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, but you will also 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.
ZonLi Weighted Blanket
A popular, well-reviewed option that is available on Amazon is the ZonLi Weighted Blanket. This brand sells options in weights from 5 lbs to 30 lbs with different size options available. Depending on the size and weight you choose it has a few different color options. The material is 100% breathable natural cotton, and the filling is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, odorless glass beads.
A high-quality product worth having a look at is the Amy Garden Weighted Blanket. Currently, it is only available from 5 lbs to 15 lbs. You can buy this style in navy, light gray or gray. You can also purchase an outer duvet cover separately 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 it will be easier to clean. The basic style is soft and useable without the cover, but you may have to dry clean it if it gets dirty. The inner part is 100% cotton, with compartments full of standard plastic poly pellets.
The InYard Premium Weighted Blanket for Adults is another great style if you want a good quality design 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 full of safe plastic poly pellets. This is another company that started a couple of years ago with children’s weighted options and after the growth in popularity has moved into adult sizes. InYard makes the adult size style in the USA, and you can clean it by hand washing and air drying it.
The SensaCalm Therapeutic Blankets are an excellent company to check out. They are 100% cotton, so the fabric should feel comfortable for most users after the first wash softens up the cloth. If you don’t like the colors of the products we have linked above, 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, hypoallergenic, virgin Polypropylene Pellets and the weight is evenly distributed across the length. The SensaCalm options 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.
If you love anything made with Minky, this design from Harklais a great option, Harkla made a name for themselves with their 5 and 7 lbs colorful, blankets for kids. Due to the enormous success of the children’s choices, 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 products. It is 100% polyester, so some people may find it to be too warm and not breathable, but most people love the feel of minky. These blankets are full of poly-pellets with poly-cotton fill, and they range from 5 lbs to 25 lbs and are a duvet style. They have two layers so that you can remove the outer layer for cleaning. This isn’t the cheapest option, but it comes with a money back guarantee that the company appears to stand behind.
The Sensory Goods Adult Large Weighted Blanket is another excellent option to consider. It comes in 11 colors, it is a reasonable price, and it is made in the USA. The material is a fleece flannel, so it is quite a warm option, 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 outstanding; most users say that it is durable with very well done stitching.
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 recommended 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 one?
To get the best results, it is essential that you get the right weight for your size. The generally accepted formula to figure this out is you get a design that weighs 10 percent of your body weight. For children, the method 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 styles have either polyester or synthetic fabric, or 100% cotton. There are pros and cons to both types. Cotton is generally not as warm but is more breathable than polyester, 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 they work?
For most people, yes, they do work to relieve anxiety and help sleep problems. There is research showing that weighted blankets can provide anxiety and stress relief for troubled sleepers due to the grounding effect. The grounding effect 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, to rule out any issues that may arise. It is especially important if you have any chronic health issues, particularly circulation or respiration problems.
Since weighted styles can get very warm, especially in the summer months, you will probably want to avoid them if you have problems with temperature regulation.
They are also not for use on children who are under two years of age, and they are not to be put over your head.
One other thing to note, if you are prone to claustrophobia they may not be a useful 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 have 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 straightforward to do this; all you need to do is calculate 10% of your weight and then take that number and look for a product that is that weight. So if you weigh 150 lbs, you should look for a 15 lbs design. If you weight 200 pounds, 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, they are designed to cover your body; you don’t buy them to cover your whole bed. Although you can get double, queen and king size options for couples.
If you are unsure about sizing, most manufacturers have extensive sizing charts on their websites for reference.
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 purchase a good quality option for less than about $200 since most have 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 value 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 an excellent return policy so you can send it back if you don’t like it.
Depending on what you are using the weighted blanket for, some insurance plans 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 is the filling?
Most products are filled with 100% non-toxic, commercial grade poly pellets. These pellets are put into squares in the design so that the pressure is distributed evenly. The weight 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 benefit from this type of treatment:
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
ADD/ADHD Spectrum Disorder
Asperger’s and Autism Spectrum Disorder
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Sensory Disorders of any kind
Somnambulism (Sleep Walking)
When you are spending $150 or more on something that you are going to be using every day, it’s vital that it is easy to clean. Most of the blankets can be hand washed and air-dried. One in our list can be machine washed and dried (SensaCalm). Some designs come with an outer layer that can be removed and cleaned (Harkla), or you can purchase a cover separately that can be removed and machine washed (Amy Garden).
Where to buy
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. A lot of people realize 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.