Gwyneth’s blog isn’t the only publication recommending weighted blankets for anxiety and restless sleep. Everyone from bloggers to occupational therapists are starting to believe these bedding accessories are the key to a calmer existence.
But do weighted blankets really work?
You don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on something that is more wishful thinking than real results. And we don’t want you to do that, either.
Let’s dig into the case for weighted blankets and evaluate when they’re worth trying. You might be surprised by what you learn about this comfortable, hefty bedding.
The Case for Weighted Blankets
A lot of folks swear by weighted blankets also known as, “gravity blankets.” Of course, that doesn’t quite answer the question “Do weighted blankets really work?”
While studies about the benefits of weighted blankets are relatively few – they point in a positive direction. Here’s why some people are so convinced that weighted blankets are the business.
- Multiple studies have shown that weighted blankets mimic DPT (or deep-pressure touch, sometimes called Deep Touch Pressure). This therapeutic technique is often used to treat people who have anxiety, depression, and more.
- Weighted blankets ground your body. That is, they push the body downward. This study found that grounding your body while you sleep can lower cortisol levels. When you lower cortisol you could also improve your blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels.
- A 1999 study led by Temple Grandin famously tested whether kids with autism could benefit from a hug machine. The results showed that kids who used the hug machine felt less tension. While the studies about autism and weighted blankets are fairly inconclusive, consider this: while a weighted blanket won’t specifically make a child with autism fall asleep faster, it could be used during times of sensory overload.
- A spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says the blankets may also help people with chronic pain enjoy better sleep. Combined with other therapeutic treatments, a weighted blanket could be the deep-pressure therapy you need to sleep with fewer aches and pains.
- One of the best things about grounding treatments is that they’re known to boost the serotonin in your brain. When you’re snuggled up beneath your new blanket, your mind gets all the good feelings.
- Your body naturally produces melatonin. Or, at least it should. A flood of melatonin is the signal that tells your body to rest when the sun goes down. But sometimes we need a little help churning out this slumber-inducing chemical. Weighted blankets can help trigger more melatonin in your brain.
What’s in a Weighted Blanket?
A lot of people wonder what sets a weighted blanket apart from a duvet that’s just really heavy. Can’t you just climb under a pile of quilts and achieve the same result? Not exactly.
Weighted blankets have earned their moniker. In other words: a blanket by any other name… would not still be a weighted blanket (we love a little Shakespeare humor).
So, what’s in a weighted blanket? Let’s break it down:
- Glass/Poly/Metal Pellets. Many weighted blankets have pellets (or small beads) on the inside. The Layla Weighted Blanket, for instance, has 100% glass beads sewn in between layers of fabric. Glass beads are smooth, tiny, and look a bit like grains of sand. They’re usually considered the top-notch choice. However, you can also choose poly or metal pellets.
Poly pellets are like little pebbles and they tend to be a bit louder than glass beads; metal pellets are heavier, so you’ll need fewer to fill the blanket, but they are also somewhat noisy at times. All pellets (no matter the material) are strategically sewn so that the weight is distributed evenly across your body.
- Metal Chains. Alternatively, some weighted blankets have metal chains sewn throughout the blanket. Chains can also provide equally distributed weight and are sewn between other layers of softer covering.
- Washable Cover. While you won’t want to wash the inside of your blanket, the cover on most models can be removed and washed. We think you’ll love your new blanket so much that you use it every night – so it’s important to get one that has a cover you can throw in the wash.
Some weighted blankets are one size fits all, while other brands offer multiple weight options. There is a simple formula for figuring out which weight is right for you.
When in doubt, get a weighted blanket that is about 10% of your body weight. For children, a blanket that’s 5% of their body weight may be more comfortable.
The Weighted Blanket: Pros and Cons
Like any good friend, we’re here to help you make a pros and cons list. Except for this time, it’s not about whether or not you should ask out the barista at your morning coffee place.
This list will break down the good, bad, and ugly of buying a weighted blanket. Full disclosure: the “ugly” list is empty. Let’s go beyond “Do weighted blankets really work?” and start asking if they work for your lifestyle. Here are some weighted blanket pros and cons.
- Weighted blankets can help with anxiety and sleeplessness. If your anxiety keeps you up at night, you could use the soothing pressure provided by a weighted blanket. Your blanket is as calming as a hug from your favorite Aunt and can help with sleep and longevity over time.
- You’ll be warm all night. When your weighted blanket is covered in cozy fabrics, you’ll never wake up cold again. These carefully engineered covers are ideal for use during winter or when you like to sleep warm.
- You may stop tossing and turning. The weight of a pellet-filled blanket does more than soothe your nervous system. If you have been known to move back and forth more than a puppy’s tail during the night, it could also keep you in one place.
- Weighted blankets are good for all ages. That means they can be enjoyed by most members of your family. This type of blanket is a particularly good investment if more than one person in your household could use the occasional grounding (the good kind).
- Weighted blankets are usually more expensive than traditional comforters. If you’re on a budget, the price tag on your new bedding could surprise you.
- You could get too warm on summer nights. If you’re someone who loves sleeping with the window open and often throws their covers aside – a weighted blanket could get too toasty.
- Weighted blankets can take time to get used to. Unlike a new regular blanket, which feels like business as usual, a weighted blanket can take a few nights to get used to. You may even wake up a few times. However, most people acclimate to the weight within a week, so hang in there! The end result will be worth this brief awkward period.
Your Weighted Blanket Checklist
If you’re still curious about weighted blankets but not yet committed, here is a helpful checklist. Spoiler: asking “Do weighted blankets really work?” isn’t the only query you should be asking. If you can answer yes to most or all of these questions – we think you’ll love snoozing with a weighted blanket.
-Do you have anxiety at night? Some people lay in bed at night and count sheep. Do you count the ways you’ve embarrassed yourself at brunch? If your mind can’t shut off when it’s time to sleep, weighted blankets could be the solution you’ve been waiting for.
-Do you have general restlessness when you sleep? Insomnia can result from a lot of things. Medication, stress, or daily habits could all lead to tossing and turning. You may wake up feeling like you only took a nap. Weighted blankets are worth a shot when you just can’t seem to settle in.
-Do you prefer natural methods for self-soothing? Some people try to avoid taking medication that enables sleep. Are you one of them? If you’re not looking to take a pill when you need to zonk out, a bedding change is a great option.
-Do you have a supportive mattress? A weighted blanket is best used with supportive bedding. Remember that your blanket will ground you. You don’t want to sink into your mattress under the heft of your therapeutic covers. A quality memory foam mattress that provides even support is a great complement to your new blanket.
-Does your sleeping partner also want a weighted blanket? If you’re both tossing and turning you probably don’t look forward to bedtime. Double the insomnia does not equal double the fun. Buy a queen or king size blanket, and you can both snuggle up under your calming covers.
Are weighted blankets worth it? If you could answer yes to most of those questions – then it looks like a weighted blanket could be right up your sleep-deprived alley.
Layla Weighted Blanket for the Win
While you’re mattress online shopping, why not upgrade the rest of your sleeping experience? The Layla Weighted Blanket is made from 300 thread-count, 100% cotton so it’s easy to wash. And the soft fleece on top makes it easy to pretend you’re being snuggled by 100 puppies.
Our blanket is available in a variety of sizes, so you can always find the right one for your sleep zone. Stop staring at the ceiling all night and start dreaming about winning Olympic gold. Shop the Layla Weighted Blanket today!