Anxiety, stress, panic attacks, restless leg syndrome, menopause, ADHD, autism, bruxism. Some of these conditions are treatable while others can be relieved. But the most important thing is that they have all been linked lately to one thing – weighted blankets. If you’ve spent any time online at all or if you’re like me and would do anything to improve the quality of your life in a natural and easy way, you might have already heard about them. But are weighted blankets actually backed up by scientists and doctors? Keep reading and find out.
Yes, weighted blankets have the support of both doctors and researchers for two reasons. That’s where they started – weighted blankets were first used by therapists to calm down patients suffering from autism and different mental conditions. It is only now that they have gone mainstream and are being used by everyone. Second of all, as you will see in this piece, there are many studies performed on weighted blankets that show how they can ease your ailments and improve your life.
There are many weighted blankets on the market to choose from. I’ve done a lot of research according to their specifications and user reviews, and here are the best ones. On top of my list is the Quility Premium Adult Weighted Blanket. It might cost a little bit more, but it will be worth it. If you’re on a budget I recommend the YnM Weighted Blanket for its superb quality and lower price.
Alternatively, you can read my full article about best weighted blankets for adults and kids in 2019.
The Weighted Blanket Sleep Study That Got My Attention
When I first started researching weighted blankets, I came across a lot of user reviews and even more studies. Naturally, I was interested in both. But one thing that really caught my eye was this sleep study from the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders from 2015. It was conducted in Sweden on 31 men and women between the ages of 20 and 66 who complained of insomnia.
The research lasted for a month during which the individuals had to sleep normally for two weeks and the other two using a weighted blanket. The conclusions of the test showed that all of them slept a lot better with the blankets, they were calmer, more comfortable, and didn’t move as much.
Research and Scientific Studies on the Benefits of Weighted Blankets
So, we’ve already seen that users swear by these blankets to help them sleep better, relieve their feelings of anxiety, stress, panic attacks, aid women who are going through menopause, children who suffer from autism, and even rowdy pets. But is there any scientific backing to all this or is it just placebo?
Studies on children with ADHD
A study from 2011 recorded 42 children between the ages of 8 and 13 both healthy and with ADHD. They tracked their sleeping patterns for a month. Half of that time the children were supposed to use weighted blankets. As it turned out, when they did, they fell asleep a lot easier and didn’t wake up in the middle of the night as much.
Studies on teenagers with autism
Another study from 2014, this time performed on teenagers with autism between the ages of five and 16 asked the subjects to use weighted blankets seeing as they also had severe sleeping problems. Both the children and their parents preferred the weighted blankets every night as opposed to a traditional comforter.
According to the scientists at Harvard University, children and young adults with autism respond a lot better to therapy if they are massaged very softly, touched gently or, even better, hugged. This is why they have been using weighted blankets during sessions. Because this is exactly the type of sensation these comforters provide.
Weighted Blanket Benefits for Children, Adults, and Even Pets
Weighted blankets may have become one of the coolest trends regarding your sleep hygiene that everyone is talking about, but as you are about to see, they are so much more than that.
1. Helps People Suffering from Autism
I’ll start this amazing benefits list with autism because it’s one of the most important advantages of weighted blankets and because this is where it all began. At first, weighted blanket therapy was used to relieve autism symptoms and then they slowly seeped into the mass market as people noticed they could use them for so much more than that.
Patients suffering from autism respond very well when they are hugged, touched very gently or massaged, according to studies performed by scientists at Harvard University. And this is exactly what weighted blankets bring to the table.
2. Improves Focus for People Suffering from ADHD
The same gentle touch pressure that relieves autism symptoms also works if you suffer from ADHD. This is a lack of focus that is seen in both adults and children and that can be eased if they feel comforted, safe, and in a stress-free environment.
3. Sleep Quality and Hygiene
This is what the majority of people use a heavy blanket for so you might already be familiar with this benefit. Weighted blankets aid in providing restorative sleep. The added weight will boost your serotonin level which is also what happens when you sleep while actually being hugged by a real person. This comforter provides that same feeling.
4. Relieves PTSD Symptoms
We have come a long way since we used to believe that soldiers were the only ones who could suffer from PTSD.
Thankfully we are now much more knowledgeable and are aware that anyone who has been through traumatic events can suffer from this. A weighted blanket will help lower your blood pressure, reduce stress as well as your anxiety levels.
