What Do Weighted Blankets Actually Do?

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Playing Do Weighted Blankets Work? Sleep Doctor Weighs In
Do Weighted Blankets Work? Sleep Doctor Weighs In Aired July 23, 2019

One of the most common complaints sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus gets is "I can't turn off my brain at night." 

Sound familiar? 

Here's the deal: stressors tend to trigger our mind and body to scan for threats at night, which doesn't exactly allow for restful sleep. This is especially true for adults — particularly Gen Xers, the sleep expert says, since they're more likely to be at a stage in life where they may be trying to raise a family and keep up with a career.

RELATED: 3 Things That May Be Keeping You Up At Night

"This is a level of anxiety," the doc explains. "It's not anxiety like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm afraid of something.' It's just an energy that you've got going. And you're thinking about a million different things." 

Well, Dr. Breus says a weighted blanket, like this one, might be able to help, since the heaviness has been known to relax and calm people.

"This is something that's actually been in the autism community for quite some time," he adds. "There's actually clinical trial that's been done looking at weighted blankets."

As for exactly why they work, "no one 100% knows," Dr. Breus tells us, but one study has shown the positive effects of them on insomnia

"The current theory is that it causes a level of proprioception — or pressure on the nerves — giving [people] support and allowing for relaxation," he continues. 

If you want to give one a try, the doc recommends getting a blanket that equals roughly 10% of your body weight, but first-time users can start smaller. (Another option is only covering yourself in a portion of the blanket to start, like Dr. Breus demonstrates in the video above.)

And if you're worried about feeling hot under the blanket, the doc suggests leaving your feet exposed, which will help with ventilation. 

Always check with your doctor before trying new health-related products.

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