Trauma affects our sleep. It stimulates our brain causing increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline, hormones associated with feelings of stress and fear.
Survivors often struggle with sleep interruptions due to nightmares, anxiety, and panic. Trauma hinders the ability to reach and properly move through cycles of REM sleep (also known as restoritive sleep) causing day-time fatigue, brain fog, irritation, and overall poor health.
Journal Your Sleep Cycles
If you are struggling with sleep, keep a sleep journal. Track your bedtime routine, monitor your overnight symptoms, look for patterns to your insomnia.
By doing this, as you incorporate other methods of self-care to help yourself relax and cope with trauma healing, you will be able to better identify what does and doesn’t work. Keeping a journal of your recovery in addition to a sleep journal can help you draw parallels.
In this 8″x10″ Sleep Log journal you can track & manage your sleep cycles and any issues with insomnia.
What is a Weighted Blanket
Initially used primarily in therapy clinics by psychiatrists as a tool with patients, weighted blankets are now more widely available.
They are heavy blankets made with either glass beads or pellets sewn throughout the blanket to give it weight.
They should be purchased specific to your weight which is an easy calculation of 10 percent of your body weight plus two pounds, and you will notice they are smaller than your average blanket. Weighted blankets are meant to cover you only, not your whole bed.
These blankets promote what is called Deep Pressure Stimulation, a technique that is used to help regulate emotions and behavior.
If you are looking for a blanket to use for a child, use precaution when selecting an appropriate weight.
5 Benefits of a Weighted Blanket
#1 Promotion of Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone known for encouraging sleep, even assisting in the regulation of our sleep cycles. It has been suggested that serotonin released due to a weighted blanket may be linked to melatonin production. Weighted blankets are known to boost these hormones.
#2 Lowers Anxiety
Anxiety is one of those annoying companions that can get in the way of just about any aspect of life, sleep being a big one. Some research has purported that weighted blankets, when used prior to a stressful event can calm the nervous system and lower one’s levels of anxiety.
#3 Reduces Panic Attacks
Since weighted blankets work on the premise of encouraging the production of feel good hormones like serotonin and dopamine, using one can reduce stress and help decrease panic attacks. Weight blankets help create feelings of calm and safety.
#4 Improves Sleep
If you struggle with insomnia a weight blanket may be just want you need. Studies indicate weight blankets improve your overall quality of sleep.
#5 Mimics a Hug
When we hug a friend or family member our bodies release oxytocin, a hormone that reduces blood pressure, slows the heart rate, and creates a sense of relaxation.
Your Sleep is Important
Sleep is so important to our health, doing everything we can to create a routine that helps us get the rest we need is part of self-care. Whether you use essential oils, a sleep journal, or you do purchase a weighted blanket – make a commitment to yourself to pay attention to your sleep.
“Weighted blankets are a type of at-home therapy that can provide similar benefits to deep pressure therapy. These blankets have shown positive results for several conditions, including autism, ADHD, and anxiety. They can help calm a restless body, reduce feelings of anxiety, and improve sleep troubles” – healthline.com
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Interesting, I imagined them to be heavy, oppressive and warm things. I realise now that they shouldn’t increase warmth. I am such a hot sleeper, though, so any time between spring and autumn I probably wouldn’t use it. I get claustrophobic, too, so these things make me nervous!
I do need a little dog sleeping on me, though!
I can definitely understand how these blankets could be counter-productive for some people. Little dogs are way better than blankets anyway!! 😊