Could a Weighted Blanket be the Answer?
The year I turned six, I asked for what was probably the most unusual birthday present ever. I announced that I wanted a lead apron like they used at the dentist’s office. For those who may be unfamiliar, this is made of some indeterminate material on the outside, and presumably has small grains of lead inside, which makes it so heavy. It is draped over the patient’s torso to prevent harmful radiation during X-rays. I couldn’t have cared less about radiation at that age, but I loved how the lead apron made me feel. I have always tended to be cold, and it made me feel warm and somehow secure. It wasn’t that I generally felt insecure, but that I felt so much better for the brief times I wore it.
About ten years back, I started hearing about weighted blankets and how they helped some children with autism. I do not have autism, and I’m not a child, but I was intrigued. Over the years, I have seen more research which discusses the effectiveness of weighted blankets for treating a variety of conditions. It has been shown that use of a weighted blanket can help people of all ages with autism, as well as those who have insomnia and PTSD. I purchased a weighted blanket in March, and I find that the added weight on my legs seems to improve my edema, and using the blanket in general seems to help regulate my low cortisol levels. Research has shown that the added weight of the blanket releases neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which produce a calming effect.
When purchasing a blanket, a general rule of thumb is to buy a blanket that is ten percent of your body weight plus one pound. If, for example, you weigh 140 pounds, then ten percent would be fourteen pounds. Add the extra pound, and you should consider purchasing a fifteen-pound blanket. If you are more than about twenty pounds overweight, then use the number you think you should weigh.
There are many places where you can purchase weighted blankets, which come in a variety of sizes and colors. While not inexpensive, the results can make this a very good investment. I purchased mine from Amazon, through a company called Weighted Blankets LLC.
If you are interested, you can also read this excellent article from Forbes about the inventor of the concept.
If you have used a weighted blanket, we’d love to hear about your experiences.