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Rhiannon

Weighted blankets & bed tents for restlessness, akathisia, insomnia, and anxiety

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Rhiannon

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See this post for TIPS FOR MAKING A WEIGHTED BLANKET

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Helpful tip: 


The manufacturer of mine explained that unlike a regular blanket the size should be chosen to fit the person, not the bed, so that it doesn't slip off.

 

Posted by a member here

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Just wanted to mention weighted blankets for people who may not have seen the previous conversation about it. Unfortunately I couldn't find that thread to bump it.

 

Google "weighted blankets." They're used by OTs to help calm people with various conditions, usually autism. Some of us on this board and another forum have found them helpful for restlessness, akathisia, insomnia and anxiety. It's not a huge strong effect like a drug, more subtle, but I find mine very helpful, especially for sleeping.

 

There are various ways to make your own. I made mine using bags of pinto beans in an old comforter.

 

Anyway, just wanted to bump this suggestion up for folks.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added tips link

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Shanti

That does sound cozy and comforting. I'll look into it. I always like it better in winter, sleeping with more blankets. It makes me feel more contained and comfortable. I never thought there was something like weighted blankets.

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Shanti

Oh, and I also use Compression Socks at times for Neuropathy. This sounds wonderful to help my whole body. My nerves are so shot, that pressure on them feels good, which is why the compression socks. How do you make your own blanket?

 

Edit: I found a good easy tutorial.

 

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Rhiannon

When I first read about these someone was saying that when they went to the dentist and they put that heavy lead thing on them before doing an x-ray, it felt comforting. I thought "yeah it feels comforting to me too!" and not only that, it felt like something that would be especially comforting when I'm feeling anxious. That's what drew me to trying a weighted blanket, and I do find it comforting.

 

Also wanted to add that one of the things you read people using these for is restless legs.

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Altostrata

This reminds me of Temple Grandin's observation that being closely held is calming to cattle, derived from her own experience of autism.

 

Many cultures swaddle infants, giving them that sensation of being closely held.

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Shanti

It made me think of Temple Grandin too!

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areyouthere

I have always loved putting pillows all over the top of me while I'm sleeping alone . Never knew why... except that I know I sleep better that way.

 

It is CoZy and feels secure.

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Shanti

When I was a teenager in the winter I put 14 blankets on my bed lol. Seriously! People thought I was weird. But wow, it never occurred to me to do this now for anxiety and comfort. I had forgotten all about how I did that.

 

I saw on ebay someone is selling them for 29.99. That's not too bad. I'll see if it's cheaper than making them.

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GiaK

When I was a teenager in the winter I put 14 blankets on my bed lol. Seriously! People thought I was weird. But wow, it never occurred to me to do this now for anxiety and comfort. I had forgotten all about how I did that.

 

I saw on ebay someone is selling them for 29.99. That's not too bad. I'll see if it's cheaper than making them.

 

I did the same thing when I was a kid/teenager..and it was the WEIGHT that I loved TOTALLY.

 

So as soon as I saw this post I was interested...I will see about making one for myself too.

 

thanks all...thanks Rhi...I'd like to know more about the one you made if you have a chance to share.

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Nadia

Great suggestion. I have always felt better with heavy covers, and especially now. I was going to post some time ago that one thing that helps calm my AM anxiety is having my boyfriend lie on top of me. I know that sounds weird, but it helps calm the extreme panic/fire waves, and it also made me think of swaddling infants. Another thing that he does that helps me is spooning me and rocking me back and forth. For those of you who have a significant other willing to help out, try it!

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Addax

Weighted blankets, rocking, or as I have done – bouncing on an exercise ball are components of sensory motor arousal regulation treatment, or also referred to as sensorimotor psychotherapy.  Sensory motor arousal regulation is typically discussed in the treatment of PTSD/PTSI/PTSR, and also autism (Temple Grandin!).   Also, consider how people rock or lightly bounce a baby to sooth him/her… hence the rocking chair often associated with a baby’s nursery.  I know when my withdrawal was at it’s worst during my last attempt to discontinue Prozac, bouncing on an exercise ball or rocking myself were the only ways I could seem to calm myself and relieve the horrible anxiety, and internal restlessness and vibration, which I now know is called akathisia (Thank you SA forum!)  It was then that I first thought about the connection between my symptoms and what I knew about sensory motor arousal.  However, other things took my attention (including my withdrawal) and I hadn’t really thought about it again until I read this thread.

