Gift of the Year: The Weighted Blanket
Image Source: Rocabi c/o NBCNews
Every holiday season, there exists a gift that is so popular among the masses that it is talked about long after the tree comes down and holiday cookies are devoured. Therefore, it is dubbed the “gift of the year.” This year, I am giving the title to the weighted blanket, a gift that made many a holiday list and happened to be popular among my family this Christmas.
On the box, it advertised that the weighted blanket could help ease anxiety and OCD, improve cognitive function and, of course, sleep.
With the Gravity Blanket being named the best invention of 2018 by Time, I had to wonder how much research went into a product that claims to help these problems. Turns out it’s sparse.
Much of the research is industry-funded, such as one paid for by blanket makers. In a study that lasted two weeks, 31 men and women who had moderate insomnia reported a calmer night’s sleep with fewer movements. Why? The blanket is literally 25 pounds. From experience, I can say you will not move.
In another study, researchers looked at the total sleep time of 67 children with autism spectrum disorder, assigned randomly to sleep under a regular blanket or a weighted one for two weeks, then switched to the other blanket type for two weeks. The researchers did not find the weighted blanket helped the children sleep longer, fall asleep faster, or wake less often; but they did find the children and parents liked the weighted blanket better than the regular one.
So, with little research to prove the benefits, one could gather that weighted blankets had the power of the grapevine on their side. I heard from my sister, my friends, and after Christmas, everyone’s Instagram stories about them, but I never received a single advertisement via social media (you know your phone is listening) or other media channel, even though cookies could gather that I’ve searched for stress relief remedies from time to time. The decline in stigma about anxiety and other mental health issues is helping, too.
So, in a world where we’re looking for solid proof that we’re getting the best of the best, we can learn from the weighted blanket that as long as the product is good quality, none of the research matters. Products can still speak for themselves.
Posted by Cat