How Can a Weighted Blanket Aid
Your Mental Health?
A person’s overall health depends on both its physical condition and mental state. In order to achieve optimal wellbeing, one should take good care of the both aspects of being alive - the body and the mind. Unfortunately, modern western medicine mostly relies on the quality of a person’s physical condition in order to assess the overall health state. In the past several decades the ignorance towards mental wellbeing, when it comes to occurring health problems has misled many people into wrong treatments of the condition they are experiencing.
Numerous new researches state that many of the terminal illnesses, that have become very common, are caused by stress, anxiety and distrbued mental health, overall. Moreover, turning to holistic approaches that perceive any illness as a part of a whole, thereby, treating the physical and mental state altogether, has proven to help many people successfully deal with health problems of any kind.
One of these holistic approaches that has recently entered mainstream use and become a major trend is the weighted blanket. Widely accepted among the population that seems pretty concerned about their mental health, the blanket has become available in many modern forms, weights and sizes from twin to king sized blanket.
Known as a therapeutic tool that can soothe anxiety, stress, symptoms of depression and help improve the sleep quality, the weighted blanket has become the go-to-aid for the modern person. All these beneficial effects of using a blanket that weighs a bit more than usual, are enjoyed by those in need of support as well as those that look for self-improvement. Moreover, by sleeping with a weighted blanket one can achieve a calm mind and, thereby, a calm body, all in the purpose of improving the overall physical, mental state and life performance.
The Effects of the Blanket
It’s not at all surprising how people living in a modern setting, that imposes a fast-paced lifestyle and too many stressful situations, are dealing with serious mental disbalances. From anxiety state and disorder to completely disrupted sleep-wake cycle that directly affects immunity and consequently leads to additional health problems, for many it seems as a never ending cycle of problems they can’t or decide not to step away from. All these resulted in whole populations seeking help in modernized therapies that use meditation, breathing and music to improve mental health and deal with disorders.
Although all of the mentioned above might positively affect a person’s mental wellbeing, the use of a weighted blanket can provide much more. The additional weight of the blanket, when put onto the person’s body performs a gentle pressure. This pressure known as the deep pressure touch stimulation, triggers the nerve endings beneath the skin. Once triggered, these small nerves send signals to the central nervous system announcing that the body is “safe and secure”. Accordingly, the central nervous system immediately enters the “rest and digest state” ruled by the parasympathetic nervous system.
The simple hack of adding weight over one’s body in order to trigger these changes is replicated from the same effects the hug and nearness of another person’s body provides. The soothing effects of a hug are universal to all humans and animals, therefore, they can be amplified and enjoyed with the use of the weighted blanket.
Much more than a feeling of calmness and relaxation, the changes provided by the effects of sleeping with the blanket are very powerful. Moreover, once the central nervous system is ruled by the parasympathetic system, the secretion of the so-called “hormones of happiness” begins. Increased levels of these hormones (endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin) promote the feeling of satisfaction, immediately lowering the levels of stress hormones “cortisol” and “adrenaline” and consequently leading to feelings of relaxation, calmness and a sound sleep.
When put onto the body, not any but the proper weight of a blanket acts as a sort of a switch and these changes occur immediately. The secretion of these hormones result in powerful chemical reactions that directly aid the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, mainly because all these states are directly caused by low levels of happiness hormones in the bloodstream.
Mental Health Benefits Provided by the Changes
As mentioned before, stress and prolonged anxiety states that may lead to depression, are directly caused by lower levels of endorphins, serotonin, dopamin in the body. Although, there are also different causes to these states, alleviating these symptoms is directly related to the hormonal levels and level ratios between stress and happiness hormones.
When suffering from conditions like prolonged stress, anxiety or depression, the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body are very high. The saturation with stress hormone keeps a person constantly alert, and affected by constant stressors the condition amplifies. Moreover, the body simply can’t find the balance back and it becomes impossible to switch back to the resting state and start the release of happiness hormones. As a result, a person is unable to sleep, relax or keep a calm mind and body.
A blanket can help deal with this state, simply by changing the body’s state from stressed (sympathetic system) also known as “fight or flight state” to “rest and digests” by triggering the parasympathetic system to take over the control. This is exactly why the blanket is so powerful, no worrisome thought can overrule the power of the hormones that have started secreting by the command of the weight. Slowly finding the balance back, a person will enjoy a relaxed body and mind and find the ability to relax and easily fall asleep.
Despite the benefits for people with problems, many who strive for constant self-improvement can use the support of the blanket. Its effects are excellent support when it comes to achieving a state of meditation. Moreover, the effects of the blanket will support better concentration when reading, learning and forming long-term memories.
A calm mind and well balanced body-mind relation is the main key to optimal health and happiness we are all weighing towards. Using the weight and comfort of the blanket to try and achieve the ultimate goal in life!