Initially used for treating those on with autism spectrum disorder, weighted blankets are becoming more popular with the general public for a variety of reasons, starting after a Kickstarter campaign went viral in 2017. Gravity: The Weighted Blanket for Sleep, Stress and Anxiety received more than $4.7 million in pledges for its high-density poly pellet-filled design. From there, the market for weighted blankets grew and it wasn’t long before the larger retailers developed their own versions. What was once considered a fad, grew to mass-market popularity.
In 2018, there was an estimated half-dozen companies producing weighted blankets. By 2019, this grew to over two dozen. The mass-market boom in popularity stems from the list of benefits weighted blankets provide. From easing insomnia to helping the elderly, they have a large market audience.
Check out five of the benefits in more detail:
Around a third of adults in the UK report experiencing insomnia. That’s not a small number. Insomnia can interfere with your daily life, work and personal responsibilities and affect your overall health.
Weighted blankets replicate what is known as ‘deep touch pressure stimulation’, a form of therapy that promotes the production of serotonin, the chemical that regulates sleep.
Anxiety is very common and almost everyone will experience it at some point during their life. In fact, the ONS estimated that 1 in 6 adults in the UK had experienced some form of anxiety.
A weighted blanket can help ease symptoms of anxiety in a similar way to the way they help insomnia. The pressure also replicates a hug which can release feel-good chemicals in the brain. They also help ease symptoms of restless-leg syndrome and relieve stress, both commonly connected to anxiety.
Improves Sleep Quality
Fatigue doesn’t just come with insomnia but also with bad quality sleep. If you’re tossing and turning, or waking up constantly, this all impacts the quality of sleep you get.
Deep touch pressure stimulation boosts serotonin and the pressure can help with restlessness, all helping to improve sleep quality and lets you fall asleep faster and sleep for longer.
Helps the Elderly
As we age, we become more prone to suffering from chronic insomnia which, in turn, can lead to a host of other health problems. Not only that, but older people are more prone to higher rates of stress, anxiety and depression.
Research showed that people who use weighted blankets found it was “easier to settle down to sleep and had an improved sleep, where they felt more refreshed in the morning.”
Manages Autism Symptoms
One of the initial markets for weighted blankets, they provide a form of touch therapy that can help treat the symptoms of the disorder.
Decreasing levels of stress as well as increasing the feel-good chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, both show to benefit treatment of symptoms.
They also produce a calming effect to those with sensory processing disorder, something often associated with autism spectrum disorder.
Although they can be quite costly, the host of benefits provided by weighted blankets outweighs the negatives for most consumers. Their popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down and they are becoming more mainstream as time goes by.