Do Weighted Blankets Really Work?
Perhaps one of the comfiest trends in wellness as of late, weighted blankets have exploded in popularity. This seemingly new sleeping aid was originally invented in the 1970s for trauma victims. Touted as being effective for alleviating a variety of conditions, weighted blankets seem to be a catch-all in both comfort and relief…but do they truly work?
Weighted blankets are designed to relieve stress and anxiety, by replicating a warm hug. It works by providing equal pressure to the body from multiple layers usually filled with glass beads or heavy plastic pellets.
The blankets come in different weights and sizes for both kids and adults. A good rule of thumb when choosing a weighted blanket of your own is to go for one that is 10% of your body weight. This will ensure optimal pressure and warmth, without being overbearing.
Weighted blankets work in a way similar to an operative technique known as ‘deep touch pressure.’ When using DPT, applying pressure to the body can solicit the release of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is the chemical associated with well-being and happiness, which can have a powerful effect on someone who often experiences anxiety, stress, depression, or insomnia.
Other applications that weighted blankets have is providing users relief from sleeplessness and insomnia. One study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders followed 31 adults with chronic insomnia. The participants’ sleep was tracked normally for the first week, then with a weighted blanket for two weeks, then back to normal conditions again.
The study found that four out of five participants experienced significantly higher quality sleep when using a weighted blanket. Those in this group slept longer, and awoke less frequently in the middle of the night. They also reported that falling asleep was easier when using a weighted blanket.
Weighted blankets are usually pretty expensive, but you can still find some for $60 or less on Amazon or at Walmart. If you have any health concerns, be sure to consult your doctor. Weighted blankets may have adverse effects for those with respiratory, circulatory, or temperature regulation problems.