Weighted Blankets Benefits
Dive into the many benefits you may experience from of using a weighted blanket and the research supporting them.
Check out the latest weighted blankets articles published on the world's largest medical journal database here.
According to Harvard Medical School research, "sleep problems affect more than 50% of adult patients with generalised anxiety disorder". Having anxiety can cause sleeping problems and make it difficult to sleep, but sleep deprivation can also trigger anxiety. Weighted blankets can help break this poor sleep cycle by providing physiological and psychological benefits that help alleviate anxiety.
Weighted blankets provide these benefits through Deep Touch Pressure (DTP), DTP is a therapeutic method to relax the nervous system by applying evenly distributed weight over the body. The Occupational Therapy in Mental Health Journal found one of the therapeutic benefits of DTP that is delivered through weighted blankets is a soothing, calming effect. Like a cocoon, massage or a hug, weighted blankets activate the touch sensory input by applying pressure over the body, giving the person a relaxing sense of peace and calm.
Read our article on how to stop worrying and go to sleep here
Another well known benefit of weighted blankets is their positive effects on sleep, but what is the research supporting this belief? Historically, the evidence has been sparse, however, as weighted blankets grow in popularity and use, new studies are looking into the benefits for sleep and finding encouraging results. In Sept. 2020, The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published a randomised controlled study that concluded "Weighted blankets are an effective and safe intervention for insomnia in patients with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also improving daytime symptoms and levels of activity."
A 2015 study from the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden says "Objectively, we found that sleep bout time increased, as well as a decrease in movements of the participants, during weighted blanket use. Subjectively, the participants liked sleeping with the blanket, found it easier to settle down to sleep and had an improved sleep, where they felt more refreshed in the morning. Overall, we found that when the participants used the weighted blanket, they had a calmer night's sleep."
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Cambridge University Press found "children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to have disturbed sleep than typically developing children, with a prevalence of sleep disturbance in children with ASD between 40% and 80%".
As many of those familiar with ASD know, "sleeping difficulties are frequently chronic, resulting in additional learning and behaviour problems and affecting the whole family’s well-being". This troubling link between sleep issues and ASD has lead to many studies seeking to understand the cause to be able to better treat sleep disorders for these children.
While the research is still inconclusive on the cause of sleep disorders experienced by those with ASD, increasing evidence suggests the squeezing/hugging feeling that is administered by a weighted blanket provides a calming sensation that is enjoyed by ASD children and adults and, thus aids sleep.
This is, in fact, how the very first weighted blankets came to be, applying an even pressure to receive the benefits of touch therapy. Further research from Harvard shows that touch therapy can relieve ailments like muscle spasms and social anxiety.
Learn more about the Benefits of Weighted Blankets for those living on the spectrum here
Promotes Focus and Sleep for Kids with ADHD
Children with ADHD can be easily distracted by whats going on around them, weighted blankets activate the sense of touch which can help minimise distractions by other sensory stimuli. A study using weighted vests, not blankets, worn by children with ADHD, showed improvements in attention span, task completion and reduced hyperactive movements.
Research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information into weighted blankets were found effective in reducing the time it took for children with ADHD to fall asleep and improved sleep time.
Learn more about the Benefits of Weighted Blankets for Kids here
Restless Leg Syndrome
Eases Restless Leg Syndrome & Lessens Nighttime movement
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) tends to flare up with anxiety and also at bedtime. Applying pressure for an extended amount of time to the legs has been shown to ease symptoms of RLS meaning that weighted blankets have been found to be a good natural treatment for RLS.
If you are used to waking up from tossing and turning during the night, weighted blankets provide gentle but firm downward weight that reduces nighttime movement. This grounding effect of weighted blankets allows for a calmer nights sleep.
Learn more about Weighted Blankets and Restless Legs here
Overheating at night
Helps with Night Sweats, Hot Flashes & Temperature Regulation
The question of getting the comfort of a heavy duvet during the warmer months is finally answered. Weighted blankets provide you with weight from glass beads that do not trap or retain heat. Further, Groundd blankets are specifically designed to address this issue of hot sleepers but using only natural, breathable materials such as 100% cotton and bamboo Lyocell, unlike the commonly used polyester that is not breathable and traps heat.
Learn more about how to stop night sweats and hot flashes naturally here
Mental, physical & emotional
A well rested person with a clear calm mind, void of anxiety, is in a position where they are able to improve many facets of their lives, including boosted mental, physical & emotional performance. Let's face it, when you are sleep deprived every part of your life becomes much more challenging whether it be getting along with your partner, taking care of your children, staying fit or performing well in your career. A weighted blanket may work for you to give you the rest and state of mind you need to perform at your best.
The release of the feel-good hormone oxytocin combined with a decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone) from weighted blanketscan have a significant effect on moods. Oxytocin plays several roles in the body from stimulating feelings of attachment and closeness, and generating a deep sense of calm to regulating our sleep-wake cycles and path to sleep.
Reduces Cortisol & Stress
Weighted blankets apply pressure to the body to facilitate "grounding" or "earthing" of the body and creating a calming effect.Studies show thatgrounding the body helps reduce nighttime cortisol levels. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, is produced when the body thinks it's under attack, eliciting thefight or flightresponse. Lower levels of cortisol are involved in switching into the restful parasympathetic nervous system and lower levels of anxiety, insomnia, weight gain and depression.
Sensory Processing Disorder
Weighted blankets have a long history of use in a type of occupational therapy called sensory integration therapy. Weighted blankets are one tool therapists, and parents, use to provide the the calming feelings of comfort and security. The feeling of the tiny beads inside the blanket are intriguing to touch and the cover is soft and cozy.
Those suffering from PTSD often experience a variety of problems related to sleep including nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and restlessness. PTSD UK explainsweighted blankets are used as an alternative to pharmaceutical treatments for these symptoms as well as the other benefits of Deep Touch Pressure from weighted blankets including alleviating anxiety and increasing serotonin.
"Sleep difficulties are common in children and young people with Tourette syndrome and chronic tic disorders (TS/CTD)."says Oxford Academic Sleep Research Society. The calming effects coupled with the pressure from weighted blankets can provide resistance to tics and make it easier to relax and fall asleep naturally for those with TS.
Calms the Nervous System
The pressure from the evenly distributed weight of the blanketactivates the parasympathetic nervous system, switching the body's fromfight or flightresponse to therest and digestresponse.
Serotonin is an important chemical and neurotransmitter in the human body. It is believed to help regulate mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and more.Weighted blankets have been shown to increase serotonin in the bodyaccording to Occupational Therapy and Mental Health.Serotonin is also required to produce melatonin which is associated with easing into natural sleep.