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Tara D. S. Summers, MS, OTD, OTR/L


Background: The purpose of this mixed methods case study was to describe the perceived sleep quality experience of an adolescent, without a pre-identified sleep need, when they used a weighted blanket during sleep.

Method: Adolescents (n = 5) 11 to 16 years of age completed a sleep diary for 7 days, sleeping with a self-selected weighted blanket for at least 3 days. A semi-structured individual interview was held after Day 7.

Results: The majority of the participants would like to continue using a weighted blanket for sleep. Eighty percent of the adolescents choose to sleep with a blanket at or above 12% of their body weight. Qualitative data revealed the following themes: perceptions regarding the characteristics of a weighted blanket, perceived changes in quality of sleep, and perceived changes in quantity of sleep.

Conclusion: A weighted blanket is a sleep hygiene tool that can be used safely and effectively to improve sleep quality for healthy adolescents when the weight and the size of the blanket are based on adolescent preference. Future directions include the exploration of sleep quantity and weighted blankets and the use of a weighted blanket as a sleep hygiene tool with other populations. Occupational therapists’ unique skill set addresses sleep quality, and they are ideal leaders to promote this sleep hygiene tool from a global wellness perspective.


The author declares that they have no competing financial, professional, or personal interest that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript.