Weighted Blanket Benefits

In recent years, weighted blankets have skyrocketed in popularity. Kids and adults alike enjoy their uniquely cozy and calming benefits. Using one can ease anxiety, enhance comfort, and help you fall asleep faster. However, there are a few key factors to keep in mind when shopping for a weighted blanket to ensure you get the correct model for your body weight and preferences.

We’ll explore the benefits of weighted blankets and discuss how to pick the right weight for your body type. We’ll also examine who should consider a weighted blanket and who may want to steer clear.

What Is a Weighted Blanket?

A weighted blanket is designed to provide extra comfort by being heavier than a traditional blanket. Weighted blanket constructions vary widely by manufacturer, but most models are one of two styles: knitted or duvet. Knitted weighted blankets use dense and heavy yarn to add weight, while duvet-style models have baffles filled with glass or plastic beads. Both designs offer similar benefits but have slightly different feels.

Regardless of which style you choose, you should opt for a blanket that weighs about 10% of your total body weight. This weight range ensures that the blanket drapes comfortably over your body, providing soft and controlled pressure that doesn’t restrict your movement.

What Are the Benefits of a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets have multiple benefits, most of which come from deep pressure stimulation. Occupational therapists use this technique, which involves gently squeezing or hugging a person’s body with the hands or a massage tool to soothe and promote relaxation in people with autism. Weighted blankets deliver comparable results by applying controlled and consistent pressure to your body.

Just like babies find soothing comfort in being swaddled, weighted blankets use added weight and pressure to help reduce anxiety by mimicking swaddling’s hugging sensation. Many sleepers find this calming effect beneficial, as it helps quiet their mind while they fall asleep.

Numerous studies have found that weighted blankets allow those with autism to fall asleep faster. Sleepers who experience chronic pain may also enjoy a weighted blanket because the extra weight can help them stay asleep during pain flare-ups.

Shoppers should note that not all sleepers find weighted blankets advantageous, and while many studies point to their benefits, they are rarely used in clinical situations. However, weighted blankets are safe for many sleepers, and they can offer a variety of benefits.

Provide Comfort and Security

A weighted blanket applies even pressure that drapes over your whole body. The result is similar to how a swaddled newborn feels, though a weighted blanket is light enough that your limbs are free to move around.

Ease Stress and Anxiety

The deep touch pressure that weighted blankets provide can help combat stress-related anxiety.  Studies have also shown that weighted blankets can help you stay asleep for longer stretches of time, which can be advantageous for sleepers who often wake up stressed or anxious.

Calm the Nervous System

A weighted blanket’s gentle pressure can calm your nervous system and mind, thanks to deep pressure stimulation. The blanket contributes to a relaxing environment that prepares your body for rest so that you’re able to fall asleep faster.

Improve Sleep Quality

Less anxiety, a stable nervous system, and a comfortable sleep environment all contribute to better sleep. Weighted blankets can provide these benefits, along with the ability to stay asleep for longer periods.

Who Should Use a Weighted Blanket?

Anyone who would enjoy more restful sleep and increased comfort should consider adding a weighted blanket to their bed. However, weighted blankets have proven benefits for a few specific groups of people.

People With Anxiety or Depression

A weighted blanket can help sleepers who experience anxiety or depression. The blanket’s constant pressure can lower pulse rates and anxiety levels when used on a regular basis. Sleeping with a weighted blanket is a noninvasive way to soothe your body and mind before and during sleep.

People With Autism Spectrum Disorder

People with autism can be very sensitive to touch and other sensory stimulations. Studies have shown that a weighted blanket’s constant pressure has a calming effect that may make it easier for them to fall asleep at night, leading to better moods the following day. Weighted blankets also seem to have similar results for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

People With Insomnia

Though weighted blankets aren’t a cure for insomnia, they can help people increase the length and quality of their sleep. In one study, people with insomnia reported that they felt more refreshed in the morning after sleeping with a weighted blanket. The study also showed that the blanket’s even weight distribution and tactile pressure decreased body movements, leading to a more tranquil night’s sleep with fewer interruptions.

Who Should Not Use a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets are considered safe for most people. However, there are a few notable exceptions. If you’re unsure about whether a weighted blanket is safe for you, be sure to speak with a physician.

People With Certain Medical Conditions

A weighted blanket’s added pressure may not be appropriate for people with asthma or respiratory problems, as the increased weight might make it more difficult to breathe. Those with sleep apnea, circulatory conditions, or low blood pressure should also consult with a doctor before introducing a weighted blanket to their sleep routine.

People Who Experience Claustrophobia

People who don’t like tight spaces or those who experience claustrophobia should avoid weighted blankets. The blanket’s heaviness could feel suffocating or restrictive for sleepers who prefer easier movement in bed.

Infants and Toddlers

Toddlers and infants who can’t easily lift a weighted blanket off their body should not use one. Small children could suffocate under a weighted blanket if it’s too heavy.

However, older children who weigh at least 50 pounds can typically use a weighted blanket if its weight doesn’t exceed 10% of their body weight. Be sure to read all product instructions and consult with a pediatrician before letting your child use a weighted blanket.

Should You Buy a Weighted Blanket?

If the benefits of deep pressure stimulation sound appealing, consider purchasing a weighted blanket. The blanket’s even and calming pressure can be helpful for sleepers who experience anxiety or restlessness, as well as those diagnosed with autism or ADHD. Assess a weighted blanket’s pros and cons to determine whether to add one to your sleep routine.

Pros
Cons
  • Even, calming pressure can lower anxiety
  • Creates a cozy, soothing sensation
  • Applies deep pressure stimulation that can be beneficial for people with autism or ADHD
  • Blankets made with glass or plastic beads can be noisy
  • May sleep hot depending on the materials used in its construction
  • Not appropriate for infants, toddlers, and sleepers with certain health conditions