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G594(P) The Use of Weighted Blankets to Modify Sleep in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  1. C Furnell,
  2. F Finlay
  1. Community Child Health, Sirona Care and Health, Bath, UK

Abstract

Aims There are many websites accessible to parents recommending weighted blankets as a treatment for ADHD. They make a range of claims and some charge considerable amounts for their products. It is claimed the blankets provide sensory feedback which helps to calm the child and improve sleep. The aims of this study were to discover if there is evidence to support the use of weighted blankets to improve sleep in children with ADHD.

Methods A literature review was undertaken using the terms, ADHD, sleep, weighted and or blankets. Pubmed ERIC and CINHAIL were used.

Results Despite the large number of websites offering weighted blankets with promises of improvement and their extensive discussion on parents forums only 1 study was identified looking at this subject. Hvolby in 2010 performed a study on 21 children diagnosed with ADHD and 21 controls using the “Ball Blanket”. This is a type of weighted blanket. The study showed that the time it takes to fall asleep is shortened when using a ball blanket back to the level of healthy control subjects. This also had an impact in the classroom with a 10% improvement in attention and activity levels.

Conclusion There is currently only 1 study looking at weighted blankets in ADHD for sleep. This study did show an improvement in time to fall asleep and subsequent behaviour in school however the study was small and the blanket was only used for a short length of time. We do not know the long term effects of using the blanket, how well tolerated it would be over time or if any adverse effects were reported. The authors feel further research is needed before recommending weighted blankets to children with ADHD and sleep issues.

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