Are Weighted Blankets Worth The Hype?
The Truth About Weighted Blankets
As we enter into the fall season, many of us are dreaming about wrapping up in a cozy blanket by the fire. Wondering if that cozy blanket should be a weighted one?
Weighted blankets have gained in popularity over the past few years. But with an average price tag of $100-250, are they worth it? Weighted blankets work by providing a “deep pressure” touch, which delivers greater relaxation than light touch (think big bear hug compared to a friendly pat on the back). The pressure stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system — the “rest and digest” part of our body — and delivers a calming effect, similar to a deep breath.
Using weight to calm the nervous system has long been known to help anxiety, especially in kids. But now adults and people with insomnia are seeing the benefits, too.
Do They Weighted Blankets Really Work?
A 2020 Swedish study looked at the effect of a weighted blanket on insomnia and daytime functioning. After 4 weeks, 60% of patients using a weighted blanket noted improved sleep and less daytime sleepiness. After a year, 78% of participants using the weighted blanket reported near resolution of their insomnia altogether! We need more studies that confirm these kinds of outcomes, but I am impressed with the early results.
When to Skip the Weighted Blanket
A weighted blanket may not be for everyone. People with neuromuscular conditions, weakness of the chest wall, or severe untreated sleep apnea shouldn’t use a weighted blanket. Some trauma victims may experience a worsening of anxiety when weighed down by a blanket. Otherwise, weighted blankets are generally safe and offer a medication-free option to improve sleep quality.
Which Weighted Blanket to Buy
There are a few different sizes of blankets. A general rule of thumb is to take your weight in pounds and divide by 10. For example, a 10-pound blanket is good for a 100-pound person, a 15 pound blanket for a 150-pound person, and a 20 pound blanket for those over 200 pounds.
My Personal Take on a Weighted Blanket
Personally, I sleep under a 15-pound weighted blanket every night, and I miss it when I am away from home — it’s too heavy to take with you! I feel safe and secure under the weight and it helps to keep me warm (when I sleep, I keep my bedroom at 65 degrees if I can).
Overall, weighted blankets offer a safe and effective treatment for insomnia. If nothing else, they can decrease anxiety, which is something we can all benefit from given the past couple of years!