If you experience claustrophobia, you may be wondering if a weighted blanket is a good idea to help with sleep and reduce anxiety.
What Is Claustrophobia?
According to Healthline, claustrophobia is a situational phobia that is triggered by an irrational and intense fear of enclosed or crowded places.
For example, the sufferer may have a fear of getting trapped in an elevator, being overwhelmed in crowded shopping malls, or even getting stuck in a coat if the zipper sticks.
It Is Not a Panic Disorder
Claustrophobia is common and, even though it isn’t a panic disorder, it can feel like a panic attack at the moment.
Usually, a situation triggers the symptoms, which can include sweating, trembling, fear or panic, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and feeling faint or confused.
If you experience claustrophobia and want to determine if a weighted blanket is suitable in your case, it’s important to first understand what a weighted blanket is and how it works.
What Is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket is a specially designed and constructed blanket that has weight sewn into small pockets and is heavier than regular bedclothes.
Uses Deep Touch Pressure
It is meant to cover the body during sleep or rest and exposes the individual under it to deep touch pressure. The added pressure results in increased serotonin that creates calmness and helps with sleep.
This leads to the question of whether the added weight is a good idea for someone who lives with claustrophobia.
Is a Weighted Blanket Good for Claustrophobia?
Whether a weighted blanket is a good idea for someone who lives with claustrophobia is going to depend on the specific needs and circumstances of the person in question.
Does It Trigger Claustrophobia?
Obviously, if it triggers claustrophobic feelings it isn’t a good idea to use one. However, if it doesn’t produce feelings of panic, then it may reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
The general rule of thumb for sizing a weighted blanket is to use 10% of your body weight, give or take a couple of pounds.
Is the Required Weight Too Much?
To get the appropriate size blanket, depending on your body weight, you could be resting under as much as 25 or 30 pounds. Depending on the individual, that much added weight could be a trigger for more feelings of anxiety and panic.
Those types of feelings would be the opposite of what a weighted blanket is normally expected to produce for the user.
How Do You Respond to the Weight?
If you’re interested in using a weighted blanket for the reported benefits, it will depend on how you feel with a significant weight covering your body.
Weighted blankets are generally most effective when they cover the whole body from feet to shoulders, so it’s important to take into consideration that your whole body will be covered by the added weight.
Consultation with your doctor or therapist, and taking into account your particular reactions, can help you decide if a weighted blanket is a good idea with your experience of claustrophobia.
How to Try a Weighted Blanket If You Don’t Own One
A common concern for people who don’t already own a weighted blanket is, “How do I know how I’ll react if I don’t own a weighted blanket?”
There are a couple of things you can do to determine how you might react to a weighted blanket:
- Ask someone you know who owns one if you can try it out.
- Order one from a manufacturer that has a good return policy.
- Think about how you react in situations with pressure on your body, such as the x-ray vest in the dentist’s office, a firm hug from another person, or heavy bedclothes on the bed.
- How do you feel if you visualize laying under a heavy weight?
You can use your previous experience to help you determine if having a weight covering your entire body has the potential to be a trigger for claustrophobic feelings.
Whether a person who experiences claustrophobia should use a weighted blanket is going to be a very individual choice based on the many factors outlined above.
Do your research, consult with your physician, and weigh your personal circumstances to help you make the decision that’s best in your case.
If you do feel that a weighted blanket is appropriate for you, we have two recommended choices: