Here’s why everyone should own a weighted blanket
It’s more than just a cozy plush throw
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You likely already know what a weighted blanket is due to the enthusiasm—and curiosity—surrounding them. On the off chance you haven’t, though, allow me to introduce you to the phenomenon.
What are weighted blankets?
Weighted blankets are just that: blankets that are heavier than most, getting their weight from evenly distributed gussets filled with glass beads or plastic pellets. They come in a variety of weights, sizes, and fabrics. You can snag a weighted blanket at an inexpensive price or spend a small fortune on one, depending on your preferences across those three factors. The blankets we tested ranged between $54 and $249, with our Best Overall being the Gravity Blanket, costing $249 for a 15-, 20-, or 25-pound throw, and our Best Value pick, the YnM Weighted Blanket, landing at $62.90 for a 12-pound throw.
What are the benefits of a weighted blanket?
As weighted blankets are a newer trend, the science behind why they work and how effective they are is developing. But Washington D.C.-based certified sleep educator Terry Cralle says there’s no reason not to try one in conjunction with practicing healthy sleep habits. Namely, being consistent with the time you go to bed, making sure your bedroom is quiet and dark, removing electronics, exercising during the day, and avoiding large meals, caffeine, and alcohol prior to settling down, according to the CDC.
“We talk about the importance of a bedtime routine to help us transition from wake to sleep but anything we can do to optimize our sleep and feel comfortable and to get a good night’s sleep, I think we should incorporate into our lives,” Cralle says. “If you’ve tried some things that haven’t worked, [a weighted blanket] could be the next thing to try.”
Plus, tons of people who use weighted blankets swear by them, and here’s why.
1. Anxiety and stress relief
According to a study conducted by the Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering, “deep touch pressure” or DTP is a “tactile sensory input, which is often provided by holding, stroking, hugging, swaddling, and squeezing” that can calm someone who feels anxiety. Covering your body with a weighted blanket mimics the same soothing sensation that receiving a hug or being held can. On a more scientific level, it’s calming to the nervous system. When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, the central nervous system responds by releasing chemicals like adrenaline, which cause the fight or flight response associated with panic. When you’re trying to relax, that adrenaline blast is the last thing you want, so keeping your nervous system calm is key. One way to do that? Get comfy on the couch with a weighted blanket.
2. Insomnia relief
When your body experiences DTP, it’s believed to increase serotonin, a chemical that, among other things, stabilizes your mood and promotes sleep regulation, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Serotonin naturally converts to melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. If you experience insomnia, curling up with a weighted blanket can trigger the deep touch pressure response and signal to your body that it’s time to sleep.
3. Pain relief
In addition to psychological benefits, weighted blankets could help physiological symptoms, like chronic pain. While there is less information available on this, one thought is that simply getting a better night’s sleep (which a weighted blanket is suspected to facilitate) should aid in pain relief.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t use a weighted blanket?
Almost anyone can use a weighted blanket, with the exception of infants and toddlers, for whom suffocation is a risk. If you have any concerns or questions about how a weighted blanket may help you with a diagnosed psychological or physiological condition, like a sleep disorder or anxiety, ask a doctor prior to use. Barring specific circumstances, though, anyone can enjoy one.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.