Weighted Blankets Tap Into Your Inner Olaf

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Just ask Olaf from Disney’s Frozen. A warm hug from someone you love can feel sooooo good. But when that special someone isn’t nearby, can a weighted blanket be the next best thing?

“Absolutely,” chant the happy, well-rested masses who have contributed to the $220 million a year (and growing) U.S. market. “They may be worth a try,” adds Sari Bright, APRN-CNP with Premier Health Family Care of Vandalia. “Lots of people report it relieves their anxieties, calms their nerves, and helps them get a better night’s sleep,” she reports.

“Much like a swaddled infant gets calm when snuggled nice and tight, a weighted blanket limits movement, which can be comforting and translate to a better night’s sleep,” says Bright. “You’re less likely to startle yourself or move and wake yourself up with that weight holding you down.” 

Some liken the benefits of a weighted blanket to that of a good massage that decreases cortisol (a stress hormone) and increases levels of serotonin and dopamine (your happy hormones).

“When you feel relaxed physically, you are able to relax mentally, and vice versa, which can add up to a more restful night,” Bright explains. The decrease in sensory stimulation has shown to be especially helpful to those with autismADHD, and anxiety disorders. Even nervous dogs may better weather a thunderstorm with a weighted jacket.  

Not For Everyone 

Bright is quick to point out that the added weight may not be appropriate for those with respiratory conditions or musculoskeletal conditions. Manufacturers specify the blankets are not meant for children under 2 years old.

You can find blankets in various sizes, materials, and weights from 3 to 30 pounds. Aim for one that is 5 to 10 percent of your body weight, say manufacturers.

Not sure if a weighted blanket is for you or your loved ones? Consult your health care provider to find out for sure.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.