Best Weighted Blankets to Ease Stress and Anxiety
Weighted blankets are the trendiest way to help poor sleepers get a good night’s rest. They were first introduced by occupational therapists as treatment for behavioral disorders, but are now more mainstream for anyone who wants to relax. Experts refer to it as “deep-pressure therapy” – the idea is that the pressure from the blanket can increase serotonin, a chemical in your body that makes you feel happy and calm. It’s not intended to cure any medical conditions, but it’s become a popular way for anxiety-suffers, insomniacs, and self-proclaimed “bad sleepers” to get some shut eye.
The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute review bedding and sleep-improvement products on a regular basis. To pick the best weighted blankets, the fiber scientists in the Textiles Lab considered the materials used, weight distribution (so the beads don’t just clump to each side), innovative features, and washability. We sent weighted blankets home with real consumer testers to try them out for added feedback. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about picking out your ideal weight, plus our top picks for the best weighted blankets.
Do weighed blankets really work?
Yes; experts advise there are real benefits to using a weighted blanket. “There is recent research suggesting they can help reduce or relieve anxiety,” shares Christine Rocchio Mueller, Occupational Therapist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Rocchio Mueller also says they can help people who may not consider themselves anxious, yet still suffer from insomnia or sleep disturbances: “A weighted blanket might provide just enough physiological calm that it helps them relax to fall asleep.”
Many users describe the sensation of lying under a weighted blanket as feeling like a hug. According to Rocchio Mueller, “It is one of the most natural things to reach and hug a family member or friend when they are upset or anxious. While a hug might not solve all your problems, it often helps you feel better by calming your body which then allows you to think a little bit clearer.”
Weighted blankets have been around for a while, but they’re now widely available with many options to choose from. Just keep in mind that they’re pricier than regular throw blankets — most range from $100 to $200.
How heavy should a weighted blanket be?
For adults, the blankets themselves are heavy, but not so heavy that you’ll feel like you’re being crushed under them. The blankets are typically filled with tiny glass or plastic beads to provide the pressure. Glass beads are most popular because they’re more dense than plastic pellets. Here’s how to pick:
- Do the math. Most manufacturers recommend choosing a weighted blanket that’s roughly around 10% of your body weight. So if you weigh around 150 pounds, a blanket at 15 pounds is ideal. Don’t worry about it being exact; within the 7-12% range is considered good.
- Avoid oversized blankets. The blanket shouldn’t hang off the side of your bed: The weight can make it fall off during the night. Also, a larger size means the weight is more spread out so you’ll feel less pressure. Even if you have a larger bed, you may want to use a twin or individual-sized weighted blanket.
- Caution: Weighted blankets shouldn’t be used by anyone that can’t move freely beneath the weight. Though they’re sometimes used as a therapeutic means for children, it’s important to speak with their pediatricians first.
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