In this post, you will learn about weighted blankets for seniors. Weighted blankets are claimed to help a lot of ailments so we will look at if there’s any evidence to these claims.
Originally a niche treatment product of medical professionals and therapists, weighted blankets have become mainstream in recent years.
Originally used to help treat conditions like autism, weighted blankets are claimed to treat many ailments these days. Including anxiety disorders, insomnia, and stress.
They are also marketed as a way to calm hyperactive kids down during the night, but unfortunately, there have been a couple of tragic cases of small children suffocating under these blankets.
Since you are reading this, it’s likely someone recommended a weighted blanket for yourself or your senior family member, or maybe you read about them in a magazine or online.
But do they actually work and do you really need one? Let’s find out.
What Are Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are blankets that have heavy filling to add substantial weight to the blanket. The idea is not to add insulation and thus warmth to the blanket, but the sense of pressure as the gravity pulls the heavy blanket on your body. This is why they are also known as gravity blankets.
Weighted blankets can be used while sleeping like regular blankets or as a therapeutic aid to calm down the body when agitated, stressed, or anxious or suffering from insomnia.
Weighted blankets typically consist of three elements: the blanket, the filling, and the cover.
The blanket is usually made out of polyester, cotton, silk, or other suitable blanket fabric. There will typically be a layer of cushioning on the inside that can be made out of cotton, fleece, polyester, or down.
What sets a weighted blank apart from a regular blanket is the weight. The actual weights are typically in compartments or pouches between then cushioning layer. They can consist of hard plastic pellets, glass beads, sand, pebbles, grain, and steel bbs.
What Are Weighted Blankets Used For
Originally weighted blankets were developed to calm down autistic children who have sensory overstimulation.
The weight and the comfort of the blanket were found to calm down the nervous system of some autistic people, helping them calm down and relax to sleep.
Weighted blankets emulate a therapeutic treatment called deep pressure stimulation, where pressure applied with hands may help reduce pain and anxiety.
You can think that in a way the blanket offers a feeling of being hugged, which will calm down the nervous system.
So naturally weighted blankets might have a calming effect for people not suffering from autism as well.
That’s why weighted blanks have been used and recommended for ADHD, insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain, stress reduction, and many other ailments.
Are Weighted Blankets Effective
Weighted blankets have been studied at least for the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, ADHD autism-related insomnia, and chronic pain.
The studies have been very small and the results have been very preliminary. Not many conclusions can be drawn out of them in my opinion.
There have been some positive outcomes, but the way these studies are performed, the effect of placebo can’t be ruled out.
So the effectiveness of weighted blankets is currently based more on anecdotal evidence. Some people find them very comforting while others might find them uncomfortable or even unbearable since they can feel restricting or too warm.
That said, many people swear that weighted blankets help them calm down and sleep better at night and reduce chronic pain. This is where most of their therapeutic value lies for seniors.
One important safety consideration for seniors is that if you or your loved one is very frail and can’t lift the blanket on their own, using it can be dangerous. Anyone using a weighted blanket should be physically capable of pulling the blanket off if needed.
Weighted blankets shouldn’t be used if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea or asthma, because the added pressure on your ribcage can make your symptoms worse.
If you suffer from claustrophobia, a weighted blanket can trigger a panic attack because of the feeling of pressure it induces on your body, so use is not recommended.
Weighted Blanket Recommendation
Since some people find weighted blankets very comforting and relaxing and some people don’t find any benefit from them or even dislike them, I recommend you get a high-quality blanket from a manufacturer that has at least a 30-day full refund. This way you are not stuck with the blanket if you realize that weighted blankets are not your thing.
If you do decide to get a weighted blanket, I recommend you get a high-quality one. There are some cheap once on the market but they are usually not very heavy and the filling material can lump up, making the blanket saggy and uncomfortable.
Here are some of the best rated high-quality weighted blankets from Amazon (affiliate links, I will earn a small commission that helps me run the site):
I hope you found this guide about weighted blankets for seniors useful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you.
Weighted blankets can help you calm down and improve your sleep but unfortunately, this is based mainly on anecdotal evidence and there is very little scientific research done on the effectiveness of the weighted blankets for now.
But some people vouch for their effectiveness to improve sleep so if you suffer from insomnia or low sleep quality, it might be worth a shot to try one out.
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Thanks for reading and see you next time.