Weighted blankets have been observed to help improve sleep quality.
A good night’s rest is essential for staying healthy and productive during the day, yet many people struggle with sleeping. Sleep disorders are widespread and can damage the body in many ways over the long term.
The environment, including temperature and lighting conditions, but even the bed and bedding itself, can have a significant impact on the quality of sleep. For many people, a weighted blanket, for example, can help, and has been observed to contribute to restful sleep.
How a weighted blanket can help you rest
I’m sure many of you have found that you sleep better under a thick and heavy duvet. Weighted duvets are designed to be heavier than normal duvets, usually weighing between 5 and 15 kilograms.
Two typical forms are the duvet and the knitted blanket, the latter being made of thick yarn and the former of beads of different materials used as fillings. They are becoming increasingly common in shops, mainly due to the fact that they have been observed to promote relaxation.
Weighted blankets work on the principle of deep pressure stimulation or deep pressure therapy, which uses stimulation to induce a sense of calm and security. A hug has a similar effect on the nervous system. Thus, a duvet can help reduce pain, alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improve sleep quality.
According to a Swedish study in 2020, weighted blankets may be effective in treating sleep problems in people with mental illness, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
During the four-week study, subjects’ daytime symptoms and activity levels also improved. In another study in 2020, participants with difficulty falling asleep and frequent awakenings reported improvements in both sleep speed and sleep quality after six weeks of using a weighted blanket. Further studies are needed to confirm the positive effects of the blanket.
Weighted blankets can be tried by anyone, but some people should be careful. It is not recommended for children under two years of age because of the risk of suffocation, and in adults it may make breathing difficult for people with obstructive sleep apnea with nocturnal breathing difficulties or asthma. It may also cause symptoms in people with claustrophobia.
There are several different weights of duvet to choose from, with the unwritten rule being that the duvet should weigh around 5 to 10 percent of body weight.