You’ve probably seen people raving over their weighted blankets on social media. Users claim weighted blankets provide the best sleep they’ve ever had, and plentiful mood and mental health benefits.
If you haven’t tried a weighted blanket for yourself, though, you may be a bit skeptical. After all, it’s just a blanket, right? How much of a difference can it really make?
It turns out, quite a lot, and there’s research to back it up.
Here are 15 benefits of a weighted blanket and why you need one sooner than later.
But What is a Weighted Blanket?
But first, if you’ve never experienced one for yourself, you might find yourself wondering exactly what a weighted blanket is. It’s more than just a heavy quilt or comforter, after all. Is it the same as a weighted vest?
A weighted blanket is typically made large enough for one person only and is created using a soft, breathable material (like cotton). Weighted blankets get their weight from their fillings. Each blanket is filled with some sort of weighted material, which might be plastic pellets, plastic beads, poly pellets or some other small items.
Sometimes, weighted blankets are also referred to as gravity blankets.
Benefit 1 – Weighted Blankets Combat Insomnia
If you’ve ever spent hours and hours tossing and turning and unable to get back to sleep, then you know how disrupting insomnia can be to every aspect of your life. It can impact your work, mood, relationships and everything in between. Anyone that struggles with a sleep disorder will tell you it’s awful and extremely tiring. Research shows that deep pressure stimulation can combat insomnia. Deep pressure stimulation creates the inner calm and mood-boosting effects you might already know from getting a massage or even just getting a hug from a loved one. Deep pressure stimulation often uses a firm but gentle weight on various or all parts of the body, triggering chain reactions throughout your central nervous system.
Weighted blankets are a type of deep pressure stimulation. The stimulation promotes serotonin release and helps your body relax enough to sleep and regulate your sleep entirely. You can finally say goodbye to the melatonin you’ve been taking and swap it out with a weighted blanket and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Benefit 2 – Weighted Blankets Help Restless Leg Syndrome
If you (or your partner) just can’t stop moving your legs while you’re trying to go to sleep or relax on the couch after a long day of work, you might have restless leg syndrome. This not only impacts your sleep quality but can be just downright annoying.
Some individuals with restless leg syndrome use compression socks to combat the constant urge to move, but weighted blankets work to create much of the same effect, easing the insatiable need to shift your legs during the night.
Benefit 3 – Weighted Blankets Fight Stress and Anxiety
Deep pressure stimulation not only encourages your body to increase the release of serotonin, but also dopamine. More dopamine in your body means less cortisol, aka the stress hormone. In other words, the stimulation increases the happy waves in your brain and reduces the stressed, anxious and irritated waves in your brain.
This means weighted blankets not only help you get to sleep faster (after all, how often does anxiety or stress keep you up at night?), but they also can just help you be in a better mood and a better mindset any time of day with the help of a little gentle pressure.
Benefit 4 – Weighted Blankets May Be Suitable for Children with Autism
While there’s not substantial scientific evidence that weighted blankets can improve sleep in children with autism, there is evidence that deep pressure stimulation produces positive results in people with autism.
Research shows deep pressure stimulation can help autistic children feel calmer and happier, while also increasing engagement, communication and responsiveness.
Benefit 5 – Weighted Blankets Mimic the Benefits of Grounding
If you’ve never heard of grounding before, it’s a simple concept. It’s connecting your body to the earth, whether that means taking off your shoes and walking barefoot through the grass, sitting on the ground in your backyard or some similar practice. Practitioners and occupational therapists say grounding can help you balance your internal electromagnetic system.
Weighted blankets supposedly produce a similar effect, as the blanket pushes your body down toward the earth.
Benefit 6 – Weighted Blankets Help with Sensory Processing
Sensory processing disorders are basically when there’s too much external input going into your brain.
This leads to an individual feeling overwhelmed or anxious. If you or someone you know has a sensory processing disorder or sensory issues, a weighted blanket can help you or them combat the resulting anxiety or stress. This is especially the case for children who have a more difficult time dealing with sensory processing disorders.
The weighted blanket acts a bit like white noise, blocking out other feelings and sensations so the user can focus on one sense at a time.
Benefit 7 – Weighted Blankets Mimic the Benefits of a Hug
Studies have shown time and time again that hugs are beneficial, and that human contact is important for our brains.
However, it’s not just the human contact that makes hugs so helpful. It’s also the way hugs incorporate deep pressure stimulation.
Weighted blankets resemble the feeling of a hug, proving beneficial for users of all ages. The deep touch pressure helps your brain to reduce those bad hormones and increase the good ones.
Benefit 8 – Weighted Blankets Relieve Some Symptoms of OCD and PTSD
OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder, and PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, both come with a lot of stress, anxiety, mood shifts and potential aggression. Weighted blankets help with all these, thanks to the positive hormones that deep pressure stimulation encourages.
Users with both OCD and PTSD have found that using a weighted blanket results in positive sleep and relaxation.
Benefit 9 – Weighted Blankets Reduce Pain
Massage therapy is popular with those with chronic pain or other painful conditions such as osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia. Want to take a guess why? Again, it all comes down to that deep touch pressure stimulation.
Weighted blankets could prove beneficial to those who are seeking deep pressure relief from chronic pain and other painful conditions.
