For a lot of women menstruation means: sleeping difficulties. Hormones are to blame. Can a weighted blanket help?
Doctors have long known that deep pressure on the body during sleep has a soothing and relaxing effect. A weighted blanket is used to produce this effect. Its weight is considerably greater than that of a normal blanket. The product is a quilted fabric, the compartments of which contain a heavy filler.
What is the purpose of a weighted blanket?
Previously, weighted blankets were only used in occupational therapy or sensory integration therapy. They helped patients to calm down and regulate their emotions. Nowadays, this product is purchased by those who simply want to sleep comfortably and feel better.
Just before and during the first days of the menstruation, a lot of women experience some sleeping difficulties. A weighted blanket feels and works like a tight hug: this can help to stimulate the production of serotonin and dopamine. These hormones have a calming and relaxing effect.
What can a weighted blanket do for you?
This inherently simple product can help to eliminate many health problems. High levels of stress cause the body to produce the hormone cortisol. It is this hormone among others that causes insomnia. A weighted blanket stimulates the production of dopamine, which reduces anxiety and improves sleep. The weight of the duvet makes you less likely to turn over, which also has a positive effect on your rest during the night.
When darkness falls, a special hormone is secreted by the body: melatonin. This helps regulate the sleep cycle. The production of melatonin is linked to serotonin. A heavy blanket can help to increase the levels of these hormones in the body.
We like cuddling because our body releases oxytocin at this moment. This hormone lowers our blood pressure, makes us feel relaxed and even lowers our heart rate. This is what you experience when you snuggle up with a heavy blanket.
There are days when we feel as if the Dementors from Harry Potter have sucked all the happiness out of us. It’s important to solve this problem as soon as possible so that the situation doesn’t get any worse and becomes a permanent problem. The aforementioned serotonin fights this ailment. Light blanket pressure can help to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
Anxiety can cause insomnia, mood swings and even weight gain or loss. These symptoms can occur not only in adults, but also in children. Some studies show that weighted blankets help to calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety. Therefor they can also help people with increased aggression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and children with ADHD.
Patients with panic attacks are prone to sudden attacks. Although there are medications for relaxation, some people are reluctant to take medication or prefer a more natural solution. Fortunately, a weighted blanket promotes the production of serotonin and dopamine, which reduces panic attacks. This is especially important for those who suffer from this ailment at night. The relaxation helps them sleep more easily.
What is in a weighted blanket?
There are two options for weighting a blanket: the filling or the cover material. In the first case, plastic pellets or glass beads are added to the product; in the second case, a heavy fabric is used.
Some products contain Himalayan salt inside. It is odourless and, according to some reports, has a positive effect on the nervous system. But this product has a big disadvantage – it cannot be cleaned in a washing machine. Also, some owners complain about the ‘noise’ of the filler. This is also a problem with other ‘edible’ blankets.
A product with polypropylene pellets does not absorb odours and can be washed many times. But the lack of a fabric softener on the inside may cause a stiff feeling. A better option may be a blanket with glass beads. It is easy to clean, it does not absorb odours and the filling cannot be felt when in use. Some types of this product have heavy cover material or several layers of fabric. This also adds weight. The different sizes and weights allow the use of weighted blankets not only for adults, but also for children.
What is a good weight for a weighted blanket?
The right blanket is about 10% of your total body weight plus one or two pounds. However, this is individual. If you like tight hugs and heavy clothing, a heavier product may suit you. They can weigh between three and more than 20 pounds. Before you buy, you can use a few blankets you already have at home to see what weight is comfortable for you. After that: have a good night sleep!
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Editorial note: Period! is an online magazine and is NOT intended as a substitute for the advice of medical practitioners. If you’re suffering from any medical complaints, always visit your doctor or GP.