Weighted blankets for improving sleep – do they really work?
According to reports by Gallop.com, in 2018 alone, more than 55% of Americans have been found suffering from acute stress. The primary reasons being their financial status, job stability, health issues, family responsibility, relationship with their spouse and what not.
Stress during prolonged periods can result in health issues like PTSD, insomnia, anxiety, fibromyalgia etc.
Since it is better to get over any health issue following natural remedies and therapy vs going for regular medicines which mostly act as placebos. Studies suggest that there is a direct relation of stress with the quality of your sleep. Weighted blankets have been found to help a lot in curing anxiety and sleeplessness. In this post we will try to reach a conclusion whether they actually work or not!
Weighted blankets came into popularity since they helped children with sensory issues. These are specially built blankets which are made up of weighted beads, glass pellets and are sewn in a way that they exert uniform pressure around your body.
These blankets can weigh upto 30 pounds and come in different sizes and colors as there are many brands which are involved in manufacturing them.
Talking about the scientific research, adding extra kilos to your blanket might sound silly but as far as health and safety are concerned, they have been found to be safe to use. Though, if you are suffering from a lung disease or a neuromuscular chest wall disorder, you might need to consult your doctor before adding up that extra weight over your chest while sleeping.
How to choose a proper weight?
It is suggested that you choose a weighted blanket that weighs approximately 10% of your weight. This is the sweet spot as reported by majority of the users. Moreover, while buying a blanket, manufacturers do list out a weight chart which helps you to decide a proper weight of the blanket according to your weight.
How do weighted blankets help?
Weighted blankets uniformly exert pressure around your body. This is basically a stimulus which makes you believe that you are being hugged and held.
Scientifically this helps you to calm down your nerves, your brain gets a signal that you are under relief which helps you to sleep better at night.
This is the main reason why weighted blankets have been widely popular among adults and have been proposed widely in mental health communities, particularly for people facing with anxiety and insomnia.
If you are still concerned whether weighted blankets do work or not, there was a study done in 2008 involving 32 adults. Around 32% of them reported to have reduced anxiety. Also, a standardised report suggested that 78% of users said that they felt more relaxed with it.
Study also suggests that most of the people sleep for longer intervals and tend to toss and turn very little at night while using the weighted blanket.
There was a study reported in 2014 where 67 children facing from autism reported to have felt better after using a weighted blanket at night.
Adding to the above in 2016 there was another study done on 60 patients while getting their wisdom tooth removed. Among them 30 were given a weighted blanket during the procedure. The end result was that the patients without the weighted blanket were more scared and freaking out while those with the weighted blankets appeared to be calm and relaxed during the procedure.
Though, it is still unclear as in how do weighted blankets actually work and help in better sleep. Doctors suggest it is due to the deep pressure stimulation which could be a cognitive thing that pressure helps you feel hugged and that feeling in turn helps you feel relaxed and calm.
Whether weighted blankets do have some scientific reason or not around their working mechanism, it is certain that they do help in relaxing and calming your mind and help you sleep better.
Also, these blankets do cost hundreds of dollars and are not so cheap. It depends on the individual preference whether one wants to use a weighted blanket or not. It might just be a placebo or it might actually help you sleep better. There is a still a scope for a lot of research work around the same. Based on the current level of study and research work, we do suggest that you shall try them if you want to find out a natural way to cure your stress and sleeping issues.
Do share your thoughts in the comments section about your experience of using a weighted blanket.