d Weighted blankets benefits in different medical conditions | BETTER SLEEP - Canada's Premium Weighted Blanket

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Weighted blankets for insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress and more. By Dr. Ahmed Saeed

Weighted blankets for insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress and more.          By Dr. Ahmed Saeed - BETTER SLEEP - Canada's Premium Weighted Blanket

For numerous people, weighted blankets have become a routine part of stress alleviation and healthy sleep practices.  Research reveals weighted blankets may aid persons with insomnia, autism, anxiety, and depression, among other disorders.

Continue reading to learn about the use of weighted blankets in different medical conditions

Evidence-Based Application Of Weighted Blankets For Different Medical Conditions

1.     Anxiety and depression

A weighted blanket is frequently used to relieve anxiety and depression (1). A weighted blanket involves deep pressure stimulation that might contribute to the reduction of autonomic arousal. Many of the physical signs of anxiety and depression, such as an elevated heart rate, are caused by this arousal.

What research says

A study indicated that individuals who used the weighted blanket reported a notable reduction in their anxiety and depression symptoms compared to those people who used the light blanket (2). This finding is supported by previous studies demonstrating that insomnia therapies can have a significant effect on mood (3).

2.     Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Weighted blankets may be beneficial for some individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who are overstimulated by external stimuli such as noise around them.  At bedtime, the pressure of the blanket may make them feel protected and safe.   They regain their calm and sleep.

What research says

A small 2017 study discovered that some autistic adults benefited from deep pressure therapy (brushing, massage, and squeezing). These benefits may also apply to weighted blankets (4).

3.     Insomnia

Weighted blankets may help you relax before you settle for a restful night's sleep. The additional pressure may help in calming your breathing and heart rate. 

What research says

According to a study individuals who used weighted metal chain blankets reported a significant reduction in the intensity of their insomnia symptoms compared to those who used light blankets.

Additionally, a randomized, controlled study indicated that participants who used the weighted blanket for four weeks experienced considerably less severe insomnia, improved sleep maintenance, increased daytime activity, and decreased fatigue. When compared to the control group, participants in the weighted blanket group were nearly 26 times more likely to notice 50% or more reduction in the intensity of their insomnia, and nearly 20 times more likely to achieve remission. Positive results were maintained throughout the study's 12-month open follow-up period (5).

A possible explanation for the relaxing and sleep-promoting effects of the chain blanket is that the pressure applied to various areas of the body stimulates the sensation of touch and increases awareness of joints and muscles comparable to massage and acupuncture.

4.     Chronic pain

Chronic pain is a difficult diagnosis to make. However, individuals who suffer from chronic discomfort may benefit from the use of weighted blankets.

What research says

According to a 2021 study, weighted blankets were found to lessen perceptions of chronic pain.  For one week, ninety-four volunteers with chronic pain wore either a weighted blanket or light blanket. Individuals in the weighted blanket group experienced relief especially if they also suffered from anxiety (6). However, weighted blankets had no effect on pain severity levels.

 

References

  1. Ekholm, B., Spulber, S., & Adler, M. (2020). A randomized controlled study of weighted chain blankets for insomnia in psychiatric disorders. Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 16(9), 1567–1577. https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.8636.
  2. Eron, K., Kohnert, L., Watters, A., Logan, C., Weisner-Rose, M., & Mehler, P. S. (2020). Weighted blanket use: a systematic review. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(2), 7402205010p1-7402205010p14.
  3. Cunningham, J. E., & Shapiro, C. M. (2018). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) to treat depression: A systematic review. Journal of psychosomatic research, 106, 1-12.
  4. Bestbier, L., & Williams, T. I. (2017). The Immediate Effects of Deep Pressure on Young People with Autism and Severe Intellectual Difficulties: Demonstrating Individual Differences. Occupational therapy international, 2017, 7534972. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/7534972.
  5. Bodil Ekholm, Stefan Spulber, Mats Adler. A randomized controlled study of weighted chain blankets for insomnia in psychiatric disorders. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2020; 16 (9): 1567 DOI: 10.5664/jcsm.8636
  6. Baumgartner, J. N., Quintana, D., Leija, L., Schuster, N. M., Bruno, K. A., Castellanos, J. P., & Case, L. K. (2022). Widespread Pressure Delivered by a Weighted Blanket Reduces Chronic Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The journal of pain, 23(1), 156–174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2021.07.009

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