Research studies on the effectiveness of weighted blankets provide valuable insight into the different benefits it provides to various medical conditions.
Ever since its introduction in 1999, weighted blankets have become a routine part of stress relief and better sleeping habits for many people. According to Healthline, these therapeutic blankets have proven to benefit people with anxiety, ADHD, and insomnia, among other conditions.
“Weighted blankets use deep pressure stimulation, which is a therapeutic method that uses hands-on pressure to relax the nervous system,” says Pediatric Occupational therapist Clarie Heffron, one of the founders of The Inspired Treehouse, a child development website.
Many researchers have been studying the effectiveness of weighted blankets for various medical conditions. And while more research needs to be done, the current results have indicated that this product offers various benefits to the following conditions:
Sleeping problems are one of the symptoms of autism in children and adults. In a 2014 study, researchers investigated weighted blankets’ effectiveness in dealing with sleep issues associated with autism. The results found that there was little to no improvement in sleep scores from using weighted blankets.
But despite the lack of improvement, researchers also noted that both children and adults with autism claimed that they liked the weighted blanket more. Another study supported this research and found that deep pressure stimulation is beneficial in some people with autism. The research also claims that weighted blankets played a major role in promoting deep pressure therapy.
Only a few studies were made examining the use of weighted blankets for ADHD patients. However, there was one similar study that was conducted where they used weighted vests instead. The study explains that weighted vests have been used in ADHD therapy. “Weighted vests aid in improving ADHD patients’ attention span while reducing excessive hyperactivity,” says one of the researchers.
During a continuous performance test, the researchers found very positive results among the participants who used weighted vests. The participants claim to experience reduced instances of distraction and fidgeting, which are all good signs. Also, wearing weighted blankets helped improve their sleep issues. Since weighted blankets are of the same nature as weighted blankets, we can also conclude the product’s effectiveness to ADHD patients.
Weighted blankets are most notable for their use in anxiety treatment. The past and present research has shown that deep pressure therapy can help control and reduce autonomic arousal. This type of hormone is responsible for the symptoms that elicit anxiety (e.g., an abnormal heart rate increase).
A recent study was conducted involving 33 patients with anxiety problems. Using weighted blankets, researchers found that regular use of the product has drastically reduced anxiety level in roughly 33% of the total participants.
The research also explains that some of the participants find lying down as the most effective way of helping them reduce their anxiety. This finding suggests that using a weighted blanket while lying down in bed is the most effective way to reduce anxiety symptoms.