The Benefits of Weighted Blankets

Tara Youngblood Aug 18, 2022

Weighted blanket benefits

When one thinks of treatment or services for stress and anxiety, weighted blankets may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Weighted blankets probably remind people of napping rather than deep sleep, but they can be used for so much more than just being lazy on a couch and reading a good book.

Many people today find themselves adding weighted blankets to their sleep routine as they can help reduce anxiety and relieve stress while promoting calmness and healthy sleeping habits. A weighted blanket may improve sleep, ease symptoms, and provide additional benefits for individuals with insomnia, autism, anxiety, and other conditions.

We'll explore a weighted blanket and its benefits, making it a popular choice as a therapeutic blanket.

What is a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets are designed to be heavier, hence the name, than the traditional throw blanket. They often weigh anywhere between five and 30 pounds. A high-quality weighted blanket emulates the benefits of deep touch pressure therapy, [1] which promotes the release of oxytocin and induces stress reduction.

Additionally, they can increase serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Considered "feel good," chemicals can often make someone happy and calm and provide a sense of well-being.

Did You Know: It's like a hug! A weighted blanket's effect on your body is equivalent to a human hug. Using a weighted blanket has been shown to relieve stress (by reducing cortisol, a stress hormone) and increase happiness (by increasing oxytocin, a happiness hormone).

Calming Pressure for Anxiety Relief

Settle into a deep sleep, enjoying weighted comfort that won’t trap your body temperature while in bed, on the couch, or anywhere you like to relax. Enjoy all the benefits of a heated or cooling weighted blanket.
Heated blanket

Weighted Blanket Benefits

Weighted blankets are a form of deep pressure therapy. Because of that, the benefits of using a weighted blanket include evenly distributed weight, restricting your movement during the night, reducing heart rate, and increased serotonin.

What are weighted blankets good for? Well, there are plenty of other reasons why you need a weighted blanket, ranging from scientific reasons to ones that are all about convenience.

1. Help You Reduce Anxiety

Reducing anxiety is by far the most crucial benefit on this list. Weighted blankets can simulate the feeling of being cradled or hugged, also known as deep pressure therapy. [2] It can increase the release of serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter that plays a role in managing sleep.

This deep touch pressure delivers benefits at bedtime. It can slow down a racing mind and reduce activity in your nervous system. Combined with a pre-bedtime routine such as reading, journaling, practicing Yoga Nidra, or meditating, these relaxation methods and deep touch pressure work together to calm anxiety and lower your stress levels when your head hits the pillow.

Deep pressure stimulation can help calm adults' anxiety. Studies have also suggested that children with anxiety, ADHD, and ASD can benefit from using a weighted blanket. [3] In a 2015 sleep study by Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders suggests that the blanket can help you fall asleep faster. [4]

Wake up refreshed

2. Wake Up Refreshed & Energized

A 15-pound weighted blanket can be an excellent option for those who find getting a good night’s rest challenging. A study recently showed that people who used a weighted blanket tossed less and had a better overall sleep quality.

Insomnia Sleep Study: Positive Effects of Weighted Blankets on Insomnia [5]

3. Can Improve Behavior in Children with ADHD

Weighted blankets have been shown to help people achieve better sleep with fewer interruptions and feel more relaxed during the day. The weight of the blanket provides a sense of security (gentle pressure applied to the body) and safety that can be beneficial for those with these conditions. [6]

They are especially helpful as a therapeutic tool for children and adults with ADHD and/or ASD. A study found that weighted blankets are a safe and effective intervention for insomnia in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorder.

4. Can Help Improve the Quality of Sleep

A weighted blanket can improve the quality by mimicking the feeling of being held, known as deep touch pressure, as discussed earlier. This can lead to an increase in the production of a mood-boosting hormone, serotonin) while reducing cortisol (stress hormone) and increasing melatonin levels, the hormone that can help you sleep.

