Study: Weighted Blankets Could Help with Insomnia
Using a weighted blanket could help reduce insomnia, according to Swedish researchers.
The researchers looked at 120 adult patients who had insomnia as well as a psychiatricsὰɪkiˈætrɪk disorder such as depression or anxiety.
The group was split up, with some using a weighted blanket and others using a light blanket. Their sleep was monitored for four weeks.
Those who used a weighted blanket were found to be 26 times more likely to decrease their level of insomnia by 50% or more. They were also 20 times more likely to completely clear their insomnia compared to those using a light blanket. Those who used weighted blankets also had reduced symptoms of fatigue, depression and anxiety during the day.
Following the four-week study, the group was given the option to take part in a further 12-month study. They tested four different weighted blankets between 6 and 8 kilograms, and it was found that the positive results were maintained over the 12-months period.
Weighted blankets can help those with anxiety, depression get a better night's sleep: study | CTV News
At the beginning of the study, half of the participants were given eight-kg weighted blankets with metal chains inside. They were allowed to swap to a six-kg weighted blanket if they found the original too heavy, which researchers referred to as “a flexible dose. ”
But in order to have a control for the study, the other half of the participants, selected randomly, were given blankets identical in appearance and feel to the weighted blankets — except they had plastic chains sewn inside them, and weighed only around 1.5 kg, a typical weight for an ordinary blanket.
Patients who started using heavier blankets from this time also experienced similar benefits to those who had been using the heavier blankets from the beginning of the study. After 12 months, 78% of those who used heavy blankets had cleared their insomnia.
Researchers also did a 12-month follow-up period, where participants could choose to continue using the weighted blankets, and those with the light blankets could switch to the heavier ones.
One of the study's authors, Mats Adler, said he was surprised by the large effect, but pleased by the results.
He said that the pressure applied to different areas of the body by the blanket could feel like a massage, which may be why it helps people sleep better.
This is not the first study to look at the benefits of using weighted blankets. For example, a 2015 study in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders also found that people slept better when they used a weighted blanket, while a 2008 study in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health found that people reported reduced anxiety after sleeping with a weighted blanket.