Weighted Blankets

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Weighted blankets have been used medically for many years. Recently, scientific studies have shown these blankets help people fall asleep faster, more deeply, and with less tossing and turning.

A sleek, elegant option for those searching for a natural sleep aid. Deep touch pressure stimulations pressure points on the body linked to improved sleep, mood, and relaxation.

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Weighted Blankets Can Improve Sleep & Healing By Reducing Tossing & Turning & More

Getting a better night’s sleep can help with healing. We have focused on ergonomic pillows as well as mattresses as ways to reduce neck and back pain in general and at night particularly. Another natural method to help improve sleep for some are weighted blankets.

Tactile or deep touch pressure stimulation simulates the feeling of hugged or massaged, similar to swaddling a baby. This can decrease cortisol levels to reduce stress and increase levels of melatonin and serotonin to increase relaxation. While no direct studies are available for pain conditions, it is indicated to promote a deeper level of sleep, ease soothe Restless Leg Syndrome and encourage athletic recovery. Psychologically they offer feelings of stability, security and safety.

weighted blankets

A 2015 study found increased sleep time and a decrease in movements during weighted blanket use. The participants participants found it easier to settle down and improved sleep, while feeling more refreshed in the morning. The authors of the study concluded, “A weighted blanket may aid in reducing insomnia through altered tactile inputs,thus may provide an innovative, non-pharmacological approach and complementary tool to improve sleep quality.”[1]

Another 2015 study found a 60% reduction in anxiety using a 30 pound weighted blanket. They found it was safe among all adult participants based on vital sign readings.[2] It is generally accepted that the blanket should be ten percent of your body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds, the 15 pound option is good. A 48″ x 72″ size will cover one sleeper, and a 60″ x 80″ will cover two.

Weighted blankets are designed to calm the nervous system through proprioceptive input or deep touch pressure stimulation. This can stimulate pressure points on the body for improved sleep and relaxation. This stimulation is a natural approach to healing both physically and emotionally.

Do Weighted Blankets Really Help?

I personally use the Gravity weighted blanket, single option 25 pound. For those who are not familiar, I suffer not only from neck and back pain, but significant shoulder problems as well as elbow pain. Since a second surgery in 2019, I sleep in a recliner. This is not ideal and makes it difficult to fall asleep. I have had my blanket for almost a year and it has held up remarkably well to my wrestling with it.

Does it help? Actually yes! I fall asleep faster and am able to stay in one position longer. This summer, I figured it would be too warm, so I got a light blanket. After one night, I switched back to the weighed blanket! There was that much of a difference. Better to be a little warm than to have sleeping difficulties.

This can be a helpful adjunct to those who want to use the therapeutic pillow but feel they move around too much in their sleep. Using the blanket can help reduce tossing and turning allowing the benefits of posture restoration and pain relief offered by this pillow.


References:

1 Positive Effects of a Weighted Blanket on Insomnia. 2015 J Sleep Med Disord 2(3): 1022
2 Evaluating the Safety and Effectiveness of the Weighted Blanket With Adults During an Inpatient Mental Health Hospitalization, 2015 Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 31:3, 211-233

Author Bio

Stephen Ornstein, D.C. has treated thousands of neck, shoulder and back conditions since graduating Sherman Chiropractic College in 1987 and during his involvement in Martial Arts. He holds certifications as a Peer Review Consultant from New York Chiropractic College, Physiological Therapeutics from National Chiropractic College, Modic Antibiotic Spinal Therapy from Dr. Hanne Albert, PT., MPH., Ph.D., Myofascial Release Techniques from Logan Chiropractic College, and learned Active Release Technique from the founder, P. Michael Leahy, DC, ART, CCSP.