Updated at: 22-11-2021 - By: Jane Brody

Adding a weighted blanket to one’s sleep regimen can help alleviate tension and promote a peaceful night’s sleep for many people. For those who suffer from insomnia, anxiety, or autism, the weighted blanket’s gentle pressure may help alleviate symptoms and enhance sleep.

What Is a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets are made to be thicker and more substantial than standard ones. Weighted blankets come in two varieties: knitted and duvet. Unlike duvet-style weighted blankets, knitted weighted blankets are made with dense yarn and do not include plastic or glass beads, ball bearings, or any other heavy content.

It is possible to use a weighted blanket on a bed, couch, or any other place where you choose to relax.

Weighted Blanket Benefits

Weighted blankets are based on deep pressure stimulation, a form of therapy that uses hard, controlled pressure to generate a sense of relaxation. If you’re having trouble sleeping, a weighted blanket may help alleviate some of the symptoms.

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Provide Comfort and Security

Like swaddling newborns, weighted blankets are supposed to make babies feel secure and comfortable. Inducing a feeling of security can help people fall asleep more easily, according to several people.

Ease Stress and Soothe Anxiety

It is possible that a weighted blanket can assist alleviate stress and anxiety. The advantages of a weighted blanket may transfer into improved sleep for those who suffer from anxious thoughts because stress and worry often interfere with sleep.

Improve Sleep Quality

As a result of deep pressure stimulation, weighted blankets have been shown to promote the production of the mood booster serotonin, reduce stress hormone cortisol, and boost the sleep aid hormone melatonin when used at night. This may improve the quality of your overall sleep.

Calm The Nervous System

As a result of a neurological system that is overworked and unable to relax, sleep can be disrupted. Weighted blankets may help calm the fight-or-flight response and activate the parasympathetic nervous system in preparation for sleep by distributing an even amount of weight and pressure throughout the body.

According to makers, these blankets can help alleviate symptoms such as sleep apnea and improve overall health and well-being. With any product that claims to have medicinal benefits, it is best to be cautious.

Those who have a hard time falling asleep should seek the advice of a doctor to see if a weighted blanket could be a useful element of a more comprehensive treatment plan.

Who Can Benefit from Using a Weighted Blanket?

Research has shown that weighted blankets can help alleviate symptoms of both physical and emotional distress. Many illnesses have shown promising effects so far, but further research is needed.

Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the key reasons for using a weighted blanket. Autonomic arousal can be reduced by deep pressure stimulation. Many of the physical symptoms of anxiety are caused by this arousal, such as an elevated heart rate.

Autism

Sleep deprivation is common in people with autism, especially in youngsters. Research conducted in 2017 indicated that deep pressure therapy (brushing, massage, and squeeziness) has positive effects on some autistic adults. Weighted blankets may also provide these advantages.

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Weighted vests were used in a 2014 study that examined the use of weighted blankets for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This paper explains how weighted vests have been used in ADHD therapy to improve focus and minimize excessive movements.

Participants who wore a weighted vest for a continuous performance test showed encouraging outcomes, according to the research. These participants saw a decrease in the number of times they left their chairs, fidgeted, or fell off the task.

Insomnia and sleep disorders

Sleep disturbances can be caused by a variety of circumstances. They can be helpful in a number of basic ways. As a result, your heart rate and respiration may slow down. This may help you wind down before you get some shut-eye.

Osteoarthritis

Weighted blankets for osteoarthritis have not been studied in any depth. It’s possible, though, that a single study using massage therapy could provide the relationship.

Osteoarthritis patients were given massage therapy on one knee for eight weeks in a small research. Massage therapy was cited by study participants as a helpful treatment for knee discomfort and an improvement in overall well-being.

Using a weighted blanket may have similar effects to massage therapy for osteoarthritic joints since it offers deep pressure.

Chronic pain

Having a chronic pain condition can be difficult to deal with. Weighted blankets, on the other hand, may provide some relief to those who suffer from chronic pain.

UC San Diego researchers found that weighted blankets improved chronic pain perceptions in a 2021 studyTrusted Source. Weighted blankets were utilized by 94 people who suffer from chronic pain for one week. In the weighted blanket group, those experiencing anxiety were more likely to experience relief. However, the use of weighted blankets did not improve pain levels.

Medical procedures

Using weighted blankets during medical procedures may provide some help.

Weighted blankets were tested on participants undergoing wisdom tooth extraction in a study conducted in 2016. People who used a weighted blanket reported lower levels of anxiety than those who didn’t.

In a follow-up study on adolescents who used a weighted blanket during molar extraction, the researchers found comparable results. A weighted blanket was also found to reduce anxiety in the study.

Weighted blankets may help alleviate anxiety associated with medical procedures by reducing the heart rate and other signs of stress.

Are Weighted Blankets Safe?

Weighted blankets may provide some aid during medical procedures.

Using weighted blankets during wisdom teeth extraction was tested in a study in 2016. In comparison to the control group, those who used a weighted blanket reported less anxiety.

