Saturday, August 16, 2014

Study: Weighted blankets do not help children with autism sleep...even though patients like them!

A study shows that weighted blankets do not help autistic children sleep.

But, it appears that parents and children like them and they are seem harmless.

This intervention goes into the category of "may be helpful" and "probably benign".


Weighted blankets did not improve sleep duration, falling asleep faster or waking less often among children with autism spectrum disorder, according to recent study findings published in Pediatrics.

Paul Gringras, MBChB, MRCP, MsC, of Evelina London Children’s Hospital, and colleagues evaluated 67 children aged 5 to 16 years with a confirmed diagnosis and severe sleep problems for 10 months to determine the effect of weighted blankets on sleep duration, time to fall asleep and times waking throughout the night. Participants used a weighted blanket or usual weight blanket (control) for 2 weeks each.
At baseline, no differences were found between the groups for total sleep time, average sleep onset latency, average sleep efficiency, duration of wake after sleep onset and average number of night wakening.
The control blanket caused statistically significant better sleep (P=.01), although small, compared with the weighted blanket on the Composite Sleep Disturbance Index.
However, on the questionnaire, the weighted blanket yielded better results for the “really liked” category (48%) vs. the control (31%). Similarly, parents reported more improved sleep and their children being calmer with the weighted blanket compared with the control blanket.

“Weighted blankets are widely available commercially, and anecdotal reports promote their use in children with ASD,” the researchers wrote. “The blankets will cost families in excess of [$150] and cannot be returned to manufacturers if they are not effective. Our findings provide valuable evidence that although weighted blankets in children with ASD are safe and well perceived by child and parent alike, there is no measurable evidence they are beneficial for children’s sleep.”
Read more here

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