5. Helps to Sooth Panic Attacks
People suffering from panic attacks will be able to tell you that they are some of the worst things that can happen to you. They literally come out of the blue and are usually difficult to stop.
A stressful life, fatigue, and bad sleep at night will actually make you have more panic attacks than usual. Therefore, a weighted blanket helps reduce the number of panic attacks you experience.
6. Can Relieve Pain
Weighted blankets can be a wonderful alternative to drugs if you suffer from chronic pain but you don’t want to take painkillers.
They can lead to addiction or can have damaging side effects, so a natural and organic solution such as a weighted blanket may be preferred in this case.
7. Fights against Depression
As we all know, clinical depression can be difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to manage. People suffering from depression describe it as a feeling of ‘darkness’ that engulfs them and may never allow them to be happy again.
In fact, did you know that the Dementors in Harry Potter are one of the best descriptions of chronic depression ever put to paper?
Still, a weighted blanket could help you with all that because it ups the levels of serotonin in your brain. The periods of unhappiness you experience have been linked to the fact that your brain is not producing enough serotonin, the hormone responsible for making you happy.
Chocolate is one of the foods that help release serotonin. That’s why the cure against Dementors was chocolate. See how it all ties in?
8. May Relieve Restless Leg Syndrome
Patients suffering from a constant need to move their limbs, otherwise known as restless leg syndrome state that one way to fix it might be to tie their legs down. However, you don’t need to do that if you have the extra weight of this blanket keeping you in place and securing you while you sleep or travel. Which brings us to this.
9. May Ease Anxiety When You Travel
If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, traveling will be no picnic. Getting on a plane or a very long train ride can make you paranoid by simply knowing there is no stopping and that you cannot get out of that fast-moving vehicle. But weighted blankets can be very soothing, acting like someone is hugging you all the way to your destination.
10. Helping People with OCD
Having OCD can take over your life before you know it. This mental condition is characterized by obsessive behaviors and thoughts as well as repetitive gestures and patterns in your day to day life.
But did you know that OCD may be caused by very low serotonin levels in your brain? If that is true, than a weighted blanket can surely help you in this case as well.
11. Weighted Blankets Benefits for the Elderly
Anyone who is either of advanced age or who has elderly people around them knows that they sleep for little amounts of time and usually very poorly. Weighted blankets may help them relieve stress, settle in better, and even prolong their sleeping cycle.
12. Fights Against Insomnia
Do you know what happens when you don’t sleep? Depending on the time you spend awake, your extremities become inflamed, you are stressed, your immune system gives out, you cannot process emotions anymore or commit things to long term memory, hallucinate, and things only get worse from there. Weighted blankets are a great way to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
13. Puts You Into a State of Calm
This is one of the most amazing benefits of the weighted blanket that anyone can profit from. You don’t have to suffer from things such as autism, insomnia or PTSD to use it. If you’re just feeling like you’ve had too much and you need a break, wrap it around you and take a nap!
14. Helps Children Focus Better
There’s a sound logic behind this. Since a weighted blanket is fantastic for children who suffer from autism or ADHD and it helps them relax, reduce their levels of stress and sleep better, all this will lead to them better concentrating in school the next day.
15. Calms Down Anxious Pets
Unfortunately, sometimes our beloved cats and dogs are afraid of vacuum cleaners, fireworks, thunder, or ambulance noises. Most of the times they scuttle under the furniture to hide or worse, they can even hurt themselves doing so.
You should know that weighted blankets have the same effect on your pets as they do on you, calming and soothing them.
16. They Help You Shut Down
You know the feeling. You just got into bed after a very long day, you’re extremely tired, but your body is still tingly and twitchy.
Your brain is still wandering making you think about the thousand things you need to do. The added weight of this comforter will help you shut down a lot quicker. In fact, studies show that people who use weighted blankets have a lot less activity in their nervous system than people who don’t.
17. A Great Alternative to Drugs
Many of the conditions that I’ve already mentioned such as autism, insomnia, PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, and OCD may require you to take some form of treatment. And that is alright.
If your physician has recommended this course of action for you, please follow it. However, weighted blankets can be a great alternative in case drugs have not worked for you, you need a break, or you are wary of the side effects.
18. Weighted Blankets Against Asperger’s Syndrome
Asperger’s Syndrome is a type of autism. Parents whose children suffer from this syndrome have reported that the kids were given weighted blankets to use during therapy sessions. This helped them with their mood swings and anxiety attacks.
