A recent article published in Psychology Today explained the concept of weighted blankets and how they are helpful for holistic living.
"Touch involves pressure, and studies have shown that deep pressure holds the key to well-being. Clinically called Deep Pressure Stimulation, DPS is a type of firm but gentle pressure applied with the hands and arms via hugs, an embrace, a squeeze — and more formal approaches like massage therapy, chiropractic medicine, occupational and physical therapy and weighted products."
"Weighted products" such as blankets, wraps, and vests, have been "researched and proven to help children and adults with Attention Deficit Disorders, Anxiety, Autism, Distress, Insomnia, and Sensory Over-Responsitivity." In particular, weighted blankets increase serotonin and melatonin while also decreasing cortisol. "This is why weighted blankets produce calm and peacefulness, as well as improve cognitive functioning in children and adults of all ages."
There have yet to be studies on weighted blankets and their effects on depression. But the author of the above-referenced Psychology Today article, Deborah Serani Psy.D., is a psychologist and psychoanalyst who lives with depression and thought she would "offer a case study self-report."
According to Serani, "Weighted blankets are different than regular blankets in that they’re designed to be significantly heavier. They are created for maximum deep pressure, but allow for mobility and comfort."
There are many factors to take into consideration when buying a weighted blanket:
Cost—Because of the material and customization of the blankets, they can be over $100.
Fabric—You can often choose what your blanket is made of. The materials range from cotton to flannel to fleece to polyester. There is a soft, furry fabric called Minky, which Serani purchased, that is super comfy and washable.
Weight—When customizing a weighted blanket, consider taking "10% of your weight for the blanket filler." So an adult weighing 100 lbs. would start with a blanket weighing 10 lbs. You can obviously choose less or more weight, based on your comfort level.
Filler—Weighted blankets are filled with a variety of things. Polypropylene pellets. River stones. Glass. Sand. Beans. The filler determines whether or not you can wash the blanket.
Size—Sizing is based on fitting one's body, not the bed. So pick out a size that works for your body type.
Production—Blankets can be purchased in-store and online. They can also be custom-ordered and take several weeks to make. (Serani's was custom-ordered and took 6 weeks to produce.)
After using her weighted blanket for over three months, Serani had nothing but rave reviews for it: "...wonderful...instantly relaxed...remarkable." She was "amazed at how great it felt — and how great I felt."
The true test was the blanket on one of her stressful and melancholy days. "The deep pressure of the blanket immediately shifted my mood, reduced my irritability and helped me feel relaxed. I’ve also used it to sleep through the night many times, noting when I do, I fall asleep more quickly and feel fully rested when I awaken."
Quite a small price to pay for such huge benefits!