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Can a weighted blanket help calm anxiety?

Here’s what we’ve found.

Overview

According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIH), data from the National Comorbidity Study Replication (NCS-R) shows that an estimated 62 million American adults, which is about 19.1 percent of the population, experienced an anxiety disorder in the past year.  Even though anxiety is one of the more treatable mental health conditions, less than 40 percent of people with anxiety actually receive treatment.

Wide Variety of Anxiety Disorders

There is a wide variety of anxiety disorders, each differing by the objects or situations that cause them but sharing features of excessive anxiety and parallel behavioral interferences.  Panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobia, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and separation anxiety disorder are some of these anxiety disorders.

Luckily, there are alternatives to receiving treatment.  For some, it may only work as a supplement to treatment. And, what might that be?  A weighted blanket!

What is a weighted blanket?

Weighted blankets are heavy blankets – different than the kinds of blankets people usually buy.  These specialty blankets can be used as therapeutic aids. Weighted blankets are known to improve mood, reduce stress, and promote restful sleep.

Studies show that people who use weighted blankets seem to prefer it over a regular blanket.  The blankets feel nice, deluxe and like a big hug – which is the reason why some call it their “weighted anxiety blanket.”  

An Anxiety Blanket?

Why is it sometimes referred to as an anxiety blanket?  After or during a stressful event, these blankets are perfect for those who just need a hug or want to nurture themselves.  Weighted blankets provided a deep pressure touch (DTP) that can help children, adolescents or adults feel “grounded.”  

A weighted blanket is exactly what it sounds like – a blanket that is weighted.  These weighted blankets typically range from 4 to 30 pounds. For many people who have disorders such as anxiety, weighted blankets could provide an alternative to medication or other types of treatment.  This does not work for everyone, though. Most people only use their heavy blanket to supplement their existing therapies. Research has shown that weighted blankets can help lessen symptoms and make the surroundings more enjoyable.

Benefits of a Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets may offer many benefits in many situations to the user.

Because there is no over-the-counter cure to poof away your anxiety, it is important to have healthy coping habits to turn to.  For you, that may be deep breathing…possibly a hot shower, cuddling up next to a fire or even wrapping up in a weighted blanket.  The key is to find the habits that work for you.

Weighted blankets can help both children and adults.  

In a good weighted blanket, the weight is evenly distributed across the body when used.  For example, the J&M Weighted Blanket is filled with glass pellets. These glass pellets provide the smoothest weight distribution as the weight of each individual pellet is almost identical – giving you just what you need for the production of serotonin and melatonin.

Deep Touch Pressure

The science behind these blankets is called Deep Touch Pressure or DTP.  DTP distributes gentle pressure on the body, helping children and adults reach a state of relaxation or a sense of “grounding.”  

Effects of Grounding

The effects of grounding are astonishing.  Most people state that they just simply ‘feel better’ – a greater peace instilled within themselves and a sense of calmness with reduced stress levels.   Studies show that a weighted blanket can help a person reach a “grounding” state. With grounding, nighttime levels of cortisol are reduced. Cortisol is produced when the brain feels attacked, triggering the fight or flight response.  Stress can spiral these cortisol levels, which in turn has a negative impact on the immune system. An increase in blood sugar levels and the adverse effect on the digestive tract has also been shown. Cortisol levels that don’t drop back down to normal levels naturally can cause obstacles.  These include but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Weight gain.

Triggers a Release in Neurotransmitters

Luckily, heavy blankets for anxiety help break this vicious cycle in cortisol levels.  This deep pressure touch triggers a release in neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are the uplifting hormones produced in the brain.  These awesome hormones aid in combating stress, anxiety, and depression.

In 2006, a 32-person study in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health discovered that 63% of participants reported lower anxiety after using a weighted blanket.  This was compared to lying down with no blanket at all. 78% reported that they felt more relaxed with the blanket.  

Weighted Blankets for Adults with Anxiety

NIH states that of the adults in the past year that experience any anxiety disorder, the degree of impairment ranged from mild to severe.  An estimated 22.8% had serious impairment, 33.7% had moderate impairment, and the rest (43.5%) experienced mild impairment.

Anxiety disorders can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.  

