Therapy blanket: Why weighted blankets are said to help with anxiety and sleep disorders

Millions of people sleep poorly: in Germany alone, one in ten employed people suffers from sleep disorders - this is shown by a DAK health report.

Therapy blanket: Why weighted blankets are said to help with anxiety and sleep disorders

Millions of people sleep poorly: in Germany alone, one in ten employed people suffers from sleep disorders - this is shown by a DAK health report. In the course of "insomnia", those affected no longer fall asleep or stay asleep, but sleep itself is also perceived as not restful. And the consequences are serious: Due to increasing insomnia, many employees are constantly tired and exhausted during the day, which is reflected not only in their performance, but also in their health. This makes healthy sleep all the more important, which you could promote with the help of a weighted blanket, for example. But anxiety and stress patients should also benefit from the therapy blanket.

Weighted blankets have been used in the therapeutic sector for a long time, but therapy blankets are also gaining in importance outside of medical treatments. The reason for this is the calming effect of the blankets on the body, which is supposed to be triggered by your own weight. Because unlike normal duvets, weighted blankets have durable, hypoallergenic and non-toxic glass beads or plastic beads sewn inside. This makes them heavier - and puts deep pressure on the autonomic nervous system. In plain language this means: The weight has a similar effect on your entire body as a warm hug. But to what extent can weighted blankets help with anxiety and sleep disorders or even depression?

Studies have shown that even pressure on the body stimulates our autonomic nervous system. More specifically, the "deep touch pressure" effect has a calming and relaxing effect on our body. The explanation for this is very simple: the deep pressure, which is comparable to a hug, stimulates serotonin production - i.e. the release of a happiness hormone. Not only does it counteract cortisol levels (stress hormones), but it also gives you a feeling of inner peace, security and serenity. Your joints, muscles and tendons relax, so feelings of anxiety, stress and grief should also be reduced.

And that's not all: the sleep hormone melatonin, which controls our day-night rhythm, is produced from serotonin. As a result of the release of serotonin, more melatonin is produced in the body - which in turn means that we can fall asleep more quickly. And that is exactly the effect that weighted blankets are intended to achieve. At least that's the theory, because "the melatonin first has to reach the brain," explains Martin Keck, former director of the clinic at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich. "That doesn't automatically happen just because the body may produce more serotonin." For this reason, he believes that the studies that some blanket suppliers advertise are not very meaningful, as he told Süddeutsche.

The same effect is also used with crying babies: the swaddling method, i.e. wrapping them tightly in a cloth, makes children feel safe and born, as they once did in the womb. Therapy blankets use the same principle, except that they are intended to help adults with anxiety and sleep disorders. And these are by no means all the medical conditions for which weighted blankets are used.

In principle, weighted blankets are just as suitable for children as they are for adults when it comes to improving body awareness. For people who are always very tense and cannot calm down, heavy blankets offer a sensible alternative to ordinary duvets. For this reason, therapy blankets are used not only for anxiety and sleep disorders, but also for other illnesses that cause inner unrest, such as:

Here, too, weighted blankets with their deep pressure can help to offer those affected the satisfaction and security that they sometimes lack in everyday life.

Weighted blankets don't necessarily just have to be used to help you fall asleep, but can also help improve your quality of life during the day. Especially if you suffer from anxiety.

Unfortunately, weighted blankets are not suitable for people who suffer from breathing difficulties or circulatory problems - and if so, then only in consultation with a doctor. This also applies to children under five years of age.

Due to their high quality and durability, weighted blankets come at a price. Depending on the manufacturer, the models cost between 60 and 300 euros - although the cheaper blankets are in no way inferior to the more expensive ones.

Most blankets are simple, many models are gray or sometimes blue. However, you have the option of covering the weighted blanket with regular bed linen - the sizes are identical.

The weighted blankets are usually made of 100 percent cotton, so they can be washed as normal. However, you should always pay attention to the manufacturer's label - if it recommends a special washing cycle, you should stick to it.