Not getting enough sleep is a mass phenomenon.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, "an estimated 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder."
Stress is often the main reason that people get less sleep than they need, and the more severe the sleeping problem, the more important it is to take it seriously—because in the long run, a lack of sleep greatly affects both physical and mental health.
Sure, there are good medications out there that help with sleep problems, but there are also smart, healthy alternatives to taking pills...
And I think that one solution in particular, the weighted blanket, could help many people out if they only knew about it, so I thought I'd share some info about it here.
Sleeping under a weighted blanket is still a relatively unknown way of dealing with sleep disorders.
As you can tell from the name, weighted blankets are blankets that have been filled with materials, such as plastic pellets, dried beans, dried peas, rice, or grains to make them heavier.
Just the weight of the blanket alone can be reassuring, according to researchers. Lying under a weighted blanket feels like being hugged and it relaxes the nervous system.
"Occupational therapists have observed that a very light touch alerts the nervous system, but deep pressure is relaxing and calming," wrote Dr. Temple Gradin in a much-sited 1992 study.
When the weight of a blanket lightly presses down on the body, the production of serotonin, which makes us feel relaxed, increases. Serotonin is in turn converted into melatonin, the body's sleep hormone.
A 2008 study published in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, reported that anxiety sufferers especially benefit from the blankets, which are now considered a safe, effective therapy that decreases anxiety in patients.
Several children's hospitals and psychiatric clinics have used weighted blankets for years to calm anxious patients who suffer from insomnia.
And the blankets have also proven successful in calming down those with ADHD and Asperger's syndrome.
But in fact, all children and adults who have trouble sleeping can take advantage of weighted blankets.
Of course, you could buy a weighted blanket, but they are expensive. Instead, many people choose to sew their own. It ends up being much cheaper and the blankets can be customized to suit particular needs.
A blanket should weigh about 10 percent of the body weight of the person who will use it, and the material used to fill the blanket should be divided up and sewn into small ctions of the blanket so that the weight is evenly distributed.
But beware! Weighted blankets might not be suitable for people with respiratory and circulatory problems.
Learn how to make your own weighted blanket in this video:
Please share this article if you want to help someone who has trouble sleeping. Together we can help each other so that everyone gets their much-needed sleep.
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