Researchers have studied the effectiveness of weighted blankets in the alleviation of physical and emotional symptoms. Although more research is needed, results have so far indicated there may be benefits for a number of conditions.
One of the primary usesTrusted Source of a weighted blanket is for the treatment of anxiety. Deep pressure stimulation can help reduce autonomic arousal. This arousal is responsible for many of the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate.
One of the characteristics of autism, especially in children, is trouble sleeping. A small research studyTrusted Source from 2017 found there were positive benefits of deep pressure therapy (brushing, massage, and squeezing) in some autistic people. These benefits may extend to weighted blankets as well.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
There are very few studiesTrusted Source that examine the use of weighted blankets for ADHD, but a 2014 study was performed using weighted vests. In this study, researchers explain that weighted vests have been used in ADHD therapy to improve attention and reduce hyperactive movements.
The study found promising results for participants who used the weighted vest during a continuous performance test. These participants experienced reductions in falling off task, leaving their seats, and fidgeting.
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
There are a number of factors that can cause sleep disorders. Weighted blankets can help in some simple ways. The added pressure may helpTrusted Source to calm your heart rate and breathing. This may make it easier to relax before you settle in for a good night’s rest.
In this small study, 18 participants with osteoarthritis received massage therapy on one of their knees for eight weeks. Study participants noted the massage therapy helped reduce knee pain and improved their quality of life.
Massage therapy applies deep pressure to osteoarthritic joints, so it’s possible that similar benefits may be experienced when using a weighted blanket.
- Chronic pain
Chronic pain is a challenging diagnosis. But people who live with chronic pain may find relief through the use of weighted blankets.
A 2021 studyTrusted Source done by researchers at UC San Diego found weighted blankets reduced perceptions of chronic pain. Ninety-four participants with chronic pain used either a light or weighted blanket for one week. Those in the weighted blanket group found relief, particularly if they also lived with anxiety. The weighted blankets did not reduce levels of pain intensity, though.
- Medical procedures
There may be some benefit to using weighted blankets during medical procedures.
A 2016 study experimented with using weighted blankets on participants undergoing wisdom tooth extraction. The weighted blanket participants experienced lower anxiety symptoms than others in the control group.
The researchers performed a similar follow-up study on adolescents using a weighted blanket during a molar extraction. Those results also found less anxiety with the use of a weighted blanket.
Since medical procedures tend to cause anxiety symptoms like increased heart rate, using weighted blankets may be beneficial in calming those symptoms.