Research has shown that Weighted Lap Pads, Weighted Blankets and Weights shoulder wraps can help reduce reduce symptoms and manage conditions for many people who have disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, or autism, weighted blankets may provide a safe alternative to medication or other types of treatment.
Caregivers and professionals in the autism community have a great awareness of their benefits including feeling more secure, improving feeling body awareness, reducing anxiety, and improving sleep.
What are the benefits of a weighted blanket for anxiety?
Weighted blankets can help reduce anxiety in both children and adults. They are safe to use as long as you understand some basic rules. Autism can be stressful because we encounter situations where we don’t have the skills or brain type to handle them.
This can cause anxiety, anger, sadness or other extreme emotions. Sometimes it’s simply a change of routine that can cause an extreme out of control feeling.
With sensory processing disorder, sensory messages are not processed in the usual way by the brain. Other people may focus on one sound and not notice anything else but for a person with Sensory Processing Disorder, all the sensory signals come in which creates an overload and can make you feel like screaming or running away. At the very least it makes you feel very frustrated because people don’t tend to understand how sensory overload feels.
according to statistics it is common for those with Autism to be under-responsive, needing more stimuli to achieve regulation of the body.
The opposite is also true. Some people with Autism may be over-responsive or require a calm a calm environment to function optimally.
Weighted blankets help ground your body during sleep because of the feeling of weight or pressure. This process, known as “grounding,” and may have a deeply calming effect. People who meditate or work with crystals often talk about grounding themselves to help them feel connected and centered.
The blankets also simulate deep pressure touch (DPT), a type of therapy that uses firm, hands-on pressure to reduce chronic stress and high levels of anxiety.
Studies show that grounding may help reduce nighttime levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Cortisol is produced when your brain thinks you’re under attack, eliciting the fight or flight response. Stress can escalate cortisol levels.
This can have a negative impact upon the immune system. It can also increase blood sugar levels and adversely affect the digestive tract.
Elevated cortisol levels, especially those that don’t drop back down to normal levels naturally, can cause multiple complications. These include:
- weight gain
By providing deep pressure touch, weighted blankets can promote relaxation and help break this cycle. This may trigger the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are feel-good hormones produced in the brain. These hormones help combat stress, anxiety, and depression.
Weighted blankets are increasingly being used in mental health units so that patients can soothe themselves.