Weighted Blankets: Benefits, Types, and How to Choose the Right One

You have probably heard of weighted blankets, or maybe you know someone who uses one.  My wife has been using one for years, and has been raving about how great it is.  So I finally decided to give one a try, and OMG!  I cannot believe I waited so long to try sleeping with a weighted blanket.  After the first night, I was in love, and I now use it every night without fail.  I sleep more soundly and deeply and wake up feeling great.  It has also eased some of the joint pain I usually experience at night. In today’s blog, we will be discussing weighted blankets and what you need to know.

Weighted blankets have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to improve sleep and reduce anxiety.  Weighted blankets are typically filled with materials such as glass beads or plastic pellets and are designed to provide a deep pressure touch stimulation. This pressure creates a feeling of comfort and security that can help calm the nervous system and promote relaxation.

One study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders found that weighted blankets helped individuals with insomnia fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and experience improved sleep quality. Another study published in the Journal of Occupational Therapy in Mental Health found that weighted blankets reduced anxiety and agitation in individuals with dementia.

The deep pressure provided by weighted blankets may also have physiological effects on the body. The pressure can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates heart rate, blood pressure, and other bodily functions. This activation can lead to a decrease in cortisol levels, which is the hormone associated with stress.  The pressure from a weighted blanket can also help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.  The pressure provided by the blanket can stimulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and puts your nervous system into “rest” mode.

Weighted blankets have also been shown to have potential benefits for individuals with sensory processing disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder. A study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy found that the use of weighted blankets improved sleep and reduced behavior problems in children with autism.

How to Choose a Weighted Blanket

When choosing a weighted blanket, there are several factors to consider. These include:

Weight: The weight of the blanket should be approximately 10% of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should choose a blanket that weighs around 15 pounds.  Personally, I like the blanket to be a bit heavier.  I weigh about 155 pounds, my weighted blanket is 30 pounds, and I love it.

Size: Weighted blankets come in various sizes, so choosing one that fits your body is important. A blanket that is too small may not provide enough pressure, while a blanket that is too large may be too heavy.  I would lean towards the larger size.  

Material: Weighted blankets can be made from a variety of materials, including cotton, polyester, and bamboo. Choose a material that feels comfortable against your skin.  Tip:  Some come with a zipper to remove the cover for easy machine washing.

Filler: The most common fillers for weighted blankets are plastic pellets and glass beads. Glass beads are typically quieter and more comfortable, while plastic pellets can be less expensive.

Best Weighted Blankets

There are many different brands of weighted blankets on the market, each with its own unique features and benefits.  I’d suggest purchasing from Amazon, as they have a great return policy if you decide to exchange it for a different size or weight.  When considering which blanket to purchase, keep in mind that you will most likely be using your new weighted blanket every night.  You want to buy a quality one that will last you a long time.  It’s an investment into your sleep that will pay dividends in your sleep health for years to come.  Here are some good options that I would recommend. 

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  1. Gravity Blanket: This popular brand offers a range of weighted blankets in different sizes and weights.  A great company with a superior product.  A great investment for your sleep health.  You should be able to find the blanket that is just right for you.

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  1. YnM Weighted Blanket: YnM offers a variety of sizes, styles, and materials to choose from.  You can get a blanket made from bamboo, cotton, or fleece, and their bead pouches are small to avoid bead clumping.  Another great company producing quality weighted blankets.

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  1. Baloo Weighted Blanket: The Baloo blanket is made from breathable cotton and filled with lead-free glass microbeads. It is available in a range of weights and sizes, and the company offers a 30-night trial period.

References:

  • Gringras, P., et al. “Weighted Blankets and Sleep in Autistic Children—A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Pediatrics 137.5 (2016): e20151851.
  • Han, Y., et al. “Effect of Weighted Blanket Use on Insomnia in Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders 4.3 (2017): 1000145.
  • Mullen, B., et al. “Exploring the Safety and Therapeutic Effects of Deep Pressure Stimulation Using a Weighted Blanket.” Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 31.4 (2015): 378-394.

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