The Wellness Benefits Of Weighted Blankets
Forbes.com just put out a great article on the benefits of weighted blankets. We know you hear it from us all the time so we thought it would be great to share the thoughts of someone else on here. Enjoy!
This is written by Jamie Gold, a Wellness Design Consultant and Mayo Clinic Certified Wellness Coach with 17 years in the building, home design and remodeling sphere.
What is a weighted blanket and why might you want one for your bedroom? Are the health benefits real? “There is some evidence that it helps some adults with stress and anxiety,” shares Dr. Adrian Pristas, Center for Sleep Medicine director with Meridian Health in Hackensack, New Jersey. Other claims, like benefits for arthritis pain or autism, aren’t supported by studies he’s seen, he says. Pristas doesn’t specifically recommend them, he says, but many patients use or ask about them. There are some advantages, he and other health professionals share.
Dr. Todd Arnedt, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at University of Michigan Health, doesn’t recommend them either, but notes that “Some patients have tried them on their own as a treatment for insomnia.” Research is scarce on this point, he shares, but recalls that a published Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine article reported that weighted blankets improved insomnia and daytime functioning in a four-week study of 120 adults. “While promising, more studies need to be conducted showing similarly positive results before I would recommend weighted blankets to patients,” he notes.
“I have had some patients anecdotally report to me that they found weighted blankets to calm and relax them in bed, which could be how they might help people sleep,” Arnedt comments.
The effect, if true, would result from the parasympathetic nervous system, Pristas explains, tying into a feeling of being cocooned. (Doctors often call the parasympathetic nervous system the ‘rest and digest’ side while the sympathetic is the ‘fight or flight, consumer medical journal Healthline explains.)
“Speak to your doctor,” advises Pristas, adding, “Comfort is essential for a good night sleep. Be selfish when it comes to comfort and strive for it nightly.” For adults heavier than 125 pounds, he recommends a weighted blanket of 25 pounds or less. For adults weighing less than 125 pounds, he recommends a 15 pound or lighter blanket. “Try it, you may like it,” he declares, adding that there are cooling versions too. Even though we’re moving into a season of chillier nights, health experts recommend low- to mid-60 degrees Fahrenheit as the ideal environmental sleep temperature setting.