The benefits vary from person to person but ultimately how a weighted blanket works is to put an end to the vicious lack-of-sleep cycle. Imagine waking up on a cold, winter morning snuggled under the weight of heavy covers. That feeling of calm and peace is a taster of what the deep pressure stimulation from a weighted blanket can do for your nervous system.
What a weighted blanket does is give you a big, comforting hug, backed by science. According to Healthline, one of its primary uses is for the treatment of anxiety as it may help to calm your heart-rate and breathing. It’s also known to give a sense of relief to those dealing with chronic pain.
How does a weighted blanket work?
A weighted blanket works by providing pressure from the extra weight to act as a form of deep pressure stimulation. Deep pressure stimulation is when pressure is applied to the body so that it switches from its sympathetic nervous system, also known as the “fight or flight” system, to its parasympathetic nervous system. We live in a fast-paced world with constant access to negative news stories and social media. It’s no surprise that we find ourselves in our sympathetic nervous system most of the time.
That is why now more than ever, we are seeking that benefit of a weighted blanket that soothes us back into the parasympathetic nervous system at night. According to Firstbeat.com, “the more the parasympathetic system dominates during sleep, the more your body is able to recover and the more resources you have for the following days and tasks.”
Weighted blankets may also stimulate the production of serotonin to boost the mood, reduce cortisol to lower stress, and increase levels of melatonin to help you sleep.
How to use a weighted blanket
- The first piece of advice on how to use a weighted blanket is to choose one which is cozy, calming and approximately 10% of your body weight. This means that it will provide the right amount of pressure to relax. ESPA’s weighted blanket comes in four different weights, from 4.5 to 11.5kg. Take a look at the Body Weight Calculator to estimate the perfect one for you.
- Replace your current duvet with your new weighted blanket or use them both for extra warmth. If you choose to use both, the weighted blanket can be placed either on top or below your duvet.
- Use half of the blanket over your legs for the first few days to let your body adjust. If you find yourself getting too warm, take a look at your night-wear. Are you wearing heavy, cotton pyjamas? The combination of both may be causing you to overheat. Try pairing your weighted blanket with some breathable Silk Pyjamas to keep you cool and refreshed.