A new wellness and health start-up is setting out to tackle sleep disorders and anxiety with a new product known as the weighted blanket.
The company, Calming Blankets, launched in Adelaide, Australia in 2017, opened its new premises in Northampton earlier this year.
Its products are heavy-duty blankets designed to give the sensation of what it describes as a “warm hug” that stimulates the senses, calms the nerves and has reportedly been able to help people sleep better. It sold 50,000 in its first year of trading, driven by social media and strong word of mouth marketing.
A blanket has a large pouch on the inner-living, which is filled with weighted pellets. The more pellets you have, the heavier it is. The outside is made of a mink-soft fabric, often used for baby blankets, and it is machine washable.
By triggering the nervous system and increasing the body’s spatial awareness, weighted blankets are said to have a calming effect – and were historically used to help patients suffering mental illness.
The science behind it is this: the brain is continually sending signals around the body to try to place it in a given space, and when there is insufficient feedback from these signals, it gets confused. This can lead to restlessness and stress.
Therefore, applying a certain weight to the body can activate the nervous system and help to provide the brain with the proprioceptive input it requires. By using a weighted blanket the brain can better understand where the body is in relation to its surroundings.
The added weight is also said to trigger the body to release higher levels of melatonin and serotonin, both helping to encourage healthy sleeping patterns and overall wellbeing. It can also decrease the amount of the stress hormone cortisol, further promoting a sense of calm.
The company cites recent studies into the effectiveness of weighted blankets which not only shows they can be beneficial for those struggling with sleep and anxiety, they are also great for more general use, many using them to achieve deep REM faster.
Stress and anxiety disorders are very common in our consumer-driven society, over-reliant on technology.
The World Health Organisation claims that one out of every four people is affected by poor quality sleep or disorders. Alongside this, the statistics for sleeping patterns have been getting worst these past few decades, with 51 per cent of adults reportedly not having enough sleep.
Calming Blanket’s products took a year to design and there are now a wide range to choose from, including those designed for children.
All of Calming Blanket’s weighted blankets are created with enough inner ties to ensure even weight distribution, soft fabric, and varying weights to personalise, ranging from 4.5kg to 9kg.
The full range is visible here