Do weighted blankets help with anxiety?
If you ask anyone about weighted blankets, without fail, the word 'anxiety' will be used in their answer. In fact, the most commonly mentioned benefit of weighted blankets is their therapeutic tendencies towards anxiety and anxiety related issues.
Go to any weighted blanket company's website (for example: ChillaBlankets.com) and you'll see what I mean. Read the reviews of weighted blankets on Amazon and you'll see it there too.
So, is there any factual basis for the claim that weighted blankets can help ease one's anxiety? And if so, how can that be explained?
The following study was published in 2015:
SciMed - Positive Effects of a Weighted Blanket on Insomnia 2015 (by Ackerley, Badre, and Olausson).
Insomnia is a common occurrence and can have a negative impact on physiological,
psychological and social well-being. There is a need for simple, effective solutions to
increase sleep quality. It has been suggested that weighted blankets and vests can
provide a beneficial calming effect, especially in clinical disorders. Hence, we aimed
to investigate the effects of a chain weighted blanket on insomnia, using objective and
subjective measures. Objectively, we found that sleep bout time increased, as well as a
decrease in movements of the participants, during weighted blanket use. Subjectively,
the participants liked sleeping with the blanket, found it easier to settle down to sleep
and had an improved sleep, where they felt more refreshed in the morning. Overall, we
found that when the participants used the weighted blanket, they had a calmer night’s
sleep. A weighted blanket may aid in reducing insomnia through altered tactile inputs,
thus may provide an innovative, non-pharmacological approach and complementary
tool to improve sleep quality.
I've had a lot of experience with weighted blankets. My personal experiences with them, hearing about the experiences from others, reading articles from people who have used them, video reviews from people who have used them, and I even have readers of this website send me messages to let me know what has or hasn't worked for them.
With confidence, I can say that weighted blankets help 85% of people who have anxiety. The other 15% either report no benefits or they feel more anxious while using a weighted blanket.
Why Do Weighted Blankets Help?
In Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the second of 5 categories is 'Safety.' The concept behind Maslow's theory is that there are 5 categories of needs that must be met in a certain order for a person to be able to be happy and fulfilled. The most basic need is Physiological. That means food, water, shelter, and clothing, the bare essentials for staying alive.
The next category is Safety. This is where the weighted blanket come into play. Personal Security is a sub item of Safety, and this is the exact point that weighted blankets hit on. When using a weighted blanket a person feels like they have a 1 inch thick impenetrable shield surrounding their body. The person feels safe, secure, and overall a sense of protection. Chemically, these feelings come from the release of dopamine and serotonin triggered by the heavy yet soft weight of the weighted blanket.
Weighted blankets overwhelmingly have a positive effect on those with anxiety that has a negative effect on their ability to sleep well.
Weighted blankets also overwhelmingly prove to be beneficial for insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and fibromyalgia.