Weighted blankets have long been used for the management of various autism-related symptoms in children.

Now, people of all ages use them for relief with many conditions, including autism, insomnia and sleep disorders, PTSD, ADHD, and anxiety.

A woman asleep under a comforter

They are primarily a weighted covering that helps people feel calmer, fall asleep easier, and get better quality rest.

Over the past few years, their use has expanded with a wide range of products available for adults, teens, and children.

The heavier weight of a weighted blanket offers something known as deep touch pressure (DTP).

The principle of deep touch pressure helps the body create and release extra serotonin, a neurotransmitter known to help regulate various brain functions, especially feelings of happiness and well-being.

A man getting an x-ray at the dentist office and wearing a heavy protective vest.

Many people describe the feeling of the weight as being like a firm and comforting hug. It is similar to feeling the weight of the heavy vest worn over the body during an x-ray at the dentist office.

This type of therapy has many benefits, and so it has come to the forefront for treating and managing a wide range of conditions:

Common Uses of Weighted Blankets


Insomnia

The main cause of most people’s insomnia is a severe lack of melatonin. This chemical is responsible for inducing sleep or allowing your body to rest when needed.

Furthermore, serotonin affects the production of melatonin. The production of the neurotransmitter serotonin can be increased through deep touch pressure therapy.

That’s why many people today choose to turn to weighted blankets as a sleeping aid.

Melatonin hormone chemical molecular formula with the silhouette of a man's head.

The added pressure is light and has a calming effect, allowing the individual to sleep deeper and longer, awakening more refreshed to face the activities of the day ahead.

Anxiety

Anxiety affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. It’s also a condition that affects both children and adults.

Finding one’s triggers is often the top recommendation for dealing with anxiety on a long-term basis. However, that isn’t always possible with an anxiety disorder.

Sometimes a weighted blanket can be of help. It provides a calming effect and the opportunity for better sleep.

Many people with anxiety find it difficult to fall asleep, and the added pressure producing DTP can help with that aspect.

These products have been reported to help with anxiety related to many conditions or anxiety that is passing and connected to a temporary situation.

A closeup of a person's feet sticking out from under the covers

Stress

Stress affects both adults and children.  It can be a major part of life for many individuals, no matter what age they are.

Weighted blankets can be a natural aid, offering the calming effect needed to manage stress levels.

The blanket’s evenly applied pressure has been associated with boosting the production of serotonin, oxytocin, and melatonin. These neurotransmitters are known to create a sense of calmness or happiness.

At any age, using a weighted blanket at night can give the sleeper a much needed break from the stress of daily life and allow the mind and body time to renew.

ADHD

People with ADHD lack focus. Both adults and children are affected by this condition.

In some cases, restlessness becomes just as evident as the lack of focus. Many people with this condition also report having issues with sleep because their mind won’t shut off.

Student working hard to focus on teacher writing on the board at the front of the room.

The deep touch pressure therapy of a weighted blanket can induce a calming effect. This reduces the level of anxiety in a person with ADHD and improves sleeping patterns.

This, in turn, promotes a better mood and a more rested body and mind, which can be a non-pharmaceutical way to manage some mild cases of ADHD.

Our Son’s Experience

Our son lives with ADHD and anxiety, and he is a hot sleeper. You can read our personal review of the cooling weighted blanket we chose for him.

It has improved his quality of sleep, which in turn, has helped him manage anxiety and lack of focus better during the day, especially in the morning.

He’s not a morning person, and the constant lack of quality sleep would make it even more difficult for him to feel energized and focused in the early part of the day.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Many people that suffer from restless leg syndrome often use compression socks to neutralize the urge to move their legs at night.

The pressure of a weighted blanket can also prevent this condition from developing into something such as insomnia.

Because weighted blankets apply light pressure evenly on the entire body, movements are not restricted, and blood circulation is not hindered in any way.

However, the added pressure on the body, especially the legs, may be enough in some cases to manage the symptoms of restless leg syndrome in adults and children.

A woman rubbing restless legs on a bed

What Weighted Blankets are Not For


Weighted blankets come with cautions about their use and who they are not suitable for.

Infants (under one year of age) or people without the ability to throw the blanket off with their own strength should not use them. They should never restrict the individual who is using the blanket.

Also, weighted blankets are not suitable for use with pets, and if your pet shares your bed, you should also take care that they don’t become trapped under it or do any damage to the material.

Make sure to read and follow any cautions or instructions that are included with any weighted blanket product you purchase and use.

Closing Thoughts


There are many circumstances and conditions where people choose to use a weighted blanket and benefit from it.

In addition to helping with insomnia, there are numerous reports linking weighted blankets to managing PTSD in humans and decreasing anxiety.

However, you don’t have to suffer from a specific condition to use one. You can use a weighted blanket as a mood booster or to induce a deeper and more relaxing sleep.

For example, many people who are seniors, in menopause, or pregnant also make good use of their benefits.

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