Health / Sleep

Can a Weighted Blanket Improve Your Sleep?

Here is what science says

Photo by Snowy Vin on Unsplash

I am very restless. A few days ago, my mother came to me and recommended something: a weighted blanket.

Out of curiosity, I ordered such a thing — it weighs an enormous 28 lbs.
A blanket that is just heavy — What exactly is that supposed to do?

Here are the answer and my experience with them.

The idea behind weighted blankets

These blankets, as the name suggests, are heavy.

All the weight is distributed throughout the fabric.
Most often, it is achieved by fine glass bubbles inside.
From the outside, it looks the same as any other blanket.

The idea is that the weight should have a calming and sleep-inducing effect.

If you’ve ever had a massage, you know how relaxing deep touch can feel.

What’s more, as humans, we are fundamentally attracted to closeness through touch — we are social creatures. The next day, the heavy blanket is said to affect still — the mood is significantly improved.

So weighted blankets can be applied to combat anxiety disorders, restlessness, and insomnia — even if you don’t suffer from a specific illness, they are supposed to help improve sleep.

At least, these are the things that sellers of weighted blankets claim.

But has this even been proven?

Here’s what studies say about it.

Overall, there are not yet many studies on this topic — the trend is too young.

Also, it isn't easy to investigate whether weighted blankets have benefits.
This is due to the following reasons:

  • It is difficult to measure a person’s well-being.
  • Humans are too complex; the mood can be different every day.
    Even if you can measure changes, they could also have other reasons.
  • The placebo effect almost always plays a role. The study participants who sleep under a weighted blanket know that they are using a special blanket.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at what studies say.

A 2015 study¹ that examined the benefits of weighted blankets for insomnia concluded the following:

When the participants used the weighted blanket, they had a calmer night’s sleep, with a decrease in movements. Subjectively, they believed that using the blanket provided them with a more comfortable, better quality, and more secure sleep.

A study was also conducted in 2015 on the topic of weighted blankets and feelings of anxiety². It came to the following conclusions:

An effective anxiety reduction was seen in 60% of adults who used a 30 lbs quilt — at least according to the study participants’ own testimony.

According to one of the responsible scientists, T. Champagne, this may be due to the so-called self-organization. This means the ability to regulate internal processes independently, e.g., through self-control or by calming oneself down.

The benefits of weighted blankets could also be seen in children who have ADHD. A study³ shows that weighted blankets help children fall asleep faster. According to the children's teachers, ADHD symptoms decreased by an average of 10% after sleeping with such a blanket.

My first nights with the weighted blanket

As I said at the beginning, I bought myself such a blanket. Where exactly, it does not matter — I found it on the internet and ordered it for $100 — not little money, in my opinion.

For the price, the blanket feels very well made — it also almost does not smell. To get it on my bed was already tricky because 28 lbs are super heavy.

For three nights, I sleep with this blanket. Admittedly, lying under it is very relaxing. The additional pressure has a calming effect, and I am almost time, very quickly fall asleep. There is only one significant disadvantage.

What’s the point of falling asleep if you keep waking up afterward? Turning under the covers or readjusting them is exhausting. I woke up again almost every time I moved in bed — the physical effort is too great.

So I didn’t have my best next under the covers. I’m hoping that maybe I’ll get used to it. Also, possibly the blanket is just too heavy — 28 lbs was the highest weight I could find. If you want to try a blanket like this yourself, I recommend looking for lighter ones — usually, they are cheaper.

Sources

[1]:www.researchgate.net/publication/279846113_Positive_effects_of_a_weighted_blanket_on_insomnia

[2]:researchgate.net/publication/283027811_Evaluating_the_Safety_and_Effectiveness_of_the_Weighted_Blanket_With_Adults_During_an_Inpatient_Mental_Health_Hospitalization

[3]:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20662681/

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