Studying adolescents who used a weighted blanket while having their wisdom teeth extracted was identical to the first study done by the researchers. Weighted blankets have also been shown to reduce anxiety, according to these findings.

Anxiety-inducing side effects of medical treatments such as elevated heart rate can be alleviated by employing weighted blankets.

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How To Choose the Right Weighted Blanket

Research has shown that weighted blankets can help alleviate symptoms of both physical and emotional distress. Many illnesses have shown promising effects so far, but further research is needed.

Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the key reasons for using a weighted blanket. Autonomic arousal can be reduced by deep pressure stimulation. Many of the physical symptoms of anxiety are caused by this arousal, such as an elevated heart rate.

Autism

Sleep deprivation is common in people with autism, especially in youngsters. Research conducted in 2017 indicated that deep pressure therapy (brushing, massage, and squeeziness) has positive effects on some autistic adults. Weighted blankets may also provide these advantages.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Weighted vests were used in a 2014 study that examined the use of weighted blankets for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This paper explains how weighted vests have been used in ADHD therapy to improve focus and minimize excessive movements.

Participants who wore a weighted vest for a continuous performance test showed encouraging outcomes, according to the research. These participants saw a decrease in the number of times they left their chairs, fidgeted, or fell off the task.

Insomnia and sleep disorders

Sleep disturbances can be caused by a variety of circumstances. They can be helpful in a number of basic ways. As a result, your heart rate and respiration may slow down. This may help you wind down before you get some shut-eye.

Osteoarthritis

Weighted blankets for osteoarthritis have not been studied in any depth. It’s possible, though, that a single study using massage therapy could provide the relationship.

Osteoarthritis patients were given massage therapy on one knee for eight weeks in a small research. Massage therapy was cited by study participants as a helpful treatment for knee discomfort and an improvement in overall well-being.

Using a weighted blanket may have similar effects to massage therapy for osteoarthritic joints since it offers deep pressure.

Chronic pain

Having a chronic pain condition can be difficult to deal with. Weighted blankets, on the other hand, may provide some relief to those who suffer from chronic pain.

UC San Diego researchers found that weighted blankets improved chronic pain perceptions in a 2021 studyTrusted Source. Weighted blankets were utilized by 94 people who suffer from chronic pain for one week. In the weighted blanket group, those experiencing anxiety were more likely to experience relief. However, the use of weighted blankets did not improve pain levels.

Medical procedures

Using weighted blankets during medical procedures may provide some help.

Weighted blankets were tested on participants undergoing wisdom tooth extraction in a study conducted in 2016. People who used a weighted blanket reported lower levels of anxiety than those who didn’t.

In a follow-up study on adolescents who used a weighted blanket during molar extraction, the researchers found comparable results. A weighted blanket was also found to reduce anxiety in the study.

Weighted blankets may help alleviate anxiety associated with medical procedures by reducing the heart rate and other signs of stress.

Do they actually work?

With the current research, there are several new promising studies showing weighted blankets can help alleviate physical discomfort or symptoms associated with other diseases.

It’s a 2020 research project

Researchers in Sweden have shown that weighted blankets can help persons suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have a better night’s sleep. A weighted chain blanket or a light blanket was given to 120 participants in the study. People who utilized the weighted blanket reported less insomnia and decreased weariness, depression, or anxiety during the day after four weeks.

In a 2021 study,

For adults and children with autism spectrum disorder or ADHD, a Swedish study found that weighted blankets helped them fall and remain asleep. Using weighted blankets for sleep made it simpler for 48 youngsters and 37 adults to unwind during the day.

28 people who had difficulty falling and staying asleep were surveyed in a 2020 study. Over the course of six weeks, people who used a weighted blanket reported better sleep, better sleep quality, and shorter times to bedtime.

Weighted blankets were tested on patients in an inpatient psychiatric institution in Florida in 2020. Weighted blanket users had lower rates of anxiety than those who didn’t use one, according to the study.

The anecdotal evidence that weighted blankets can alleviate physical pain, reduce anxiety, and promote sleep is supported by these modest research.

Are there risks when using a weighted blanket?

Weighted blankets pose extremely minimal dangers.

Despite this, weighted blankets are not recommended for children under the age of two, according to manufacturers, as it may raise the danger of asphyxia. Before using a weighted blanket on your child, always consult with your pediatrician.

Some people may not be able to use a weighted blanket because of their medical issues.

obstructive sleep apnea, which results in sleep disturbances, asthma, which can lead to sleep disturbances, and claustrophobia, which can be triggered by the tightness of a weighted blanket.

Takeaway

Weighted blankets are an at-home alternative to deep pressure therapy that can deliver similar effects.

A number of diseases, including autism, ADHD, and anxiety, have been helped by these blankets. Restless bodies, anxiety, and insomnia can all benefit from their use.

A weighted blanket that’s 10% of your body weight is ideal for your needs.

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