Table of contents:

How a Weighted Blanket Can Help Relieve Insomnia
How a Weighted Blanket Can Help Relieve Insomnia

You will find a description of the design, advice on choosing the ideal model and care, contraindications and more.

How a Weighted Blanket Can Help Relieve Insomnia
How a Weighted Blanket Can Help Relieve Insomnia

What is a weighted blanket and how it works

A Weighted Blanket is a blanket that is significantly heavier than normal and weighs from 2 to 13 kg. As a rule, such products are quilted. There are many pockets in them, in each of which a weighting agent is poured. It can be:

  • glass or metal balls;
  • plastic granules;
  • buckwheat husk;
  • sand.

In general, any bulk material can be used. The main thing is that it provides the required weight, is clean, hypoallergenic and does not deteriorate from moisture.

Sometimes manufacturers call large blankets knitted from thick yarn as weighted blankets. There is no filler in them, and they weigh less than classic models.

Who needs a weighted blanket

Presumably, such products were invented in the late nineties. The authorship is attributed either to the biologist Temple Grandin, or to the entrepreneur Keith Zivalich. Grandin had an ASD and a heavy blanket - she called Temple Grandin Hug Machine: How did Weighted Blanket Research Begin? his "machine for hugs" - the scientist used first herself, and later in children with a similar diagnosis. Zivalich, on the other hand, came up with a blanket by accident: noticing that the heaviness helps him calm down. He launched How The Weighted Blanket That Started It All, Got Started mass production under the Magic Weighted Blanket label. His products were tested by social educators on children with special needs - and were pleased with the results.

Now manufacturers of weighted blankets are positioning them primarily as an aid for people with autism spectrum disorders. Back in 1999, Temple Grandin and her colleagues figured out Behavioral and Physiological Effects of Deep Pressure on Children With Autism: A Pilot Study Evaluating the Efficacy of Grandin’s Hug Machine, that a cuddling machine can help relieve anxiety in children with autism. Later, the results were repeatedly confirmed by Weighted Blankets and Sleep in Autistic Children-A Randomized Controlled Trial by small experiments.

There are several other conditions in which a weighted blanket can be helpful. But it is important to understand that no one has yet conducted large-scale studies with a good representative sample. All scientific works on this topic are rather modest, with a small number of participants. This means that the results cannot be extrapolated to everyone, and the blanket may not have the desired effect on you. These conditions include:

  • Insomnia. For example, the participants in the small study Positive Effects of a Weighted Blanket, thanks to the weighted blanket, began to fall asleep faster, their sleep became deeper, more calm and prolonged, the number of nighttime awakenings, movements and twitchings decreased.
  • and depression. Participants in the experiment A randomized controlled study of weighted chain blankets for insomnia in psychiatric disorders, covered with heavy blankets, noted not only an improvement in the quality of sleep, but also a decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders. These results are supported by another small study that looked at people with anxiety.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The experiment showed Use of Ball Blanket in attention ‑ deficit / hyperactivity disorder sleeping problems that, thanks to weighted blankets, children with such a diagnosis can sleep better. Also, there are studies not with blankets, but with vests that act in a similar way. These products helped the Participants' Effects of Weighted Vests on Attention, Impulse Control, and On-Task Behavior in Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to calm down, concentrate and cope better with their studies.
  • Stress. So, of 32 adults who rested under 13-kilogram blankets, 78% noted Exploring the Safety and Therapeutic Effects of Deep Pressure Stimulation Using a Weighted Blanket, which helps them calm down. In very exciting situations, this also works: people who were nervous about the upcoming tooth extraction, after using a heavy blanket, worried a little less Effect of deep pressure input on parasympathetic system in patients with wisdom tooth surgery than the control group.

In addition, a healthy person can sleep under a weighted blanket - if he is so comfortable.

Why a weighted blanket can help you sleep better

The use of a weighted blanket is considered one of the varieties of the so-called deep sensory therapy, or deep pressure therapy - deep pressure therapy (deep touch pressure). Its essence is to gently but perceptibly press on the human body with your palms, massage it. Such actions help Physiological Effects of Deep Touch Pressure on Anxiety Alleviation: The Weighted Blanket Approach to activate the parasympathetic system and calm the sympathetic, that is, to "switch" a person from the "fight or flight" mode, which is launched in stressful situations, into rest mode.

Gentle pressure on the body reduces Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy the production of cortisol (stress hormone) and increases the secretion of dopamine, the neurotransmitter of pleasure.

This is the physiological side of the issue. But there is also a psychological one. In the reviews, people who use a weighted blanket say that it "grounded", creates the effect of a hug, a cocoon. As if you are protected from all sides, you are warm and calm. A kind of swaddling for those who have already grown from infancy.

Who shouldn't use a weighted blanket

Despite encouraging research results, such products are not always useful or harmless. Weighted Blankets: Do They Work? which are usually listed by blanket manufacturers and doctors:

  • Less than two years old. Infants should not be covered with heavy blankets, and it is not so important that inside there are glass balls or, for example, more traditional down and feathers. It is necessary to choose only lightweight products and blankets that will definitely not block the child's nose and squeeze the chest.
  • Bronchial asthma.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
  • Claustrophobia.

If you or your child has a mental health problem, a chronic cardiovascular disease, why You Should Use a Weighted Blanket for Anxiety, or respiratory problems, or problems with thermoregulation, it is best to consult a healthcare professional before purchasing a Weighted Blanket.

It should also be borne in mind that such products are simply salvation for some, while others are completely unsuitable. On the Internet, you can find reviews from people who, on the contrary, could not sleep well: it was too hard and too hot.

How to Choose the Perfect Weighted Blanket

The main thing in such a blanket is its weight. It should be 5-10% of your body weight, Why You Should Use a Weighted Blanket for Anxiety. It is also important to choose a size that will be comfortable for you, taking into account your height.

There are additional factors to consider.

  • Textile. It is better to choose natural materials that are breathable and not too rustling, such as cotton.
  • Weighting agent. Some manufacturers use plastic granules, which, according to advertisements, adjust to the body temperature of a person and are able to absorb or, conversely, give off heat. As planned, it should not be hot under such a blanket. But in reality, it's hard to say. Reviews about this filler are controversial.
  • Drop-down pockets. Some blankets have each compartment with a zipper. This allows you to remove part of the weighting agent in order to regulate the weight, or empty everything out completely to wash the product without problems.

How to care for a weighted duvet

There are several options.

A small baby blanket can simply be washed in the washing machine and then dried flat. It will dry for a long time. Products that do not fit into a typewriter are best dry-cleaned. If the design allows, empty the weighting agent from the pockets, wash the empty blanket, dry it and refill it.

Popular by topic