19. Fighting Against Dental Stress and Bruxism
Bruxism is the incessant grinding of your teeth which becomes a lot heavier during the night when you have no control over your body. Doctors and psychologists believe that one of its causes is stress and anxiety, both of which can be relieved with a weighted blanket.
20. Relieving Menopause Symptoms
These include insomnia, mood swings, the very famous hot flashes, and an acute lack of concentration. You can take drugs or a hormone treatment for it, but you can also try the benefits of weighted blankets and their fantastic deep pressure.
21. Weighted Blankets and Sensory Processing Disorders
SPDs are conditions that come along with many serious illnesses such as autism and ADHD. As the name suggests, this disorder will make it difficult for you to respond to or process sensory stimuli.
Therefore, what you need to do is try to calm down or do the same thing to the person suffering from this syndrome. Weighted blankets are perfect for this.
22. Fighting Against Weight Gain
Gaining weight is not necessarily caused by eating junk food or incorporating a lot of sugar into your diet. It can also happen if you have a messy lifestyle in which you don’t get enough sleep, you stress too much, overwork yourself, and your anxiety levels are too high.
Weighted blankets are a great way to improve your sleep hygiene and reduce your stress levels.
23. Reducing Blood Pressure
Weighted blankets can reduce blood pressure because they work in the same way a hug from a real person does. When someone hugs you, the response from your brain is to produce increased levels of a hormone called oxytocin.
It is responsible for lowering your blood pressure, making you feel more relaxed, and slowing your heart down. Do you want to know a fun fact? That’s exactly what happens when you hold someone’s hand!
Do Weighted Blankets Really Help You Sleep?
There is a growing trend among adults suffering from insomnia to buy weighted blankets. The added weight that comes from the glass beads or little plastic balls inside is reported to provide comfort and ease your sleep. But is that really true? Yes, it is!
Both men and women who have sleep issues and have used weighted blankets have reported saying that they feel as if they are being hugged all night long.
It’s easy to see how that would feel amazing and why people choose these comforters. The continuous ‘hug’ sensation is due to the added weight that pins you to one place and makes you feel safe and comforted, thus easing your anxiety and allowing for a better and uninterrupted sleep cycle.
Weighted Blankets vs. Sleeping Pills
Another thing to have in mind regarding weighted blankets and how helpful they are when it comes to the hygiene of your sleep is that they can be a wonderful alternative to medication. It is true that sleeping pills or sedatives will help you go to sleep in a matter of minutes.
However, most of the times they don’t actually help you rest because you enter a state of mechanical sleep in which your brain is forced to turn inactive but not actually shut down as it does when you go to sleep naturally.
Apart from that, it is a known thing that sleeping pills can cause addiction. Plus, depending on the type you’re taking, you may even need to increase the dosage as time passes.
They also have a lot of side effects that begin to show as you progress with this treatment. Weighted blankets, on the other hand, can be the natural solution to a peaceful sleep cycle you’ve always dreamed about.
Are weighted blankets safe to sleep with?
Yes, weighted blankets are safe to use for children, adults, elderly people and even pets. However, there are a few things you need to know. It is not advisable to use one on children under the age of three as they are too small and they might suffocate. There are special types of bedding for children that young you can use.
The same goes for pregnant women. Weighted blankets do not pose any threat to you or your baby but if you feel that they are too heavy or uncomfortable, stop using them.
A weighted blanket should be around 10 or 15 percent of the user’s body weight. If you have not chosen a blanket fit for your size, you might have problems with it.
Are weighted blankets safe for adults?
Yes, weighted blankets are safe for adults as long as you choose the appropriate type and weight, as mentioned above.
Apart from that, make sure you are not allergic to any of the components in a weighted blanket. Make sure you buy high quality components for your weighted blanket.
Are weighted blankets safe for children?
Yes, they are, but not for new born babies or toddlers. They are too small and too fragile to cope with the added weight of this type of blanket. However, if you children are above the age of three, they can use a weighted blanket without any risks.
Weighted blankets have been scientifically proven to improve sleep and help you in case you suffer from a number of ailments such as autism, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, ADD, bruxism, menopause, and more.
They can even alleviate pain and help you lose weight. The best weighted blankets on the market are the Quility Premium Adult Weighted Blanket and the YnM Weighted Blanket. So now that you have all the info you need, don’t waste any time in getting one!
Do you know a weighted blanket benefit that is not mentioned in the article? Let me know, I’d love to add it to the list!