A randomized controlled study of weighted chain blankets for insomnia in psychiatric disorders

J Clin Sleep Med. 2020 Sep 15;16(9):1567-1577. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.8636.


Study objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the effect of weighted chain blankets on insomnia and sleep-related daytime symptoms for patients with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Methods: One hundred twenty patients were randomized (1:1) to either a weighted metal chain blanket or a light plastic chain blanket for 4 weeks. The outcome was evaluated using the Insomnia Severity Index as primary outcome measure and day and night diaries, Fatigue Symptom Inventory, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale as secondary outcome measures. Sleep and daytime activity levels were evaluated by wrist actigraphy.

Results: At 4 weeks, there was a significant advantage in Insomnia Severity Index ratings of the weighted blanket intervention over the light blanket (P < .001) with a large effect size (Cohen's d 1.90). The intervention by the weighted blanket resulted in a significantly better sleep-maintenance, a higher daytime activity level, and reduced daytime symptoms of fatigue, depression, and anxiety. No serious adverse events occurred. During a 12-month open follow-up phase of the study, participants continuing to use weighted blankets maintained the effect on sleep, while patients switching from a light to a weighted blanket experienced an effect on Insomnia Severity Index ratings similar to that of participants using the weighted blanket from the beginning.

Conclusions: Weighted chain blankets are an effective and safe intervention for insomnia in patients with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also improving daytime symptoms and levels of activity.

Clinical trial registration: Registry: ClinicalTrials.gov; Name: Controlled Study of Chain Blanket for Insomnia; URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03546036; Identifier: NCT03546036.

Keywords: ADHD; bipolar disorder; insomnia; major depressive disorder; weighted blankets.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Anxiety
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / complications
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / complications
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03546036