Stress at workplace or even at home is inevitable. Whether it is about extended work hours or employee conflict, most jobs involve some or other form of stress. Thankfully, our body can handle a reasonable amount of stress on an ongoing basis, but, if workplace stress becomes chronic and overwhelming, it can affect you both physically as well as emotionally. The American Psychological Association states that chronic stress can cause insomnia, high blood pressure, obesity, heart diseases, anxiety, depression, and even substance abuse. (1)
Since stress is involved in almost every job, finding a low-stress job is almost impossible. Rather, learning to manage your stress properly is a more realistic choice. Fortunately, stress management doesn’t require a lot of effort or money but, unfortunately, not many of us are willing to do even the simplest things that can help us stay calm. Honestly, it would be difficult for us to be able to meditate properly or practice yoga or even sleep properly when we have millions of office thoughts running in our mind. This is the reason why the percentage of Americans suffering from workplace stress is only getting higher.
Stress and sleep can’t coexist
When you are stressed out the first thing that you suffer from is sleeplessness. When the problem becomes chronic, you could suffer from insomnia, sleep apnea, and even restless leg syndrome. Lack of sleep for a prolonged period can cause heart problems, digestion issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, neurological issues, and many other major diseases. In fact, this is a vicious cycle; stress causes insomnia, insomnia causes various diseases, and the fact that you have various diseases can further cause anxiety.
The least that you can do to keep yourself away from this vicious cycle is to get a properly 7-8 hours of sleep regularly. This is where the weighted blankets come in. Also known as stress blankets, anxiety blankets, or blankets for insomnia, they are much more than luxurious bedroom additions. They are therapeutic tools that have been clinically proven to help people calm down before bedtime so that they can doze off quickly and wake up less frequently during the sleep. In this blog, we will brief you more about these blankets and how they can help you stay relaxed during the day too. But, before we start, we would like to explain to you how stress affects us internally and then, you will be able to understand the role of the weighted blankets in controlling these issues.
What exactly stress does to your body
Stress is a state of emotional strain that your body suffers due to mental or physical issues. The American Institute of Stress states that a healthy amount of stress is actually good for our body, as it helps keep us motivated and focused, which, in turn, helps improve our performance. (2) But, this happens only when the stress is very mild and short-termed. Excessive, chronic stress can stimulate your body to release stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. This is known as ‘fight or flight’ response, where your body gears up to handle any challenging situation. The secretion of these hormones will stop only when your body is convinced that the external threat has been removed. But, when you are under constant stress, this won’t happen and your nervous system will remain aggravated, thereby making you sleep deprived.
Excessive production of stress hormones can affect the blood pressure, heartbeat, and the overall functioning of the cardiac and circulatory system. It can also cause headaches, neck strain, obesity, suppressed immune system, inflammation, acid reflux, heartburns, and many other diseases and issues. Thankfully, the solution to all these problems is easy; you just need to sleep.
As you know, the hormones are secreted by our endocrine glands, which are regulated by our brain. So, everything and every system of our body is connected to our mental health; whether it is our mood or reproductive system. When you can’t sleep properly, your body will be under constant stress and keep producing the negative hormones. If you sleep well, these hormones will automatically get removed from the bloodstream, thereby making you feel relaxed.
How can weighted blanket help deal with workplace stress
To be honest, it isn’t a miraculous product that can heal your depression and anxiety completely without any medication. Neither can it help you cope up with work pressure or workplace politics. It cannot do any form of magic that can transform your life from hell to heaven. It is simply a therapeutic tool that can help you sleep well and, we all know, this is the real struggle of our life. We all have experienced how it feels when you go to your bed after a very hectic and stressful day, only to realize that your brain is refusing to stop bombarding negative thoughts. During this irritating time, all we need is a tight hug and this is what the weighted blanket offers.
Weighted blankets are designed to weigh 10% of your body weight plus 2 pounds. This weight is ideal to provide you a cozy feeling as if someone is tightly hugging you. The additional pressure that the blanket offers is a form of therapy known as Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT). DPT is clinically proven to help people calm down. (3) Occupational therapists have been using it for ages to treat pain, anxiety, depression, and other emotional issues. It is the same feeling that we experience when someone hugs us.
Deep pressure therapy helps to minimize the production of stress hormone cortisol and stimulates the production of serotonin, the happy hormone and melatonin, the sleep hormone. (4) So, this means, when you snuggle yourself in your stress blanket, you will start feeling relaxed and then, obviously, you will take less time to fall asleep.
Various studies have concluded that a good sleep at night can help you stay more focused during the day. (5) You will be able to concentrate on your work and will be able to deliver a better output. Moreover, proper sleep will help control the functioning of your endocrine glands and stimulate the production of serotonin, the happy hormone. It will help boost your mood. You will be able to move over the negative thoughts and feel motivated to practice other stress management techniques such as exercise, yoga, meditation, social interactions, book reading, or even pursuing hobbies. These are not just random thoughts shared by users; these facts have been scientifically proven, which is why we believe weighted blankets deserve to be in your bedroom. While they will not resolve your office hassles, they will obviously prepare you well to handle the pressure in a more positive way.
Where and how to buy stress blankets
Anxiety blankets have gained a lot of popularity recently. Millions of users are swearing by its effectiveness for treating insomnia, restless leg syndrome, symptoms of ADHD, depression, Parkinson’s, dementia, and much more. The demand for weighted blankets for kids and adults have grown manifolds in the past few years and a lot of companies have jumped into manufacturing it. Many of them have carried out a thorough research and have manufactured products that actually help you feel comfortable, cozy, and relaxed. However, many others are selling products that are cheap, uncomfortable, and absolutely useless. While buying a weighted blanket for insomnia, here are a few things that you must keep in mind:
- Weight: The weight of the blanket should be 10% of your body weight plus 2 lbs.
- Fabric: Don't go by the fancy looks. Weighted blankets are therapeutic sleeping aids and not luxurious bedroom additions. So, you need to choose one that will make you feel comfortable under it and, nothing can be better than cotton for this. Cotton is a breathable material, so it won't make you feel hot under it. Make sure you buy a weighted blanket that is made of 100% pure cotton. A lot of manufacturers are using poly cotton or cotton blended fabrics to cut down their manufacturing cost and increase their profit percentage.
- Filling: While organic fillings may sound tempting, please note that they are not water-friendly. Rice, beans, corns, and sand are more likely to harvest bacteria and molds when used for a long time. This is the reason why we recommend glass beads and poly pellets. Glass beads offer smoother and comfortable pressure, which is why they are the best options.
Weighted blankets are widely available online. We recommend buying from Amazon, as the reviews there are from genuine users plus they offer payment protection. AG blanket is one of the best rated weighted blankets sold on Amazon. It is made of 100% breathable cotton with glass beads filling. The manufacturer is offering 3 years warranty on it. You can check out the product here:
While weighted blankets are great sleeping aids, they are not an alternative to medicine. So, if your problem has become chronic, we suggest that you must consult your healthcare physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.
References and Citations
- Coping With Stress at Work. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/work-stress.
- Stress and Sleep – How To Master Stress And Enjoy Restful Sleep Instantly. The American Institute of Stress. https://www.stress.org/stress-and-sleep-how-to-master-stress-and-enjoy-restful-sleep-instantly. Published June 12, 2018.
- Krauss KE. The effects of deep pressure touch on anxiety. The American journal of occupational therapy : official publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3688151. Published June 1987.
- Research into our sense of touch leads to new treatments for autism. Science in the News. http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/research-into-our-sense-of-touch-leads-to-new-treatments-for-autism/. Published March 21, 2016.