Weighted blankets are specially designed to offer a variety of benefits to those experiencing a range of bedtime battles from insomnia to anxiety.
Clinical studies indicate children and adults who use weighted blankets report better sleep due to feeling less stressed while falling asleep. Researchers think weighted blankets may cause the body to respond the way it would when a person receives a hug. A warm embrace from a friend or loved one causes a surge of feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin, and a decrease in cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. Those feelings of contentment and that lift from the pressures of the day seem to help promote deeper, more restful sleep.
Things to keep in mind when considering the purchase of a weighted blanket:
- Be sensible. For the sake of practicality and cleanliness, select a blanket with a removable, washable cover.
- Be careful. A weighted blanket may look like an ordinary throw, but its heft can be a handful to lug around or spread over your bed. Before you pick it up, bend at the knees as you would when lifting any heavy object.
- Be appropriate. Blanket weight is chosen based on the weight of the individual who will use it and the desired amount of pressure. Ten percent of a person’s body weight is the recommended blanket weight. So, for example, if an individual weighs 150 pounds, a 15-pound blanket would be the best fit.
- Be safe. Weighted blankets are not intended for children. Unless specifically recommended by your family doctor or pediatrician, avoid introducing your children to a weighted blanket until they reach the teen years.
“It’s also very important to understand that weighted blankets are not intended for babies and can put an infant at a greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS),” says pulmonologist Robert Albertson, M.D. “To promote better rest for their little one, I suggest parents talk with their pediatrician about recommended swaddling or other techniques to safely soothe their child to sleep.”
Talk to your primary care provider about any sleep issues or symptoms of anxiety you may be having. While a weighted blanket may offer some benefit, seek medical advice if these issues start to interfere with your daily life.
To schedule an appointment with a primary care provider, visit cengkon.com. You can call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936) in southeast Michigan. If you’re in the Jackson area or south central Michigan, call 1-888-862-DOCS.
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Dr. Robert Albertson specializes in the treatment of patients with pulmonary disorders at Henry Ford Allegiance Sleep Health Center in Jackson.