weighted-blanket-help-sleep

Weighted Blanket : How it helps to sleep

WEIGHTED BLANKET
HELP TO SLEEP

  • Benefits
  • Who may benefit
  • Risks
  • Bottom line
SLEEP
01

benefits of using a weighted blanket

Weighted blankets range in weight from 2 to 15 kgs  and are used for medicinal purposes. The extra weight’s pressure mimics a rehabilitation procedure known as deep pressure stimulation.

Deep pressure stimulation uses hands-on pressure to relax the nervous system. Doing so may help:

  • relieve pain
  • lessen anxiety
  • improve mood

Deep pressure stimulation does not have to be performed entirely by hand.

weighted blanket

Who can gain benefits from a weighted blanket

Researchers have studied weighted blankets’ effectiveness for various conditions. Although more research is needed, results have so far indicated the following benefits:

Anxiety

One of the primary uses of a weighted blanket is for the treatment of anxiety. Past research has shown that deep pressure stimulation can help reduce autonomic arousal. This arousal is responsible for the symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate. In the study above, the researchers found that using a weighted blanket reduced anxiety in roughly 33 percent of the 32 participants. The researchers also explain that for some of the study participants, lying down may also have helped reduce anxiety. This suggests that using a weighted blanket while lying down may further help reduce anxiety symptoms.
One of the primary uses of a weighted blanket is for the treatment of anxiety. Past research has shown that deep pressure stimulation can help reduce autonomic arousal. This arousal is responsible for the symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate. In the study above, the researchers found that using a weighted blanket reduced anxiety in roughly 33 percent of the 32 participants. The researchers also explain that for some of the study participants, lying down may also have helped reduce anxiety. This suggests that using a weighted blanket while lying down may further help reduce anxiety symptoms.
In the 2014 crossover study on autism and weighted blankets, both the parents and children felt the weighted blankets were beneficial in reducing sleep issues. In the ADHD studyTrusted Source using ball blankets, the weighted blanket helped reduce sleep onset time and number of nighttime awakenings in study participants. These study results suggest an overall benefit of using weighted blankets to treat sleep disorders.
In the 2014 crossover study on autism and weighted blankets, both the parents and children felt the weighted blankets were beneficial in reducing sleep issues. In the ADHD studyTrusted Source using ball blankets, the weighted blanket helped reduce sleep onset time and number of nighttime awakenings in study participants. These study results suggest an overall benefit of using weighted blankets to treat sleep disorders.

Insomnia and sleep disorders

Osteoarthritis

There are no research studies on the use of weighted blankets for osteoarthritis. However, one sTrusted SourcetudyTrusted Source utilizing massage therapy may provide a link. In this small study, 18 participants with osteoarthritis received massage therapy on their knee for 8 weeks. Study participants noted the massage therapy helped reduce knee pain and improve their quality of life. Massage therapy applies deep pressure to osteoarthritic joints, so it’s possible that similar benefits may be experienced when using a weighted blanket.
One of the recommended at-home treatments for chronic pain is massage therapy. In one small studyTrusted Source, researchers found that starting with light pressure, later gradually increasing to moderate pressure, and then using deep pressure during massage therapy may reduce pain reflexes in those with chronic pain conditions. This indicates the extra pressure of a weighted blanket may help keep the legs in place and reduce feelings of pain in chronic pain conditions.
One of the recommended at-home treatments for chronic pain is massage therapy. In one small studyTrusted Source, researchers found that starting with light pressure, later gradually increasing to moderate pressure, and then using deep pressure during massage therapy may reduce pain reflexes in those with chronic pain conditions. This indicates the extra pressure of a weighted blanket may help keep the legs in place and reduce feelings of pain in chronic pain conditions.

Chronic pain

Medical procedures

There may be some benefit to using weighted blankets during medical procedures. A 2016 study experimented with using weighted blankets on participants undergoing wisdom tooth extraction. The weighted blanket participants experienced lower anxiety symptoms than the control group. The researchers performed a similar follow-up study on adolescents using a weighted blanket during a molar extraction. Those results also found less anxiety with the use of a weighted blanket. Since medical procedures tend to cause anxiety symptoms like increased heart rate, using weighted blankets may be beneficial in calming those symptoms.
There may be some benefit to using weighted blankets during medical procedures. A 2016 study experimented with using weighted blankets on participants undergoing wisdom tooth extraction. The weighted blanket participants experienced lower anxiety symptoms than the control group. The researchers performed a similar follow-up study on adolescents using a weighted blanket during a molar extraction. Those results also found less anxiety with the use of a weighted blanket. Since medical procedures tend to cause anxiety symptoms like increased heart rate, using weighted blankets may be beneficial in calming those symptoms.
There are very few studies that examine the use of weighted blankets for ADHD, but a similar study was performed using weighted vests. In this study, researchers explain that weighted vests have been used in ADHD therapy to improve attention and reduce hyperactive movements. The study found promising results for participants who used the weighted vest during a continuous performance test. These participants experienced reductions in falling off task, leaving their seat, and fidgeting. In addition, further researchTrusted Source supports that a weighted ball blanket also has benefits for sleep issues related to ADHD.
There are very few studies that examine the use of weighted blankets for ADHD, but a similar study was performed using weighted vests. In this study, researchers explain that weighted vests have been used in ADHD therapy to improve attention and reduce hyperactive movements. The study found promising results for participants who used the weighted vest during a continuous performance test. These participants experienced reductions in falling off task, leaving their seat, and fidgeting. In addition, further research Trusted Source supports that a weighted ball blanket also has benefits for sleep issues related to ADHD.

ADHD

Autism

One of the symptoms of autism, especially in children, is trouble sleeping. In a crossover study from 2014, researchers investigated the effectiveness of weighted blankets for sleep issues related to autism. The results found there was little improvement in sleep scores from the use of the weighted blanket. However, both the children and their parents noted they liked the weighted blanket more, despite the lack of improvement. This is supported by a smaller research study Trusted Source that found the positive benefits of deep pressure therapy in some people with autism. These benefits may extend to weighted blankets as well.

Bottom Line

Weighted blankets are a type of at-home therapy that can provide similar benefits to deep pressure therapy.

These blankets have shown positive results for several conditions, including autism, ADHD, and anxiety. They can help calm a restless body, reduce feelings of anxiety, and improve sleep troubles.

When choosing a weighted blanket for yourself, find a snug size that’s around 10 percent of your body weight.

I got this as a recommendation for anxiety. WoW. I like the pressure it puts on my leg because I always get shaky trembles and restless leg. I used it as a blanket even and it's not heavy like it is when you carry the whole thing; but it's definitely got more weight than a comforter. So far I used it once and it's a keeper.

— Amanda

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