Weighted blankets – what intrigued your interest in them? Maybe the calming sensation, a need for better sleep, perhaps to ease chronic pain?
Regardless of the situation, weighted blankets get their hype from alleviating a variety of undesired symptoms piggybacking off conditions we feel out of control of. They put you back in charge of your sleep, and trust us, it’s life-changing.
However, maybe you’ve decided that a weighted blanket may not be for you. What’s swaying you? Is it the cost, the fear of the unknown, or maybe a concern of your new snuggle buddy being too heavy?
Whatever is holding you back, a few alternatives are available on the market that elicits the same feeling of being held by a weighted blanket. Some of these items you may even find in your home already. One of these five solutions is bound to work for you.
In order to experiment with alternatives to determine whether we’d like to transition into the world of weighted blankets, we must get a little creative.
Essentially, we’re looking to add a little weight to our nighttime routine. All of these solutions look to mimic the deep touch pressure therapy (DTP) offered by weighted blankets.
DTP leverages pressure to release those wonderful happy hormones, including dopamine and serotonin, to relax the nervous system and ultimately prepare us for a good night’s rest. We could all use a little help when it comes to easing the mind, and thus the body.
We tried to stay away from most DIY options that won’t provide evenly spread pressure, like Ziplock bags of marbles, books, or dumbbells (excuse me?), and lean towards products that are more likely to get the job done.
Who knows, maybe you’ll even like these makeshift blankets better. Let’s get into it.
- Stacks of Blankets
- Bean Bags
- Weighted or Compression Vest
- Compression Sheets and Blankets
- Weighted Pillow
1. Stacks of Blankets (can also use towels)
Stack em’ up. This advice may seem obvious but, the more blankets you layer, the greater the weight and pressure. A few comforters may remove the need to pile on ten blankets or even large bath towels.
Further, stuffing a duvet cover with multiple blankets may do the trick as well. However, try not to exceed 10% of your body weight, as this is the golden rule of choosing the right weight for your new sleep tool.
Additionally, if you’re a toasty sleeper, pick materials that are more breathable or cooling to prevent sweaty sheets. But don’t let those factors scare you, as it’s as easy as peeling a layer off to lessen the load.
2. Bean Bags
A childhood favorite is back in the bedroom. Some of us didn’t think this day would ever come, but here we are.
We’re not necessarily suggesting the bean bags you sit in, but rather the smaller bags you use in cornhole or fair games. Inserting these into your duvet cover can pack the pounds on the blanket to the desired amount.
It would be ideal to stitch these onto a blanket strategically for evenly distributed pressure. Do the easy math beforehand depending on your bean bags of choice, commonly 1-2 pounds each. Worst case scenario, you take a few out or add a few on. Not too high risk here.
3. Weighted or Compression Vest/Clothing
Vests are no longer just a fashion piece, but a calming tool that can easily be put on and taken off. Weighted and compression vests provide DTP to their owners, hugging them as they go about their day. So really, these can be worn day or night, but compression vests may be a bit more discreet as they go under the shirt.
Now there’s even clothing to do the job in case vests aren’t in your wardrobe repertoire. Occupational therapists have suggested both to reduce anxiety and stress in children for years.
The resulting relaxation comes from the weight or hugging sensation, letting the nervous system know that it is safe, taking it out of fight or flight. So with continuous support for children, why not let the grown-ups give them a go?
4. Compression Sheets and Blankets
There may seem to be a compression theme here, and that’s on purpose. Compression can offer a similar firm pressure to that of weighted blankets, yet they may look a bit less intimidating, often seen in the form of sheets or a thin blanket.
The comforting embrace swaddles its user to sleep. The sheets form to the bed, tucking into the sides of the mattress, while the blankets wrap around the body like a cocoon. These can be more optimal for our sweaty sleepers out there who fear the weight or heat of weighted blankets.
Even though breathable fabrics are available for weighted blankets, maybe just opt for one of these compression sheets instead. Additionally, these are more travel-friendly for our jet setters or even for the long journey to the couch.
5. Weighted Pillow
A lighter option on the body and the wallet, weighted pillows can be taken just about anywhere for a reasonable price.
These U-shaped pillows resemble those typically taken on airplanes. Weighing around 3-5 pounds, weighted pillows have been shown to mitigate upper body tension while reportedly correcting posture. The neck and shoulders are notorious stress retainers, giving the massage industry steady business.
Some of these pillows are microwavable to apply heat or can be stuck in the freezer to reduce soreness. This benefit may be appealing for our athletes or workout enthusiasts out there. However, these weighted pillows are great for just about everyone and could be a solid entryway into the world of weighted blankets.
Hopefully, these options offer a little hope and insight into some weighted blanket alternatives.
If you’re not ready to dive under the sheets of a blanket with weight, compression or other lighter options could be perfect for you.
While we know there are many DIY options out there, they often don’t offer the ultimate benefits of branded blankets, sheets, or clothing, but know they’re out there if you’re really crafty. For the rest of us, take a stab at these weighted blanket alternatives for some DTP and an excellent night’s sleep.