Many people who suffer from anxiety and insomnia are finding that using a weighted blanket can profoundly change the way you sleep. Not only do they help you fall asleep quicker, you will have a deeper more relaxing sleep, and wake up refreshed. They also help you calm your mind and increase your overall relaxation. Originally developed for children on the autism spectrum to help them feel secure and safe, adults and teens are now discovering that these products work well for many different types of anxiety and sleep disorders.
What is a weighted blanket and why should you use one?
Weighted blankets are heavier than a regular blanket. They generally weigh between 2 to 30 pounds, making them much heavier than regular comforters. They get their weight from non-toxic poly-pellets that are sewn into pockets of the lining, they kind of feel like multiple pockets of small sandbags. The poly-pellets distribute weight across your body and create what is called “deep touch pressure” stimulation that is similar to getting a massage or feeling as though you are being held and comforted.
They are often recommend as a safe alternative to medication for those who have disorders that make it difficult to fall asleep since they are particularly effective to helping achieve a relaxed state, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
How to choose the right weighted blanket
In order to get the best results, it is very important that you get the right weight of blanket for your size and weight. The generally accepted formula to figure this out is you get a blanket that weighs 10 percent of you body weight. For children, the formula is 10 percent of body weight plus 1 to 2 pounds. Don’t be tempted to save a bit of money by buying a lighter weight, try to stick to the 10% formula to get all the benefits of this type of therapy (see below for more info on sizing).
The other important consideration is the type of fabric you choose. You may want to think about fabrics types that you like and find comfortable. Most blankets are made of either a polyester or some type of synthetic fabric, or 100% cotton. There are pros and cons to both types. Cottons are generally not as warm, but are more breathable than polyesters and some people find them more comfortable. A lot of people love fabrics like minky, that are polyester, not only for their softness but for their warmth as well.
Do weighted blankets work?
For most people, yes, they do work to relieve anxiety and help sleep problems. There has been research showing that weighted blankets can provide anxiety and stress relief for troubled sleepers due to the grounding effect. The grounding effect just means that it grounds your body during sleep by pushing it downwards. Grounding the body causes a calming effect by reducing the stress hormone cortisol. There is also research suggesting that they can promote relaxation by triggering the release of the hormones dopamine and serotonin, that helps to improve your mood.
Who should avoid weighted blankets?
While many individuals are finding they are getting a lot of benefits from using these types of blankets, they aren’t meant for everyone to use. If you are considering this type of product, it would be a good idea to discuss it with your doctor first, just to rule out any issues that may arise. This is especially important if you have any chronic health issues, particularly circulation or respiration issues.
Since weighted blankets can get very warm, especially in the summer months, you will probably want to avoid them if you have problems with temperature regulation.
They should also never be used on children who are under 2 years of age and they are not intended to be placed over your head.
One other thing to note, if you are prone to claustrophobia they may not be a good treatment for you. The products that weight 20-30 or more pounds are probably best avoided or used with caution, since they may make some individuals who suffer from claustrophobia feel restricted and anxious.
Dimensions and Sizing
These blankets come in a wide range of weights, anywhere from 2 lbs to 30 lbs. Before purchasing any of the products mentioned below, you need to spend a few minutes figuring out the best size and dimension for your body weight. It is very easy to do this, all you need to do is calculate 10% of your weight and then take that number and look for a products that is that weight. So if you weigh 150 lbs, you should look for a 15 lbs design. If you weight 200 lbs you get a 20 lbs design etc. Once you know the sizing and have settled on a brand, then you need to check the dimensions of any products you are considering. Generally these blankets are designed to just cover your body, you don’t buy them to cover your whole bed. Although you can get double, queen and king size blankets for couples.
If you are unsure about sizing, most manufacturers have extensive sizing charts on their websites that you can refer to.
Reviews and Comparisons
We have rounded up some of the best weighted blankets from the most reputable and well established companies.
SensaCalm Therapeutic Adult Weighted Blanket
The SensaCalm Therapeutic Weighted Blankets are a good place to start on your search for the right blanket. They are 100% cotton, so the fabric should feel comfortable for most users after the first wash softens up the cotton. If you don’t like the colors that are offered on the links we have set up, you can visit SensaCalm’s website and special order from their large selection of custom options. SensaCalm’s design is pretty standard, so each section is filled with non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, virgin Polypropylene Pellets and the weight is evenly distributed across the blanket. The SensaCalm blankets are fully washable and dryable. They also have Polyfil added to the lining, which adds a fluffy feel that makes it a little bit more like a comforter than some of the other options.
