for patients with men­tal dis­or­ders. And it worked.

Lat­er, Cham­pag­ne’s expe­ri­ence began to be used in neu­ro­log­i­cal and psy­chi­atric clin­ics, and in the first decade of the 21st cen­tu­ry, such blan­kets appeared in rec­om­men­da­tions for improv­ing sleep in ASD, an autism spec­trum dis­or­der in chil­dren. And also with rest­less sleep, atten­tion deficit hyper­ac­tiv­i­ty dis­or­der (ADHD), neu­ro­log­i­cal fea­tures. Then they were made to order.

In those years, blan­kets were filled with buck­wheat husks or roast­ed groats, stitched sev­er­al times so that the weight did not shift to one side. In some cas­es, fill­ing pock­ets were attached to ordi­nary blan­kets: the chil­dren grew up, and the mass of the blan­ket had to be increased.

The required weight of the blan­ket is 10% of the per­son­’s body weight. That is, a blan­ket of 8 kg is suit­able for an 80-kilo­gram adult.

For chil­dren, the cal­cu­la­tion is the same, but such blan­kets are con­traindi­cat­ed for infants for safe­ty rea­sons.

Today, most often you can buy a ready-made blan­ket filled with plas­tic balls. Some­times it is mixed with cot­ton fibers. But the cheap­est, at least in the Russ­ian mar­ket, are still duvets with husks. The goal for all options is the same: to exert soft and even pres­sure on the body. If you did an x‑ray, for exam­ple, at the den­tist, this is exact­ly the pres­sure that a spe­cial pro­tec­tive apron exerts. And today, this sen­sa­tion is not only becom­ing pop­u­lar among healthy peo­ple, but it has also been proven to have a ther­a­peu­tic effect on the body and psy­che.

In Rus­sia, such blan­kets are not yet pop­u­lar. But you can buy dif­fer­ent options — from chil­dren’s to adult sizes

Stimulation of the nervous system by pressure: how does it work?

Stimulation of the nervous system by pressure: how does it work?

Imag­ine that relax­ing feel­ing of being hugged, long hugs are sooth­ing, right? Think about how qui­et a baby is when swad­dled, or how an old­er child nes­tles com­fort­ably in the lap of a par­ent. Remem­ber what relax­ation and drowsi­ness come after a mas­sage. Touch and gen­tle pres­sure have a pow­er­ful psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal effect. It is on these effects that the action of weight­ed blan­kets is based.

The even­ly dis­trib­uted weight of the blan­ket has an effect known as “Deep Sen­so­ry Pres­sure Stim­u­la­tion” or GSD. Stud­ies have shown that such stim­u­la­tion reduces arousal by affect­ing the activ­i­ty of the body’s sym­pa­thet­ic ner­vous system—it is this sys­tem that increas­es vig­i­lance and anx­i­ety, and also responds to stress­ful stim­uli. This is the sec­tion of the ner­vous sys­tem with fight-or-flight respons­es.

In addi­tion, sen­so­ry pres­sure increas­es the activ­i­ty of the parasym­pa­thet­ic ner­vous sys­tem, which main­tains home­osta­sis. It is also called the “rest and diges­tion” sys­tem. When it is active, heart rate and blood pres­sure decrease, and relax­ation and a sense of calm increase.

In 2015, researchers stud­ied the effects of GDM from weight­ed blan­kets and found a 33% reduc­tion in stress symp­toms as mea­sured by the Phys­i­o­log­i­cal Signs of Arousal Test. Among the par­tic­i­pants in the exper­i­ment, 63% report­ed a decrease in anx­i­ety lev­els, and 78% said they found using a weight­ed blan­ket the best way to calm down. How do doc­tors explain all this?

What is good for heaviness in bed: five benefits of extra pounds

What is good for heaviness in bed: five benefits of extra pounds

Changes in the activ­i­ty of the ner­vous sys­tem that occur as a result of deep pres­sure stim­u­la­tion are accom­pa­nied by the release of hor­mones, which also help reduce anx­i­ety and induce a feel­ing of calm. And they are use­ful for deep and long sleep.

Oxytocin

Uni­form pres­sure stim­u­lates the pro­duc­tion of oxy­tocin. This hor­mone is involved in the for­ma­tion of attach­ment and inti­ma­cy, and plays an impor­tant role in love. It can also evoke a deep sense of calm. Oxy­tocin is a fair­ly ver­sa­tile hor­mone with func­tions that sci­en­tists are still scratch­ing their heads over. It has many roles, from sex­u­al arousal to encour­ag­ing social bond­ing with friends and par­ent-child attach­ment.

Oxy­tocin is one of those involved in reg­u­lat­ing our sleep-wake cycles. The lev­el of this hor­mone increas­es dur­ing the night’s rest, espe­cial­ly dur­ing the stages of the REM phase, a peri­od of deep sleep. A 2017 study showed that admin­is­ter­ing this hor­mone to patients can length­en and improve sleep qual­i­ty, as well as reduce the symp­toms of obstruc­tive sleep apnea.

Cortisol

GDM can low­er cor­ti­sol lev­els, which play a major role in the body’s response to stress. The stim­u­lat­ing effect of cor­ti­sol makes it dif­fi­cult to fall asleep and dis­rupts sleep through­out the night. The evening drop in cor­ti­sol lev­els is part of the body’s nat­ur­al process of prepar­ing for sleep. But stress, anx­i­ety, and arousal can inter­fere with this nat­ur­al evening drop in cor­ti­sol lev­els. The gen­tle pres­sure of a weight­ed blan­ket can help the body reduce arousal by influ­enc­ing the pro­duc­tion of this hor­mone.

Serotonin

GDM also increas­es lev­els of sero­tonin, the hor­mone that makes you feel good, the “plea­sure hor­mone.” Sero­tonin sta­bi­lizes mood and increas­es ener­gy lev­els, and helps reg­u­late sleep-wake cycles. A lack of sero­tonin can lead to depres­sion and anx­i­ety, as well as dis­rup­tion of cir­ca­di­an rhythms. Main­tain­ing nor­mal sero­tonin lev­els is one way to return to a healthy, rest­ful sleep pat­tern.

Sero­tonin is known as a pre­cur­sor to mela­tonin, a key hor­mone that pro­motes night­time sleep. The body pro­duces mela­tonin from sero­tonin through a chem­i­cal process. When there is not enough sero­tonin, mela­tonin pro­duc­tion decreas­es.

Comfort and safety

Comfort and safety

Accord­ing to sev­er­al stud­ies, the deep sen­so­ry pres­sure of a weight­ed blan­ket “gives sub­jects a sense of secu­ri­ty, relax­ation, and com­fort.” Giv­en the above changes in hor­mon­al bal­ance (more oxy­tocin and sero­tonin and less cor­ti­sol), this is not at all sur­pris­ing.

Help with neurological and psychiatric disorders

Weight­ed blan­kets can also relieve symp­toms for peo­ple with insom­nia, chron­ic pain syn­drome, or rest­less leg syn­drome. They are also good for more seri­ous dis­or­ders, such as those who suf­fer from depres­sion and, as men­tioned ear­li­er, autism.

lights, portrait, impression
water, jellyfish, light
fantasy, magician, mysticism
ai generated, death, graveyard
ai generated, man, young

Up to 80% of chil­dren with autism spec­trum dis­or­ders have sleep prob­lems, often asso­ci­at­ed with sen­so­ry hyper­sen­si­tiv­i­ty. Accord­ing to Lind­sey Biel, author of Sen­so­ry Per­cep­tion Prob­lems: Effec­tive Clin­i­cal Work with Chil­dren and Ado­les­cents, weight­ed blan­kets reduce the urge to move, there­by reduc­ing the fric­tion of skin on fab­ric. The brain receives few­er impuls­es and reacts less to stim­uli. Many peo­ple with spe­cial needs also tend to expe­ri­ence ner­vous sys­tem overex­er­tion, and in recent years blan­kets have been used in many ways, such as help­ing peo­ple with PTSD symp­toms. For PTSD, post-trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der, the extra pres­sure helps you sleep through the night with­out pan­ic attacks or night­mares.

Expert com­ment

Michael B. Bruce, Clin­i­cal Psy­chol­o­gist, Sleep Dis­or­ders Expert

Anx­i­ety is the main prob­lem for sleep. There is a huge amount of research that demon­strates the con­nec­tion between anx­i­ety and sleep. I see how anx­i­ety ruins the sleep of my patients, and I hear from many of you how stress, anx­i­ety, and a “tired and tired” mind inter­fere with the abil­i­ty to fall asleep and get prop­er rest at night. Anx­i­ety can dis­rupt sleep at any age; chil­dren also face such prob­lems. They can occur for a vari­ety of rea­sons, from exter­nal and indi­rect fac­tors to phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal con­di­tions.

I rec­om­mend weight­ed blan­kets to my patients. And they often ask: what is it like to sleep under a heavy blan­ket?

Many peo­ple describe the feel­ing of such a shel­ter­ing heav­i­ness, as if they were being held in a gen­tle embrace. Gen­tle and even pres­sure helps reduce overex­ci­ta­tion, pro­vides a sooth­ing sense of relax­ation and calm­ness, mak­ing it eas­i­er to fall asleep—and may help you sleep more sound­ly, with few­er rest­less awak­en­ings dur­ing the night.

Weight­ed blan­kets have an inner lin­ing that is filled with even­ly dis­trib­uted fill­ing. Blan­kets come in dif­fer­ent weights, rang­ing from 2 to 12 kg. In our research, we deter­mined that approx­i­mate­ly 5.4kg of even­ly dis­trib­uted weight is ide­al for sleep and relaxation—without too much pres­sure or gen­er­at­ing too much heat (which can get in the way).

How to use a weight­ed blan­ket? Just like any oth­er! All it needs is a gen­tle, even pres­sure. And you may find it more accept­able to sleep under such a blan­ket with­out under­wear and paja­mas. Fol­low your desire! I am a sup­port­er of sleep­ing naked. Remove excess cloth­ing and let the blan­ket do its job.

The last point, and this is very impor­tant: do not relax about the rest of the aspects of sleep hygiene. A weight­ed blan­ket can help relieve stress, relax, fall asleep faster, and sleep bet­ter through­out the night. But you still need to pay atten­tion to the key fac­tors of healthy rest.

    Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, with regular bedtime and wakeup times.
    Avoid too much light at night, including from various gadgets.
    Don’t eat too much in the evening and before bed.
    Drink alcohol only in moderation, and ideally abstain from it for a few hours before bed.
    Get regular exercise.
    Manage stress and maintain a good mood with relaxation practices, including meditation.

By Yraa

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