Read More: How Sleeping Cooler Can Help You Fall Asleep Faster

5. Helps Manage Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) has been linked to low serotonin levels. Weighted blankets can increase the release of serotonin in the body, which can help reduce symptoms of OCD. [7]

6. Helps with Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory processing disorder is a condition in which the brain has difficulty processing sensory information. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed or having meltdowns, especially in children who cannot explain how they feel. [8]

Weighted blankets can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Did You Know: In the early 2000s, [9] occupational therapists started studying the effects of weighted vests and weighted blankets on children with sensory processing disorders, cognitive impairments, and the autism spectrum.

Restless sleeper

7. Reduce Nighttime Restlessness

Thanks to its evenly distributed weight, the calming embrace also inhibits movement during the night. Suppose you or your partner constantly tosses and turns while sleeping. In that case, a weighted blanket has the potential to keep you still for more extended periods, which encourages a better night’s sleep. [10] With a blanket, you can get the relaxing pressure without constrictions to the legs.

For individuals having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep (or both), it might be beneficial to try a weighted blanket to see if you experience any of the benefits of the blanket.

Did You Know: They can also be used when you’re not sleeping. For example, they’re perfect for keeping warm while watching TV on the couch.

8. Promotes Melatonin Production

Melatonin is a hormone that helps promote sleep and regulate your circadian rhythm or sleep cycle.

A weighted blanket may help you if you have stress or anxiety. Gentle pressure from the blanket can stimulate melatonin production, which raises serotonin levels and improves mental health and a greater sense of well-being.

9. Reduces Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is a sensation deep in the legs that causes rapid and involuntary movement of the legs. RSL makes it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. It can keep you awake, causing many to feel exhausted in the morning.

Those who suffer from RLS compare it to the feeling of pins and needles and describe very uncomfortable symptoms, using words like creeping, pulling, itching, crawling, throbbing, tugging, burning, or gnawing.

Weighted blankets for RLS can help neutralize and counteract those prickling feelings in leg muscles, reducing the probability of interruptions from restless leg syndrome. In a recent study, participants with restless leg syndrome say their symptoms are less while sleeping when something heavy is pressing down on their legs, which a weighted blanket can provide. [11]

10. Can Help Alleviate Menopause Symptoms

Many women experience disruptions when going through menopause, including the uncomfortable tingling and twitching of their legs. Additionally, they often report depression and anxiety. A weighted blanket can help with the above symptoms, making it easier to get a good night's sleep.

weighted blanket and pets

11. Your Pets Will Love It

This isn’t as important or practical, but those who enjoy snuggling up on the couch with their furry friends will certainly appreciate this benefit. While your pets will enjoy the warmth the blanket will provide, they may also appreciate the stress-reducing aspects.

Some products help pets through thunderstorms and other anxieties that utilize a similar concept.

12. You Can Take It Almost Anywhere With You

While some of the benefits above focus on improving sleep and comfort, a weighted blanket can easily be portable. This means you can use it when you travel. That way, you still have all the benefits of sleeping with a weighted blanket.

That portability translates to home, too. With a weighted blanket, you can easily take it from your room and use it on your couch or enjoy it outside on the porch in your favorite rocking chair.

Ultimately, it can be easily transported—whether a few feet or quite a few miles—it's a huge benefit. For individuals who struggle to feel comfortable in new surroundings away from home, having a "security blanket" can only help.

Weighted Blanket Features

While most weighted blankets seem the same, our Cool Luxe chiliBLANKET is unique thanks to its innovative features:

  • Water circulates through a system of tubes inside the blanket.
  • Our 15-pound hydro-powered, weighted blanket leads to more restful, restorative sleep.
  • The hydro-powered design also means it’s EMF-free.
  • The temperature can be adjusted to a preferred setting between 55° and 115°F (13–46°C) to promote deep sleep (*Peak performance is dependent on factors such as ambient temperature, individual body mass, and humidity) may not be suitable to replace conventional A/C.).
  • Glass beads fill the blanket, which provides even weight distribution.
  • Our blanket has a removable, washable cover. It can be cleaned by machine washed, hand wash, or spot clean.
  • Stitched breathable fabric offers strength and durability through repeated use and washing.

Did You Know: Are you a hot sleeper? There's good news for people who sleep hot: Men’s Health, Good Housekeeping, and Healthline, among others, have all included our weighted blankets as one of the best cooling weighted blankets on the market today.

