As something that's used during sleep, weighted blankets are best known for promoting sleep to begin with. And according to Brittany Ferri, OTR/L, CCTP, occupational therapist and founder of Simplicity of Health, LLC, this perk is due to a type of sensory input called proprioception. Proprioception "helps us comprehend how our body interacts with its environment," she says. It also involves signals from sensory neurons in the skin, muscles, and joints that inform the body's movement.
The pressure of weighted blankets provides this sensory input. "The information allows a person's brain to stop doing extra work to determine the body's location," explains Ferri. "Once the brain is no longer devoting energy to this task, it can focus on other vital functions—including sleep."
The sleep-related benefits of weighted blankets were observed in a 2015 study. For two weeks straight, 31 adults with chronic insomnia slept with weighted blankets. The participants said they had an easier time falling asleep, along with better sleep quality.