What Is a Weighted Blanket? Here's Why You Need One

What Is a Weighted Blanket? Here's Why You Need One

Written by Nectarsleep editorial team

Last Updated on Jul 19, 2022

In this article:

    A recent study shows that sleepers who add a weighted blanket to their sleep routine experience reduced stress and calmness. Research also suggests that weighted blankets help sleepers with anxiety, autism, and insomnia among other conditions. A weighted blanket is specifically used to alleviate sleep and decrease anxiety. 

    Let’s find out what is a weighted blanket and dive into the world of weighted blankets in our detailed blog.

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    What Is a Weighted Blanket?

    A weighted blanket is a heavy sheet designed to relieve stress and create a sense of calm for a sleeper. The popularity of weighted blankets has grown widely in the last year, thanks to the therapeutic benefits it provides to sleepers.

    Let us now understand the science behind weighted blankets.

    How Do Weighted Blankets Work?

    Mary Temple Grandin, an American scientist, first discovered deep pressure therapy to reduce anxiety in children on the autistic spectrum. She wanted something which didn’t feel restricted to children, and she came up with a Hug machine that exerted gentle pressure on the body. She observed a release of oxytocin in her patients.

    It is where weighted blankets came into consideration. They apply light pressure on the body to release oxytocin, similar to a Hug Machine. Weighted blankets work like a hug, using a technique called deep pressure stimulation (DPS) to make the sleeper feel more secure. Weighted blankets increase dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These are feel-good chemicals that cause the sleeper to experience a sense of calm, happiness, and well-being.

    Our next section covers the weighted blanket benefits in detail. 

    What Are the Benefits of Weighted Blanket?

    Deep pressure therapy in a weighted blanket for anxiety and insomnia comes from having the blanket wrapped around the body, and hence they provide many benefits. Weighted blanket benefits for adults include increased Serotonin level, a reduction in heart rate, and much more.

    • Creates a calming effect: Many people have stated a weighted blanket provides calming feel. Therefore, it is beneficial for people undergoing anxiety or a disorder making them hyperactive. 

    • Improves daytime social interactions: It helps in socializing and engaging in interactions as has been stated in this study.

    • Increases Serotonin: Serotonin helps with the sleep-wake cycle and deep pressure touch has resulted in the stimulation of serotonin

    • Reduces Restless Leg Syndrome: This syndrome causes involuntary and rapid leg movements. A weighted blanket helps in reducing this problem. 

    • Reduces Heart Rate: Touch therapy has been found to reduce heart rate, and a weighted blanket promotes touch therapy. 

    • Reduces Panic disorders, especially in adults: Weighted blankets are helpful in reducing panic disorder and anxiety. 

    • Increases the sense of security: When a weighted blanket is put around, it increases the sense of security in a person when it is wrapped around to create a swaddling effect 

    • Helps in reducing OCD: Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is linked with low-serotonin level, and a weighted blanket as already discussed leads to increase in serotonin levels.

    • Relieves the symptoms during menopause: A weighted blanket is helpful in reducing sleep disruptions, anxiety, and depression.

    • Improves the overall mood of sleeper: Weighted blankets lead to increase in the feel-good hormone named oxytocin which leads to improvement in mood.

    • Improves sleep: Using a weighted blanket leads to an overall improvement in sleep quality

    Who Can Benefit From a Weighted Blanket?

    Weighted blankets, also referred to as gravity blankets, are helpful for people suffering from various clinical disorders, sleep anxiety being the most common among them. A recent study concluded that a weighted blanket reduces sleep anxiety in 63 percent of sleepers. Weighted blankets are beneficial for sleepers suffering from any of the symptoms listed below.

    • Anxiety

    Research has shown that deep pressure stimulation applied through weighted blankets can help reduce autonomic arousal. It is responsible for the symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate. Check out our guide on anxiety blankets for more details.

    • Insomnia

    A recent study showed that the weighted blanket helped reduce the number of nighttime awakenings in participants.

    • ADHD

    A recent study demonstrated that weighted blankets helped in ADHD therapy to improve attention and reduce hyperactive movements.

    • Autism

    Weighted blankets also help in relieving symptoms for people with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). 