 

My understanding is that sensorimotor psychotherapy is meant to integrate sensorimotor processing with cognitive and emotional processing in the treatment of trauma related responses.  It is reported to be beneficial for people struggling with emotional reactivity, flat affect, frozen states and hyperarousal…

 

Why do I think this might be relevant here? Why am I bringing it up? Those symptoms remind me of those that I encountered during withdrawal and what I’ve read other’s describe experiencing.  For me, the emotional reactivity and hyperarousal  are particularly familiar.  Then there is the anxiety that many (if not most) of us experience as a part of withdrawal, which I’m assuming coincides with an increase in cortisol in our systems: This phenomenon is also associated with a posttraumatic stress response.  I’m not saying I, nor everyone with these symptoms should be considered for a diagnosis of PTSD, but the physical and sensory patterns (the ones involving out autonomic nervous system arousal) of PTSD seem to share some similarities with withdrawal symptoms… at least it seems that way for me.   I see part of it as our bodies have become dysregulated as a result of removing the drug and withdrawal is our bodies (and brains) adapting to re-regulate (not sure that’s even a word). 

 

So with ALL that written, I suppose what I’m getting at is, the concept of sensory motor arousal regulation seems like it would be applicable to psych med withdrawal and might just be another tool for some of us to use in surviving and concurring this beast we call withdrawal.

There is actually a treatment called Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Training (SMART).   SMART is geared toward children with a history of trauma, but the concept has also been applied to kids with autism, ADHD and adults… and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be applicable to adults struggling with withdrawal from psych meds.   How I understand it is the training includes self-regulation through vestibular input (your sense of movement) like swinging, spinning or lying upside down on a couch; Proprioceptive input (sense of your body’s orientation), like jumping, bouncing, rocking); and tactile input (physical touch), like using weighted blankets, swaddling a baby (or rolling yourself up in a blanket).

 

So I think rocking, bouncing, swinging, jumping, weighted blankets, having our dog or cat lay on us, or making our-self into a blanket could be very helpful in our recovering.

 

So that was long and wordy, and if you've gotten to this point in my rambling I hope you got something out of it.  I just hadn’t thought about this in so long and the discussion stuck a bee in my bonnet :)

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btdt

I worked with a small girl who had experienced trauma and was non verbal... she had one thing she liked... the tire swing outside.  

I did not have much time on my schedule for her as she was on  her way out and it had already been decided she was unreachable... she never did speak while she was with us.. at nap time she never slept but wrapped herself tightly in her blanket.  

 

Odd how trauma and withdrawal often over lap in symptoms and maybe treatment.  Perhaps what is soothing is just soothing... I for one always hated blankets on my feet... unless I was camping and freezing but pain in my feet has changed that some....mostly one foot. Odd life we live...us folks.

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used2be

I love the heavy heated pad the massage therapist puts on my back during my monthly massage. I guess it really is a comfort thing.

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UnfoldingSky

Thank you for bumping this up, it has been helpful to me.

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Gibby

I'm thinking of getting one of these, I actually put it on my Christmas list if you can believe it. 

 

My favourite part of going to the dentist is when they put that heavy blanket on me. Everything else about the dentist sucks.

 

I'm big on doing the stuff that made me feel better as a kid, no matter how silly it might seem for a "man" of 25.

 

Any good sources of weighted blankets you guys can suggest?

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Irvingkirsch

I'm thinking of getting one of these, I actually put it on my Christmas list if you can believe it. 

 

My favourite part of going to the dentist is when they put that heavy blanket on me. Everything else about the dentist sucks.

 

I'm big on doing the stuff that made me feel better as a kid, no matter how silly it might seem for a "man" of 25.

 

Any good sources of weighted blankets you guys can suggest?

 

Hi, did the blanket work to help you sleep longer?

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Irvingkirsch

Thank you for bumping this up, it has been helpful to me.

Hi, did the blanket help you increase the amount of time you are asleep for?

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UnfoldingSky

 

Thank you for bumping this up, it has been helpful to me.

Hi, did the blanket help you increase the amount of time you are asleep for?

 

 

Yes, it's been really helpful for restless legs, without it I toss and turn a lot when it comes on so I'm partly awake when that happens.  I thankfully only get it occasionally though. 

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Irvingkirsch

 

 

Thank you for bumping this up, it has been helpful to me.

Hi, did the blanket help you increase the amount of time you are asleep for?

 

 

Yes, it's been really helpful for restless legs, without it I toss and turn a lot when it comes on so I'm partly awake when that happens.  I thankfully only get it occasionally though. 

 

 

awesome, thanks! That's great

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UnfoldingSky

 

 

 

Thank you for bumping this up, it has been helpful to me.

Hi, did the blanket help you increase the amount of time you are asleep for?

 

 

Yes, it's been really helpful for restless legs, without it I toss and turn a lot when it comes on so I'm partly awake when that happens.  I thankfully only get it occasionally though. 

 

 

awesome, thanks! That's great

 

 

No problem!  What are you thinking of using one for?  If you don't mind me asking...

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Irvingkirsch

 

 

 

 

Thank you for bumping this up, it has been helpful to me.

Hi, did the blanket help you increase the amount of time you are asleep for?

 

 

Yes, it's been really helpful for restless legs, without it I toss and turn a lot when it comes on so I'm partly awake when that happens.  I thankfully only get it occasionally though. 

 

 

awesome, thanks! That's great

 

 

No problem!  What are you thinking of using one for?  If you don't mind me asking...

 

 

I have sleep maintenance insomnia. I'm hoping it helps me sleep for a longer period of time

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UnfoldingSky

I hadn't ever heard that term before.  Are you agitated at night? I don't know if it will help if you aren't, mine helps because my legs get restless sometimes.

 

Then again it's worth a try. 

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UnfoldingSky

Okay so I obviously didn't re-read this thread as in the OP it says it's for regular insomnia too...Oops.

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Irvingkirsch

I hadn't ever heard that term before.  Are you agitated at night? I don't know if it will help if you aren't, mine helps because my legs get restless sometimes.

 

Then again it's worth a try. 

 

Sleep maintenance insomnia is when you wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep. I basically sleep 4 or 5 hours a night. I've been severely sleep deprived for years so I'm always agitated to be honest. I ordered it last night. It was like $200...yikes! We will see what happens.

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UnfoldingSky

Eek, that is pretty steep!  Definitely hope it works for that price!  Let us know how it turns out, quite a few people here have the same problem, I'm sure they'd love to hear it helps.  I hadn't heard that name for it before though, but, that seems a common problem in withdrawal.

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Irvingkirsch

Eek, that is pretty steep!  Definitely hope it works for that price!  Let us know how it turns out, quite a few people here have the same problem, I'm sure they'd love to hear it helps.  I hadn't heard that name for it before though, but, that seems a common problem in withdrawal.

 

 

I used the blanket last night and got the worst night of sleep I've gotten in weeks :(

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UnfoldingSky

Oh no!  Are you going to try it again?  Was it too uncomfortable or heavy?

 

I tend to put mine on just my legs, you could maybe try that and see how it goes.  Was it too restrictive? 

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Irvingkirsch

Oh no!  Are you going to try it again?  Was it too uncomfortable or heavy?

 

I tend to put mine on just my legs, you could maybe try that and see how it goes.  Was it too restrictive? 

 

 

Hi, I might try it again tonight. I can't really attribute my poor sleep to the blanket being too uncomfortable or heavy. I just feel much more sleep deprived today than I normally do. I could definitely just put it on my legs. Why did you decide to only put it on your legs?

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UnfoldingSky

It was because I get restless legs, the rest of me is thankfully calm now for the most part. :)  (So now I guess according to Psychiatry it's just my legs that need to get some therapy. )  

 

I thought if it was too heavy you could try that but if that's not the problem then not sure what to tell you. Could it have been just an off night for some other reason? 

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SkyBlue

Ha! Rhiannon, I love it at the dentist when they put that weighted vest on you!. :lol: I'm looking into getting, or more likely making, 

or most likely getting my mom's help with making one :) 

 

The video Shanti posted near the beginning of this thread looks really good. 

 

I'm hoping this will help with akathisia etc.! 

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Nadia

So... I saw this ad for a bed tent, and immediately thought how great it would have been to have during withdrawal! I am not advocating in any way for its purchase since I have never used it and don't know the cost, but I thought it was a brilliant idea! And maybe somehow worth copying?? I had a hard time with blackout curtains because I never seemed to be able to get all the little light leaks to go away.

 

Also, there is something calming to me about smaller spaces, and I still feel immediate relief when I'm anxious about something when I'm "swaddled" (hugged tightly). It's actually impressive how immediately it helps.

 

https://www.privacypop.com/shop/tent/privacy-pop-bed-tent/

 

Nadia

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Junglechicken

I love the look of it Nadia!

 

Reminds me of the Scandinavian beds - so cosy.  Might have to get my hands on one now, lol

 

JC x

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SkyBlue

That looks so cozy! 

 

I want to get a weighted blanket too. 

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Cheryl

I just came across this thread today and I can relate to this or I at least understand my "new behavior"

In the last 2 mos on many mornings upon wakening, I throw my covers over my head snugly and stay beneath for a bit. I sometimes go back to sleep that way.

I find this extremely comforting.

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UnfoldingSky

I just wanted to post a new suggestion related to weighted blankets, they make weighted heating pads in different varieties, including weighted booties to warm up your feet..Just thinking they may be of help for those with restless legs or to help people feel more grounded who are badly dissociated. 

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