Weighted blankets are being called the latest cure for insomnia and have even been touted as a form of therapy for those with anxiety or ADHD. Like most trends, this leads to a lot of hype. Can these blankets — found in most major retail stores — truly be more than a soft and cozy source of warmth?
While they are not a cure for ailments, restlessness and other health issues, these blankets may offer relief and support for some individuals. There is little research on the connection between deep pressure stimulation and the weight a blanket provides. However, a weighted blanket may bring comfort to some people.
Weighted blankets use high-density microbeads that add a comfortable weight without adding too much thickness. The pressure from the weight of the blanket — ranging from five to 30 pounds — mimics hands-on pressure used to relax the nervous system. This may give you a feeling of being hugged, held or swaddled. This compression may also calm the body and lower your heart rate when you’re stressed.
Weighted blankets are not for people with respiratory conditions, sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. And they are definitely not to be used for infants or children under 2 years old.
As always, talk to your doctor before using a weighted blanket. If you or someone you know is looking for a doctor, find a primary care physician at UM Upper Chesapeake Health.