Weighted Blankets

Weighted blankets capture the cozy feeling of waking up under a heavy comforter on a winter’s day. And there’s some scientific theory behind the idea: applying pressure to your skin stimulates neurotransmitters like serotonin and melatonin that calm your brain.

They’re blankets stuffed with pellets—usually made of glass or a plastic like polyethylene—and can weigh as much as 25 pounds.

Who Uses Weighted Blankets

Occupational therapists frequently use weighted blankets for something called sensory integration therapy.

Children who have trouble processing their senses—a trait that’s often linked with autism are common users. Weighted blankets stimulate those patients’ senses of touch, helping their brains adapt to it.

During a recent study to determine the benefits,  researchers were measuring how their patients responded to questions about their emotional state, the researchers discovered evidence that weighted blankets had a marked calming effect.

They actually had a number of our participants fall asleep while the blanket was on them. They had to be awakened to get them to answer the questions.

Another study at Denver Health found that weighted blankets help reduce anxiety in patients with an eating disorder. Their results are still proceeding through the peer-review process, and they hope it will see publication sometime later this year.

Seemingly, the blankets have a medicinal benefit as well as just making us comfortable,