Using Weighted Blankets at Work

One way adults utilize their heavy blanket for anxiety is at work.  Folded up, this blanket can serve as a lap pad throughout the day – making it invisible to your coworkers (not that it is something to hide).  Using it on your lap doesn’t even rob you of all the amazing benefits. It can keep you warm AND provide relaxation during even your highest stress hours.  

Weighted Blanket for Panic Disorders

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), panic attacks, also known as anxiety attacks, occur unexpectedly, sometimes even when waking up from sleep.  Panic disorder typically begins in adulthood, but that does not mean that there are not children who also have panic disorder or experience panic-like symptoms. Panic disorders can cause people to miss work, go to the doctor often and avoid situations where they worry they might experience a panic attack.  What many people don’t realize is that this disorder is real and highly responsive to treatment. Used as a supplement to treatment, the J&M weighted blanket has been effective in helping adults feel grounded when feelings of being out of control to come on.

Weighted Blanket Use in Nursing Homes

Studies have found that weighted blanket use is safe for healthy adults, having no effect on vital signs like pulse and blood pressure.  Many nursing homes are starting to introduce the use of weighted blankets to those with anxiety or agitation.

Weighted Blankets for Children and Adolescents with Anxiety

NIH states that an estimated 31.9% of adolescents aged 13-18 experience a type of anxiety disorder.  Of that 31.9%, about 8.3% had severe impairment. This same prevalence was similar across age groups.

One study that dove into Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) by looking at weighted vests found that even for short periods of use, the fight or flight response was reduced.  While under the typically stressful situation, the weighted vest aided the parasympathetic nervous system in relaxing the body. These same results are found in studies on weighted blankets.  

Weighted Blanket Use in Elementary School

One way children and adolescents can use a weighted blanket to their advantage would be when experiencing generalized anxiety disorder symptoms, such as feeling restless, having difficulty concentrating, being irritable, having muscle tension, or having sleep problems.  For example, an elementary special education classroom in Nebraska ordered several weighted blankets to use during nap time for restless students. The special education director stated that the weighted blankets transformed the classroom – helping the students sleep soundly during nap time.  

As always, it is important to talk to your doctor or therapist before making the decision to purchase a weighted blanket for your child’s anxiety.  Weighted blankets, however, are not safe for children under one year of age.

Children or Adults Who Experience Anxious Feelings

People with anxiety disorders are not the only ones who get anxious.  Having anxious feelings about an important event or life change is completely normal.  It is when it becomes more than the occasional worry or fear that turns into an anxiety disorder.  For those who occasionally experience anxious feelings, it is just as important to adopt healthy ways to manage or reduce anxiety.

For those that experience occasional anxious feelings, at home remedies may be looked at for reducing anxiety.  In addition to a J&M Weighted Blanket, a well-balanced diet, aromatherapy, regular exercise and getting outside might aid you in poofing away some anxious feelings.  

The Answer to My Anxiety Problems?

We can’t promise you anything, but it is most definitely worth trying – and from our experience, our customers are glad they did.  The JM Weighted Blanket has helped many people of different ages, ranging from all over the spectrum.

If you are experiencing ongoing and excessive habits that start to hold you back in life, it is a good idea to look for what the underlying cause may be.  In treating anxiety – with the help of healthy lifestyle changes, a therapist, medication, or maybe a combination – you can rid or at least limit the impact of anxiety and its symptoms.  Just keep in mind that not all coping mechanisms work the same for everyone, so try to not get discouraged if what worked for your friend doesn’t work for you.

Conclusion

Again, weighted blankets should not be a substitute for effective therapies for anxiety or insomnia.  If you are currently in treatment, make sure it is okay with your doctor or therapist before buying a weighted blanket for anxiety.  It is always possible that people with battling disorders such as panic disorder or agoraphobia may have a reverse response, causing more anxiety, to the weighted blankets’ sensation.

