How has your sleep been lately?
If you're anything like me, not only do you have a hard time quieting your mind after a busy day to fall asleep, but you also find yourself getting up several times throughout the night.
Perhaps daytime stress or an anxiety disorder makes it more difficult to get the sleep you need, leaving you even more anxious during the day when you aren't well-rested.
This creates a cycle that can turn into debilitating long-term bought of insomnia.
If you can relate to this, which most people can, your anxiety, insomnia, or sleep disorder is likely affecting your daytime productivity and your overall health.
Sleep disturbances create a long list of minor issues that can quickly turn into primary health concerns if your sleep troubles continue to go untreated.
Not getting sufficient sleep, whether it is related to anxiety or insomnia, can negatively impact your normal functioning during the day.
You may have tried guided sleep meditations, over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids, and anti-anxiety medications to help you with your insomnia. But these aren't long-term solutions.
You might be surprised to discover one very effective strategy you can use to help improve the sleep that you may not have tried — a weighted blanket.
Although weighted blankets are often used to help children who deal with various emotional and mental health conditions, this post focuses on weighted blankets for adults.
Weighted Blankets for Adults With Anxiety
A weighted blanket can provide a natural alternative to sleep medications that will help you get the rest that your body needs.
According to a 2015 study in the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders, researchers stated:
Objectively, we found that sleep bout time increased, as well as a decrease in movements of the participants, during weighted blanket use. Subjectively, the participants liked sleeping with the blanket, found it easier to settle down to sleep and had an improved sleep, where they felt more refreshed in the morning. Overall, we found that when the participants used the weighted blanket, they had a calmer night’s sleep.
Other studies have confirmed the benefits of using a weighted blanket for anxiety and sleep, making it one of the most useful products you can use in helping you get a better night's rest and feeling calmer.
Below you will get a better understanding of how a weighted blanket helps you feel less anxious and easily fall asleep (and stay asleep), and I'll answer some of the most frequent questions about weighted blankets.
Then I'll offer the pros and cons of some of the best weighted blankets that are on the market today, so you will have a better idea of which product may be the best for you.
How a Weighted Blanket Works
A weighted blanket is two pieces of fabric that are sewn together into squares with weight added to each square to give the blanket even weight distribution.
Weighted blankets have been around for a long time, but their popularity is rising, as people begin to learn about their benefits and that information has spread.
Related: 10 Benefits of Sleeping Longer
Weighted blankets are not used primarily to generate heat or stay warm. They are for adding weight to the body for a variety of purposes, making the user feel secure, comforted, and like they are being hugged.
Weighted blankets can benefit people with various disorders beyond anxiety and insomnia, such as autism, sensory processing disorder, post-traumatic stress discorder, dementia, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and many others.
How to Choose a Weighted Blanket
The formula that is commonly recommended for adults is to get a blanket that is 10% of the body weight.
For adults, this formula can result in a blanket that is quite heavy, so it's best to consult a healthcare professional if you don't know which weight is best for you.
Weighted blankets are meant to fit the body rather than the bed. However, the blanket should be able to lay on top of the bed without falling over the sides.
It's important to remember that because the blanket has weight to it, you will have to continuously pull it up throughout the night if it starts to fall off the bed.
Use a regular blanket for visual appeal during the day and store your weighted blanket at the foot of your bed.
Also, make sure you consider how you plan to use your weighted blanket. Weighted blankets can be used to calm and relax the body in different ways — by simply laying it on the lap, wrapping it around your shoulders, or covering the entire body for sleeping.
Frequently Asked Questions about Weighted Blankets
1. How heavy should my weighted blanket be?
As previously stated, a good rule of thumb to follow is to get a blanket that is 10% of your body weight. That said, if you prefer a heavier or lighter blanket, that is perfectly fine.
If you are getting the weighted blanket for a medical reason, it is best to consult a physician or occupational therapist on the proper weight for you. The most popular weight for adults is 15 pounds.
2. How big are weighted blankets?
Weighted blankets are meant for personal use. You can find them in any size from a lap blanket to a king size blanket.
Most, however, are about twin size. Some people think the larger weighted blankets are a waste because a lot of the weight is wasted on the empty part of the bed.
You ideally want the blanket to cover you from your chin to past your feet.
3. Are weighted blankets safe for the washer and dryer?
Weighted blankets are safe for the washing machine and dryer unless stated otherwise in the product details.
Many people do not like to buy a product that requires special care, so most weighted blankets come with a slip-off cover or are able to go into the washing machine just as they are.
4. Will the blanket make me hot at night?
This depends on the fabric that you buy, but the weight itself should not add heat to your normal sleeping routine.
Weighted blankets offer comforting weight to get deep sleep, but don't add multiple layers to trap heat in.
5. Can weighted blankets help veterans?
Veterans are courageous people who offer their lives to serve their country and protect the lives of its citizens. They often return home from combat with post-traumatic stress disorder, which causes intense stress and anxiety.
This often leads to nightmares and night terrors. Weighted blankets can help relieve this anxiety and decrease the number of nightmares that veterans experience.
6. How does a weighted blanket affect the body?
Applying deep pressure to the skin stimulates tactile receptors. The deep pressure from a weighted blanket causes the body to produce serotonin and endorphins, the chemicals our bodies naturally use to feel relaxed or calm.
The deep pressure sensation of being wrapped in a weighted blanket is generally calming and helps regulate the sensory systems. Mental health care providers often use these blankets to help clients who are anxious or extremely upset.
