What Are The Benefits Of A Weighted Blanket
First, there aren’t a lot of studies to back up weighted blanket claims. Most of the research on these products has been on people with developmental disorders, like children with autism, Solz explains. “From those studies, we’re finding that there aren’t significant differences in terms of objective measures like how quickly kids fall asleep and the total time they spend asleep,” she adds.
What those studies do show, however, is that participants who use weighted blankets seem to like it better than a regular blanket, she points out. “It can feel nice and luxuriouslike a big hugand that may be helpful for some people.”
A few small studies have looked at the effect weighted blankets have on anxiety and insomnia in adults. A 2015 study in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders, for example, found that participants’sleep time increased and nighttime movement decreased when they used weighted blankets, compared to regular blankets. They also reported that it was easier for the study participants to settle down to sleep with the weighted blanket, and that they felt more refreshed in the morning.
How Weighted Blankets Work
The pressure from a weighted blanket on the skin activates sensory systems, which in turn affects the brain. In response to the additional pressure, the brain releases neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which improve mood and induce a calming effect.
For jittery kids who spend all day at school or too much time indoors during cold winter months, a weighted blanket may be an important tool when creating a calming bedroom and nighttime routine. The deep touch pressure provided by weighted blankets calm the nervous system as well, which is necessary for good sleep.
Weighted Blankets For Anxiety And Insomnia: Do They Work
Weighted blankets are mentioned quite often in online sleep communities these days.
Theres a lot of positive anecdotes about them, which suggests they can be effective for not only reducing anxiety, but also sleep issues.
Research has started to be published on this subject, so Im going to give you a quick overview of the current research on weighted blankets and if they are actually effective.
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Weighted Blankets For Adhd
Researchers at Temple University found that 95 percent of participants with ADHD in a study improved when they received sensory intervention. The interventions offered included deep pressure touch therapy and a variety of strenuous exercise. As one researcher stated, We found significant improvement in sensory avoiding behaviors, tactile sensitivity, and visual auditory sensitivity in the group that received treatment.
If your therapist uses deep pressure touch therapy, he or she may suggest using a weighted blanket so you can continue to receive the benefits at home.
How To Choose The Right Weighted Blanket
Most people prefer a weighted blanket equivalent to about 10% of their body weight, though you should take your own preferences into consideration when looking for a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are sold in weights ranging from 7 pounds to 25 pounds, and they typically come in standard bedding sizes such as twin, full, queen, and king. Some manufacturers also make child- or travel-size weighted blankets.
Weighted blankets are more expensive than regular throw blankets, usually between $100 to $300. The more expensive models tend to be made with more durable materials and may offer better breathability or other features.
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Do Weighted Blankets Help With Insomnia
Insomnia is the dilemma of struggling to fall and remain asleep. Many people turn to medication or behavioral therapy to lessen symptoms. Weighted blankets offer a natural and pretty cost-effective solution.
If a blanket seems too simple an answer, studies have also backed up this claim.
A group of Swedish researchers found that the introduction of weighted blankets to patients with insomnia resulted in reduced symptoms, less interrupted sleep, and feeling more rested during the day.
This group was 26 times more likely to cut their insomnia symptoms in half and were 20 times more likely to enter remission of insomnia altogether.
Pretty compelling results. Give one a go whats there to lose besides sleep in the meantime?
Do Weighted Blankets Work
Maybe? Search online and youll find dozens of weighted blankets for sale. Studies of their effectiveness, though, are harder to come by. Generally, studies have shown that weighted blankets might be effective in some situations for reducing anxiety.
- In one study of 32 adult volunteers, 63% reported lower anxiety after lying under a 30-pound blanket for 5 minutes.
- Another study tested weighted blankets in 30 people who had been hospitalized for a mental health crisis, and 60% reported lower anxiety after using the blanket.
Sounds promising, but studies connecting weighted blankets to insomnia are even less conclusive and there just isnt a high volume of studies on weighted blankets.
The bottom line: its way too early to draw any scientific conclusions, Dr. Bea says. The current studies are small and have many limitations, he points out. There isnt great research yet that says weighted blankets make a big difference.
What Types Of Conditions Can A Weighted Blanket Help
Weighted blankets are perhaps most closely associated with sensory processing disorder and related conditions like autism, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder . However, weighted blankets may help with a wide variety of other health issues.
Deep touch pressure therapy promotes the release of oxytocin, and because oxytocin is known to help ease a broad range of health conditions, its useful for alleviating the symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and fibromyalgia.
The 5 Top Sleep Disorders And How Weighted Blankets Help
From insomnia to narcolepsy, weve got the run-down on the five most common sleep disorders and the natural strategies that can help you reclaim your sleep.
