The Benefits of Weighted Blankets | Guide 2022

A weighted blanket is basically a heavy blanket with small weights sewn into pockets. It has evenly distributed weights or fabrics so that the blanket drapes tightly around the sleeper. This is not to be confused with blankets made of heavy fabrics like your grandmother’s comforter: the conforming nature of the blanket due to the tiny weights creates a sensory experience for the sleeper, possibly doubling the human touch. The resulting therapeutic effect, by whatever mechanism, is helpful in decreasing anxiety and insomnia.

Research on the benefits of weighted blankets is limited, and the recent increase in popularity and growth in the number of companies offering weighted blankets means that there are unsubstantiated claims about the effects of the blanket, such as the measurement in which they can help children with autism spectrum disorders. Therapists say more studies are needed. However, early studies show that people with various mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can improve their sleep by using a weighted blanket.

What is a weighted blanket used for?

A weighted blanket can:

  • Help those who suffer from anxiety and depression

  • Helps reduce symptoms of chronic pain

A weighted blanket can take many forms, although it most often has the quilt-like appearance of a quilt. Weighted blanket manufacturers such as Casper, Gravity, Saatva and YnM often recommend choosing a weighted blanket that is at least 10% of your body weight. (So ​​if you weigh 150 pounds, a 15-pound blanket is your best bet.) A recent randomized controlled trial found that compared to 5-pound weighted blankets, 15-pound weighted blankets reduced pain perception chronic in very anxious individuals.

Some of the current research suggests that the weight of weighted blankets can offer deep pressure stimulation, which could help people with anxiety disorders. Because a weighted blanket can help calm some sleepers and help them fall asleep, those sleepers are less likely to need medication to help them fall asleep. William Vaughn McCall, professor and chair emeritus of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Augusta University. “A sleeping pill can have side effects.”

The actual mechanism by which a weighted blanket works, however, is still unclear to researchers. Dr. Laura Case, adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of California, San Diego, says researchers found a decrease in pain in patients after one week of using a 15-weighted blanket. pounds, but a study with a longer period is needed. “We know that stronger pressure was more effective in people with high trait anxiety, so we think pressure plays a role in signaling safety,” Case says. “My work in general showed a deep pressure to be a form of affective touch.” This means, according to Case, that touch can have social and emotional effects. “But the research is very new and evolving,” Case says. For McCall, who was asked by Swedish researchers to review a medical study on weighted blankets, a weighted blanket reminded him of the psychiatric term “containment environment.” Feeling the weight of the blanket can feel like a hug from a loved one, and some may find comfort in the feeling of knowing there are physical boundaries. Because it has a hug-like feel, it can stimulate hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. “I think there’s something to it, but we haven’t figured out why,” McCall says.

In addition to considering a weighted blanket, those who have trouble sleeping should follow general sleep hygiene tips and pay attention to their daily schedules. They also need to make sure that their actual sleeping space is comfortable and that their mattress provides good support.

Are there any risks with weighted hedges?

A weighted blanket is not for:

  • Those who suffer from claustrophobia

  • Infants and very young children

  • Anyone who can’t lift the cover

While many can benefit from the sensory experience a weighted blanket provides, they are not for everyone, and some may even want to exercise extra caution. Small children and babies can suffocate if covered with a weighted blanket. If you suffer from claustrophobia, the close feeling of the blanket around your body can be uncomfortable.

Additionally, some may have difficulty removing a weighted blanket from their body. “Anyone who cannot safely lift the weight of the blanket or who is medically fragile should seek medical attention,” Case says.

Those who sleep hotter than average may find a weighted blanket too warm, although some weighted blankets may have cooling properties. For example, Gravity Blanket claims to have moisture-wicking fabric. Other options for hot sleepers include the Saatva Organic Weighted Blanket or the Bearaby Knitted Cotton Blanket, which have more breathable fibers that make them less likely to trap heat inside.

If you’re unsure whether a weighted blanket can benefit your sleep, many weighted blanket manufacturers offer 30-45 night sleep trials. So you have a few weeks to decide if it works for you. Most also offer free shipping.

What is the best weighted blanket?

If you’re buying a weighted blanket, ultimately the weight and fabric will determine what’s most comfortable and soothing for you so it’s a good self-care tool. Also, think about other changes you can make to your sleep environment or daily lifestyle to ensure you get the best sleep possible.

Considerations for a weighted blanket:

  • Weight: Researchers found, on average, that 15-pound weighted blankets made more of a difference in reducing chronic pain than 5-pound ones. Some manufacturers offer several weight options, ranging from 10 pounds to 35 pounds. However, you may need to experiment with different weights to see which pressure works best for you.
  • Cut: Weighted blankets come in a range of blanket sizes, and some are the size of a typical blanket. You can choose a size that only covers your body. While you may be happy with a weighted blanket, ask yourself if your partner or pets will enjoy the feel of a heavy blanket.
  • Equipment: Some materials can be more breathable than others, and some blankets, such as the Bearaby Cotton Napper Blanket, weave layers of cotton into a knitted cotton cord, leaving knit holes in between that can allow for greater circulation of air. Other blankets may include glass beads or polyester batting sewn into pockets on the blanket, which may appeal to some more than the feel of a chunky knit. Additionally, you might want to look for blankets that are machine washable, have a separate machine washable duvet cover, or are easy to clean. Most companies offer at least two color options so you can match it with other bedding in your bedroom.
  • Trial period and warranty: Many weighted blanket manufacturers offer a trial period of at least 30 days and free shipping. Some don’t offer free returns after the trial period, and some don’t offer guarantees. Be sure to read the fine print of each company so you have options if you don’t like how you feel.

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