Following NAD Inquiry, Weighting Comforts to Modify, Discontinue Certain Performance Claims for its Weighted Blankets

New York, NY – July 29, 2019 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Weighting Comforts, LLC modify an advertising claim that its weighted blankets improve sleep, and discontinue a claim that its weighted blankets reduce anxiety. Further, Weighting Comforts stated that it will permanently discontinue many of the other challenged express claims and consumer testimonials.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB NP’s self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.

As part of NAD’s routine monitoring program, NAD requested substantiation for the following express claims:

  • “Our weighted blankets help you sleep better and reduce anxiety.”
  • “In a recent study, 63% reported lower anxiety after use. Studies have shown that nervous systems calm down under the weight of a heavy blanket. If anxiety is preventing you from getting quality sleep, this can go a long way toward fixing the problem – and often fix it entirely.”

The advertiser informed NAD in writing that it permanently discontinued many of the challenged claims and testimonials.  Such claims included, but were not limited to:

Express claims:

  • “Our blankets are designed for you if you’re battling symptoms of Anxiety, Insomnia, PTSD, Restless Leg and Depression.”
  • “Weighted blankets have been proven to increase serotonin and melatonin in your body, which helps you relax, feel calmer, and fall asleep much easier.”

Testimonials:

  • “ . . . I am recovering from neurolyme and both the regular blanket as well as the lap one have helped soothe my dysregulated nervous system – Anita W.”
  • “I have server [sic] PTSD and all of the lovely anxiety, sleep and other side effects that come with it . . . The security and safety that I felt instantly when I crawled under this blanket has allowed me two whole weeks without nightmares! I can physically feel my body relax as soon as the weight settles in around me . . . . – Rita R.”

NAD, relying on the advertiser’s representations that the claims have been permanently discontinued, did not review the claims on their merits.  However, the voluntarily discontinued claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.

NAD considered whether the advertiser’s improved sleep and anxiety reduction claims were supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. 

In support of the improved sleep claim, Weighting Comfort relied mainly on the Ackerley Study – a four week study conducted in Sweden that was designed to determine whether a weighted blanket could have a positive impact on adults with chronic insomnia. While NAD had some concerns about the study’s methodology, such as a test population limited to individuals with chronic insomnia, it ultimately determined that the study flaws it identified were not fatal to the study’s methodology as a whole.  NAD concluded that the Ackerley Study was sufficiently reliable to support the challenged claim.  However, NAD determined that the claim at issue does not reflect the qualified nature of the study’s conclusion and therefore recommended that the claim “our weighted sleep blankets help you sleep better” be modified to state that the weighted blankets may improve sleep quality.

With regard to the anxiety reduction claims, the advertiser relied on the Mullen Study – a one-day exploratory cross-over study designed to examine the safety of the weighted blanket and its impact on anxiety.  After a careful review of its methodology, NAD determined that there were fatal flaws which rendered the Mullen Study insufficiently reliable to support the challenged anxiety reduction claims.  Namely, the study tested a non-representative test population (individuals with low to no anxiety), the subjects were limited to using only one type of weighted blanket, the control group was limited to using no blanket instead of being afforded the choice of a sheet or non-weighted blanket, and the subjects were tested for a 5-minute interval which does not reflect a typical consumer’s sleep experience.  NAD recommended that the challenged reduced anxiety claims be discontinued, however it noted that nothing in the record prevents the advertiser from touting that its blankets provide users a sense of security. In its advertiser’s statement, Weighting Comforts stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations.”