Sleep disorders are a common issue in America, leading to millions of restless nights and tired days. As people who care deeply about the quality of sleep, the Bearaby team wanted to take a closer look at some of the top sleep disorders that are wreaking havoc on our quality of life.
From insomnia to narcolepsy, weve got the run-down on the five most common sleep disorders and the natural strategies that can help you reclaim your sleep.
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Causes Of Restless Leg Syndrome
There is no one known cause for RLS, but doctors believe this sleep disorder may be tied to imbalances in the brains dopamine levels. RLS can be a hereditary condition, transferring through a specific gene. RLS can also be developed during pregnancy, but in most cases disappear after delivery. In general, however, researchers are unsure of the causes or risk factors for developing RLS.
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
Snoring is the most notable symptom of sleep apnea, as are episodes of non-breathing and gasping for air. Many people who have sleep apnea are unaware of their nighttime breathing habits. Signs you may have sleep apnea include a dry mouth, excessive fatigue despite getting enough hours of sleep, morning headaches, and difficulty focusing during the day. These are all due to the lack of oxygen to the brain and poor-quality sleep during the night.
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What Are The Benefits Of Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are designed to reduce stress and promote feelings of relaxation, which in turn can help you fall asleep more quickly. For many, the feeling of a blanket pushing gently onto their body and weighing them down is calming. This sensation is intended to simulate deep pressure touch , a type of therapy that alleviates anxiety by distributing an even amount of weight across the body. DPT is comparable to a full body hug. When administered properly, some studies have shown DPT to be highly effective at reducing anxiety in children and adults.
Weighted blankets are often touted as therapeutically valuable for those with certain medical conditions like autism, depression and PTSD, but overall, the research supporting these claims is thin. As with any product, be wary of any medical claims from manufacturers.
What Are The Benefits Of Sleeping With A Weighted Blanket
by Casey AmesJune 24, 2019
Fact Checked & Updated by Molly Shaw Wilson MS OTR/L BCP
While weighted blankets offer many benefits, the one most people are looking to achieve is to improve their sleep. Heavy blankets have mostly been used for those individuals with autism or sensory processing disorder, but more and more often they are being used for those individuals with sleeping disorders, like insomnia or restless leg syndrome, as well as people who simply would like to improve their sleep overall.
In this article, well look at some of the studies behind weighted blankets and what they have to offer for those looking to improve their sleep. Mental health professionals are important to consult when starting a new tool or technique, occupational therapists can be helpful in choosing and implementing deep pressure stimulation tools for use at home.
Need more melatonin in your life? Check out Harkla’s Sleep Supplements.
The last reason weighted blankets help improve sleep is simply for the fact that they are heavier than regular blankets. By doing this, weighted blankets deliver deep pressure stimulation to the user. This extra weight decreases tossing and turning during the night and can be a great way to deal with restless leg syndrome.
AStudy from Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders found that a weighted blanket helped those with insomnia sleep better, simply because it helped them feel more settled before bed.
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Causes Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can be either obstructive or central. In obstructive sleep apnea, the relaxation of the throat and tongue muscles cause a blockage in the throat that prevents proper breathing.
Carrying excess weight, having a narrow throat, or suffering chronic nasal congestion can lead to obstructive sleep apnea. It is most common in older males.
With central sleep apnea, the problem stems from the brain, which fails to send the proper signals to initiate regular breathing. This problem is typically more common in older males with heart disorders, history of stroke, or who are taking narcolepsy medications.
Natural Ways to Overcome Sleep Apnea
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise and yoga can help strengthen your heart and prevent sleep apnea.
- Try sleeping on your side rather than on your back.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking which worsen sleep apnea.
How To Find A Good Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets have become common enough that you can find them easily online.
What to look for:
- Choose a fabric your child will enjoy many weighted blankets are made from a soft minky or fleece material.
- Pay attention to weight blankets should typically weigh between 5-10% of your childs body weight plus 1 or 2 additional pounds, though suggestions vary.
- Choose a blanket size that will work for your child sizes can range from a small lap blanket to ones large enough to cover a bed.
A 9-12 pound weighted blanket is generally recommended for children. Here are some good choices:
- Bearaby has weighted blankets for all sizes and this one is the perfect size and weight for the younger children around the ages 4-8. It is 95% organic cotton and is knitted into a breathable blanket that is a favorite in our house.
- Weighted Evolution Reasonably priced and we love the weight/color options and the quality of this blanket. It uses glass beads and the weight is evenly distributed and super comfortable.
- Sensory Goods Blanket On the pricier side but it is organic and plastic-free. Variety of sizes and weights.
- LUNA Weighted Blanket Hypoallergenic and has Certified Oeko-TEX Cotton with non-toxic glass beads.
