- Weighted blanket benefits
- Benefits for adults
- Benefits for kids
- Who may benefit from a weighted blanket
Welcome to the beautiful land of weighted blankets! We’re guessing you’ve landed here because you’ve heard some of the good press surrounding this magnificent pressure therapy tool that doesn’t require a doctor’s script.
There are over 17 thousand results on Google when you search “weighted blanket.” You want to learn more, but there’s so much information out there. So, where do you start? First, let’s talk about the whole point of weighted blankets.
Weighted blankets – they’re exactly what they sound like: blankets with weight in them. But they’re also more than that when it comes to their benefits.
The weight acts as a form of pressure therapy. Deep touch therapy is known for reducing the anxiety and stress reactions that often translate into other physical or mental debilitations.
Touch is so essential for humans, and if we’re not getting enough of it, frustration occurs via fatigue and exhaustion. The science of a hug is no joke. The squeezing component lets the body know it’s safe. Without this, we may suffer some unwelcomed side effects.
If you struggle with stress, anxiety, or other conditions that cause you to lose sleep, the weight from these blankets may be your saving grace.
Other conditions that may encounter some relief include mood and nervous disorders, PTSD, arthritis, and restless leg syndrome, just to name a few.
Weighted blankets offer hugs every time you crawl into bed. If you’re looking for stress relief beyond the mattress, smaller options are available. The weight allows the blanket to caress you, not suffocate, to ensure a calming effect. It’s a natural remedy and virtually intuitive, yet this simple addition will take your sleep experience to the next level.
There are different weight options, fillers, and fabrics, so formulating your perfect sleep experience can be as tailored as you’d like.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all of these options but don’t panic; we have the resources to prepare you for a successful shopping experience. It’s important not to lose sight of the mission.
Overall, this ultimate hugging sensation gives a sense of security and comfort, reducing the mental and physical stimuli that cause moving and shifting, and thus a lack of sleep.
Let’s delve deeper into the evidence but don’t worry, we won’t get too scientific and boring. Yes, I said it. We’re going to give you some benefits to look forward to as the future owner of a weighted blanket.
Weighted Blanket Benefits
To kick things off, let’s reflect on a study conducted by the Sleep Journal that had some pretty significant results. This study observed the sleep patterns of those who struggled either going to sleep or remaining asleep throughout the evening.
Researchers found that a notable amount participants who used weighted blankets that were 10% of their body weight (golden rule if we don’t know this yet):
- Fell asleep faster
- Experienced higher quality sleep
- Felt rested upon waking up
- Had less interrupted sleep
- Felt less stressed at bedtime
- Were more relaxed at bedtime
So their conclusion – implementing a weighted blanket into the bedtime routine resulted in less stress and more feelings of relaxation due to good sleep maintenance.
Do any of these sleep improvements sound appealing to you? If not, there’s more.
Weighted blankets go beyond the confines of your bedroom. The pressing sensation is known to alleviate pain and fidgeting. Wherever you are experiencing unrest or distress, the comforting connection between you and your blanket will help you unwind.
If the pressure concept does not satisfy you, these hormones may convince you otherwise:
- Oxytocin – the love hormone. This chemical is released by touch, where your weighted blanket acts as your hugger. Oxytocin slows down the nervous system, prepping the body to relax. We love oxytocin who loves pressure and sleep.
- Melatonin – the sleep hormone. We see this one a lot in the supplements aisle. Melatonin’s release is catalyzed by serotonin (we’ll discuss next), which is triggered by pressure. The pill format can be helpful, but the body may build up immunity over time, resulting in increased dosage and dependence. The investment in your weighted blanket can counteract the purchase of these little sleep assistants by swaddling you to sleep.
- Serotonin – the mood-stabilizing hormone. Again, serotonin acts as melatonin’s sidekick, or precursor, allowing it to be released. Touch is so crucial in the discharge of this hormone and is essential in regulation. Massages are also known to trigger the release of serotonin, another pressure therapy option. But maybe save on the masseuse and just throw on your new blanket.
