Cortisol issues, stress, and anxiety are typical of AFS, a condition that results from unrelenting stress on the body. No matter the source of the stress, the body responds the same way. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is set in motion, bringing on a cascade of hormones and other chemicals. The end result is stimulation of the adrenal glands to produce cortisol to fight the effects of the stress. Continuing stress results in the adrenals becoming depleted and significant symptoms beginning. Over time, these symptoms become debilitating.
A difficulty involved in AFS is comprehensive evaluation and remediation of the condition. Conventionally trained healthcare professionals view the symptoms of AFS from a symptom-specific standpoint. Their attempts at remediation go along this same route.
However, looking at AFS symptoms from the viewpoint of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response gives a more comprehensive and accurate assessment, leading to more effective remediation. The NEM approach relies on viewing symptoms as interaction among six organ systems. These systems are interrelated in that what affects one, affects others. This approach allows healthcare professionals to determine the root causes of the symptoms being presented.
The benefits of weighted blankets may be extended to those who are very weak, such as those in advanced stages of AFS. People who suffer from AFS often struggle with sleep issues, including not being able to go to sleep, staying asleep, poor quality of sleep, and awakening as tired or more tired as when they went to sleep. Weighted blankets have been shown to significantly lower the length of time required to go to sleep. Also, improvements in quality and quantity of sleep have been found with weighted blankets. People who use these blankets report feeling more rested upon arising. Other research has shown sleeping under weighted blankets to lower cortisol levels. This may help with preserving cortisol for use when stress is encountered.
The increased levels of serotonin found with the use of weighted blankets also lead to increased calming and relaxation. Both of these effects help people deal with stress and its effects.