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Could This Blanket Help You Sleep Better?

Could This Blanket Help You Sleep Better?

One of the best things you can do for your brain is get a good night’s rest, but that’s not so easy for many Americans.

One in 3 of us get too little sleep, which has consequences for mood, memory, and the ability to focus or solve problems. Sleep deprivation may also put you at risk for high blood pressure and diabetes.

What can you do to get more shut-eye? Some experts say weighted blankets can help.

These look like regular blankets, but they’re filled with plastic pellets to make them heavier — anywhere from about 3 pounds to 30 pounds. Most manufacturers recommend getting a blanket that weighs about 10 percent of the person’s body weight.

The concept is that the gentle pressure from a weighted blanket feels like a body massage or a reassuring hug, in the same way that swaddling is comforting to newborns. The theory is that the weight helps calm and settle the nervous system.

Now in a new study, Swedish scientists found that among 120 insomnia patients with psychiatric disorders such as major depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, those who used weighted blankets for four weeks reported significantly reduced insomnia, less daytime sleepiness and fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.

After four weeks, nearly 60 percent of the weighted-blanket group had reduced their insomnia by half or more, compared with just 5.4 percent of the control group. About 42 percent reported that their insomnia improved enough to be considered in remission, meaning it had mostly disappeared.

A follow-up study of participants a year later found that 92 percent of those using weighted blankets had reduced their insomnia and 78 percent reported that their insomnia was in remission.