This article is written in partnership with Hush Blankets—they’re dedicated to helping people find relief from stress, anxiety, and insomnia, and we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.
It seems inescapable at the moment.
With the world in chaos, unemployment at record-highs, the death count increasing daily, and everyone isolated from the benefits of human support, anxious is something many of us are feeling.
Put simply, it’s been a bit of a nightmare. Anxiety can affect every single piece of our lives, making it harder to work, to fully function, to stay calm, to concentrate, to communicate effectively with loved ones, and to maintain the stability and feelings of security that we need to make it through this crisis.
And, perhaps more than anything, anxiety affects our sleep. It keeps our minds fidgety and overwhelmed and unable to just let go.
In recent years, there has been more and more talk of a somewhat surprising method for reducing anxiety and insomnia.
Weighted blankets are blankets filled with beads, discs, or pellets, usually weighing at least 15 pounds.
In the past, weighted blankets were predominantly used by occupational therapists as a therapy tool. But they have recently gained more widespread popularity, and people are now getting them to help them cope with insomnia, stress, and anxiety.
How and Why Weighted Blankets Help
We all know the feel-good, stress-relieving sensations when someone hugs us, holds us, or cuddles us. But, like it or not, our loved ones can’t hug us 24/7 or hold us every single time we’re feeling anxious.
Weighted blankets provide an always-available source of that comfort and calm we feel from the physical reassurance of a hug.
Hugs aren’t just reassuring because we like being close to our loved ones. There’s actually far more science behind the benefits of that kind of comforting physical pressure. Which is why weighted blankets can be so damn soothing.
Essentially, weighted blankets provide a deep pressure stimulation that’s known as Deep Touch Pressure Therapy (DTP).
If you haven’t heard about DTP before, it’s a form of firm tactile sensory input that provides proprioceptive input to the whole body. To break it down in simple English, DTP results in a reassuring, cocooning feeling that helps to calm people down.
This is the primary idea behind weighted blankets. They can provide us with DTP all night, every night, keeping our body out of “fight-or-flight” mode and triggering our parasympathetic nervous system (“rest-and-digest”). This switch from sympathetic activation to parasympathetic activation is the key to reducing anxiety and preventing insomnia.
“A 2015 study examined the effects of deep pressure stimulation from weighted blankets and found a 33 percent reduction in stress, as measured by a test of physiological signs of arousal. Among the participants, 63 percent reported feeling a decrease in anxiety, and 78 percent said they found using a weighted blanket a preferable way to increase their level of calm.” (Psychology Today)
For those of us who have tried method after method of reducing anxiety and insomnia, it can sound unbelievable that such a simple thing could provide so much relief. But more and more people are using weighted blankets with significant changes to their mental health and sleep:
“If someone told me a blanket could do this, I wouldn’t believe it—but you want to purchase this blanket. I would buy one for everyone in my family if I was rich. It’s the best house purchase I have made in a long time.” ~ Hush Blankets customer
Hush Blankets is a Canadian company, founded by Lior Ohayon and Aaron Spivak.
The story began in 2011 when Lior was a volunteer at a camp for children of special needs. He noticed they had a room called “the stimulation room” where they would take the children when they were either frustrated, stressed, or feeling overwhelmed.
In this room, they had many weighted devices where they would lay a heavy fabric over the children, and within minutes the child would switch into a relaxed state. Most would even fall asleep.
So Lior thought, “I wish they had something like this for adults.”
Over the next few years, Lior teamed up with Aaron, and together they designed the Hush Blanket.
Since then, they’ve helped thousands of people decrease their anxiety and improve their sleep:
“The first couple of nights were a little interesting, to say the least. I found that I was waking up much more relaxed and calm. Something I am not used to, as I do have two kids who tend to carry a lot of ‘morning energy,’ as I like to call it.
The next three to five days is when everything changed. I am not kidding. It was the first time in months that I was able to sleep without my mind racing, my anxiety making me uncomfortable, and my stress causing me to sweat…
Until now, I didn’t believe that anything would work. But I was wrong.” ~ Amanda Kuznetsnov, Hush Blanket user
One of the questions many ask about Hush Blankets—or any weighted blankets—is how, with the thickness of the blanket, it can be used by hot sleepers or in the summer.
So Lior and Aaron created Hush Iced, a cooling weighted blanket that allows you to get the benefits no matter how hot the weather or how hot of a sleeper you are. This makes a huge difference for those of us who can never seem to get cool enough at night. But the outer cooling layer is removable, so you can still use the Hush Iced when winter rolls around.
Lior and Aaron have worked hard to make sure that people can get the calming benefits of weighted blankets 365 nights a year.
3 Ways to Reduce Anxiety Without Getting Out of Bed.
1. Hush Iced
Cooling Weighted Blanket for Hot Sleepers
2. Hush Classic
Soothing Weighted Blanket
3. Hush Kids
Weighted Blanket for Little Sleepers
Mental Health and Well-Being in a Pandemic
There is so much going on in our lives right now, and having to deal with constant anxiety and sleepless nights isn’t something any of us should have to face. Finding ways of remedying anxiety and insomnia might be more essential than it’s ever been, with so many of us facing enormous, daily mental health struggles.
Weighted blankets are already having an impact on how people are experiencing this crisis. People are finding that this calming, comforting method is providing a small bit of relief to their daily quarantine routines.
Because when nothing else is going well and financial and health concerns are peaking for many, sometimes the only thing we can do is ensure that we’re getting deep, restful, anxiety-free nights of sleep.