If you often find yourself lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling filled with stress and anxiety, you may be looking for solutions to help you get back to sleep. Some people may take a sleeping pill to help fall asleep – but if you’re looking for a more natural and less chemical solution, weighted blankets offer some pretty astounding benefits.
It’s impossible to get a night of restful sleep if we’re feeling anxious or stressed, which is an increasingly common problem these days. We toss and turn, our minds race, and when the morning comes, we feel tense and depleted rather than restored.
Weighted blankets look like regular blankets, but they’re filled with plastic or glass beads or pellets to make them heavier. They typically weigh anywhere from 4 to 30 pounds, making them much heavier than the average comforter or down quilt.
Many companies are marketing weighted blankets as a solution for insomnia as well as nighttime anxiety and stress reduction. Sales of the blankets have surged in the past few years, with thousands of people reporting success in achieving a better nights sleep with less anxiety.
For many people who have disorders such as anxiety, insomnia, or autism, weighted blankets may provide a very safe, easy alternative to medication or other types of treatment. They can also be used to complement existing therapies. Research has shown that weighted blankets can help reduce symptoms and manage these conditions, in addition to providing a variety of other health benefits.
11 Benefits of a Weighted Blanket
- Reduces Stress
- Reduces Anxiety
- Helps Balance Brain Chemistry
- Helps Manage OCD
- Eases Restless Legs Syndrome
- Improves Overall Sleep Quality
- Sharpens Focus for ADHD
- Helps with Symptoms of PTSD
- Promotes Calmness with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- May Help Alleviate Pain Associated with Fibromyalgia
- Eases Symptoms of Depression
How Do Weighted Blankets Help with Anxiety?
Weighted blankets help ground your body during sleep by pushing it downwards. This process, known as “earthing” or “grounding,” can have a deeply calming, relaxing effect. The blankets also simulate deep pressure touch (DPT), a type of therapy that uses firm, hands-on pressure to reduce chronic stress and high levels of anxiety.
Studies show that grounding may help reduce nighttime levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol is produced when your brain thinks you’re under attack, eliciting the fight or flight response and preventing you from relaxing.
Stress can escalate your cortisol levels which can have a negative impact on your immune system. It can also increase blood sugar levels and adversely affect the digestive tract which can lead to weight gain and will certainly hinder any weight loss you’re trying to achieve.
Elevated cortisol levels can cause multiple complications. These can include issues such as:
- weight gain
By providing a deep pressure touch, weighted blankets can promote relaxation and help break this cycle. This may trigger the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are the feel-good hormones produced by the brain. These hormones help you to combat stress, anxiety, and depression naturally.
A recent study reported in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine indicated that grounding the human body while you sleep is an effective way to synchronize cortisol secretion with its natural, 24-hour circadian rhythms, especially in women. Grounding the body helped reduce cortisol production in the participants during their sleep, which in turn improved sleep quality and alleviated stress, insomnia, and some cases pain.
Another recent study found that weighted blankets are a safe and effective way to increase calmness and reduce anxiety in adults. Of the 32 adults who participated in the study, 63% reported lower levels of anxiety and 78% preferred using the weighted blanket as a calming method.
How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?
Your own weight should help you determine the weight of the blanket. Some weighted blanket manufacturers recommend that adults buy a blanket that’s 5 to 10 percent of their body weight. Typically, the most popular weight for adults is 20lbs.
For children, they recommend blankets that are 10 percent of their body weight plus 1 to 2 pounds. (Note that it is not advisable to use a weighted blanket for babies or toddlers).
It’s also a good idea to choose a blanket that’s made from a breathable microfiber or cotton and has a removable, washable cover.
Which Weighted Blanket is Best?
We’re huge fans of the Blanquil weighted blanket sold by mattress company Dreamcloud – it’s only available in adult size and only in 20lb weight and it is wonderful to sleep with, thanks to its eco-friendly glass beads, super plush, soft and removable microfiber cover. The Blanquil is super easy to take care of and we found it does make a considerable difference to our sleep quality and anxiety levels. The only real down side of the Dreamcloud Blanquil is that it’s only big enough for one person, so you may need to end up buying two!
The Blanquil is also pretty reasonably priced as it’s smaller than some other blankets, and is offered with free shipping which is a nice bonus – this is rare with weighted blankets, due to their shipping weight! We’d highly recommend the Blanquil if you want to try a weighted blanket for yourself. Check it out for yourself on the official website.
If you want something a little larger with more weight, then be sure to take a look at the Puffy weighted blanket – it’s plenty big enough for two people (queen size), and weighs either 15lbs or 20lbs – so if you prefer a blanket a little larger, then this is the better choice.
Like the Blanquil it is super soft, has a removable washable cover and is filled with eco-friendly glass beads. It is also faced with 100% cotton, so may be a little more comfortable in warmer weather. You get free shipping and also the major benefit of the companies 101 night satisfaction guarantee!
It’s worth noting that some medical insurance plans can cover weighted blankets, provided you have a prescription from your family doctor. If in doubt, call your insurance provider to find out if this option is available to you. Since weighted blankets can be shown to be medical expenses, they may also be tax deductible as an added bonus!