woman sleeping sleeping with weighted blanket
relief

Weighted Blanket Benefits: Stress Relief to Sleep Aid

Sometimes, the stress of life and all its responsibilities leaves you wanting a hug, a comforting embrace that makes you feel secure and helps you relax so you’re better prepared for what’s next.

A weighted blanket is like an on-demand hug you can keep on the couch, on your bed, or in a basket in the corner and use whenever you want that reassuring pressure and cozy warmth.

Learn more about what makes weighted blankets so popular and why you might want to try one yourself.

Weighted Blankets Offer Calming Comfort

Why do weighted blankets make you feel good? It has to do with people’s instinctual feelings of safety and comfort. Wrapping up in a blanket—especially a weighted one—often helps people feel secure and able to relax. With that feeling, your body can start to turn down its stress response system and feel more at ease.

And the way a weighted blanket feels like a warm hug—that’s not a bad bonus, is it?

But what is a weighted blanket?

Weighted Blanket Basics

The weight in a weighted blanket may come from a variety of materials, from glass beads and plastic pellets to ball bearings. Meanwhile, some weighted blankets merely use heavy yarn to become a heavier weight and higher density than standard blankets.

Weighted blankets come in a range of weights, from very light ones that way only around 5 pounds to heavier blankets that weigh as much as 30 pounds.

Some weighted blankets feature removable covers that make them machine washable—a significant benefit, especially if you’re using your blanket often or sleeping with it. Cover materials also vary, so you can choose between ultra-soft and luxurious materials, fabrics designed to keep you cool, and more.

Weighted Blanket Benefits

While your experience with a weighted blanket will depend on your personal preferences, many people enjoy draping a weighted blanket over them while they’re sitting on the couch or lying under one in bed. Find a cozy spot, make your favorite comfort drink, and simply enjoy the relaxation and comfort.

The following are some of the other potential benefits of weighted blankets, including helping with stress and sleep problems.

Produce a Calming Effect

People respond differently to pressure, but many people find the security of a weighted blanket calming. A weighted blanket applies only gentle pressure, and while it might be surprising the first few times you use one, you’ll soon learn to love the feeling.

And because there’s nothing complicated about a blanket, it’s an easy, no-stress way to enjoy some relaxation. You don’t have to charge it, set it up, or put it together—just pull it over you and take some deep breaths.

You can relax on the couch or replace the comforter on your bed with a weighted blanket. In seconds, you’ll create a feeling of security and comfort wherever you are—not to mention that you’ll have the cozy warmth of a blanket you can snuggle with.

Help Manage Stress and Anxiety

The reassuring pressure of a weighted blanket has been helpful for some people who deal with stress and anxiety. In a study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, participants who slept with a weighted blanket for four weeks had reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

If you find the pressure of a weighted blanket comforting, using a weighted blanket for anxiety might help you relax and manage the stress you’re dealing with. Winding down and falling asleep can also be difficult after a stressful day, so a little comfort from a weighted blanket could be a valuable addition to your nighttime routine.

Provide Sleep Aid

In the same study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, those people who used the weighted blanket had better sleep maintenance and felt more energy during the day. And these benefits remained as the participants continued using the weighted blankets for 12 months.

In another study, published in Sleep, people who used weighted blankets fell asleep faster, had better sleep quality, and felt more rested after waking up in the morning.

Whether you relax with a weighted blanket while you’re watching TV in the evening or you use it on your bed, you might find yourself experiencing similar benefits to your overall wellness. According to the Sleep Foundation, may help your body start up its parasympathetic nervous system response, which controls relaxation and rest.

In addition, the weight of a weighted blanket laid over you may simply dissuade you from tossing and turning as much while you’re trying to fall asleep. And since sleep is so important to your physical and mental health, getting a better night’s sleep with the help of a weighted blanket may have additional positive effects on your energy levels and mood.

Be Therapeutic

Deep pressure touch stimulation is a type of therapeutic technique that aims to reproduce the feeling you get when someone gives you a hug or holds you. In a study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, the college students who participated reported feeling more relaxed after experiencing deep pressure touch.

The constant pressure of a weighted blanket produces a similar sensation—it’s like a gentle reminder that you’re safe and your body can relax. It lets your nervous system switch from its stress-response duties to focus on relaxation and allows your mind to drift to calmer thoughts.

Help With Sensitivity in People with Autism

People with autism spectrum disorders sometimes have increased sensory processing sensitivity, according to Autism Speaks. In addition, a person with autism might have hyposensitivity, which feels like a constant need to move and touch things.

A weighted blanket is a common tool for caregivers of people with autism that can help with hyposensitivity, as the pressure of a weighted blanket may reduce the urge to move and may help satisfy the need for physical touch. In a small study in Occupational Therapy International, deep pressure—the kind of pressure a weighted blanket can provide—was immediately beneficial to the students with autism who participated.

Supply Comfort + Warmth

At the end of the day, most people want a blanket to feel cozy and comfortable. Often, people reach for a blanket to keep them warm, too. A weighted blanket can and should do this for you, in addition to providing the added benefits of its weight.

As there are weighted blankets available at a range of price points, the quality of the materials will vary, as well. That’s one of the factors that impact how comfortable a blanket is for you.

Ask yourself: do you wish you could stay wrapped in your blanket’s soft, plush embrace all the time, or would you prefer your favorite T-shirt and sweatpants and only use the blanket when you want that gentle pressure? When it comes to an item that’s specifically meant to bring you comfort, it may be worth raising your budget a little to get a higher quality product.

Who Can Use Weighted Blankets?

Weighted blankets are safe for almost anyone to use, and the ability to buy blankets of different weights means you can find one that’s just right for you and your whole family.

You may be wondering: are weighted blankets safe for children? While many weighted blankets are safe for many children, it’s important to read the safety information that comes with the specific blanket you’re using.

And if you find yourself uncomfortable with a weighted blanket but like the way its pressure feels, you can also try weighted vests, instead.

What to Look for in a Weighted Blanket

The ideal weight of a weighted blanket depends on your preferences, but the common recommendation is to choose a weight that’s about 5–10 percent of your body weight.

Similarly, the size depends on what you want out of your blanket. You can choose one that’s as big as your comforter or opt for a smaller throw blanket that you can easily fold up and store.

Do you want an even more cozy experience to relax and recharge? Some weighted blankets have heating and massaging features!

Your perfect weighted blanket is out there, and with this information, you’re on your way to finding it.

Wrap Yourself in Reassuring Comfort

Trade the stressful weight of the world for the comforting weight of a weighted blanket. Benefits, including help relaxing and an easier time falling asleep, are waiting right there on the couch or in bed every day. You deserve a warm embrace to help you recover after days filled with work and responsibilities, so wrap up in a cozy blanket and let the stress fade away.

Medical Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 

Sources

  1. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
  2. 1203 Worth The Weight: Weighted Blanket Improves Sleep And Increases Relaxation | SLEEP | Oxford Academic
  3. Sensory Issues | Autism Speaks
  4. The Immediate Effects of Deep Pressure on Young People with Autism and Severe Intellectual Difficulties: Demonstrating Individual Differences – PMC