Good Night and Sleep Tight: Weighted Blankets Promote a Better Sleep
Last Updated: Dec. 18, 2019
By: Taira Jordan
You may have wondered how the weighted blanket, one of the most popular gift items over the last two holiday seasons, can claim to promote a better sleep, reduce anxiety, improve insomnia and decrease chronic pain, among other benefits. A simple concept, weighted blankets are comprised of stitched squares filled with tiny glass or plastic beads for weight so that it feels like a gentle, soothing hug when used. While not actually a new concept, weighted blankets have been used for years to help those with special needs or autism.
While the effectiveness of weighted blankets is not backed by scientific research, many users can gauge whether a weighted blanket will work for them after just one night of using a weighted blanket. In theory, the blanket provides deep touch pressure which reduces cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, while encouraging the production of serotonin, a hormone associated with feelings of happiness and well-being for a sleeping experience that makes you feel more safe, comfortable and relaxed. A weighted blanket will feel snugger compared to a regular comforter as it makes it more difficult for you to toss and turn so you are less likely to have restless, disrupted sleep. Plus, sleeping under the firm, yet gentle pressure can help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer.
Weighted blankets come in various weights and styles and you should know the following when choosing a weighted blanket:
- The blanket should be about 10% of your ideal body weight so if you weigh 150 pounds, you should choose a 15 pound weighted blanket. If you are between weights, go with the heavier weight.
- Usually weighted blankets come in twin and full sizes as they should cover your body but should not be used in lieu of regular blankets or comforters..
- Some are one-piece while other blankets have an inner weighted layer and a soft, outer duvet cover. The weighted part should be hand washed or dry cleaned, while the duvet cover can be removed for machine washing.
- Young children should not use without adult supervision or without a therapist’s recommendation. When approved to use, the blanket should be less than 10% of the child’s body weight.