Blanket Weight Options: When choosing the best weighted blanket, it’s recommended that it’s roughly 10% of the user's body weight. If more than 10% of the body weight, it can be difficult to lift off the body, making it feel like being trapped. Improving your sleep—unfortunately getting more complicated as we age—is an ongoing effort that requires a combination of dedication and innovation.

Body Weight: 100lbs --> Blanket Weight: 10 pounds

Body Weight: 150lbs --> Blanket Weight: 15 pounds

Body Weight: 200lbs --> Blanket Weight: 20 pounds

For Example: Let's say you weigh 150 lbs; you should purchase a heavy blanket that is 15 lbs. If you weigh 200 lbs, you would want a blanket that is 20 lbs, and so on.

Most blanket weight range is usually between 12 pounds - 35 pounds. Depending on the need, finding the right weight can be difficult. Often, a heavier blanket may be a good option.

As you can see, there are various benefits to owning a weighted blanket.

Weighted blanket

Who Can Benefit from Using a Weighted Blanket

Now that we have discussed the many benefits of a weighted blanket and the science behind them, below is a recap of how these heavy weighted blankets can benefit people with medical conditions, including:

  • Children with ADHD
  • Individuals suffering from Insomnia
  • People with PTSD
  • Individuals who may suffer from anxiety
  • People with Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Individuals suffering from chronic pain

Final Thoughts

A heavy weighted blanket has become popular recently because of its many benefits. If you struggle with sleep, anxiety, autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, or PTSD and haven’t tried a weighted blanket yet, it’s recommended to give one a try.

Whether you use it used as a cooling blanket, a warming blanket, or a security blanket, many people use these stress-reducing blankets. Keep in mind that the amount of weight comes down to personal preference.

Citations/References

[1] Sylvia, L. G., Shesler, L. W., Peckham, A. D., Grandin, T., & Kahn, D. A. (2014). Adjunctive deep touch pressure for comorbid anxiety in bipolar, mediated by control of sensory input?. Journal of psychiatric practice, 20(1), 71–77. View Study

[2] Bestbier L, Williams TI. The Immediate Effects of Deep Pressure on Young People with Autism and Severe Intellectual Difficulties: Demonstrating Individual Differences. Occup Ther Int. 2017 Jan 9;2017:7534972. doi: 10.1155/2017/7534972. PMID: 29097980; PMCID: PMC5612681.

[3] Hvolby, A., & Bilenberg, N. (2011). Use of Ball Blanket in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder sleeping problems. Nordic journal of psychiatry, 65(2), 89–94. View Study

[4] Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders Central Positive Effects of a Weighted Blanket on Insomnia. (2015). View Resource

[5] Ackerley R, Badre G, Olausson H (2015) Positive Effects of a Weighted Blanket on Insomnia. J Sleep Med Disord 2(3): 1022.

[6] Bolic Baric, V., Skuthälla, S., Pettersson, M., Gustafsson, P. A., & Kjellberg, A. (2021). The effectiveness of weighted blankets on sleep and everyday activities - A retrospective follow-up study of children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and/or autism spectrum disorder. Scandinavian journal of occupational therapy, 1–11. Advance online publication. View Study

[7] Baumgarten, H. G., & Grozdanovic, Z. (1998). Role of serotonin in obsessive-compulsive disorder. The British journal of psychiatry. Supplement, (35), 13–20.

[8] What is Sensory Processing Disorder? (n.d.). SensaCalm. View Resource

[9] Thompson-Hodgetts, Sandra & Magill-Evans, Joyce & Misiaszek, John. (2011). Effects of weighted vests on classroom behavior for children with autism and cognitive impairments. Research in Autism Disorders. 5. 495-505. 10.1016/j.rasd.2010.06.015.

[10] Ackerley, R., Badre, G., & Olausson, H. (2015). Positive Effects of a Weighted Blanket on Insomnia. Undefined. View Resource

[11] Restless Legs Syndrome Fact Sheet | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (1 C.E.). View Resource

SHARE