- Harkla Blanket Not organic or natural fabric but this one is super soft and the filling is plastic-free.
The good news is, if these options arent in the budget and you can sew, its not very hard to make your own custom blanket!
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How To Choose The Best Weighted Blanket For You
If you want to try a weighted blanket, read online reviews first and look for features that you think will help you relax, says Solz: Maybe material softness or breathability is important to you, or maybe you want a blanket with built-in aromatherapy to evoke a spa-like environment, for example.
Many of us carry around anxiety, which can cause trouble sleeping, so it’s important to have healthy coping habits you can turn to when you’re stressed, she explains. “You might do deep breathing or take a hot shower or cozy up in your favorite sweater, and a weighted blanket might be another part of that arsenal.”
What About Sleep Trials And Warranties
When it comes to sleep trials, weighted blankets are a mixed bag. Some brands do not offer any sort of trial period whatsoever. Others may offer a sleep trial of 30 nights or longer, during which customers can test out the blanket and decide whether or not to keep it. These sleep trials usually carry certain stipulations you probably wont be able to return the blanket for a full refund if it has been laundered. Companies never accept returns for blankets that are stained, soiled, or otherwise damaged.
Warranties are also somewhat common for weighted blankets. Although some manufacturers dont offer a warranty, many will back their blankets with up to five years of warranty coverage. This ensures the company will issue a replacement or refund your money if the blanket is faulty or develops a defect down the road.
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Better Nights With Bearaby
We love sleep, and we want you to love your sleep, too. When youre facing the struggles of a sleep disorder, however, sleep transitions from rest to stress.
Weighted blankets have shown to greatly improve sleep quality, reduce issues like insomnia and RLS, and even improve our moods to help fight depression and anxiety. Fall into a better sleep habit under the support of a weighted blanket.
The top 5 most common sleep disorders are insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and REM sleep behavior disorder.
Many sleep disorders require the help of a sleep professional, but there are natural ways to improve our sleep and catch our Zzzs.
Weighted blankets can help improve sleep quality and reduce the symptoms of these disorders.
Did you know?
Who Should Not Use A Weighted Blanket
When used properly, weighted blankets are safe for most adults and kids. While there are very few risks, below are a few groups and exceptions to consider.
- For young kids: Weighted blankets can pose a safety hazard for small children under the age of three or that weigh less than 50 pounds. Always consult with your pediatrician for their recommendations and use adult supervision.
- For pregnant women: Weighted blankets can be helpful during pregnancy if youre having trouble getting a good nights rest. Check with your doctor for any risk factors specific to your pregnancy beforehand.
- For seniors: When it comes to sleeping as you age, a weighted blanket may offer relief for sleep problems. If you have any health conditions, always consult your doctor before use.
- For those with health concerns: If you have sleep apnea, respiratory issues, or other concerns, err on the side of caution and confirm with your doctor that its safe to sleep with a weighted blanket.
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How Can A Weighted Blanket Help Sleep Apnea
Believe it or not, but a weighted blanket might actually help any issues that you might be having with an inability to sleep because of sleep apnea. While it might not sound effective. After all, you will be applying a blanket weighing around 10% of your body weight. How would that help you breathe better throughout the night? Below, we will be going over some of the ways it might help.
1. Increasing Oxytocin Production
Perhaps the greatest benefit of sleeping with a weighted blanket can offer those who suffer from OSA is the ability to produce much more oxytocin in their body . It is able to do this by mimicking the same kind of sensation that you would get from being hugged. Your body responds well to being held. A weighted blanket is able to offer this same experience without the negatives that come with hugging someone throughout the night. Studies have shown that an increase in oxytocin was able to significantly decrease the percent of apnea experienced by subjects .
2. Can Reduce Cortisol Levels
While there isn’t a direct link to OSA and heightened cortisol levels, having high cortisol levels in your body is only going to put your body in a tense state. This can cause your muscles to restrict which can cause you to get poor quality sleep and it can cause you to gain weight. The gaining weight portion can directly lead to an increased risk factor associated with sleep apnea.
3. Helps You Breathe
4. Keeps You Asleep
More Than Just Insomnia And Anxiety
Depression, anxiety, aggression, OCD, PTSD, and bi-polar disorder have all been linked to low serotonin levels in the brain, which weighted blankets are reported to assist with. In addition, people battling with depression, mania, anxiety, trauma, and paranoia, or undergoing detoxification have reported relief from symptoms.
Weighted blankets have reportedly helped patients suffering from a lot of different diseases and disorders, from autism, to Tourettes, Alzheimers Disease, Cerebral Palsy, Restless Leg Syndrome, and even can help alleviate menopausal symptoms!