6.8% of Americans suffer from PTSD in their lifetime.
18.1% of American suffer from Anxiety. That's over 40 million people!
The instances are higher for veterans, especially those who have seen active combat. In fact, as many as 17% of veterans who were in combat express PTSD symptoms, and the number is currently rising for army personnel.
However, according to that same study, many people in the armed forces, including those who worked as medics, doctors and aircrew, also suffer from PTSD.
But, we know that PTSD isn't only relegated to those who have bravely served our country. Anyone can suffer from anxiety and PTSD, and we're here to help you get a good night's sleep with our luxurious weighted blankets.
If you suffer from anxiety and PTSD, you may wonder, "Do weighted blankets help you sleep?"
The answer is a resounding yes!
In this blog post, we'll be talking about how anyone who suffers from PTSD can use our blankets to help calm their nerves and help them have a full, restful night of sleep.
Read on for more information on how a weighted blanket can help you if you suffer from PTSD and anxiety.
What is PTSD?
PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. It occurs after someone has been in a life-threatening situation or a situation that they perceive as life-threatening. It can happen after a wide range of events, including witnessing something awful happen to another human being.
While many veterans suffer from PTSD, we've already mentioned that you definitely don't have to be one to suffer. In fact, one in 11 people in the United States will be diagnosed with PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD can vary in their severity. Individuals may experience varying symptoms at different points in their lives. Sometimes, they may feel as though they're able to cope and live life as normal, other times they may feel overwhelmed and as though they cannot deal with day-to-day life.
PTSD looks different for everyone, but let's look at the four different symptoms that are the most prevalent.
PTSD Symptoms are Divided Into Four Categories
There are four different categories of PTSD symptoms. You do not need to experience all of them in order to have PTSD. You may only have symptoms in one category, or all four categories. It does not make your PTSD any more or less valid to have more or fewer symptoms that another individual who also suffers from PTSD.
The first category is intrusive thoughts. These intrusive thoughts can be experienced in a wide variety of ways. For some people, it includes flashbacks, where they replay the situation in their mind. It may seem to come to them randomly, or it may happen after something has happened that they find triggers it.
Flashbacks can often leave the individual feeling completely out of control, or as though they're reliving the situation. It can leave them feeling panicked, out of sorts, or give them a panic attack.
Other examples of intrusive thoughts include dreams and nightmares, replaying the scene or distressing incident in their mind even when they try to think about something else.
The next category of PTSD is avoidance. This is when a person avoids any person or situation that may remind them of the event.
This can mean avoiding people who were with them during the traumatic event, avoiding going to places that remind them of the event or even avoiding dramatic interpretations of the event.
Additionally, the individual may avoid talking about what happened, even if they're receiving care or someone has asked them to do so. They may think that by doing so, it will not bring up unwanted feelings or memories.
Negative Feelings and ThoughtsÂ Plus Guilt
Negative feelings and thoughts can take many forms when we're discussing PTSD. They can take the form of the individual feeling as though they're unsafe anywhere or that no one can be trusted.
They may also disengage with family and friends and stop enjoying activities they once enjoyed before the event happened to them.
They may also display anger that seems to come out of nowhere or is "irrational," though, to the individual who is suffering, it feels anything but.
Additionally, they may have low self-esteem. They may feel a sense of guilt for not helping another person as well as they perceive they could have, or for surviving an event when others did not.
The individual may feel like they are a "bad person," or that anything they do is tainted or brings "bad luck."
Reactive Symptoms and Arousal
Reactive symptoms can also include the random outbursts of anger we discussed above. It can also mean that the person will behave in a reckless or self-destructive way. This can lead to things like drug abuse, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, self-harm and other things that the person may do out of impulse to help curb their negative feelings.
Additionally, reactive and arousing symptoms may make it difficult to think clearly, to concentrate, or to sleep.
An individual with PTSD may find it difficult to sleep due to nightmares and flashbacks they may experience while asleep or while falling asleep. But, they may also experience a state of hyperarousal, where they feel anxious at all times, making it almost impossible to relax enough to fall asleep.
This is where the weighted blanket can come in.
Anxiety is a separate disorder from PTSD, but the two often go hand-in-hand. One may experience PTSD without anxiety, and they may also experience anxiety without anything traumatizing happening to them.
Still, anxiety can be a debilitating condition that can make it hard for an individual to focus and function in the world.
