Weighted blankets are among the newest and most popular sleep products on the market. But what are they and do they work?
What is a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets are heavy blankets that are used for therapeutic purposes — most commonly stress and anxiety. These blankets can be made from a variety of materials but are usually filled with plastic pellets, ball bearings or glass beads which give them their weight. Most blankets weigh between 2kg – 13kg.
How weighted blankets work
Weighted blankets are designed to relieve stress by providing pressure on the body. The pressure on the body simulated a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation (DPS). Deep pressure stimulation is a hands-on technique designed to relax the nervous system, which in turn may help relieve pain, lessen anxiety and improve mood.
What does the research say?
Some research has been done on the benefits of weighted blankets for various conditions. Although more research is needed, they have been shown to be beneficial for a number of conditions.
One of the main reasons people use a weighted blanket is to ease the symptoms of anxiety. Some research has shown that a weighted blanket can help reduce anxiety symptoms such as increased heart rate.
Insomnia and sleep disorders
Some findings have found that people who use a weighted blanket have fewer insomnia symptoms. They stay asleep longer and have fewer disruptions during their sleep. They also notice their sleep quality improves overall. Some also report that weighted blankets can help people get to sleep faster.
People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often find DPS to be helpful in reducing hyperactive movements and increase attention. Research has linked weighted blankets to improved sleep for people with ADHD.
Some research has shown that using a weighted blanket can also assist in autism-related sleeping problems.
One of the recommended treatments for chronic pain is massage therapy. Some studies have shown that using deep pressure during massage therapy may reduce pain reflexes in people with chronic pain conditions. This indicates that using a weighted blanket may also help reduce feelings of pain.
How to choose a weighted blanket
As a general rule, a weighted blanket should weigh around 5% – 10% of your body weight. It should also fit snugly into your bed.
Some people find that the extra weight makes them feel too warm when they sleep, but there are some made of materials such as breathable cotton that circulates air away from your body, ensuring you don’t get too hot.
Get a good night’s sleep
While weighted blankets may help ease symptoms of anxiety, it’s important to visit your doctor if anxiety is causing you sleep problems or interfering with the quality of your life.
Other steps you can take to ensure a good night’s sleep include:
- Have a consistent bedtime
- Make time to unwind from the day
- Avoid alcohol before bed
- Avoid eating heavy meals before bed
- Turn screens off at least one hour before going to sleep
- Ensure your room is dark, quiet and the right temperature
- Invest in the right mattress
At BedGuard, we specialise in manufacturing high-quality, supportive, waterproof mattresses suitable for every member of the family. Come in-store or browse our range online today.