Reasons why weighted blankets help anxious people

For Christmas, my parents got me a weighted blanket. This was the only thing I asked for during the holidays because I heard that weighted blankets are supposed to help people with anxiety. And, when I received a wrapped box that I could barely lift, I knew it was what I wanted!

These blankets are filled with glass beads or poly-pellets, which make them weighted. It's recommended that people purchase a blanket weighing about 10 percent of their body weight. I've slept under my 15-pound blanket every night since Christmas. (Confession: After all the food I ate during the holidays, this may not be 10 percent of my body weight anymore. Shhh!)

And I do have to say — it has helped my anxiety! I’m not sure why weighted blankets help elevate stress for anxious individuals like myself. Is it because, when sleeping alone, a weighted blanket feels similar to a hug?

For anyone who is considering gifting themselves with an after-the-holidays present, here are some scientific reasons behind why a weighted blanket can help you de-stress:

1. Decreases cortisol levels in the body.
Weighing down the body through the use of a weighted blanket while sleeping regulates the secretion of cortisol - a stress hormone that flares when you're anxious, according to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

2. Decreases your nervous system activity
The results of a study in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health showed that 33 percent of people who used the blanket had decreased nervous system activity (i.e.: pulse rate and blood pressure) and 63 percent reported having lower anxiety.

3. Simulates deep pressure touch
Deep pressure touch (DPT) is "a type of therapy that uses firm, hands-on pressure to reduce chronic stress and high levels of anxiety." According to Heathline, weighted blankets replicate the effects of DPT and, in doing so, generates feelings of stability and reduces stress-induced body tension, just like DPT does.

4. Helps reduce movement during sleep
"The blanket enacts a fantasy of immobilization that is especially seductive in a world of ever-expanding obligations—to work, to monetize, to take action, to perform," said New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino. "Last weekend, a friend came over and tried out the blanket. 'That’s really good,' he said, eyes closed, unmoving. 'I kind of want more. I kind of want to not be able to move at all.'”

For those of you converted into believing in the magic of the weighted blanket, check out this buying guide based on 300,000 verified customer experiences.

You Might Also Like