Anxiety is a heightened sense of being alert, where your body is constantly anticipating something dreadful happening. It is normal to feel nervous and a little bit anxious before key life events and tests, but it becomes invasive when the disorder happens even when you're not in these situations.
Some people experience general anxiety, in which they're in a heightened state of arousal sometimes, or all of the time. Others may feel fine for one moment, and then have a panic attack the next.
As with PTSD, anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep. An individual suffering from anxiety may experience panic attacks, racing thoughts, or other feelings that make them afraid. Often, people with anxiety feel that something terrifying is going to happen, which makes it difficult for them to relax.
Many people with anxiety take medication in order to help them do so, but some people find that they would rather pursue treatment without it. As such, this is where weighted blankets can come into play.
What Are Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets are just like they sound. They are blankets that have weights in them. While this sounds a bit simplistic, there isn't much more to it than that.
Our weighted blankets are made from a breathable material, so while you'll feel the comfort of the weighted blanket on your body, it won't make you sweaty and hot. This is often a concern for users of the weighted blankets if they haven't yet used one.
You purchase a weighted blanket that is relative to your own weight. It is crucial you do not purchase a weighted blanket that is neither too heavy nor too light. A blanket that is too heavy may produce further anxiety if the individual feels trapped underneath it. A blanket that is too light may feel like nothing, and therefore have no effect on the individual's anxiety or PTSD.
A blanket should be about 10% of the individual's body weight and purchased specifically for them. Individuals around the same weight can use the same blanket, but it is worth it for those with anxiety to purchase their own.
However, we know that weighted blankets specifically can help PTSD and anxiety amongst people of all ages. It can even help with other disorders such as ADHD and autism, both of which have high components of anxiety in them.
Why do weighted blankets work so well for these disorders? Let's talk through it.
Weighted Blankets Help Simulate Grounding, a Common Anxiety Exercise
Grounding, a common anxiety exercise, helps bring people back to the moment they're in. This allows them to escape their anxiety and help them recover from a flashback or panic attack.
In this exercise, the person either takes deep breaths with another person or looks around them to talk about what they see in the room. They can talk about the people in the room, the paintings on the wall, the couch cushions; really anything that gets them to feel in the moment.
The weighted blanket can help bring them back to the moment by grounding their body. They can also say that they feel the blanket on top of them, and relax under the weight of it. Concentrating on the feeling is both comforting and relaxing to those who are panicking and experiencing flashbacks.
A Weighted Blanket Mimics Deep Pressure Touch
Deep pressure touch has been known to help anxiety since the late 1980s. It's also a therapy that is often done on children who have autism to help them center themselves when they are feeling discombobulated.
During a 1987 test, college students with anxiety tested their theory of DPT working to help reduce it. Measuring their heart-rate and anxiety before and after having a DPT session, they found that they were much more relaxed after the application of DPT.
DPT is usually done with deep pressure touch applied by the hands of a therapist. However, a weighted blanket can replace a therapist, and apply even pressure throughout the body for a sustained period of time. DPT with a therapist can only be done for as long as the therapist is able, whereas a blanket can be used for the entire course of a nap or the whole night.
Some people also find that a weighted blanket makes them feel as though they are being swaddled or cocooned, which helps lower anxiety. Cocooning is recognized as helping both individuals with autism and in the elderly.
Do Weighted Blankets Help You Sleep?
When we discussed PTSD and anxiety above, we stated that high levels of arousal can make it difficult for the individual to go to sleep, as the body is constantly feeling panicked.
Additionally, the fear that the individual will experience a flashback or the dread over recurring dreams, can make it difficult to fall asleep. Individuals with PTSD and anxiety may also have interrupted sleep due to their nightmares or a constant state of arousal.
A 2015 study found that using a weighted blanket at night helps individuals who have problems falling asleep to do so. Participants found both objectively and subjectively that they were calmer and moved less during their sleep.
It was also easier for them to fall asleep, and stay asleep, which led to a more restful night's sleep.
Anxiety and PTSD and Weighted Blankets
Anxiety and PTSD are not easy to manage. It takes a combination of therapies and ongoing care for an individual to feel as though they're calmer and able to cope with things. A weighted blanket can be one of them, and it can help those who are simply having trouble falling asleep.
We offer the only American made king-sized weighted blanket on the market. With our breathable fabrics, you'll feel great with your blanket, even in the summer.
Check out our products today to help improve the quality of your sleep.