Weighted blankets for anxiety, spasms, restless leg syndrome, insomnia
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What are weighted blankets?
Weighted blankets are heavier than regular blankets and normally weigh 6-12% of a person's body weight. They usually help with a number of medical issues that keep people awake such as anxiety, restless legs and spasms.
If you're purchasing for children you should add 1 or 2 pounds to the weight. So for a 50 pound child 10% would be 5 and if you're adding 2 the final weight comes to 7.
They can be an alternative option to medication. This can be an advantage as many medications have side effects. I think that if you discover an alternative to medication that's effective it's probably worth it.
Keep heads above the covers
As a basic safety measure you should ensure heads are above the covers when using them especially for children or those with mobility issues.
Who should not get a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets should be avoided for children aged 5 and under. In addition use of them are discouraged for people with obstructive sleep apnea, asthmatics, and those with respiratory problems. If your lungs are damaged it's possible that the extra weight will cause you to have additional trouble breathing.
You may not want to get one if you have problems regulating body temperature or are going through menopause.
Are weighted blankets hotter than regular ones?
Generally yes, but you can get 100% cotton weighted blankets if you want the coolest option.
Where to get a weighted blanket?
You can get a 100% cotton weighted blanket at Amazon. You need to select the correct size and weight as it will default to a blanket for a child.
Can weighted blankets help with anxiety?
According to a study in the Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 32 adults were given a 30 pound weighted blanket; they found that physical symptoms of anxiety lessened for 67% of the participants. They measured blood pressure, pulse rate, and the effectiveness of electrodermal activity (EDA).
The researchers believe that weighted blankets give a feeling of safety and security that can be therapeutic.
The feeling of safety and security can calm people's mind
If you are kept up by thoughts of work, politics or general stress it is possible that the feeling of safety and security can calm your mind. This was the case for 78% on the participants of the study referenced above.
Weighted blankets can potentially help with restless legs and spasms
Since weighted blankets have been available many doctors have been recommending them to help come combat restless leg syndrome in addition to reducing salt intake.
The Cerebral Palsy Society also recommends them for general spasms.
One reviewer of a cotton weighted blanket with a Minky cover found at Amazon said he tried it and it and it made his back spasms worse so weighted blankets do not work in all circumstances.
It may be effective for dealing with some kinds of spasms though, you might want to try one and if it doesn't help you can always return it.
So, can weighted blankets help with general insomnia too?
According to a study in the published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine Disorders concluded that weighted blankets can help people suffering from general insomnia too. As with the first study I referenced the study reports that participants sleeps were more comfortable and secure.
They concluded that even if it was a placebo effect it was still a very effective one.
What about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
I found an article that looks at the affects on weighted blankets on people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and it didn't find strong evidence that weighted blankets help people with A.S.D. sleep better. However they do note that in many cases it was preferred by the parents. This would suggest to me that weighted blankets can be have a placebo effect for those with A.S.D.
Does a weighted blanket reduce snoring?
In some cases they have been shown to reduce light snoring. If you have a partner and light snoring is causing a problem you might want to look into getting one.
If your problem is solely your partner's heavy snoring then a weighted blanket probably will not help.
How to wash and dry a weighted blanket?
You can wash a weighted blanket using cold water and mild detergent. Do not use fabric softeners or bleach as these can damage your blanket.
If your blanket is over 20 pounds it would be best to take it into a commercial place (a laundromat) to prevent wear and tear on you own machines.
You can use your dryer's low-heat cycle to finish the process or just put it out to dry. If you are hanging it up I wouldn't hang it by one end as it can be a strain on the sceams.
I know how bad it can be to not sleep from personal experience and would advocate for any considered safe and effective in helping get a better quality sleep. If you have one of the problems I referenced above and are not in any of the groups that weighted blankets are not recommended for then you may want to try a weighted blanket.
Buy a 100% cotton weighted blanket at Amazon. Remember to select the correct size and weight.