When a newborn is upset, one of the tricks parents are taught to calm the baby down is to wrap them in a blanket and swaddle them tight. This not only soothes the baby but also helps them snooze more soundly. If only the same could be done as we got older, right?
What if we told you that there is a similar trick that could work for you, but doesn’t involve your parents wrapping you up and holding you tight? Interested?
This trick is weighted blankets! From the outside these may look like regular blankets, but in fact, they’re filled with beads or pellets that make them anywhere between 3-20lbs! These beads/pellets create even pressure throughout your body, meant to imitate “deep pressure touch stimulation therapy”, which is shown to relax the nervous system and release serotonin (ie. our ‘happy hormone’). This makes them a worthy tool to managing things like: anxiety, pain, sleep difficulties and mood disturbances.
Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling anxious and stressed, your heart rate increases, breathing becomes faster and more difficult?
This is your body’s ‘fight or flight response' – something that is controlled by your nervous system. Thankfully, there is another branch of the nervous system that is responsible for reversing the effects of the ‘fight or flight’ response. This branch helps to slow down the heart rate, improve breathing and create a feeling of calmness.
The theory behind weighted blankets is that if you are in a state of ‘fight or flight’ (ie. anxious or stressed), the deep pressure and comfort provided by the blankets may help dampen (ie. reduce) this anxious response and encourage the ‘relaxation’ branch of the nervous system to kick into gear.
But just as swaddling does not always work for all babies, weighted blankets may not be right for everyone. Speak to your doctor if you are interested in seeing if weighted blankets is right for you!