GOOD NEWS MONDAY: A TIP FOR REDUCING INSOMNIA

In the UK, 16 million adults suffer from sleepless nights, and a third say that they have insomnia. If this sounds like you, be sure to read on!

According to researchers in Sweden, those with insomnia experience better sleep and less sleepiness in the daytime when they sleep with a weighted chain blanket.

The study showed that participants who used a weighted blanket for four weeks reported significantly reduced insomnia severity, improved sleep maintenance, increased daytime activity level, reduced symptoms of fatigue, depression and anxiety. Participants who used a weighted blanket were almost 26 times more likely to experience a reduction of 50% or more in their insomnia severity in comparison with a control group. They were also nearly 20 times more likely to reach remission of their insomnia. These positive results were maintained during a year long, open follow-up.

So why do weighted blankets have a positive effect on sleep?

Weighted blankets tend to have a calming and sleep-promising effective, possibly due to the pressure that it applies to different points on the body. In can stimulate the sensation of touch and the sense of muscles and joints. akin t acupressure and massage. The principal investigator Dr Mats Alder, consultant psychiatrist in the department of clinical neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, said: “There is evidence suggesting that deep pressure stimulation increases parasympathetic arousal of the autonomic nervous system and at the same time reduces sympathetic arousal, which is considered to be the cause of the calming effect.”

The study featured 120 adults who had been previously diagnosed with clinical insomnia and a co-occurring psychiatric disorder: major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or generalised anxiety disorder. They’re mean age was 40 years. They were randomised to sleep for four weeks with either a chain-weighted blanket or a control blanket. Those assigned to the weighted blanket group tried an 8-kilogram chain blanket at the clinic. 10 of these participants found this to be too heavy and received a 6-kilogram blanket instead. Participants in the control group slept with a light plastic chain blanket of 1.5 kilograms. Change in insomnia severity was measured using the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and write actigraphy was used to estimate sleep and daytime activity levels.

Almost 60% of weighted blanket users had a positive response with a decrease of 50% or more in their ISI score, compared with 5.4% of the control group.

Following the initial four week long study, each particular was able to choose to use the weighted blanket for a 12-month follow-up. They could choose from four different weighted blankets: wo chain blankets (6 kilograms and 8 kilograms) and two ball blankets (6.5 kilograms and 7 kilograms). Most opted for a heavier blanket. Participants who swapped from the control group experienced similar results to the participants who used the weighted blanket from the start. After a year, 92% of weighted blanket users experienced positive results, and 78% were in remission.

This is such great news for those who do suffer with insomnia and sleepless nights. If you do suffer with this, it may be worth thinking about investing in a weighted blanket!

Check out last week’s Good News Monday HERE

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