People who have trouble sleeping, whether it’s from general insomnia, stress, or otherwise, are often so desperate to find a way to get a good night’s rest that they will try just about anything to help them. Obviously, some options for sleep aids are better than others. For instance, sleeping pills can be dangerous with a lot of unwanted side effects. On the other hand, weighted blankets, a fairly new option when it comes to sleep aids, have been touted as providing a plethora of benefits where sleep is concerned. The use of weighted blankets for sleep is connected to their long-time use in treating children with autism and adults with PTSD. The question many ask is, “Do weighted blankets work?” While research has not yet proven beyond a doubt that weighted blankets work to help people sleep, there is significant evidence that points in that direction. Some medical insurance plans even cover weighted blankets for certain conditions. If that isn’t a testament to the effectiveness of weighted blankets, I don’t know what it.
What is a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets are typically filled with plastic pellets, balls, or chains in order to add weight and heft to a blanket. People report that it provides a sensation of being held, which can have significant calming effects. It makes sense then that weighted blankets could help people sleep.
One theory behind why they work is related to the fact that can provide deep pressure stimulation, a touch pressure therapy that has been found in research to be effective in reducing physiological arousal. Another theory is that the blanket can create a light tactile sensation similar to caressing when a person moves. Caressing can lead to the release of neurotransmitters as well as impact nervous system activity, the result being a decease in anxiety and over-arousal.
Research has been done on the effects of weighted blanket and how they impact individuals in relation to sleep directly as well as in relation to certain mental health conditions, which can be indirectly related to sleep. Nothing is conclusive yet because of the limited amount of research that has been done, but results have been promising for those who suffer from insomnia, depression, PTSD, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autism. Lots of studies do in fact show that people sleep better with a weighted blanket.
Weighed blankets for adults with anxiety, for instance, work because they create a sense of what is called “grounding.” Grounding is known to reduce the body’s level of the stress-hormone cortisol, leaving people feeling less stressed so they can fall asleep more quickly and easily. Of course, many adults and children alike use weighted blankets with no diagnosis at all. They simply use weighted blankets help them sleep better and be more comfortable in general.
How heavy should a weighted blanket be?
Weighted blankets generally range from around 4 to 20 pounds, though some can reach up to 30 pounds. The heaviness of the weighted blanket you should use is based on your weight. About 10 percent of a person’s weight is the ideal heaviness of a weighted blanket for an adult, though anywhere from 7 to 12 percent is fine. For children, however, it’s 10 percent of their weight plus a couple pounds. A 15 lb weighted blanket then is best for a person who weighs 150 lbs. That being said, if a weighted blanket restricts your movement or is uncomfortable, it is too heavy.
The elderly as well as people with health concerns, such as breathing or circulation problems, should ask their doctor before using a weighted blanket, as they could be unsafe for those individuals.
Best weighted blanket for adults: Gravity Blanket
Business Insider rated the Gravity Blanket the best overall weighted blanket in 2018. The Gravity Blanket started as a Brooklyn-based Kickstarter project in 2017 that raised $4.7 million. People seem to love this particular weighted blanket so much for its softness, the fact that it comes with a separate microfiber duvet cover in three colors, its internal weighted beads are evenly distributed, it is the perfect size for one person, and it is machine washable. Mosaic Weighted Blankets, Sensacalm, and Blanquil are other weighted blanket brands that people also seem to love, getting great customer reviews on Amazon for their ability to provide extreme comfort and relaxation, which helps them fall asleep very quickly.
Thank being said, if you are handy with a needle and thread, you might consider going the route of weighted blanket DIY. Why? Because weighted blankets are expensive, ranging from around $70 to $250. The Gravity Blanket is $250. Making your own weighted blanket not quite as simple as filling a comforter with weighted material, however. You do have to weigh it correctly and make sure the weight is equally distributed throughout the blanket by baffling it so that it functions properly.
Best weighted blanket for kids
Many weighted blankets start at 12 pounds, making them too heavy for the majority of children, as weighted blankets should only be about 10 percent of a person’s body weight. The brand Quility Premium Kids Weighted Blanket is especially made to for children. They come in four different weights, beginning at 5 pounds. On Amazon, one costs about $90.
Be aware that just because a weighted blanket comes in a small surface size does not mean that it is necessarily meant for children. Weighted blankets can sometimes weigh 25 and 30 pounds, which a lot of children won’t be able to move themselves from underneath, putting them in a dangerous situation.
Best weighted blanket for anxiety
The reason weighted blankets are said to work for anxiety is because of their evenly distributed pressure. So, any brand of weighted blanket whose pressure is distributed evenly should be great for anxiety. Amazon as well as lots of other customer reviews suggest the Gravity Blanket, Blanquil, PremiumHealth Calmforter, YnM Weighted Blanket, and Magic Blanket are especially effective for anxiety relief. This may have to do with other features, like blanket fabric and softness, the fact that YnM offers a “cooling” weighted blanket option, and the materials that they are filled with to give them heft.