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Can Weighted Blankets Alleviate Anxiety And Depression?

Posted by Brian Spence on Jun 13, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health, Behavioral HealthToo many of us know what it feels like to be completely exhausted but unable to sleep. What's worse is when you watch someone you care for, struggle with the same anxiety. Anxiety induced insomnia not only slows motor function, it can cause mental fatigue such as poor concentration, irritability, and depression. If left unchecked long enough insomnia has been proven to lead to heart attacks. For healthcare professionals, a good night's rest not only benefits your patient, it will assist you in your efforts to care for them.

So what can you do to help someone achieve a healthy sleep state?

Deep Pressure Touch Therapy. Several studies performed by the University of Alabama and the University of Massachusetts may have the answer to relieving anxiety induced insomnia. The researchers used a technique known as deep pressure touch stimulation. Deep pressure was classified this way by Temple Grandin, Ph.D.: "Deep touch pressure is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, holding, stroking, petting of animals, or swaddling. [sic] Occupational therapists have observed that a very light touch alerts the nervous system, but deep pressure is relaxing and calming.”

Using a Weighted Blanket. This method can be applied several different ways, but the most effective tool used in multiple studies was a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are generally made by sewing small beads into uniformly spaced pouches. This type of pattern allows the blanket to apply pressure evenly over the entire body. Forming an exact mold over the body, the deep pressure of the blanket creates a calming effect on the user's nervous system, thereby alleviating the anxiety induced insomnia. Say goodbye to those under-eye circles, and hello to dreamland.

For more information on this and related topics, visit the Behavioral Healthand Mental Health sections of our blog.


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