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Can a weighted blanket help me sleep?
Posted on March 15th, 2022
If you have trouble sleeping, you’ve probably had a friend or family member recommend a weighted blanket. But a good weighted blanket can be a big investment. What does the science say about weighted blankets for sleep? Are they expensive placebos, or do they really work?
What the science says
Here’s a round-up of the current evidence on weighted blankets:
In 2020, a Swedish study found that for patients who had trouble sleeping due to depression, anxiety, or ADHD, weighted blankets reduced insomnia and improved daytime mood and function.
In 2021, a very small study found that they did not improve sleep in children with autism. But the authors thought larger studies were needed.
According to the Sleep Foundation, weighted blankets may be unsafe for people with asthma, circulatory problems, type 2 diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
While intuition suggests that weighted blankets should work for restless leg syndrome (RLS), their effect hasn’t been studied.
What does that mean for you?
So where does that leave you and your sleep issues?
If you can’t sleep because of anxiety or ADHD, you might benefit from a weighted blanket. But if you are waking up gasping and choking for air, you may have OSA and should not use a weighted blanket.
If you think you suffer from RLS, then a weighted blanket may help. However, RLS is often caused by nutritional deficiencies. So you should see your doctor. Solving any underlying physical problems will help more than a weighted blanket will.
What else can I do to get more sleep?
There are other natural ways to improve your sleep quality. For instance, you can eat a sleep-enhancing diet or take steps to help you fall asleep faster. One of the best ways to get great sleep is to make sure your upper airways are clear. That means treating allergies, addressing tongue and palate issues, and getting help for sleep apnea.
To learn more about healthy sleep, healthy airways, and what can go wrong, read Airway Is Life. The work of sleep is important for your whole family’s health and safety, and it’s important to make sure everyone is sleeping their best.
Dr. Meghna Dassani has practiced dentistry for over two decades and is passionate about the role dentists play in whole-body health. You can learn more at her website: MeghnaDassani.com.
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