Benefit 10 – Weighted Blankets Help You Focus
If you thought that weighted blankets are just for the bedroom or couch, think again.
Weighted blankets can help you focus, much like how weighted blankets help those with sensory processing disorders zero in on singular sensations versus becoming overwhelmed by their sensory input.
In fact, classrooms have begun incorporating the use of a weighted blanket to help children better focus on their schoolwork.
The same benefits can be yours when you move your weighted blanket to your home office.
Benefit 11 – Weighted Blankets Are All-Natural
Many people just don’t want to introduce a new chemical, prescription or unnatural therapy into their body. Weighted blankets are an all-natural solution to many problems that are often treated in very unnatural ways.
For those who want to take their dedication to all-natural treatments a step further, they can look for weighted blankets created using only organic, hypoallergenic and non-toxic materials.
Benefit 12 – Weighted Blankets Reduce Instances of Panic Attacks
One unfortunate side effect of anxiety disorder or other mental illnesses? Panic attacks often show up around bedtime.
Sleeping with a weighted blanket can help reduce instances of panic attacks as the deep pressure stimulation encourages serotonin and dopamine production to relax and calm users, slowing down an elevated heart rate.
Benefit 13 – Weighted Blankets Could Be Useful in Medical Procedures
While this isn’t mainstream just yet, some studies have shown how deep pressure stimulation calms patients during medical procedures. Some dentist offices, for example, have started using weighted blankets on patients undergoing stressful procedures, such as wisdom tooth removal or tooth removal in children.
Benefit 14 – Weighted Blankets Help Ease Anxiety While on the Go
For many people, travel is a major source of anxiety. Weighted blankets can be used on planes, cars and trains, for a more calming experience thanks to the deep pressure stimulation. Growing the dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain means fewer instances of potential freak-outs while on the go.
Benefit 15 – Weighted Blankets are Suitable for Everyone in the Family
Weighted blankets are a great calming tool for children, adults and the elderly alike, but it’s believed that weighted blankets can also be good for your pet.
Have you seen those calming weighted vests that are available for pets who deal with anxiety around loud noises? A weighted blanket produces the same effect, using deep pressure stimulation to calm your pet.
The only downside? Some pets won’t be happy to stay safe and snug underneath the heavy blanket.
Weighted Blanket FAQs
Of course, even with all the benefits listed above, you may still have questions. Here are answers to some of the most popular.
Who should not use a weighted blanket?
Despite all the benefits, some individuals should avoid using a weighted blanket. That includes people with sleep apnea, asthma or claustrophobia.
Additionally, children under the age of 2 should not be given a weighted blanket, as there is a risk of suffocation.
How do I know which weight to purchase?
Weighted blankets come in different weights, as obviously the weight an adult might need wouldn’t be suitable for a child or a pet.
Experts recommend purchasing a weighted blanket that’s approximately five to 10 percent of the user’s body weight. You’ll also want to get a weighted blanket that’s large enough to fit over the user’s bed.
In many cases, adults may prefer a weighted blanket between 15 and 30 pounds. Elderly users might want something a little lighter. Children will generally need a weighted blanket under 10 pounds. Use your body weight as a guideline for the right weighted blanket for you.
Is caring for a weighted blanket a pain?
Not at all! Most weighted blankets are washer and dryer safe. All you have to do is throw the blanket in on a cool wash cycle and then tumble dry. It’s much easier than caring for a typical comforter, duvet or luxury blanket.
Best Weighted Blankets to Buy
Ready to try a weighted blanket for yourself? Here are a few of the preferred options.
Available on Amazon, the YnM weighted blankets are a good value, as you have several more options to choose from (with nine weight options and five sizes) and they all start at just $60. If you’re on a budget, then this is the weighted blanket brand to spring for.
Baloo is another popular weighted blanket brand, with blankets starting at $169. There are only two weight options to choose from (15 and 20 pounds) and each is filled with glass beads. The white blanket features a simple quilted pattern, but users appreciate that it easily fits into a duvet cover.
You may know Casper as a mattress brand, but Casper also does weighted blankets. The best part? Casper’s 100-night free trial mattress policy extends to its blankets, so you can give a weighted blanket a try before deciding whether or not a weighted blanket is best for you.
The Layla brand is more on the luxury side, with blankets starting at $120, but users leave the blankets rave reviews. The weight comes from the glass bead filling and you choose from 15, 20 or 25-pound variants. Layla weighted blankets are machine-washable.
Bearaby is a totally unique weighted blanket brand, with blankets starting at $250. Users enjoy its sustainable, all-natural feel. This is thanks in part to the fact the Bearaby blanket does not have a filling. It gets its weight all from its knit layers, with blankets in 15, 20 and 25-pound options. The lack of a filling means the blanket’s weight is constantly consistent, with no shifting weight.
Ready to Experience the Benefits of Weighted Blankets for Yourself?
If you’re ready to try out a weighted blanket and see if you can experience one of the many benefits listed above, you have plenty of options to choose from and a plethora of information to help you pick the right blanket.
Whether you are looking for something to help you improve your sleep quality or you need more deep pressure stimulation to increase your serotonin levels, there are plenty of weighted blankets to choose from that help with a handful of medical conditions.
Who knows — you might try your first weighted blanket and then never go back.
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