why do we feel safe under a blanket
Paraphasing what I read in a book. Our torso is where majority of our vital organs are located. Thus it has been an limbic response/instinct to cover your torso when confronted by danger or when placed in an uncomfortable situation. That is known as a pacifying action. You pacify yourself by covering your torso when feeling discomfort. This is why people tend to cross their arms/hold their stomach/put an object in between a person when they feel uncomfortable. This natural need to feel protected may be why you feel more at ease when under the sheets, as you feel more pacified and protected by it. FYI, the book I read was What Everybody is Saying by Joe Navarro.
It s a great book on reading body language, which looks deep into automatic responses by the body for genuine reading. I finished the book a long time ago, so feel free to correct any info stated above. :)
I m not sure on the scientific research behind this, but this is the theory I have heard. The idea is that it triggers the same sensation in the body as if we are being hugged. In social animals, a sense of security/safeness is primarily attained (especially in the younger years) by physical proximity to others in the pack (hugging or touching). It triggers the attachment system, which is basically our cool down system. There are different groups of happy or pleasant emotions.
There are the stimulating ones (excitement, accomplishment, pride), which feel good but also make us feel more energetic rather than relaxed. All those uppers are the ones that motivate us to go out and do. And then there are the soothing ones that promote a sense of security (warmth, connection, belonging, togetherness - which are all to do with our social needs and generally promote a relaxed sense of being rather than an energetic sense of being). So we rely on this affiliation system to calm down and relax - these are essentially our inbuilt downers. The reason we don t literally need other people around all the time as we grow (unlike as a young child) is because we internalise the sense that we have people behind us (as in others care about us) and use this felt sense of connection to soothe us.
Therefore, simulating the sensation of being hugged triggers the calm down emotions, as does hugging a pillow or a soft toy. Based on this theory there have been weighted blankets created for people with depression and anxiety as the extra pressure/sensation promotes better sleep and more of a sense of security. As I say, this is the theory I have heard but I am not a scientist and have no actual expertise, so if someone else knows this to be bullshit, please do let me know.
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