Parents' Experiences of Weighted Blankets' Impact on Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Sleep Problems-A Qualitative Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Dec 8;18(24):12959. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182412959.


Sleep disturbances are common among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While pharmacological treatment has increased dramatically, parents often prefer non-pharmacological interventions. Research on experiences of weighted blankets and their effect in sleep improvement is scarce. The aim of this study was to explore parents' experiences of weighted blankets for children with ADHD and sleep problems, and the impact on their children's sleep. The explorative design was based on qualitative content analysis. Interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 24 parents of children with ADHD and sleep problems, after completing a sleep intervention with weighted blankets for 16 weeks. Parents reported that children sleeping with weighted blankets: (1) achieved satisfactory sleep, including improved sleep onset latency, sleep continuity, and sleep routines; (2) achieved overall well-being, including improved relaxation and reduced anxiety; and (3) mastered everyday life, including improved balance in life, family function, and participation in school and leisure activities. This study brings forward novel aspects of the effects of improved sleep among children with ADHD. The findings contribute to the understanding of potential positive effects of an intervention with weighted blankets critical for clinical practice to improve sleep, well-being, and everyday life of children with ADHD and their families.

Keywords: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); children; experiences; intervention; parents; qualitative content analysis; sleep problems; weighted blankets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / therapy
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / therapy