There are many problems that we may face in life but one that is common among many people is anxiety. It seems as if the stress creeps up out of nowhere and before we know it, we are being clobbered with so much stress that we can hardly handle it. It can happen at any time in life or at any time of the day but for most of us, it is a problem when we try to get to sleep at night. It leads to panic, insomnia and a lot of tired days because we just didn’t get enough sleep the night before.
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental problems that people face. It affects some 40 million people in the United States, according to the numbers from the National Institute of Mental Health. It also is one of the more common reasons why people begin taking prescription drugs, although they may have different results, depending on the person and the medication. Some people are searching for a natural remedy and there is a gentle way to get the relief that you may not have considered before. I’m talking about weighted blankets.
Some people may laugh this off, thinking that a weighted blanket is too simple of a remedy. It actually has to do with something similar to getting a massage, and it’s known as Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation (DTPS).
According to Temple Grandin, Ph.D., it “is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, holding, stroking, petting of animals, or swaddling.”
DTPS is a relatively new therapeutic choice but it has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. This leads to the legitimacy of using weighted blankets to relieve stress and anxiety.
Occupational therapist Karen Moore says that in psychiatric care, “weighted blankets are one of our most powerful tools for helping people who are anxious, upset, and possibly on the verge of losing control.”
More studies associated with DTPS need to be done because the existing studies are somewhat small. There have been some successful trials, however, including one in 2012. You can find it published in Australasian Psychiatry.
By now, you’re probably wondering how these blankets work. Think of it as working just like a big hug. It causes your body to produce serotonin, which calms you and helps you to deal with anxiety. Serotonin eventually converts to melatonin, which is the chemical that regulates our circadian rhythm.
One of the most common ways for weighted blankets to have the extra weight are with poly plastic pellets. These are sewed into compartments throughout the blanket. For an adult, it is recommended that you have a blanket between 15 and 30 pounds. It stimulates deep touch receptors in your body.
Many of these blankets exist, and you can find high-quality blankets for under $100.
A number of patterns are also available. You would select your weight, taking advantage of the handy chart they have available.
Other blankets may be more expensive, with some being $300 or more. You may even want to try a smaller, 5-pound cuddle blanket. The one shown below is under $150.
You can talk to your mental health professional prior to purchasing a weighted blanket.