Insomnia affects millions of Americans, regardless of age or economic status. It not only deprives them of quality sleep but also, affects their productivity and focus. It also weakens their health and exposes them to chronic diseases. To some extent, it leads to long-term consequences such as depression and mental complications.
To cope with insomnia, most resort to conventional approaches and prescriptions. The easy solution for them is to take pills, hoping these could lull them to sleep. Temporarily, these methods may work; however, they also pose risks and side effects in the long run. Various studies reveal that such can aggravate the problem.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wallow about that. There are practical, traditional, or natural techniques to deal with insomnia. These practices are cost-effective and have no side effects compared to conventional methods.
One of these is the use of weighted blankets.
Deep Touch Pressure vis-a-vis Weighted Blankets
If you browse for weighted blanket brands online, you’ll often come across the term, deep touch pressure (DTP). It is also called deep pressure stimulation. There may be slight differences, but both principles technically share the same functions.
DTP refers to the even and gentle distribution of weight on the body. Most people experience the effects of deep touch pressure in the form of a hug, long handshake, tapping, or a massage. So, for instance, your dear best friend hugged you tightly, and you felt relaxed and comfortable, that is one direct result of deep touch pressure. If your wife flexes your body with her powerful massage techniques and you experienced relief, that is DTP at work. To tell you, there is a science behind all that.
Numerous studies reveal that deep touch pressure increases the body’s serotonin level. Why does it matter? Well, serotonin makes the body feel calm, and it also aids in processing senses and regulating mood. It’s the body’s chemical that is responsible for making you feel good and at ease with yourself. The more your body releases serotonin while reducing activity in the nervous system, the easier it is for you to achieve that calming effect before sleeping.
Raising calming feelings is one way in how weighted blankets help a person cope with insomnia. It helps your body to generate more serotonin to achieve the optimum dose you daily need.
How Does Weighted Blankets Help Deal with Insomnia
Weighted blankets help you achieve better sleep and eventually, overcome insomnia. But take note, it helps and does not necessarily mean that it’s the total cure to insomnia. But then again, various studies found that weighted blankets, including a twin weighted blanket, are beneficial in several ways.
As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, weighted blankets help calm a person by yielding serotonin and reducing the nervous system’s activity. They project practice of deep pressure stimulation to the body that is helpful to different individuals.
Now, there is another reason why weighted blankets are beneficial for sleep. That is, they also help the body to produce melatonin. Melatonin is a chemical in the body that helps tell us if it’s time to go to bed. The release of this helpful chemical can only be altered through irregular sleeping habits and the use of unnatural lighting late at night.
The third primary reason behind weighted blankets’ role in good sleep is because they are heavier than regular blankets. Because of this property, weighted blankets create a deeper pressure stimulation to the person. This additional weight reduces and turning while a person sleeps and can also significantly help in dealing with restless leg syndrome. If you have a child struggling with autism, this benefit can mean a lot.
Now, the more it is easier for a person to achieve proper sleep with the help of weighted blankets, the more comfortable for him to also cope with insomnia. Let’s then take a look at different studies proving these sleeping benefits.
One publication from the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders (2015) revealed that a weighted blanket helps insomnia-stricken people achieve better sleep. That is because it helped them feel more relaxed and settled before trying to catch sleep. Moreover, those subjected to the study slept longer and had reduced movements. They also felt more refreshed the following morning, and their emotional upheavals turned for the better. Overall, the participants exhibited a calmer night’s sleep. All these are factors leading to the gradual healing of insomnia cases.
On the other hand, a study in the Nordic Journal of Psychology assessed the application of weighted blankets on children struggling with ADHD. Results revealed that by using this deep pressure stimulation tool for 14 days, the subjects manifested significant improvements in the time it took them to catch sleep. The teachers of the participants also recorded their increase in activity levels and their attention span throughout the day.
Meanwhile, a publication in Occupational Therapy and Mental Health studied the safety measures for using weighted blankets among adults. As cited in the article, using a 30-pound weighted blanket in adults while lying down, is relatively safe. The report also mentioned that a weighted blanket is effective in reducing electrodermal activity, decreasing anxiety levels, and the option of using the blanket as a calming approach.
Choosing the Proper Weighted Blanket for You
With all those benefits presented, you may be now excited to try one for yourself, especially if you are struggling with insomnia. But there are essential considerations you should know before buying one.
First, make sure you buy a weighted blanket with the right weight.
Experts suggest that you should choose one that is 10 percent of your body weight plus a pound or two. So let’s say you are buying a blanket for a 150lb friend, then choose one which weighs 16lb or 17lb.
Second, you should also consider the materials used to weigh the blankets.
The most common of these are plastic pellets, rice, and metal beads. You can choose any type as long as it is convenient for you or your family members.
If you are not sure about all these, you can always ask for help from a clinical expert or the seller himself. In that way, they can help you identify the best-weighted blanket suited to your condition and style.