The Benefits of Weighted Blankets and How to Choose the Best One for You
The hype around weighted blankets is huge, but their benefits go far beyond coziness. See how they can help you sleep better, plus pointers for choosing the best weighted blanket.
We all have that favorite fuzzy blanket or cozy sweatshirt that helps us curl up and relax after a long day, but the latest self-care staple goes beyond mere comfort to offer scientifically proven benefits. Weighted blankets have become a must-have comfort item for their ability to naturally relieve stress and improve sleep. While they were more difficult to come by in the past, you can now find affordable weighted blankets from tons of big-box and specialty retailers including Amazon, Etsy, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Walmart. Keep scrolling to learn about the health benefits and how to choose the best weighted blanket for your needs.
Weighted Blanket Benefits
Weighted blankets can be used to address many different health issues and chronic conditions. According to Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, weighted blankets "may provide sounder sleep, reduced feelings of anxiety, and lessening in ADHD and ADD symptoms." Studies also show that they can help those with insomnia, PTSD, cerebral palsy, and restless leg syndrome.
So how can something as simple as a heavy blanket make such a difference? The added pressure is likened to the feeling of a hug, which is comforting for many. "These blankets work by applying additional pressure to the body," Backe says. This pressure releases dopamine and serotonin: two feel-good chemicals that heighten your mood.
The added weight can also help you sleep better and longer. "The goal is to give you a sense of calmness, which can reduce stress, as well as help you to stay asleep so your body can go through the necessary stages of sleep to allow you to wake up fully rested," says Bill Fish, certified sleep science coach of Tuck.com.
Weighted Blanket Guidelines
The key to getting the most out of your weighted blanket is choosing the right type for you. Follow these guidelines to select a weighted blanket that meets your needs.
What size weighted blanket should I get?
Weighted blankets are available in many different lengths and widths, and the right size for you will depend on your body size and where you plan to use it. In general, it's best to choose a blanket that's long enough to cover you comfortably from side to side and from chin to feet. Adult-size weighted blankets are generally smaller than regular throws, with widths ranging from about 36 to 40 inches and lengths from 50 to 80 inches long. If you plan to use your weighted blanket on the bed, you might need to size up according to the size of your mattress. Keep in mind that a weighted blanket is meant to be draped on top of the bed, not tucked in around the mattress.
What is the best weight for a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets typically come in options ranging from 5 to 30 pounds. Experts recommend you start with a blanket that is roughly 10% of your body weight, so if you weigh about 150 pounds, a 15-pound blanket should feel just right. Too much extra weight, especially when you sleep, can actually make you feel trapped or smothered. "If you are unable to roll over in with your weighted blanket and have any feeling of being trapped, it's recommended that you look for something a bit lighter," Fish says.
Fish also recommends that if you have a sleep partner, you should each have your own blanket. No more worrying about your partner stealing the blanket in the middle of the night! Other considerations include whether the blanket has a removable cover (which makes washing much easier) and how the blanket is weighted. Most blankets are filled with either glass beads or plastic pellets, while others are simply made with extra-heavy fabric. Those made with plastic fill are typically cheaper, but otherwise, the best weighted blanket fill material is up to personal preference.
Although weighted blankets have been proven to help with many health issues, anyone can reap the benefits. Whether you use it as a coping mechanism during an anxiety attack or just want to curl up under it after a stressful day at work, it might be just the trick to help you relax and improve your mood.