Weighted blankets are surging in popularity these days. In fact, according to 2020 data, their sales now pull in an estimated $220 million per year. But do weighted blankets really work to reduce stress and improve sleep—and are they worth it?
Here’s a look at their benefits, plus our review.
How do weighted blankets work?
True to their name, weighted blankets are heavier than normal blankets. They get their heft from beads, pellets, or simply the bulk of their fabric.
Weighted blankets are often marketed as a type of deep pressure stimulation (aka deep touch pressure), such as that from massage. You can think of their sensations similar to those of being cuddled or swaddled like a baby.
What are weighted blankets good for?
Purported benefits of weighted blankets include:
- reduced stress
- better sleep
- improved mood
These benefits apparently kick in once deep touch pressure stimulates serotonin (the “happy hormone”) and melatonin (the “sleep hormone”). As a result, it should then help reduce cortisol (the “stress hormone”).
Weighted blankets are also used as an alternative therapy for more serious health concerns, such as developmental and behavioral issues and for pain management.
That said, it’s worth noting that the science behind weighted blankets is pretty sparse. Further, research behind weighted blanket benefits is largely based on self-reportage.
However, one study of 32 adults found that weighted blankets helped reduce their:
- levels of stress by 63 percent
- electrodermal activity (EDA)—an indicator of autonomic nervous system activity and stress response—by 33 percent
How to Choose a Weighted Blanket
To choose the best weighted blanket for you, take several factors into mind.
For one person, your blanket should amount to 10 percent of your body weight. If you’re in between weighted blanket sizes, most companies will recommend sizing up.
For example, if you weigh 125 pounds, a 15-pound weighted blanket should work best for you.
Form + Fabric
Next, think about what form and fabric you prefer. Again, some weighted blankets use beads, while others are heavy from their fabric alone. Then, consider if you prefer cotton, velvet, polyester, or other materials.
Personally, I opted for a Bearaby Cotton Napper since I’d read that beads can get uneven and noisy, and thus potentially become a hassle. I also fell for its chunky knit weave with organic cotton.
Plus, I even read one Bearaby review in which it brought the writer to tears of catharsis. Suffice to say, I was eager to get my waterworks on.
My Weighted Blanket Review
I wanted to try out a weighted blanket since I’ve struggled with stress and sleep for my whole life. (Should I ever get a midnight “u up?” text, rest assured that I’m assuredly not resting. FTR, I’m also not texting you back.)
My weighted blanket arrived on a Friday afternoon, and I strategically waited for the workday to end to bust it out. Night fell as I nestled into my L-shaped couch corner and spread the blanket evenly over my body as I read and watched TV.
The initial sensation wasn’t life-changing, but still soothing. And thankfully, I didn’t feel claustrophobic or otherwise struggle with the weight as I’d imagined.
Before I knew it, I was getting sleepy. When I checked the clock, it was a good hour or two before my usual bedtime, which surprised my inner night owl. So I lugged my 15-pounder to bed—a mini workout that reminded me I seriously need to up my strength-training game.
Sleeping under its full weight felt like at lot at first, so I snuck out an arm and a leg in my half-fetal, half-stomach sleeping position of choice. I was glad to wake up rested the next morning at my usual time, instead of intermittently before sunrise.
So, are weighted blankets worth it?
At the time of this writing, I’ve using my Bearaby daily for a few weeks. Overall, I’d say that the best weighted blanket benefits I experience are less restlessness and a greater sense of calm.
While I’m lounging under its weight, I’m less inclined to mill about my apartment. I also feel less hectic and scatterbrained. In a sense, I genuinely think that my weighted blanket tames my erratic energy and lulls me closer to a state of ease—mini miracles in themselves.
Also, when I’m in bed, I feel more relaxed with than without it. While I do think it helps me sleep more soundly, I also take Mighty Night, which has been the stuff of *dreams* as far as my long history of sleep issues goes.
Unfortunately, I haven’t yet experienced an emotional release similar to that in one of the reviews I’d read. But maybe paired with some meditation and breathwork, I’ll get there in due time.
All things considered, while the weighted blanket I chose is on the pricier end, I’m happy with my purchase.
The Bottom Line
Personally, my weighted blanket isn’t as game-changing as Mighty Night’s been for my nightly routine (shameless yet honest plug!). However, it’s certainly cozy and provides a snug cuddle that goes beyond what you’d get from a lighter blanket.
In all, if you’re hoping to reduce stress and get better sleep, I’d recommend giving a weighted blanket a try. You don’t have much to lose, and potentially have more ease and zzZz’s to gain.