Sensory Goods Adult Large Weighted Blanket
The Sensory Goods Adult Large Weighted Blanket is another great option to consider. It comes in 11 colors, it is good price, and it is made in the USA. The material is a fleece flannel, so it is quite a warm blanket and some people may find it is little too warm if they have issues regarding overheating at night. The good thing about the fleece is that it helps keep the blanket in place, it won’t slide around which can be an issue with other types of fabrics. The quality is reportedly very good, most users say that it is durable and the stitching is very well done.
Harkla Weighted Blanket
If you love a blanket made with minky, this design from Harklais a great option. Harkla really made a name for themselves with their 5 and 7 lbs colorful, weighted blankets for kids. Due to the huge success of the children’s options they started to make bigger sizes that work well for adults with sleeping and anxiety issues. If you aren’t familiar with minky, it is a super soft, plush fabric that is often used to make baby blankets. It is 100% polyester, so some people may find it to be very hot and not breathable, but most people love the feel of minky. The blanket is filled with poly-pellets with poly-cotton fill. They range in weight from 5 lbs to 25 lbs and are kind of a duvet style. They have two layers, so you can remove the outer layer so it can be cleaned easily. This isn’t the cheapest option, but it comes with a money back guarantee that the company appears to stand behind.
InYard Premium Weighted Blanket for Adults
The InYard Premium Weighted Blanket for Adults is another great style if you want a good quality blanket that will help you sleep better and calm your body and mind. This design is reportedly well made and very durable, with a combination of 100% flannel and 100% polyester materials. Like most other options, it is filled with safe plastic poly pellets. This is another company that started a couple of years ago with children’s weighted blankets and after the growth in popularity have moved into adult sizes. This adult size is made in the USA and you can clean it by hand washing and air drying it.
Amy Garden Weighted Blanket
Another very popular, high quality option is the Amy Garden Weighted Blanket. Currently it is only available with weights from 5 lbs to 15 lbs. You can buy this style in navy, light gray or gray. You can also purchase separately an outer duvet cover in gray or navy, in either cotton on flannel. If you choose to buy the cover, it does add quite a bit to the cost, but it means that the blanket will be easier to clean. The basic blanket is soft and can be used without the cover, but you may have to dry clean it if it gets dirty. The inner part is made of 100% cotton and the compartments are filled with standard plastic poly pellets.
There is no question that these blankets are expensive. You will have a hard time finding one that costs less than $150 for an adult size and some go up to around $300. You should be able to find a good quality option for less than about $200, since most of the blankets are made of the same types of materials and filling. Most of the products that we recommend are made in the USA by small manufacturing companies.This is obviously part of the reason for the high cost. Despite the price, the majority of individuals find the cost to be worth the benefits that they get out of this type of treatment.
If you are unsure whether this type of treatment will work for you, only buy from a company that has a really good return policy so you can send it back if you don’t like it.
Depending on what you are using the weighted blanket for, there are some insurance plans that may cover the cost if you have a prescription. Check with your insurance provider if your doctor has recommended this type of treatment for you.
What are they filled with?
Most products are filled with 100% non-toxic, commercial grade poly pellets. These pellets are put into squares in the design so that the weight is distributed evenly. The weight of the blanket can range from 2 lbs to 30 lbs, depending on the customer’s height and weight for that person.
This post is mostly focusing on the sleeping and calming benefits of using a weighted blanket to help calm down and relax the body and mind, but there are many other benefits to them. Here is a brief list of some of the other disorders and health concerns that can benefits for this type of treatment:
- Bipolar disorder
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
- ADD/ADHD Spectrum Disorder
- Asperger’s and Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
- Panic Attacks
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Sensory Disorders of any kind
- Somnambulism (Sleep Walking)
When you are spending $150 or more on something that you are going to be using everyday, it’s important that it is easy to clean. Most of the blankets can be hand washed and air dried. One in our list is able to be machine washed and dried (SensaCalm). Some designs come with a outer layer that can be removed and washed (Harkla) or you can purchase a cover separately that can be removed and machine washed (Amy Garden).
Where to buy weighted blankets
The explosion in popularity of these blankets for adults over the past year means that they are easy to find both online and in some retail stores. You can find them at Bed Bath & Beyond, online through Amazon or specific manufacturers websites. You can also find handmade options on Etsy.
The Bottom Line
If you have difficulty sleeping or find anxiety is keeping you up at night, weighted blankets may well be something that you can benefit from. A lot of people are finding that they sleep better and feel less stressed, since these products provide a sense of security and calmness that lead to a more restful sleep.