How Weighted Blankets Can Help With Chemo Anxiety and Fatigue

Oct 09, 2022 • Luna Blanket

Weighted blankets have become popular for their beneficial effects, from promoting more restful sleep to becoming self-soothing tools for kids and adults. While people of all ages can enjoy it, research suggests that weighted blankets can also be a wonderful companion during medical treatments, like chemotherapy.

According to the American Cancer Society, anxiety is one of the most common emotions people experience after a cancer diagnosis, and understandably. On top of the worry, chemotherapy can cause severe fatigue. When it comes to reducing some of these symptoms, weighted blanket therapy may be helpful. Here’s what to know.

How weighted blankets can help reduce chemotherapy anxiety

Chemotherapy (or chemo) can be a common treatment for cancer. It involves a the administration of powerful drugs that target cancerous cells, either orally or through IV. It can happen in either a medical setting or through outpatient chemotherapy infusions.

Understandably, anxiety is a common side effects of the treatment, especially if the patient was prone to anxiety previously. It can be a lot to handle physically, mentally, and emotionally. This can make it difficult for patients to relax, fall asleep, or stay asleep.

Using a weighted blanket during treatment, or when trying to rest, can help a person feel as though they're wrapped tightly in a hug. It's extremely comforting. This Deep Pressure Touch Stimulation can stimulate the production of serotonin (the mood-boosting hormone) and reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone). So when anxiety builds, using a weighted blanket results in a more calming and relaxed feeling. There is also a link between serotonin and a lower risk of depression. When researchers study weighted blankets, they find that people feel less anxious and better rested when they use them.

How Weighted Blankets Can Help Fight Cancer Fatigue

Those who go through chemo or other types of treatment often feel tired, drained, and downright exhausted. Cancer and its treatment can also lead to insomnia, making it difficult for the person to fall asleep when they need rest and recovery most.

This is where weighted blankets may help. Many studies have found that weighted blankets can decrease insomnia severity. One published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine tested 120 adults over a month. At the end, 60% of those who used the weighted blanket decreased their insomnia by 50% or more. After taking them home to use for another 12 months, 78% of users were "in remission" from insomnia. 

What to consider when buying a weighted blanket for an adult patient receiving chemotherapy

  • Weight: While we recommend a weighted blanket being about 10% of someone's body weight. But when it comes to someone who is undergoing chemo, weight is even more of a decision factor. Often, patients will lose weight during treatment or feel a bit more fatigued than their usual self so we would recommend selecting a blanket that is more comfortable for their adjusting body.

  • Size: Keep in mind that infusions involve cords, machines, and other medical devices so you don't want a large blanket getting in the way of that. There may be frequent trips between home and appoints so opt for a smaller size that is easier to transport.

  • Fabric: Chemo may cause someone to develop a sensitivity to cold, heat, or to certain fabrics, which can be felt during or after treatment. Consider either a cooling fabric if you or your loved one is becoming prone to hot flashes, or a thicker, sherpa fabric if running cold.

  • Usage: For the first use, we suggest draping it around the person's shoulders to provide a sense of safety and comfort within an anxiety-inducing medical setting. When it comes to rest, lay it across the legs first then work it upwards until it's comfortable, ensuring to avoid any ports or sensitive areas. 

Order Your Luna Weighted Blanket Today  

If you or a loved one is undergoing chemotherapy, consider a weighted blanket to reduce some anxiety and help promote better sleep. While it's an overwhelmingly stressful time, we hope this product adds a little comfort.
Our pick? Our weighted blanket for kids is just 5 pounds and a great choice for naps, traveling, and those who aren't ready for the full weight just yet. It will still provide Deep Pressure Touch Stimulation without making yourself or your loved one feel uncomfortable under it.
Editor's Note: The content on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before making any medical decisions.

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