There are many benefits that come with using a weighted blanket such as stress relief and better sleep quality. But if you are someone who experiences claustrophobia, should you still use it?
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”. The claustrophobic feeling could be triggered when the person is trapped inside an elevator or even when the zipper of a jacket is stuck. It is often the feeling of not being able to escape that triggers this claustrophobic feeling.
Symptoms of claustrophobia 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 for you, 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. It is heavier than regular bedclothes. It is meant to cover the body and expose the individual under it to deep touch pressure. The added pressure results in increased serotonin which creates calmness and helps with sleep.
The next question is whether the added weight is suitable for someone with claustrophobia.
Should Someone With Claustrophobia Use Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets are also known as heavy blankets. The idea is to use added weight to generate the feelings of being hugged and create the sensation of safety and comfort. Unfortunately, it is possible that the added weight could instead trigger feelings of discomfort or even a high level of stress for people with claustrophobia. That is the complete opposite feeling of what a weighted blanket is normally expected to produce. Having said that we have seen people with claustrophobia who reap the full benefits of using calming blankets. Unfortunately, we can’t put a blanket rule on this. Perhaps the question is how you should go about choosing the right one for yourself.
If you had experienced claustrophobia in the past, we highly recommend you consult your doctor or therapist first before using one. For your first weighted blanket, we suggest that you start with the one that is slightly less than 10% of your body weight.
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 shoulders to feet, so it’s important to take into consideration that your whole body will be covered by the added weight.
How to Try a Weighted Blanket If You Don’t Own One
A common concern for people who have never tried using a weighted blanket is: “How do I know how I’ll react if I don’t own a weighted blanket?”
There is a number of things you can do to determine how you might react to a heavy blanket:
- Ask someone you know who owns one to see if you can try it out.
- Order one from a manufacturer that has a good return policy. Many items on Amazon are eligible for a full refund or exchange. Check out our review on the best value-weighted blankets.
- Think about how you react in situations with pressure on your body. How do you feel when putting heavy tight clothing on? Or when you receive a firm hug from another person?
- How do you feel if you visualize yourself laying under a heavyweight?
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. For your first weighted blanket, we definitely recommend choosing a calming blanket that is slightly lighter than the usually recommended rule (10% of your body weight).