For some people, there is a new way to stop losing sleep because of chronic insomnia: a weighted blanket.
Swedish researchers have found that for people with insomnia or certain psychiatric disorders, using a weighted blanket for four weeks brought about better sleep, a higher level of daytime activity, less daytime sleepiness and fewer bouts of insomnia.
Those who used the weighted blankets were about 25 times more likely to cut their insomnia severity in half compared with people in a control group. The weighted blankets also significantly improved the likelihood of insomnia going into remission.
The results were also long-lasting, holding up for more than a year in a follow-up phase of the research.
The research group included more than 100 people who had been diagnosed with chronic insomnia as well as a psychiatric issue such as bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or generalized anxiety disorder. The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
Initially, the participants were given a 17.6-pound blanket, but some were later given slightly lighter blankets due to weight concerns. Nearly two-thirds of weighted-blanket users reported a 50% decrease in insomnia symptoms as measured by a commonly used index.
One possible explanation for the weighted blankets’ benefits: Researchers believe it could promote better sleep by applying pressure on various parts of the body. That, in turn, may produce a sensation similar to acupressure and massage.
So, if life is weighing you down, consider curling up under a weighted blanket for a better night’s sleep.