This time of year, your social media is likely inundating you with lists of the perfect, must-buy gifts for the holiday season. But rather than fall down the rabbit hole of “oh my god I need this,” I thought I would share with you something that will actually improve your life: a weighted blanket.
Yup. That’s it. One spectacular gift to help you manage stress and anxiety, all while getting the best sleep of your life.
What Is A Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets are exactly what they sound like: blankets with a bit of weight.
How much weight varies. They tend to range from 2-24 pounds. Inside of weighted blankets are tiny, plastic poly-pellets (think hacky sacks and weighted stuffed animals) that mold and conform to the shape of your body.
The end result is a lovely, heavenly blanket that hugs.
Benefits of Weighted Blankets
Why should you shell out major bucks for a blanket that hugs? For several reasons.
Weighted blankets help “ground” your body during sleep by pushing it downwards. This process is referred to as “earthing” or “grounding.” The “hug” of the blanket simulates deep pressure touch (DPT) which helps reduce chronic stress and calms an overstimulated nervous system.
Grounding may help reduce nighttime levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that wreaks havoc on your mental health and waistline. It is also believed that DPT, which weighted blankets simulate, may trigger the release of serotonin in the body (the happy, feel-good chemicals).
Originally, these blankets were used to help children with autism, but recent studies have found that they may be useful in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia in adults.
Keep in mind that the science on weighted blankets is still new and results from the limited studies available should be taken with a grain of salt. They’re mostly small and don’t always have control groups.
That said, there is evidence that these blankets are worth the hype. Since most weighted blanket companies offer a trial period, you have very little to lose by giving it a go.
The Science on Weighted Blankets (So Far)
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders showed some promising signs that weighted blankets may help with insomnia.
In this study, 31 adults with chronic insomnia tracked their sleep for a week with their usual bedding. Then, they slept using a weighted blanket for two weeks, and then their usual bedding again for one week. Four out of five participants preferred the weighted blanket. Sleep tests revealed that they slept longer with fewer nighttime wakings.
Another study by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst showed that two-thirds of adults felt less anxious after lying under a 30-pound weighted blanket for five minutes than they did after lying under a normal blanket for the same amount of time.
The common thread in all of these studies is that participants prefer the weighted blankets, even if the end results don’t necessarily prove that they’re doing anything. The people using them feel they do, and that’s really all that matters.
Why Do Weighted Blankets Work?
It’s all about the “hugging” quality of the blankets. An article on Bulletproof Blog suggests that it stems back to our infancy. The author interviews a doctor who talks about how our ancestors would make sure their infants were in constant contact with other humans.
As a mother of a one-year-old for whom sleeping was a small nightmare the first three months of her life, I can attest to this. It’s all over the sleep sites. Wear your baby! There are cultures in Africa and Indonesia that never allow their babies to be put down and they rarely cry! (It takes a village, and I did not have one for 24-7 holding).
Because we tend to put our babies in cribs, strollers, and swings, they lack the intimate touch our ancestors received, which impacts them (us) later on in life. At least, that’s the doctor’s theory about why we are so susceptible to the power of a blanket that hugs.
Do I believe all that?
Ehhhh… I don’t know. But I DO know that when I’m having a particularly rough day with anxiety, or even a full on attack, weight and cocooning help immensely.
For me, and millions of others buying these bad boys, it doesn’t really matter if the science “proves” it works. If you find it effective, use it. If you don’t, return it. Simple as that.
Which Weighted Blanket Should I Buy?
So many options! Regardless of which one you choose, you want to buy a blanket that is about 5-10% of your body weight.
Here are a few brands to consider:
Please keep in mind that I do use affiliate links, but these are hand-picked through personal experience and research. I would NOT lead you astray.
Mosaic Weighted Blankets
Mosaic Weighted Blankets are the top choice, in my humble opinion. They are one of the more popular brands and offer TONS of different options. They come in a variety of colors, sizes, and weights and there is even an option to have your blanket custom designed.
The price ranges from $170 – $200. That’s pretty standard for high-quality blankets, which you want if you don’t care to have to purchase another one any time soon. This is honestly pretty standard for weighted blankets. They aren’t cheap, but if it helps you with your anxiety and sleep issues, I think it’s completely worth it.
Other Amazingly Soothing Weighted Blanket Brands
This weighted blanket from YnM is also a popular one and priced at $130, which is a bit friendlier on the pocketbook. It’s made from a breathable material, so all you sweaty sleepers may find this brand more to your liking.
It’s leak-proof (you don’t want those little glass beads getting out) and machine washable. It’s also made from bamboo which is great if you have sensitive skin, like moi!
Another top reviewed weighted blanket is from CuteKing. Apparently, it is a total dream (I haven’t had the pleasure of binge-watching Netflix under this bad boy yet). What’s even better is that you get a 30-day “no questions asked” return, so if you don’t love it, you can easily send it back. It’s also one of the more reasonably priced options on the market.
The LUNA weighted blanket is a good choice, and not only because it has the same name as my daughter. It’s made from 100% breathable, organic cotton which is important if you have sensitive skin. It’s also reasonably priced (around $100).
Weighted blankets are not intended for kids under 3 years of age or 50 pounds. They pose a suffocation risk.
If you struggle with anxiety, are looking for some stress relief, or routinely have trouble sleeping, give a weighted blanket a try. Is it going to cure your anxiety and insomnia? Absolutely not.
But it might just help you in those moments when you need a little something extra to feel better.
And, honestly, you deserve to have useful, snuggly things.