Anxiety Hacks: Weighted Blankets
I don’t know if everyone else has seen this, but I had been hearing a lot of buzz around weighted blankets lately. Traditionally, weighted blankets and weighted lap pads are used with children. There’s lots of studies out there that show how weighted blankets can help children experiencing sensory disorders, anxiety, stress, or several issues related to autism spectrum conditions relax as part of occupational therapy.
Weighted blankets are considered one method of deep pressure touch stimulation (or DPTS), which has been proven to encourage serotonin production in the brain, which improves mood and reduces stress responses. This response is something that’s programmed into most humans from infancy. Why do mothers swaddle toddlers to get them to relax or sleep? It’s because this same serotonin response is present, even at such a young age.
Now all this is fine and dandy, but what about as an adult? Can my inner child still reap the benefits of using a weighted blanket? Could I use this as a tool to curb my own anxiety when it decided to get out of control? I set out to try one and see what it could do.
After scouring the web for a vendor that would both ship to Canada, and also manufacture a blanket that was larger than a dish towel, I found Weighted Blankets Plus. Their site had a wide range of products, and though the fact that their pricing is in American (have you seen how badly the Loonie is doing lately?) they shipped to Canada, and their prices weren’t too shabby. Their site recommends ordering a blanket that is 10% your body weight, plus a pound. For my 145lb frame, this would put me at either a 15 or 16lb blanket, but I opted for an 18lb blanket. Mainly based on my own gut feel, and the fact that I’m terrible at listening to instructions.
First thing I was super impressed about: the blanket showed up in two days. I’ve had mail from local Calgary addresses take longer! Second, I was really impressed by the overall look and feel of the blanket. The way these ones are made is a base blanket that holds the weight is then stitched together with a cover in a colour of your choice. . The base blanket has several small pockets that hold glass beads, so the weight is evenly distributed throughout the blanket. I chose a dark purple cotton cover, with a light purple fleece lining, because duh.
The blanket looks so cute and generally feels well made. Weighted Blankets Plus also claims that you can machine wash and dry these, making upkeep even easier. Though I do not question the ability for the blanket to survive the washing machine, I do question my washing machine’s ability to survive an 18lb blanket, so I opted to pass on trying to give it a wash.
Alright, first test run. I had the blanket folded up and climbed onto my couch. I sat cross-legged and spread the blanket across my lap, waiting for this overwhelming tidal wave of joy to wash itself over me. And after a few short minutes… not so much. Admittedly I may have set the bar a bit high for first impressions from a blanket, but I still felt a little choked. Nevertheless, I kept the blanket on as I settled into my usual routine of half-watching-Netflix and half-working on my laptop.
I’ll admit, after about 20 minutes or so I did feel nice and calm even though I was catching up on emails and other general work, which would normally get me a bit worked up. The added weight was definitely comfortable and calming, even considering the fact that I wasn’t overly anxious/ stressed out to begin with. Alright, we’ll call the first test a success.
What I was definitely more curious about was sleeping under it. Though the blanket is not the same size as a standard sheet, it is large enough that I could comfortably fit under it while I slept. I added this bad boy to my regular sheet and duvet I normally sleep under.
Holy smokes, what a difference this thing makes. I’ve been using this blanket while I’m at home, and have been consistently sleeping longer and better than before I got it. I’ve also managed to cut back considerably on the melatonin I have to take before bed. Before I’d need melatonin to both fall and stay asleep. Now with this blanket, not only does my bed feel insanely cozy as soon as I climb in, but I find myself falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer, and feeling a lot more rested when I wake up. I still have the odd night where I don’t sleep super well, but on average I’d say there’s definitely an improvement. Based on experience alone? 10/10 would recommend.
Alright, some quick bullet points to sum up:
- Noticeable improvement in sleep quality, and how fast I fall asleep
- Versatile; the smaller blanket size is great for both sleep and chilling on the couch
- Appearance; this blanket is also super cute, and there’s tons of colour/pattern options
- This blanket was $175USD plus shipping. Add that all up, and convert it into Canadian dollars, and this cost me $362 to be exact. (oof). Definitely worth it in my opinion, but also definitely pricey.
- Care; see aforementioned claim that the blanket will survive the washing machine without destroying it in the process. It is covered with cotton and fleece, which are normally easy to clean, but a large stain could prove to be a huge pain.
- Size; I personally like the non-sheet size it comes in, but I could see the appeal in having a standard bed-sized version of one of these.
Overall: 8/10. Would recommend, despite the scary price tag
So what do you guys think? Have you tried a weighted blanket? Do you know of any great Canadian vendors that sell these? Let me know in the comments!