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elbanditoroso's avatar

What is the theory behind weighted blankets?

Asked by elbanditoroso (29717points) August 17th, 2019

Are you supposed to sleep better because you are weighted down?

What’s an optimal weight?

What makes them heavy?

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17 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I suspect it is intended to simulate the loving, warm, embrace of death a mother.

dabbler's avatar

It’s just that some people feel really comfortable sleeping with a heavy blanket.
I see them weighted with a variety of things from glass beads to beans.
Better blankets of this sort often feature their method of keeping the weights in place.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I don’t know if there’s a theory so much as a set of observations. So while we might not know the exact mechanism, there is research that suggests it improves both objective and subjective sleep experiences for certain groups of people. Here are three studies that I was able to find: [1], [2], [3].

The third study seems to suggest that 8 kg is the weight that most people prefer, though it varies from person to person (which is why multiple weights are available). Some blankets are weighted down with chain links, others with plastic pellets. The studies all seem to be about chain-weighted blankets.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Personal preference really. A lot of folks like that feeling. Personally I’d hate it and end up throwing the blanket off me in a minute.

JLeslie's avatar

If you’re accustomed to the feeling it’s hard to sleep without it. My husband can sleep with no blanket, even without a top sheet, just completely uncovered, and I don’t understand it, except that he tends to be hot, and grew up in a very moderate climate.

For most of us who grew up in a cold climate, we are used to the feeling of a blanket, even multiple blankets. In Florida, in the summer, the blanket I use is lightweight, because of the heat, and it took me years to get accustomed to it. I still prefer a heavier blanket.

I know people who turn their AC very cold at night so they can use a blanket.

dabbler's avatar

Consider Dr.Temple Grandin’s squeezing machine that comforted her greatly when she had upset episodes. It was modeled on something made for cattle to hold them for branding.
It is speculated that the womb-like embrace triggers calm, comfortable, and passive feelings.

zenvelo's avatar

It is analogous to the thunder shirts for dogs. The pressure reduces anxiety.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have tried one, it feels like someone is hugging you. I liked it.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

We have multiple quilts on the bed, guess that would be the same effect.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth Same, hate it.

Definaty pre-natal comfort. Like swaddling babies, some people need it, some dont.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Thanks all. Someone was talking about it on Friday like it was the best thing since sliced bread – I couldn’t figure out the appeal. I must be one of the “no way” crowd.

cookieman's avatar

“I know people who turn their AC very cold at night so they can use a blanket.”

@JLeslie: ME

raum's avatar

Deep Pressure Therapy (also known as DPT) has multiple applications (ASD, ADHD, SPD, anxiety, depression, dementia, etc.)

Weighted blankets are an easy way for people to benefit from DPT without the usual issues of cost and access.

I’ve made one using polypropylene beads. Recommended weight is 10–20% of your weight.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I had a blanket, that was too light once. I eventually just threw it away. I prefer cotton. But I admit that it has to have some weight. Not sure why….

LuckyGuy's avatar

I love the feel of the lead blanket the dental technician drapes over me when taking X-rays. I mentioned it to her once and she said a lot of people say that.

cookieman's avatar

@raum: They sell sleeves or sweaters that serve similar purposes for dogs and cats. Mostly to calm their nerves. No idea if they’re effective, but my friend told me about them.

I think, for me, a weighted blanket would actually increase anxiety and cause feelings of claustrophobia.

Mastema2's avatar

Yes, it is said it keeps the person asleep longer with little tossing. I however have never experienced this. I sleep unlike the average person though.

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