The Weighted Blanket: Trend Setter or Sleep Enhancer?
The weighted blanket seemed to be all the buzz this holiday season as a popular gift for family and friends alike. What is it and why should I care about it?
The concept itself is pretty simple. An even distribution of beads adds additional weight to the blanket varying from 12 to 30 pounds. YouTube vloggers and talk shows seem to be talking about them on every channel. What’s the big deal?
These blankets claim to help with several common disorders that millions of people are managing. People that have trouble sleeping, suffer from anxiety, have ADHD, have autism, and the elderly all can potentially benefit from this wonder-garment. We all know someone in one of those categories, but a $100 price tag demands some research.
There is one research study that was done a couple years ago that shows how these blankets can be used improve sleep. Participants showed less movement during sleep and reported: “the blanket provided them with a more comfortable, better quality, and more secure sleep”. That’s great news for those that have insomnia or trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. How does the weighted blanket do this?
That is a question that proves hard to answer. There are many theories and research that talk about this idea but does not research specifically weighted blankets. One of the more prominent theories revolves around Deep Pressure Stimulation. The Hug Machine came out of this body of research, and while it doesn’t look anything like a weighted blanket, the concept is the same.
As a child with anxiety and autism, Dr. Temple Grandin conceptualized the hug machine from her experience with cattle. You might be familiar with the HBO movie of the same name. She saw the calming effect that cattle received from a similar machine and thought that it might be applied to humans as well. Since her case study on the positive effects of deep touch pressure (DTP), there has been other research to support her claims. The small amount of pressure from the weighted blanket seems to be just enough to calm and relieve anxiety for those that use it. If your sleep troubles stem from anxiousness or restlessness, a weighted blanket could be a good solution for you. There certainly isn’t any reason to believe that it could hurt you, so don’t be afraid to try this one without medical guidance.
Have you already tried a weighted blanket? Feel free to share your experience below. We love to hear the different ways to better sleep!