- Dopamine – the feel-good hormone. This guy plays a role in our reward system and is encouraged by pressure. He goes hand in hand with serotonin, with regulation being of high importance for mental and physical health. Do we see a pattern here? Needless to say, a weighted blanket can assist in the release.
- Cortisol – the stress hormone. This hormone is, not surprisingly, reduced by the grounding effects of weighted blankets. Prolonged pressure ensures cortisol levels will remain low and, in turn, increase the benefits of hormones 1-4. We see a similar effect with lowered pulse rate and blood pressure.
Our body is more interconnected with our emotions than we often realize, and is easily positively influenced by a bit of touch and care.
The science behind a hug is not one to scoff at. As social creatures, we crave physical contact, which may not always be readily available at any given moment. Some of the benefits of a simple hug?
According to this study discussing the effects of touch on our socioemotional and physical well-being, stimulation of pressure results in lowered heart rate and blood pressure, reduced depression and anxiety, and lessened pain.
Healthy levels of these hormones are what helps keep relationship strong and partners happy. Didn’t think you’d have that deep of a relationship with a blanket, did you? As silly as that may sound, weighted blankets aim to provide the kind of surface-level touch we would expect from a loved one, even if that’s just a cuddle from your furry companion.
Benefits for Adults
Adults vary in their sleep patterns, but many have a shared lived experience or condition that prevents them from winding down at the end of the evening.
A prevalent one that many turn to weighted blankets for – insomnia. People with it often feel that they’ve tried it all, from those little melatonin pills we discussed earlier to the art of meditating. And don’t get me wrong, certain measures work better for some than others, but maybe it’s time to add a weighted blanket into the mix.
As a more natural approach, the positive results speak for themselves.
A study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that participants who used weighted blankets were almost 26x more likely to have a decrease in sleep deprivation and were 20x more likely to achieve remission of their insomnia. Pretty hopeful stuff.
Remember, blankets are travel-friendly, whether that’s to your couch or a different country. Moments of stress aren’t limited to the home, so these can comfort you wherever you deem appropriate.
Here are a few conditions that adults may face more often than children where a weighted blanket may be of assistance in relieving symptoms:
- Major depressive and generalized anxiety disorder – These are both prevalent mental challenges faced in the U.S and are often interlinked. Plus, it’s been an interesting year.
Calming the racing mind is easier said than done, and the monkey brain typically advances towards poor decision-making.
Nip those unproductive thoughts in the butt by introducing a weighted blanket. This study found that weighted blankets significantly reduced patient pulse rates and, thus, the churning mind.
In addition, researchers found that weighted blankets were patient-centered and trauma-supported alternatives to traditional medical options. Give them a shot during your next panic attack (even though we do not wish one upon you).
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – It’s hard to say when a trigger will get the best of your mind.
Even though psychotherapy and other medications are suggested for relief, why not throw a weighted blanket into the mix?
Because weighted blankets lower cortisol levels, heart rate, and blood pressure, a reduction in typical symptoms of over-tiredness, paranoia, and anxiety occur.
The happy hormones released while you sleep will help combat the nightmares and sleep-slashing stress.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – Do you ever hear, “just don’t think about it,”? Did it cure your OCD? I bet it did. However, if you’re looking for a non-medicated option to raise those serotonin levels, weighted blankets may work for you.
Being able to calm the body and mind by just throwing on a blanket is an ideal solution. Whether you suffer from constant cleaning, ordering, or other impulses, having a weighted blanket to calm the nervous system may be your new secret weapon.
- Chronic Pain – If you’re looking to break up with your painkillers or are losing sleep from chronic pain, a weighted blanket can be a natural solution. While not as deep as a massage, the pressure from the blanket can release tension while grounding its user.
- Fibromyalgia – Muscle pain isn’t fun in general, and it’s certainly not fun to sleep with. Those who suffer from fibromyalgia understand the loss of sleep, fatigue, and altered mood inflicted by the condition.
