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Weighted blankets and sleep in autistic children - a randomised controlled trial

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  • P. Gringras
  • D. Green
  • B. Wright
  • C. Rush
  • M. Sparrowhawk
  • K. Pratt
  • V. Allgar
  • N. Hooke
  • D. Moore
  • Z. Zaiwalla
  • L. Wiggs
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>8/09/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Sleep Research
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Number of pages1
Pages (from-to)320-320
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English
Event22nd Congress of the European-Sleep-Research-Society - Tallinn, Estonia
Duration: 16/09/201420/09/2014


Conference22nd Congress of the European-Sleep-Research-Society


Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a weighted blanket intervention in treating severe sleep problems in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Method: This phase III trial was a randomised, placebo controlled cross-over design.
Participants were aged between 5 years and 16 years 10 months, with a confirmed ASD diagnosis and severe sleep problems, refractory to community based interventions. The interventions were either a commercially available weighted blanket (weighted) or otherwise identical usual weight blanket (control), introduced at bedtime; each was used for a two week period before cross-over to the other blanket. Primary outcome was total-sleep-time (TST)
recorded by actigraphy over each 2 week period. Secondary outcomes included actigraphically recorded sleep onset latency, sleep efficiency, assessments of child behaviour, family functioning and adverse events. Sleep was also measured using parent-report diaries.

Results: 73 children were randomized and analysis conducted on 67 children who completed the study. Using objective measures, in comparison to the control blanket the weighted blanket did not increase TST as measured by actigraphy and adjusted for baseline TST. There were no group differences in any other objective or subjective measure of sleep including behavioural outcomes. On subjective preference measures parents and children favoured the
weighted blanket.

Conclusions: The use of a weighted blanket did not help children sleep for a longer period of time, fall asleep significantly faster, or wake less often. However, the weighted blanket was favoured by children and parents and blankets were well tolerated over this period.

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose