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How Weighted Blankets Help In Supporting Mental Health and Recovery for Athletes

weighted blankets

The sports world has always been under high pressure for the athletes to continually navigate the demands of training, competition, and recovery. Beyond the physical strain, the mental challenges can be equally taxing, leading many athletes to seek innovative methods to boost their mental health and enhance recovery. 

From physical recovery to mental health, they need to be equipped with the right choice of trainers, technologies and also the approaches.

One such method gaining popularity is the use of weighted blankets. You heard it right, something as simple sounding as weighted blankets. What are these and how exactly they are of use to the athletes, we will learn in this blog article. From coping with stress, improved sleep, and fostering overall well-being, let’s dive into it.

Lets Begin With The Science Behind

These weighted blankets, typically range from 5 to 30 pounds, are designed to distribute a gentle, even pressure across the body. This sensation, known as deep pressure stimulation, mimics the feeling of being held or hugged.

Research suggests that this type of pressure can increase serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain while decreasing cortisol levels, effectively reducing anxiety, and better sleep. 

Helps In Stress Reduction & Anxiety Management

Athletes often face significant stress and anxiety due to physical or competitive stress, whether from the anticipation of competition or the pressure to perform at peak levels.

That’s why regular use of a weighted blanket can help mitigate these feelings. How? By simply inducing the deep pressure stimulation provided by the blanket thereby calming the nervous system. It provides a safe, comforting environment that can reduce anxiety symptoms. 

Athletes report feeling more grounded and less anxious when using the blankets regularly, especially during periods of high stress such as pre-competition phases or recovery from injury. The sensation of being hugged can also make the individual feel safer and more secure, reducing psychological stress and facilitating a quicker mental recovery from day-to-day challenges.

Enhancing Sleep Quality

Quality sleep is crucial for everyone and more for athletic performance and recovery, but the stress and irregular schedules associated with sports can disrupt sleep patterns. 

Weighted blankets help improve sleep through their soothing pressure, which can enhance the quality of sleep by increasing serotonin levels. This can lead to faster sleep onset and fewer nighttime awakenings, allowing the body more time to repair muscles and consolidate memory — both vital for athletic performance.

Emotional Well-being and Recovery

Recovery in sports isn’t only physical; mental and emotional recovery play critical roles. After intense physical exertion, the body needs to reset not just physically but also mentally.

A weighted blanket can facilitate this process, offering a comforting, cocoon-like environment that can help athletes feel secure and grounded.

This emotional grounding can be particularly valuable for athletes recovering from injuries, as it provides a non-pharmacological option to aid in the emotional distress that often accompanies physical setbacks.

How to Adopt Weighted Blankets in Day Today Lifestyle

For athletes, maintaining peak physical and mental condition is crucial. Integrating a weighted blanket into their daily routine can help manage stress, improve sleep quality, and enhance overall recovery. Here’s how athletes can effectively incorporate weighted blankets into their lifestyles:

Selecting the Right Weighted Blanket

  • Weight and Size: Athletes should choose a blanket that’s about 10% of their body weight. This ensures effective deep pressure stimulation without being overly restrictive or heavy. The size should be enough to cover the whole body but not so large that it falls off the bed easily.
  • Material: Considering the amount of physical exertion athletes undergo, a blanket with breathable materials can prevent overheating. Options like cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics can be ideal.

Incorporating into the Pre-Sleep Routine

Many athletes struggle with winding down after a high-energy day. Using a weighted blanket during their pre-sleep routine can signal to the body that it’s time to relax and prepare for sleep. This can be particularly useful for those with irregular schedules or who need to calm down after evening training sessions.

Using During Recovery Periods

Recovery is as vital as active training for athletes. Weighted stress ball from Quiet Mind can be used during rest days or post-workout recovery sessions to help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation, potentially speeding up the recovery process. They can be particularly beneficial during periods of injury recovery, providing comfort when physical activity is limited.

During Travel

Athletes often travel for competitions and can find it challenging to rest during flights or in unfamiliar hotel rooms. A portable weighted blanket or a weighted travel blanket can be a game-changer, providing the comfort and security needed to relax and get quality rest even on the go.

Tailoring Use Based on Personal Preference: It’s important for athletes to listen to their bodies and adjust their use of weighted blankets based on personal comfort and response. Some might find using a weighted blanket every night beneficial, while others may prefer using it only on particularly strenuous days.

Final Thoughts

As athletes continue to seek out the best tools and techniques for maintaining peak mental and physical condition, weighted blankets are emerging as a valuable ally. 

By aiding in stress reduction, anxiety management, and sleep enhancement, these blankets support not only performance but overall mental health and emotional resilience. 

Whether an elite competitor or a weekend warrior, any athlete can potentially benefit from the comforting embrace of a weighted blanket, making it a worthy addition to their mental health toolkit.

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The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.