While a common dilemma, it cannot be cured. However, the compression from weighted blankets can help suppress symptoms resulting in a better mood and better rest. So it wouldn’t hurt to try.
- Restless Leg Syndrome – Somehow this movement is irresistible yet discomforting. It’s hard to sleep without the body shutting down its constant moving and shifting. And for relief – it’s typically suggested to get up and walk around, but that’s not sleep-friendly.
So instead, weighted blankets act as a more comfortable and less restricting compression sock. The pressure of the blanket acts to suppress those wiggly legs, enabling a great night’s sleep.
If you struggle with any of these conditions and their side effects, we hope a weighted blanket can give you some hope.
Why not try to settle the mind/body connection with something as simple as a blanket? Think of it as your new on-demand pressure therapist. How easy and convenient!
Benefits for Kids
Kids may have different reactions to weighted blankets with some potential pros and cons. Occupational therapists have been using this form of pressure therapy with children long before being available to the public.
Weighted blankets have remained popular in the field for treating symptoms of ADHD and autism and have been known to improve attention in fidgety little ones.
ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and autism are to be diagnosed by a medical professional often spotted from difficulties participating in school and extracurricular activities. Paying attention can be a struggle for those who struggle with these or a sensory processing disorder.
Small weighted blankets may help children settle in learning environments, relieving stress and anxiety while improving focus. This solution may also translate to traveling, reducing flight anxiety, and transitioning to new environments. Calming the nervous system for children promotes stillness, minimizing distractions.
Now, it’s time for the cons. While the benefits of weighted blankets for kids are fantastic, keep in mind that weighted blankets are not suitable for children under two years of age or those under 50 pounds. These rules apply because children:
- Should be able to put on and take off their weighted blankets by themselves, and
- Must meet the minimum weight requirements because the smallest weighted blanket on the market is 10 pounds, which is even pushing it according to the 10% rule, but a little more weight is okay.
Overall, make sure your child is comfortable with using a weighted blanket alone and doesn’t feel suffocated by it.
If they feel trapped, that kind of defeats the purpose, right? Ensure pure sleeping bliss by just following these two simple rules of thumb. Your kids will thank you for it.
Who May Benefit From a Weighted Blanket?
It’s hard to say that anyone wouldn’t benefit from a weighted blanket, but maybe some will appreciate them more than others. Are any of us exempt from the pressures of daily life that commonly result in anxiety, depression, and loss of sleep?
If so, we need that magic sauce but if you need a little assistance to ease the mind and body, consider a weighted blanket for a natural remedy.
Those who have more severe symptoms of any of the conditions listed above or others that may benefit from a little pressure should probably seek out additional aids as a weighted blanket is not a cure-all but rather an assistant. Throw your new bedding into the mix for optimal comfort, mentally and physically.
The only risk for adults – probably the price, or maybe going too heavy. While these guys don’t necessarily cost pennies, how much are you willing to pay for the consequences of stress and fatigue?
Touch is a basic need and can easily be met by your new weighted blanket. There’s not much to lose here. Hopefully, you feel ready to tackle the online shopping world for your future on-demand hug therapist.
Danoff-Burg, Sharon & Rus, Holly M & Martir, L & Raymann, Roy. (2020). 1203 Worth The Weight: Weighted Blanket Improves Sleep And Increases Relaxation. Sleep. 43. A460-A460. 10.1093/sleep/zsaa056.1197.
Tiffany Field. (2010). Touch for socioemotional and physical well-being: A review,
Developmental Review. Volume 30, Issue 4. Pages 367-383. ISSN 0273-2297.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2020, September 23). Weighted blankets can decrease insomnia severity: Randomized, controlled trial finds that weighted blankets are safe and effective. ScienceDaily.
Becklund AL, Rapp-McCall L, Nudo J. Using weighted blankets in an inpatient mental health hospital to decrease anxiety. J Integr Med. 2021 Mar;19(2):129-134. DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2020.11.004. Epub 2020 Nov 28. PMID: 33317955.