Special blankets aren’t just for kids. Research shows that heavy, weighted blankets can help you sleep by mimicking the sensation of being swaddled or hugged in bed. It’s suspected that these blankets are beneficial for people who struggle with conditions like anxiety and insomnia.
Here’s how they work.
What is a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets get their name from their weight. They’re regular blankets filled with silicone or glass pellets until they weigh around five to 25 pounds. The best size for you depends on your weight. Typically, people prefer weighted blankets that are at least 10 percent of their body size.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
A fluttering, fast-beating heart is a sign of anxiety. If you want to reduce your heart rate, you need to become calmer. Weighted blankets help you do this by taking advantage of using pressure therapy. The pressure on your body is similar to the comforting feeling of being caressed or held. Some people describe the experience of using a weighted blanket as being hugged throughout the night, while others say that their blanket helps keep them from tossing and turning in the night.
“Deep pressure stimulation seems to have a calming effect… It might take you out of your anxious thoughts by helping you focus on the physical sensation instead,” says psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD.
What does the research say?
Right now, research into weighted blankets is in its infancy. There have only been a handful of academic studies that examined its potential uses. Researchers who performed a systematic review of these studies determined that: “Weighted blankets may be an appropriate therapeutic tool in reducing anxiety; however, there is not enough evidence to suggest they are helpful with insomnia.” (1)
Where can I buy a weighted blanket?
Because they’re popular and straightforward to make, weighted blankets are easy to find. You can search for what you want online at retailers like Amazon. Some of the top brands in the space include Gravity, Mosaic, and Layla.
Image source: Hippo Px
- Eron, Kathryn et al. “Weighted Blanket Use: A Systematic Review.” The American journal of occupational therapy: official publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association vol. 74,2 (2020)