    • PTSD

    Weighted blankets reduce symptoms of PTSD by relaxing the nervous system. Weighted blankets also help sleepers with symptoms of Restless leg syndrome, depression, and many others.

    Drawbacks of Using a Weighted Blanket

    Although Weighted blankets provide several benefits to your mental well-being, they come with a few drawbacks. Let us have a look at a few disadvantages of weighted blankets.

    • They are heavy blankets and can be difficult to carry while traveling 
    • Weighted blankets require extra care when cleaning 
    • They are more expensive than a comforter 
    • Sometimes they get too hot 
    • You may take some time to get adjusted to a weighted blanket.

    What Are the Risks of Using a Weighted Blanket?

    Weighted blankets are safe provided you have the desired strength to lift them off themselves when necessary to prevent suffocation.

    Experts recommend that sleepers with specific medical conditions such as chronic respiratory issues, asthma, low blood pressure, claustrophobia, and sleep apnea should avoid using a weighted blanket because it may restrict airflow. 

    There are very few risks associated with using a weighted blanket. According to manufacturers, Infants and toddlers should avoid using weighted blankets as they run the risk of becoming trapped underneath.

    You should consult your doctor before trying a weighted blanket.

    A weighted blanket may also be risky for sleepers with certain conditions, including:

    • obstructive sleep apnea, which may lead to disrupted breathing during sleep
    • claustrophobia may be triggered by the tightness of a weighted blanket
    • asthma that may cause difficulty in breathing at night

    How to Choose a Weighted Blanket?

    The Thumb rule says that a weighted blanket should be equivalent to about 10% of your body weight but, You should consider your preferences when looking for a weighted blanket. They are available in standard bedding sizes such as twin, full, queen, and king. Some manufacturers also offer weighted blankets for kids. Check out How to choose the right weighted blanket for kids to help you get the right one for your kid.

    Weighted blankets are more expensive than regular blankets. Their price usually ranges between $100 to $300. Weighted blankets are available in weights ranging from 8 to 30 pounds. Check out our guide on How to Choose a weighted blanket for adults for more details.

    What is a good weight for a weighted blanket? The table below lists the body weights vs. the preferable blanket weights.

    If you weigh 140 lbs, you should buy a weighted blanket that is 14 lbs. If you weigh 180 lbs, you should look for a weighted blanket that is 18 lbs. Check out our blog on How heavy should a weighted blanket be to get more insights before buying your next weighted blanket.

    Body WeightsBlanket Weights
    120 lbs12 lbs
    140 lbs14 lbs
    160 lbs16 lbs
    180 lbs18 lbs

    The Final Word

    Weighted blankets are unique and therapeutic bedding that provides the advantages of deep pressure therapy. Whether it may be restless leg syndrome, stress, or a sleep disorder in adults to a sensory problem in kids, experts recommend buying a weighted blanket. It helps in calming a restless body, reduces anxiety, and improves sleep troubles

    What are you waiting for, buy your soothing weighted blanket today! 

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
    {"faq":[{"_id":"94dcbb4","title":"Are weighted blankets bad for circulation?","content":"\u003Cp\u003EYes, a weighted blanket may cause breathing difficulties in people with sleep apnea. For a restful sleep, check out DIY weighted blankets that you can make with micro glass beads.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"46a5575","title":"What is the heaviest weighted blanket?","content":"\u003Cp\u003EThe heaviest weighted blanket with the benefits of deep pressure stimulation is around 40 pounds.\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"465f0b6","title":"Are weighted blankets suitable for side sleepers?","content":"\u003Cp\u003EA weighted blanket is great for all the sleepers, regardless of the type of sleeper you are.\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"4acf1b2","title":"Is it ok to sleep with a weighted blanket every night?","content":"\u003Cp\u003EIt is ok to use a weighted blanket every night for anxiety and stress, as long as you are not having symptoms of claustrophobia, asthma, and obstructive sleep apnea.\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"a0fced5","title":"Do weighted blankets help with back pain?\n","content":"\u003Cp\u003EA weighted blanket uses deep pressure therapy to cure pains in various joints of 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