Disclaimer: The content on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before undertaking any type of therapy or treatment.  

coffee-blanket

JM Weighted Blankets Introduces “Free”

Those of you who feel that you are held captive by your anxieties, your worries, your stresses, your day to day struggles…

Those of you who find yourself wondering each day if life will EVER get better…

Wondering why you can’t have just ONE day where you can feel free…

You know that you aren’t living the life you deserve…

Feeling Trapped

And each day that passes, you only feel more trapped…way more stuck than you did the previous day…

Because EVEN if you did decide to make a change, you wouldn’t even know where to start…

Let’s consider today the day that everything begins to flip around. The day that you make a promise to yourself that you will make sure to take a forward step each day…even if it’s the babiest of steps. Consider today the day that you start to see glimpses of FREEDOM in your life.

You might be wondering “OK, cool…yeah you can say it’s so easy to flip my life around, etc, etc but you don’t know how it actually feels to be me”?

No, I don’t know your exact situation but what I can tell you is that I do understand the feeling of not being “free”…the feeling that things will NEVER get better or turn around for me.

“I’ll be broke forever…

I’ll never be able to drive without having a panic attack ever again…

I’ll always wake up sad and have to peel myself out of bed…

I’ll never find my purpose…

I’ll never be completely happy…”

Fill in the blanks with whatever you tell yourself every day, but then can you do me a favor and cross it out? Cross it out, and start to change the way you speak about yourself today.

Change the Way You Speak About Yourself

Seriously, I mean it when I say that I’m not writing this just for you- it’s for me, too. I need you all just as much.

We all deserve more.

I found for me, that the first step was admitting all the areas I know I wanted/deserved improvement. I pointed out all those neglected and lacking areas. I put them into the light.

And, I wish I could tell you that my whole life turned around then and there but I’d be lying…

I’ve had to work (and still am working!) hard…

I’ve had to remind myself each and every day what I deserve and that I was fully capable of grasping that.

Finding a Community

Another piece that I quickly realized I couldn’t do without, was a community. A community of people that believed in me…people who were going through the same struggles and could hand over some advice or even just a shoulder to cry on when I was feeling beat down.

I promise you that you NEED a community of people that love and care for you. People you can trust to listen and offer advice when you need it most. A community that reminds you that you are NOT alone in your anxieties, stress, anger, whatever it may be…

You need people who are there for you.

And that’s what I want this group to be for you.

Now, if you read this whole thing- I love you. A lot. I’m a really passionate writer and feel so free when I write. It’s my happy place, so sometimes I do get carried away.

I hope you can sense the sincerity in my words and believe that you can change your life.

Help me, help you…

Let’s do this together because again- I’m nowhere near where I want to be but I know the importance in community and have just as much learning to do from you.

I’m just so excited for what is in store for all of us. We all deserve to be FREE; free from whatever is holding us captive.

JM Weighted Blankets

JM Weighted Blankets is a company my fiancé and I started.

We started this company because of the benefits weighted blankets were bringing to the autism community. From volunteering/working in elementary special education classrooms, Easterseals Nebraska and organizations through my college, I’ve grown such a deep passion for children and adults with special needs. I really want to put an emphasis on special because these people are so, so special.

Now, weighted blankets are starting to make their way into many other categories which I find incredible because I seriously believe in the impact a weighted blanket can make in someone’s life- even if it seems like a measly blanket couldn’t do so.

Much more than a Weighted Blanket Company

I want to quickly say that JM Weighted Blankets is so much more than a weighted blanket company.

There are daily things we forget about that all cause stress.  Things like sleep, organization, coping mechanisms, productivity, etc. All things that a weighted blanket can help with. But so can just changing your mindset!

At its core, JM Weighted Blankets is a business built to make peoples’ lives better…and, we couldn’t think of a better way to add to that than create a community like this where people can come to get our daily tips on stress relief, better sleep, how to cope with anxiety…but ALSO for you all, as the community, to share daily experiences that may lift up another person and make their life brighter.

I created this group because I truly feel that there is an anointing on my life to help others become the people they know they should be.

I’ve lived a lot of my life pretending or thinking I’m someone that I’m not…

I’ve lived a lot of my life thinking that this is just the way life is, and I better get used to it.

If you find yourself agreeing with those statements, tell yourself “NO”…because that’s what I tell myself every time that thought crosses my mind. It’s NOT true, and you no longer have to believe that.

Today is a new day. A new life for you.

If you’re interested in joining our Facebook group for more posts, head over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/jmweightedblankets/.