5 Benefits of a Weighted Blanket
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Weighted blankets became extremely popular a couple years ago thanks to the Gravity Blanket on Kickstarter, and consumers swear by the blankets’ calming effects. That’s why weighted blankets have been used by occupational therapists for far longer than most realize.
Great for kids (and sometimes adults) with sensory processing disorders, weighted blankets work by using deep touch pressure, which occupational therapists call a type of tactile sensation (a.k.a. something you feel on your skin). But the average person can also benefit from a weighted blanket on their bed — here’s how.
1. They have a calming effect
“Deep touch pressure is one of the primary kinds of sensory information that is calming and organizing to our sensory nervous system,” says Teresa May-Benson, occupational therapist and executive director of the Spiral Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to research and education on sensory integration. She says the pressure of weighted blankets and deep touch pressure in general is a pretty universally calming sensation.
2. They feel like a hug!
Weighted blankets make it feel like someone’s holding you without having to actually be near anyone. “This blanket feels like you’re receiving the most comforting hug without feeling constrained and hot,” one Amazon reviewer wrote about the YnM weighted blanket.
Our Textiles Lab experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute evaluated weighted blankets and says that because the blankets are filled with tiny beads (often made of glass, plastic, or sand), cozying up with one can feel like a firm hug without anyone actually touching you.
3. They can ease stress and anxiety
If you had a long day at work or you’re just feeling anxious in general, then cuddling up on the couch with a weighted blanket (while watching Netflix!) can help you relax and de-stress. Even if you don’t have an anxiety disorder, occupational therapists say you’ll probably still notice that you feel good under a weighted blanket.
FYI: You might be wondering if weighted blankets are safe. “When used the way they’re supposed to, [weighted blankets] are very safe,” says May-Benson. The Good Housekeeping Institute’s experts say they shouldn’t be used by anyone who can’t move freely under the weight — the general rule of thumb is to go for 10% of your body weight, so someone who weights 150 pounds should get a 15-pound weighted blanket.
If you’re seeking relief from a medical condition, talk to a doctor first, and before getting a weighted blanket for your child, be sure to check with their pediatrician.
4. They can help improve sleep quality
People who have trouble falling (or staying!) asleep at night often find that using weighted blankets helps improve their sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute’s top pick, the Sleep Number Relaxation blanket, had one reviewer who said it was “so comfy, I fell asleep when I wasn’t even tired!”
Lexie Sachs, Director of the Textiles Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, agrees, saying she uses hers to sleep better at night. “With a weighted blanket, I notice that I sleep more deeply and don’t wake up in the middle of the night as often,” says Sachs.
5. There’s a weighted blanket for everyone
Since weighted blankets are so popular, you can find one to suit basically any of your preferences. When shopping for a weighted blanket, these are the different variables you can look for:
Size: While some weighted blankets only come in one size, many are available in various sizes (our budget pick is available in six different sizes). Sachs recommends making sure your weighted blanket doesn’t hang off your bed, so the extra weight doesn’t pull it off of your body. She says that’s why most brands’ blankets will have a bit smaller dimensions than your typical twin- or king-size comforter.
Weight: Weighted blankets are generally available in weights ranging from 10 to 20 pounds. But keep in mind that because of weight distribution, you’ll feel more pressure with a 15-pound twin-size weighted blanket than with a king-size blanket of the same weight.
Material: You can find weighted blankets that come in all different types of fabric, ranging from microfiber to cooling fabric (perfect for sweaty sleepers!). The Layla weighted blanket reaps another benefit: it’s reversible and entirely machine-washable! Most weighted blankets just have machine-washable covers (not inserts), so you don’t have to worry about breaking your washing machine by throwing an entire 15-pound blanket in it.
Price: No matter what your budget is, there’s a weighted blanket out there for you. Amazon’s Choice, the YnM weighted blanket, is just $65 for a 15-pound blanket. If your budget has some more wiggle room, you could splurge on a custom weighted blanket from SensaCalm or the influencer-favorite BlanQuil.