Weighted blanket and insomnia
Weighted blankets can be used before falling asleep as well as during sleep. They help users to calm down and relax. Furthermore, they ensure better quality of sleep. This is their main task and they fulfill it perfectly – this is confirmed by numerous observations from both scientists and practitioners. There have been numerous publications and articles elaborating on this topic, among others – an article published in Forbes. The press release underlines the favorable effect of weighted blankets on healthy persons as well as persons suffering from developmental disorders.
Use of weighted blankets in developmental disorders
The weight of the blanket puts a lot of deep-touch pressure on muscles, tendons and joints. Therefore, it allows the user to feel the whole body, organizes it properly and ensures control. Furthermore, the pressure also results in lowered muscle tension, quick relaxation and reduction of anxiety.
The objective of therapy conducted with persons suffering from motor development disorders is to restore the ability to properly feel the whole body and manage it conveniently. In such cases, a weighted blanket not only helps to fall asleep but also fulfills the need of proprioception. This is of certain importance for functioning throughout the whole day, not only during the night.
It is worth underlining that the deep-touch pressure the weighted blanket puts on our body improves the balance of serotonin and cortisol, which are hormones of joy and stress respectively. When we fall asleep, the secretion of cortisol is inhibited while the production of serotonin increases. Weighted blankets are able to improve this process. This is an especially positive trait for persons with developmental disorders who suffer from serotonin deficiency.
“Studies have shown that weighted blankets can help children with ASD fall asleep. Children benefit not only from the release of serotonin that the blankets induce, but also from the decrease in heart rate and blood pressure that result from the calming effect. This allows for more control, and in turn, a better chance of rest” – source www.medicaldaily.com
Further below, we read that the deep-touch pressure also influences persons who do not suffer from sensory disorders. During a study conducted in 2004, reduction of nighttime cortisol was observed in participants complaining of insomnia, stress and pain. Limiting the amount of cortisol both reduced stress and improved sleep quality.
Fight chronic pain with a weighted blanket
The weight of the blanket brings relief to persons suffering from chronic pain. The deep-touch pressure distributes the pain, which was previously accumulated in one place, and spreads it throughout a larger part of the body. According to therapists, weighted blankets not only sooth pain but also shorten the whole treatment process.
When is a weighted blanket recommended?
Weighted blankets are used during therapies in persons suffering from, among others,
- aggressive behavior,
- fetal alcohol spectrum disorders,
- Alzheimer’s disease,
- chronic pain,
- pervasive development disorders,
- bipolar disorders,
- Parkinson’s disease,
- Down syndrome,
- restless sleep,
- cerebral palsy,
- autism spectrum disorder (ASD),
- fear of procedures,
- traumatic brain injury,
- sensory integration disorders,
- Asperger syndrome,
- Charge syndrome,
- restless leg syndrome (RLS),
- Rett syndrome,
- post-traumatic stress disorder,
- Tourette syndrome,
- Williams syndrome.
In order to determine whether a weighted blanket is a good solution for a specific person, it is best to seek advice from a therapist first. Therefore, it will be possible to locate and exclude any potential contraindications, such as cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases.