How do weighted blankets work?
A weighted blanket is exactly that – a blanket filled with micro hypoallergenic beads. The goal is to make the blanket a little heavier so it applies a firm consistent pressure. A weighted blanket usually weighs 6 - 9kgs for adults and 1.5 – 4kg for childrens weighted blankets. Resting under a weighted blanket helps improve sleep, ease anxiety, and relieve stress. But how exactly does a weighted blanket help you sleep better and feel calmer? It all boils down to the science of deep touch pressure or DTP and hormone levels.
Simple Science & Serotonin
Each weighted blanket provides deep pressure therapy to the body and starts a series of important chemical reactions. Firstly, the happy hormone called serotonin, which provides a calming effect as well as regulates our mood, is released from the brain.
Serotonin aids the production of melatonin which the sleep-promoting hormone responsible for your circadian rhythm or body clock. During the day when we need to be awake our levels of melatonin are appropriately low, however at night the darkness prompts our pituitary gland in the brain to produce more melatonin and thus helps us feel sleepy. However, a lot of us struggle to feel sleepy at bedtime and lower levels of melatonin may be the cause. Using a weighted blanket increases these important hormone levels and as a result can aid relaxation and sleep.
What About Cortisol?
Cortisol is the hormone that makes us feel stressed or anxious and the right balance is pretty tricky to find. Ideally we would like high levels of cortisol when we wake in the morning and gradually during the day the levels would wind down as we do reaching a low point at bedtime. When cortisol levels remains too high for too long you are at increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and unsurprisingly difficulties sleeping. Using a weighted blanket can curb high cortisol levels and help you rest.
Those with autism, ADHD and anxiety experience difficulty sleeping due to a lack of of this hormone. That’s why for years, doctors and occupational therapists have been using weighted blankets to help their patients experience a full, deep sleep. Our special blankets, filled with micro hypoallergenic beads, are designed to distribute the feeling of a deep-pressure touch evenly across the body, which creates a soothing effect for your child.
There is growing evidence which promotes the use of weighted blankets in children and adults. A series of clinical studies into weighted blankets have been carried out in the UK and US. These studies have concluded that weighted blankets are safe for children as well as being favoured by both children and adults.