For many people, weighted blankets have become an easy-to-use all-natural routine part of stress relief and healthy sleep habits, and for good reason. Research suggests weighted blankets may benefit people with anxiety, autism, and insomnia, among many other conditions.
Let’s explore how weighted blankets work as well as the benefits and risks of using these therapeutic blankets.
Weighted blankets are therapeutic blankets that weigh between 5 to 30 pounds. The pressure from the extra weight mimics a well-studied therapeutic technique called Deep Pressure Stimulation.
Deep pressure stimulation applies weighted pressure to relax the nervous system. Doing so may help:
- relieve pain
- lessen anxiety
- improve mood
With weighted blankets, the same pressure comes from having the blanket wrapped around the body.
Researchers have studied weighted blankets’ effectiveness for various conditions. Although more research is needed, results have so far indicated the following benefits:
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 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, regardless of the improvement. This is supported by a smaller
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
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.
Insomnia and 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.
These study results suggest an overall benefit of using weighted blankets to treat sleep disorders.
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. Also, if improved sleep can improve one's recovery/repair process, it makes sense that the blanket would improve OA symptoms.
One of the recommended at-home treatments for chronic pain is massage therapy.
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.
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 risks for using a weighted blanket.
However, according to best-practices, weighted blankets shouldn’t be used for toddlers under 2 years old, as it may increase the risk of suffocation. Always consult your pediatrician before trying a weighted blanket.
A weighted blanket may also be unsuitable for people with certain conditions, including:
- obstructive sleep apnea, which causes disrupted breathing during sleep
- asthma, which can cause difficulty breathing at night
- claustrophobia, which the tightness of a weighted blanket may trigger
TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE CORRECT WEIGHT
- As a general rule, a weighted blanket should be 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. The weighted blanket should also fit snugly to the size of the bed.
- Adults can use medium-large weighted blankets ranging from 12 to 30 pounds.
- For a 20- to 70-pound child, a small weighted blanket should weigh from 3 to 8 pounds.
- For a 30- to 130-pound child, a medium weighted blanket should weigh from 5 to 15 pounds.
- Older adults may want to use small or medium weighted blankets ranging from 5 to 8 pounds.
Dreamality 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. Try it out, Risk-Free with our 30 Night Better Sleep Trial.