Different methods and techniques have been used over time to ease anxiety. One of such ways that technology has brought into the limelight in recent times is the use of anxiety blankets.
What is an Anxiety Blanket?
An anxiety blanket can also be called a gravity blanket. It is also a weighted blanket. As the name implies, it is simply a blanket with extra weight. One might be wondering what the extra weight could be. Well, an anxiety blanket could have diverse materials that would make it heavier. Some of the popular materials are glass beads and plastic pellets, which are distributed uniformly across the blanket.
Weighted blankets are used to relieve stress and provide ease in sleep. Originally, they were solely used by children who had Autism for therapeutic reasons, which include reducing the rate of meltdowns and giving patients a higher level of concentration at school. However, recent studies have shown that weighted blankets can also be used by children and adults who had no Autism, to relieve anxiety and improve sleep.
How does it Work?
An anxiety blanket makes use of a fundamental science which is referred to as Deep Touch Pressure (DTP). This simply is the gentle but firm application of pressure to the body to increase the release of Serotonin. It is often provided by holding, stroking, hugging, and squeezing. Serotonin is a chemical in the body which is responsible for the regulation of mood and sleep amongst other psychological factors. An imbalance or a reduction of Serotonin in the human body may lead to anxiety. The use of a weighted blanket helps to produce serotonin in the body which on the long run, relaxes the nervous system, provides relief in the body and reduces anxiety, all around.
Has it Been Scientifically Proven?
A number of research works have been conducted to ascertain the effects of weighted blankets in alleviating anxiety. To start with, a study by the Journal of Medical Biological engineering in 2012 came to the conclusion that the application of DTP has demonstrated a potential calming effect on the alleviation of anxiety in dental environments’. The study also showed that the application of DTP causes a positive physiological reaction in the human’s nervous system. Also, a study by Occupational Therapy in Mental Health to explore the safety and therapeutic effects of Deep Pressure Stimulation through a weighted blanket discovered that, when a weighted blanket was used with patients, they had more reports of reduced anxiety.
Another study from the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders, considering the positive effects of a weighted blanket on Insomnia reached a conclusion that “the weighted chain blanket used in the study had a positive impact on sleep, both objectively and subjectively. It was found that some physiological behavior and behavioral values improved by the use of the weighted blankets. Participants of the study had a calmer night’s sleep when using the weighted blankets, characterized by fewer movements”.
Why Weighted Blankets?
There are several benefits a person could enjoy from the use of a weighted blanket. Apart from the reduction in anxiety that it guarantees as a result of the DTP science, it also makes users sleep better and more peacefully. It also reduces chronic stress. Since it is also a blanket, it provides warmth for its user, alongside other benefits.