A weighted blanket feels like a hug, which many people find relaxing. The dopamine in your brain that is released during a hug can decrease your heart rate, increase your ability to fight infections, and even decrease your blood pressure.
Best Weighted Blankets for Adults With Anxiety And Insomnia
Here are the best weighted blankets on the market today. Each has their advantages, so read through the specifics of each product to help determine which is the best product for you.
This product is Amazon’s top choice and the bestselling weighted blanket on their site.
This weighted blanket is not only a blanket but also acts more like a comforter than other weighted blankets do. It helps the user fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.
This blanket measures 48″x72″ and comes in the most popular weight of 15lb. This blanket is best for those who are between 110 and 140 pounds.
The inner layer is 100% cotton and the weight in its compartments come from hypo-allergenic, odor-free, non-toxic, plastic poly pellets.
This blanket can easily be put into the duvet cover of your choice. Because the inner blankets do require dry-cleaning, it is best to cover this blanket with a duvet of some sort so you can clean it easily. The inside weighted section can be washed at home.
This product has the best reviews of all of the weighted blankets on Amazon.
The newest model is now available and has solved many of the issues that people have run into with other weighted blankets that are on the market today.
While many blankets are too small, uncomfortable, or made as a single part blanket with lumpy pockets and rattling weights, this blanket does not present any of those issues.
Some other blankets are also difficult to wash and dry, and they tend to wear out quickly, while this blanket is durable and will last a long time.
The CALMFORTER uses Evenflow(TM) technology to create the most comfort and relaxation for the user. It offers quiet and even pressure that resembles a full body hug using its CloudSoft Polyfill(TM) and Stardust Microbead(TM) weights.
The outer cover of this blanket is silky smooth on one side and textured on the other side for users who like to fidget with their blanket.
This blanket has a non-therapeutic appearance so the user can keep it out all day, and it will fit in with other home decors.
This blanket is easy to wash because the outer cover easily zips apart and can be machine washed. This is a great weighted blanket for people who want a full-size blanket.
This blanket has the most reviews on Amazon, providing prospective buyers with the most information. This product comes in many different colors, sizes, and weights to fit anyone's preferences.
The YnM blanket naturally reduces stress and increases relaxation. The inner layer, which is weighted by hypo-allergenic, non-toxic, odorless, and pellets, is made of 100% cotton.
The weights in this blanket feel more delicate and comfortable than blankets that are filled with plastic pellets.
The inner layer of this blanket is machine-washable but will last longer if it is dry-cleaned or put inside a duvet cover, which can be purchased separately. It is also best to be air dried.
This blanket helps relax the nervous system by making the user feel as if they are being hugged, which will allow the user the sleep deeper and longer.
This is a great blanket because it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
This duvet style weighted blanket is intended for people who weigh 200 pounds or more. It gives users a feeling of calming pressure.
The weight from this blanket helps people fall asleep by providing a relaxing sensation.
It is easy to wash and dry because it comes with a duvet that can be removed and thrown into the washing machine.
It is made of a soft and minky fabric that will remain soft through many washes. This soft fabric has added dots on the top that adds another sensory tool.
The lifetime money back guarantee allows users to return the product if they are ever not 100% satisfied with their purchase.
This is the easiest weighted blanket to wash and dry at home.
It is custom made to be therapeutic in both size and weight for the user. While the company does provide minimum weight guidelines, the user can add more weight to make it comfortable for their needs.
The weight in this blanket is evenly distributed across the blanket, allowing the user to feel the same deep pressure on their body regardless of which part of the blanket is being used.
These safe blankets contain non-toxic, hypo-allergenic poly pellet weights and have a hypoallergenic fiberfill to create a soft and pillow-like feel. It is made of 100% cotton fabric and is sewn together by professionals who take pride in their work.
These blankets are washable and dryable at home, making them an easy addition to your life. They measure about 38″x 72″, which covers the width of a twin bed, with a little extra length to it.
This is the most aesthetically pleasing blanket and can be kept out to help add a beautiful decor touch to your home.
These blankets are therapeutic and elegant. The company only uses the finest fabrics in their luxury blankets from well-known designers such as Michael Miller and Riley Blake.
This blanket is also made in the USA, and for every blanket sold, the company gives 1% of the net profits to a registered charity to support adoption.
This is a lighter blanket, measuring in at 9 pounds. It is 53 x 41 inches and comes in a variety of sizes.
This is the best weighted blanket if you are looking for a twin size, which is often all you need.
It comes in a variety of weights and patterns to meet your preferences. These blankets come pre-washed and pre-shrunk so they are ready to be used as soon as they arrive.
The twin pockets are 8 inches by 8 1/2 inches and are filled with hypo-allergenic weight pellets.
The best overall blanket is the Weighted Blanket for Anxiety By Amy Garden.
We choose this blanket because it acts as both a comforter and a blanket so it can be used by anyone. Its neutral look allows it to look good in any bedroom.
This is a great, durable product that is budget-friendly. It can be easily washed and dried with a duvet cover.
Here is a picture of the variety of neutral colors available for this blanket.
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You don't have to go through life on less sleep than your body needs, feeling tired and anxious during the day.
A weighted blanket is a great investment if you are suffering from sleep issues and anxiety — or other concerns like ADHD, PTSD, autism, or OCD.
It is a safe, non-chemical, non-addictive, science-backed, and comfortable therapeutic choice that you can use for years to come.