When you’re feeling anxious, tense, or stressed, finding any sense of calm or comfort can be challenging.
Your mind is racing, your heart is pounding, and you might even feel like you’re in danger, even though there’s nothing actually threatening you.
In moments like these, it can be helpful to have something to ground you and help you feel physically and emotionally safe.
What is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket is a heavy blanket filled with small beads, sand, grains, or other materials that add weight to the blanket. They can sometimes weigh up to 30 pounds or more.
The idea behind weighted blankets is that the added weight can simulate the feeling of being hugged, held, swaddled—immersed in the embrace of comfort and safety.
This may help regulate your hormones and nervous system, reducing stress levels and promoting a sense of calm.
What Can a Weighted Blanket Help With?
Weighted blankets have been demonstrated to be safe and effective in aiding a number of different conditions, including:
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Severe intellectual disabilities
It can be helpful for children, older adults, or anyone in between. Weighted blankets are used in hospital and healthcare settings, and they can also be great for at-home use—accessible anytime for quick relief from anxiety or stress.
And even beyond the immediate effects, regular use of a weighted blanket appears helpful even when you are not wrapped up in it. In a nursing home environment, weighted blankets help older adults fall asleep faster, stay asleep better, and reduce their general anxiety levels while also stimulating their daily energy levels and promoting increased physical activity. Likely, these effects will also apply to people of all ages who use weighted blankets regularly.
How Do I Use a Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets don’t require any special skills or techniques to use. Just drape it over your body like any other blanket, and let the weight do its work.
Find one that has a comfortable weight for you and is the right size for your body and bed. If you have mobility or strength issues, you may need a lighter-weighted blanket or one that’s easier to maneuver.
Keep it nearby to grab it when you need it, and take it with you when you travel.
Using it may also be helpful even when you are not currently feeling anxious or stressed. Many people find that regular use of a weighted blanket helps them feel calmer and more relaxed, even when they are not actively using it.
A weighted blanket can be a helpful tool in managing anxiety, stress, and other conditions. But it’s not a cure-all and may not be as effective for everyone. Try it out to see if it makes a difference for you.
And remember, if your anxiety is severe, long-term, or interfering with your daily activities, it’s important to seek professional help. A therapist can provide you with tools and resources to manage your anxiety in a healthy way.