Buying a weighted blanket can be a burdensome question for those who suffer from anxiety as they often cost $300 or more for a one-person blanket. But are they worth the hype? Volunteering myself as a guinea pig, I – a person who suffers from an anxiety disorder – wanted to see if the weight is worth it.
Over the past six months ads for weighted blankets have cropped up all over the internet. As the latest product on the commercial market to offer relief from an anxiety riddled world, these heavy comforters are supposed to alleviate anxiety through Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation (DTPS). The idea is to get under one of these blankets and let its weight mimic the feeling of being hugged, swaddled or cradled.
After some careful research, I was able to obtain a good quality blanket from the Canadian company Gravid who sent me their 2.0 blanket.
According to their website, DTPS has a calming effect on children with autism and ADHD, as well on adults without a medical diagnosis.
As DTPS is supposed to encourage the production of serotonin, a mood-elevating hormone, which in turn helps to produce melatonin, a hormone responsible in the regulation of sleep. With better sleep, they say, comes an elevated mood.
Do they really work? For me, it was a positive outcome. I felt an immediate calm once under the blanket. Come nighttime, instead of pulling my regular comforter over me, the Gravid blanket literally knocked me out cold. I am usually someone whose brain races at night, making it hard to get to sleep. When using the blanket, I experienced a velvety gravity change as my body suddenly felt extremely heavy, while the tension and jittery feelings were sidelined by an enormous coziness. Even when just anxious, wrapping yourself in this blanket and watching TV is a great way to cope with the anxiety.
After two weeks, I now use it every night because it helps me get to sleep faster.
While there are different types of weighted blankets on the market, the Gravid version sells itself on its weight distribution system as it is comprised of a series of glass-bead-filled square pockets, somewhat resembling a quilt. When I lift up my 20-pound blanket to cover my bed, the weight doesn’t slip to one side or the other.
Gravid blankets are designed for only one person, so they do not replace a comforter. For its full effect, place the blanket over the comforter as its weight must correspond with the individual using it. These blankets come in three different weight varieties: the 10-pound version for those who weigh close to 100 pounds; the 15-pound one for those around 150 pounds; and the 20-pound one for those weighing around 200 or more. All are a standard 48-x-78 inches, which is enough to cover a single bed. The company will be launching a 60-x-80 version in the fall.
The blankets are a therapeutic product. They are not intended to be placed on a child or a couple. Sure, the idea of other things that happen in bed do come to mind, but these blankets are very warm and could add to an additional 20 pounds to that activity. Also, if you have a tendency to let your pet animal sleep on the bed with you, don’t let them under the covers. It is designed to be for the person with the corresponding weight.
Of course, these blankets don’t cure an anxiety disorder, as they are not a medical treatment. But as a comfort item for those who suffer from anxiety or have trouble getting to sleep, they can be a wonderful aid.