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Worth Their Weight: Weighted Blankets for Adults

Worth Their Weight: Weighted Blankets for Adults

Weighted blankets have a long history of being used in occupational therapy, especially in children. However, very recently, weighted blankets have exploded into the mainstream and are being marketed to help ease symptoms of sleep, anxiety, autism, and sensory disorders.  How do weighted blankets work and will it work for you?  Keep reading to learn more!

How do weighted blankets work?

Weighted blankets work through deep touch pressure (DTP) (also known as deep pressure therapy (DPT)). DTP help to release serotonin and dopamine which regulates brain functions who help with sensory regulation. Serotonin further converts into melatonin which induces sleep in the body.  Additionally, some research has shown that gentle or light pressure has the ability to stimulate the limbic system which processes emotions and fear; weighted blankets can help to desensitize and calm these responses in people who may be experiencing hyperactivity.

Which weighted blanket is best?

There are many choices for weighted blankets as the gain popularity.  Although the outside of the blanket should be something the consumer prefers, it is not the outside of the blanket that provides benefits, but the weight relative to the consumer’s body weight.  Adults should use a weight that is approximately 10-12% to their own body weight (ranging from 15 – 25 lbs).

It is also important to note that weighted blankets who are being used in a shared bed should not be shared between two people.  If you and your partner are looking to enjoy the benefits of a weighted blanket, each person should have their own blanket.

Benefits of weighted blankets

In 2008, a study of 32 adults showed that when using a 30-pound weighted blanket, 63% reported lower anxiety and 78% preferred the weighted blanket as a way of self-calming. The same study also showed reduced physiological indicators of stress in almost all participants.  More recent studies have found/confirmed additional benefits of weighted blankets including:

  • Eases insomnia
  • Improves focus
  • Eases symptoms of restless leg syndrome
  • Helps with pain including fibromyalgia pain
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Boosts mood
  • Helps to improve some symptoms of PTSD
  • Helps to manage symptoms of OCD

The takeaway

Weighted blankets may have their roots in occupational therapy, but their benefits are beginning to be recognized by the masses.  Weighted blankets can help improve your mental health, improve sleep, and relieve pain or restless leg syndrome.  There are many weighted blankets on the market available today, but the most important aspect of purchasing a weighted blanket is the ratio between your own body weight and the blanket itself.  The use of weighted blankets is proved to be safe in adults (but the use of weighted blankets in children should be discussed with a licensed professional). 

Do you have a weighted blanket?  Tell us how it has improved your life (or tell us if it hasn’t)!  We love talking to you on social media!