How do weighted blankets work?
Weighted blankets were created in the late 90's to serve as an aid for children struggling with sensory integration disorders and autism. In 2017, weighted blankets reached the mainstream market in countries such as the US and Australia as they started being sold as an aid for sleep, stress, and anxiety – issues that affect a much greater population.
Weighted blankets are inherently different than normal blankets due to their heavy weight. (Earth Blankets contain 8-20 pounds of glass beads spread out within a quilted inner blanket to evenly distribute the weight across the body.) The weight and pressure of the blanket against the skin calms the autonomic nervous system, which controls functions such as breathing and heart rate. The slowing down of these functions allows users to move away from a fight, flight or freeze response to a perceived danger –whether it be physical, emotional or psychological– to a rest and digest state. This is also referred to as moving away from a sympathetic state into a parasympathetic state where we feel safe and calm.
Once we recognize that we are clear of danger, we are able to engage the part of our brain needed for social engagement and move past our defense systems. Our ability to connect with others increases, stemming from a greater connection to ourselves and a more regulated autonomic nervous system. Hence, weighted blankets are a great support tool that can be used daily in a myriad of situations. Check out 10 ways to use Earth Blankets.