Weighted blankets provide a feeling of deep pressure that mimics a hug. When people hug each other, the body releases oxytocin. This is a hormone that slows down the heartbeat, reduces blood pressure, and relaxes the body. Mimicking this sensation means a reduction in anxiety and an “at peace” feeling. (3) In addition to the natural relief that weighted blankets provide for insomnia, weighted blankets for anxiety treatment can help reduce anxious feelings before bedtime begins.
A Swedish study tested the effectiveness of weighted blankets for insomnia treatment. This four week study included 31 finishing participants. Each participant was measured based on an Insomnia Severity Index and an Epworth Sleepiness scale. During these four weeks, each participant slept for a week in their normal environment. This was the control for the experiment – and each participant was, as they had reported – afflicted with insomnia. During the second and third week, participants slept with a weighted blanket. They were allowed to alter their blanket’s weight to their comfort. For the fourth week of the study, participants slept normally, in their regular conditions. This way, researchers could measure the participant’s insomnia before and after the introduction of their weighted blanket.