Weighted Blankets Are Popular Sleep Aids, So I Bought Two

Lori DePorter avatar

by Lori DePorter |

Share this article:

Share article via email
gadgets, blame, obstacles, personal trainer, guilt, Q&A

Sleep.

It used to be something that came to me as natural as breathing. Now, it eludes me, and I struggle to get the rest my body needs.

My body is exhausted, but my mind does not agree. I think about what I should have done that day but didn’t get to and what I need to do tomorrow. Something always keeps the hamster running on the wheel.

Eventually, my mind cooperates, but sometimes it is too late. My legs wake up, they “jig and jive,” and anxiety follows. Sleep and anxiety are not friends. They do not peacefully coexist.

After reading good things about sleep and weighted blankets, I purchased one. Weighted blankets are promoted as having calming and beneficial effects for ADHD, autism, and many other conditions including Parkinson’s. My hope was to find relief for my restless legs and the anxiety that comes with them.

If you are unfamiliar with weighted blankets, they are weighted with glass beads, plastic pellets, or other fillers. The blanket provides gentle pressure over your body. In a way, it feels like a hug. The effect can be both comforting and calming.

The concept sounds simple. However, I quickly discovered a few things with my first blanket that led to the purchase of my second blanket.

All weighted blankets are not created equal and they are not “one size fits all.”

So, how do you know which blanket will work best for you?

Let’s start with weight. Experts recommend a blanket that is approximately 10 percent of your body weight. Adjust the weight to feel comfortable. For example, if you find it difficult to roll over or if you feel trapped, a lighter blanket may be better for you.

Different designs also are available. The design and stitching are important. Look for a blanket designed with beads sewn into separate sections. This will distribute the weight evenly.

Some blankets, like my first one, appear to have separate sections but they are not sewn shut. The beads and the weight become concentrated in one area. The blanket becomes difficult to maneuver and uncomfortable. Like me, you will find yourself buying a second blanket.

Once you find the right blanket, it can be a great sleeping aid for the entire night or for a power nap. However, be patient. It takes some time to adjust to the weight.

In the beginning, I only covered my legs. Each night, I pulled the blanket a little higher to cover more of my body. I was completely under the blanket in a few days. I was comfortable and benefiting from the gentle pressure it provided. The blanket has become an essential tool in my Parkinson’s toolbox.

From my personal experience, there is one last piece of advice worth mentioning. Stand next to the bed, spread out the blanket, crawl in, and cover up. Attempting to spread out the blanket while sitting in bed may result with both you and the blanket on the floor.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

Comments

Dylpup avatar

Dylpup

Does the weight of the blanket make you less mobile in bed? Are you used to sleeping in the same position all hight?
My husband sleeps with a lightweight fiberfill blanket that's a twin size--no tucking under the mattress. Stiffness and frequent urination make him get up frequently. He isn't awake for extended periods, more like he has interrupted sleep. So a lightweight blanket with some thermal value plus no excess hanging over the sides works best for him. Interesting how a single symptom can vary and requires different tools or techniques. Parkinson's is different for everyone--symptoms and solutions!
We finally found a sleep aid that helps him wake up less. Hard to separate out the urinating and stiffness problems but seems a deeper sleep helps him urinate less frequently. Sometimes the sleep aid is less effective--stress, fatigue, the moon--who knows.

Reply
Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

Iteresting question...I don't think I wake up as much as I used to throughout the night. I still move and change positions. We all have our tricks that may work for us and not for others.

Good Luck

Reply
Connie Sorensen avatar

Connie Sorensen

Can you share what sleeping aid you use?

Reply
Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

I have a 15 pound blanket. I used it every night!

Reply
Phil avatar

Phil

How hot are they?

Reply
Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

They are warm. I only use the blanket. I am usually cold so it works out for me.

Lori

Reply
Pamela Taylor avatar

Pamela Taylor

I've had my blanket for a few months now. I do have PD. To tell you the truth I would have a hard time sleeping without it. It's so warm and comforting. It would be hard for me to give it up. If you have PD give it a try. I know you will enjoy it. Take care.

Reply
Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Great article Lori - great topic!!! I’ve thought about trying a blanket but I’m sleeping well right now and think I’ll wait. I’ve heard they’re great though!

Reply
Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

Thanks...the only problem is you can't travel with them...it's a bit inconvenient:)

Reply
Carmen Latimer avatar

Carmen Latimer

I tried a weighted blanket for a few nights and didn't like it. The one I picked was 12 pounds I think; I weigh 132 pounds and have had PD for about 8 years ( officially diagnosed at age 48) Just couldn't get used to the extra weight . I really love my down comforter. It is so fluffy , light weight and keeps me comfortable year round. It's like sleeping in a cloud :)

Reply
e avatar

e

can u recommend a brand/model # that has all the criteria u mentioned?
id like to buy one for a friend.
thank you

Reply
Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

Mine is “calming comfort” by Sharper Image. I think I got it online at BED BATH & BEYOND. And I had a coupon🙂

Reply

Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.

Your Parkinson’s Community

Woman laying down illustration

Visit the Parkinson’s News Today forums to connect with others in the Parkinson’s community.

View Forums