Stimulating A Sense Of Focused Calm
The science behind weighted pillows is fascinating, as weighted pillows take advantage of something called Deep Pressure Stimulation, or DPS. Think of things like deep tissue massages, hugging a loved one or pet, or putting on those extra comfy warm socks before bed. You’ve probably noticed that all of these help your body relax and recover from daily stress.
That’s the essence of DPS - using pressure to stimulate the release of calming and focusing hormones that can immediately provide a sense of relaxation to help you stay grounded in the moment. And how is DPS activated? It begins with the stimulation of some of our senses, so let’s take a look at how that stimulation kick-starts the process.
Growing up, we are constantly told that we have five senses - sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell. And while these are definitely the most obvious of the senses, we actually have three additional ones that are often overlooked. These are the vestibular, proprioceptive and interoceptive senses:
- Vestibular: These receptors are in the inner ear and stimulation occurs through any change in position, direction or movement of the head.This is your body’s balance sense.
- Proprioceptive: This system is in our muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint receptors, telling us where our body is in space and detects and controls force and pressure. It helps us to feel grounded and know where we are and what we are doing.
- Interoceptive: Called the hidden sense, it gives us the ability to feel what is happening inside our body and plays a role in influencing emotions and sense of wellbeing, as well as detecting changes in our internal state.
So, in reality, we have a total of eight senses that help us navigate and interact with our surroundings. But what does that have to do with weighted pillows?
Which Sense Matters?
Specifically, weighted pillows stimulate our sense of proprioception by placing pressure on our joints and muscles. This is called proprioceptive input, and it causes our brain to release certain neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and melatonin. In other words, the sensations received by our joints and muscles when pressure or weight is applied to them help regulate our central nervous system, shifting it from sympathetic (fight or flight) to parasympathetic (rest and digest). The result is a calming, organizing effect on the brain that helps soothe an overstimulated mind and promote increased relaxation.
Deep Pressure Stimulation - The Science Of Weighted Pillows
Let’s begin by breaking down the hormones released by the application of DPS:
- Dopamine: Commonly referred to as the “feel good” hormone, dopamine is a vital aspect of your brain’s intrinsic reward system, associated with things that bring you pleasure while also significantly contributing to things like motivation and focus. Plus, it also plays a role in learning and memory. As such, it can help you not only feel good, but productive as well.
- Serotonin: This is something we are constantly hearing about, known as the “mood boosting” hormone. Serotonin is the hormone and neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation, digestion, sleep and appetite. Like dopamine, though, it also helps bolster your memory and ability to learn new things.
- Melatonin: I’m sure we all know someone who swears by a little melatonin before bed, and that’s because this is the hormone most commonly associated with sleep. Melatonin is often produced in response to darkness, helping regulate your body’s circadian rhythms and aiding with deep sleep.
- Cortisol: Cortisol is widely referred to as the “stress hormone,” as it is one of the primary hormones responsible for your body’s stress response. Cortisol is released along with other hormones and neurotransmitters during times of stress and anxiety as your body enters into its fight or flight response. And while cortisol has many benefits associated with its release, too much cortisol can drastically affect things like your sleep-wake cycle and your immune system.
So, holding a weighted pillow and kickstarting DPS boosts the production of dopamine, serotonin and melatonin, inducing a calm, focused and happy state of mind that can boost productivity and have incredible benefits on numerous bodily functions. However, the effects of DPS don’t stop there - DPS has a large effect on cortisol levels in your system as well.
The Stress Effect
In addition to stimulating the release of all of these “happy hormones,” DPS actually helps reduce the amount of cortisol in the system. So while your body is being flooded with neurotransmitters that improve your mood, focus, memory, and even sleep, your stress levels are also actively being lowered as well. All of this is to say that when you use something like a weighted pillow - an on-the-go DPS kickstarter - you can tap into a calm, motivated, and happy state of mind whenever and wherever you are.
The Benefits Of Weighted Pillows
The benefits of accessing DPS on-demand with weighted pillows are incredible - it helps your body work for you, not against you, by releasing hormones that have a direct impact on your mood and productivity. Whether you are looking for instant anxiety relief, reduced stress, boosted productivity, or anything in between, weighted pillows are a simple option to transform your state of mind and offer a general sense of grounding.
A Much Needed Mental Break
There are also some less obvious benefits of tapping into DPS. One thing that I have noticed when holding or cuddling with my weighted pillow is that it actually improves my downtime as well. In other words, DPS isn’t merely something that can focus my mind or improve my mood - it can also help me unwind at the end of a long day by shutting out the noise of daily life. We all love binge watching to help us relax, but sometimes even taking joy in a good story or getting lost in a new book is difficult given the stress and anxiety that can characterize our days. With a weighted pillow, even that is improved as all of these positive effects of DPS can help us live in the moment and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.
So, whether you’re trying to overcome the anxiety of a looming deadline or simply wind down at the end of a tough week, give The Original Weighted Pillow a squeeze and find your quiet mind.