Weighted blankets are a non-pharmacological intervention for treating sleep and anxiety problems in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. However, research on the efficacy of weighted blankets is sparse. The aim of this randomized controlled trial with a crossover design (4 + 4 weeks) was to evaluate the efficacy of weighted blankets on sleep among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and sleeping problems. Children diagnosed with uncomplicated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder with verified sleep problems were randomized to start with either a weighted blanket or a lighter control blanket. Data collection was performed at weeks 0, 4 and 8 using actigraphy, questionnaires and a daily sleep diary. T-tests were used to evaluate efficacy. The study included 94 children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (mean age 9.0 [sd 2.2] years; 54 [57.4%] boys). Weighted blankets had a significant effect on total sleep time (mean diff. 7.72 min, p = 0.027, Cohen’s d = 0.24), sleep efficiency (mean diff. 0.82%, p = 0.038, Cohen’s d = 0.23) and wake after sleep onset (mean diff. −2.79 min, p = 0.015, Cohen’s d = −0.27), but not on sleep-onset latency (p = 0.432). According to our exploratory subgroup analyses, weighted blankets may be especially beneficial for improving total sleep time in children aged 11–14 years (Cohen’s d = 0.53, p = 0.009) and in children with the inattentive attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder subtype (Cohen’s d = 0.58, p = 0.016). Our results suggest that weighted blankets may improve children’s sleep and could be used as an alternative to pharmacological sleep interventions.

Direct Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.13990

Journal: Journal of Sleep Research. 2023 Jul 15:e13990

Keywords: ADHD, anxiety, children, randomised controlled trial, Sleep, sleep intervention, weighted blankets,

Applications: Sleep,

CamNtech Reference: M23038

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