In case you haven’t heard, weighted blankets are the latest and greatest craze in the sleep world. Filled with glass beads or plastic pellets and typically weighing between four and 25 pounds, these blankets place a sense of pressure on the body, relieving stress and creating a sense of calm. Everyone from those suffering from anxiety disorders to parents of children with ADHD are singing their praises. Could it be the solution to your sleep troubles? We take a look at the facts to see if weighted blankets have measurable benefits.
Before we dive in, let’s talk a little bit more about the basic information surrounding weighted blankets.
The Benefits of Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are, in simple terms, designed to recreate the sensations brought on by a hug, and have been shown to provide a wide array of benefits:
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced anxiety & stress — even in pets!
- Help with fibromyalgia pain
- Elevated mood
- Relief from minor pain
Who Are Weighted Blankets Good for?
Weighted blankets can potentially help:
Weighted blankets can potentially help mitigate or manage the following issues:
- ADHD, especially in children
- Generalized sleep problems, particularly in the elderly
- OCD or other anxiety-related disorders
- Chronically stress
- Restless leg syndrome
- Travel anxiety
- Panic disorders
Weighted blankets can also be good for pets that have anxiety.
It is important to note that weighted blankets should never be too heavy for an individual or animal to manage or maneuver. It is recommended that the elderly and anyone with a medical condition consult with their doctor before using a weighted blanket to determine what is appropriate for them. Pet owners should also talk to their veterinarian.
The Science Behind Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets have been studied extensively, particularly for their effectiveness on insomnia patients and children with ADHD.
In a 2015 study conducted by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, individuals with insomnia were tracked for one week with their own bedding, followed by two weeks with the weighted blanket, and then another week with their own bedding. The results indicated that 80% of the sample population enjoyed the weighted blanket. Those who enjoyed it also slept longer, spent less time awake during the night, found it easier to get to sleep, felt more refreshed the next morning, and reported getting better sleep overall.
Regarding children with ADHD, another study looked at patients ages 8-13, where half of the sample population had the condition. The study participants’ sleep was monitored using sleep testing and sleep diaries across four weeks. Two weeks consisted of using a weighted blanket. The results indicated that for the children with ADHD, using the weighted blanket reduced how long it took them to fall asleep and the number of awakenings during the night. Additionally, ratings provided by their teachers showed a 10% improvement in attention span after using the blanket.
Should You Use a Weighted Blanket?
Although research has shown that using a weighted blanket can aid in reducing anxiety and improving sleep, it’s still important for those with a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea, to directly treat the underlying condition. If you can never seem to get enough rest, it’s recommended that you undergo a sleep screening performed by an expert.
Dr. Jeff Rodgers is a sleep medicine practitioner with more than 20 years of experience in the Atlanta area, and he’s helped countless patients discover the root cause of their sleep issues as well as overcome it using custom-made oral appliances. He can also answer any questions about whether or not a weighted blanket might be beneficial for you. To schedule your own screening and FREE consultation, contact Sleep Better Georgia today.