In 1999, American therapists benefited from weighted blankets for children for the first time in "sensory integration" treatment. This new product was actually a scientific approach to the quilts that have been used in Turkey for centuries and produced entirely from natural materials.
Weighted blankets generate a sense of being hugged just as in the baby swaddling, which is another part of the Turkish culture, reducing anxiety and providing a deeper and more peaceful sleep.
Due to their almost magical effects, weighted blankets soon ceased to be a product used only by children and turned into a product that people of all ages use with pleasure. In 2020 alone, more than 10 million people from all around the world started using weighted blankets.
Worldwide Famous Sleep Health Specialist Raj Dasgupta Explains
Raj Dasgupta, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Health and clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Southern California, states that a weighted blanket can facilitate sleep in individuals of all ages. Worldwide famous sleep health specialist explains the weighted blanket as follows:
“It's like hugging in the best way possible for a long time... It can be a good alternative to taking sedative-hypnotic drugs (sleeping pills) at night throughout life.”
Therapeutic Effect and Safety of Weighted Blanket
Another study on weighted blankets by reputable scientists was led by Tina Champagne, an occupational therapy specialist and the director of Cutchins Programs (founded in 1975), one of the most established child and family therapy centers in the USA. In the research dated 2014, it was discovered that weighted blankets are extremely safe and reduce the level of stress of many participants even in a short period of time like five minutes. You can access the original text by clicking the image.
A Study on Adults: Anxiety and Stress
We all know how worrying and stressful it is to sit on the dental chair. For this reason, in the experiments conducted by scientists around the world, adults who received dental treatment were examined.
It was observed that the calming parasympathetic activity significantly increased when the weighted blanket was laid on the patients, thus reducing the level of anxiety.
A Study on Kids: AUTISM
In a cross-study conducted in 2014 under the leadership of British Professor Paul Gringras on 67 children with autism and their families, very interesting results were revealed.
According to the subjective evaluations of the children participating in the experiment and their parents, it was observed that they enjoyed using weighted blankets and preferred weighted blankets over normal blankets.
Weighted blankets, which are scientifically proven to increase the level of serotonin, which is also known as the happy hormone, give children the sense of being hugged and cuddled throughout the night. The sense of being hugged and cuddled means happier and more confident children.
Please click to read the original text of the research: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25022743/
Another Study on Kids: HYPERACTIVITY
Weighted blankets were tried also on children with a hyperactivity diagnosis. 42 hyperactive children aged between 8-13, used weighted blankets for 2 weeks and underwent a sleep test for 4 weeks.
The time spent falling asleep and waking up in the middle of the night fell to the same level as children without hyperactivity complaints. Please click to read the original text of the research: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20662681/
Weighted Blanket and Children Health
We adults most of the time do not realize children could have anxiety like us. Especially when our child does not have an apparent health problem. Whereas they have to cope with many sources of anxiety. For instance, education life and exams, or the sense of loneliness occurring with urbanization. When one considers growth-related hormonal changes along with these, it becomes clear how great of a struggle our children actually go through. Plus they have to struggle with their anxiety all night long just by themselves. Consequently, the child's quality of sleep suffers from this.
Deep and good quality sleep plays a very important role in the children gaining the energy they need during the day. Children who have good sleep have increased educational success and easily socialize. Even though we don't hug our children all night, the weighted blanket hugs them and gives them the sense of being hugged. Without an exception, every child becomes happier, more successful, and confident when hugged.
How Do Weighted Blankets Reduce Anxiety?
Our response to anxiety is related to two separate nervous systems of ours: The sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.
The former is the system responsible for the situation that occurs in the body when we encounter a source of stress. The stimulated sympathetic system makes us feel anxious, urges us into a "flight or fight" mood. This situation not only makes it difficult for us to fall asleep but also significantly reduces the quality of our sleep.
On the other hand, our parasympathetic nervous system slows down the heartbeat and relaxes our muscles, and makes us feel happy and peaceful. Deep pressures applied to the body support this parasympathetic nervous system. Also, weighted blankets apply deep pressure to our body and alert the parasympathetic nervous system that calms us. Just like our grandmothers' quilts and the swaddles our mothers wrapped around us have done for centuries.