Benefits of Weighted Blankets

By Ashleigh Braun | Lead photo courtesy of SensaCalm

A cozy blanket may be your perfect movie companion, the best part of a good night’s sleep or your go-to snuggle buddy when you are feeling lonely. Next time you reach for your fuzzy friend, consider trying a weighted blanket.

Essentially, weighted blankets are just regular blankets, but lined with evenly distributed weight. Based on who the intended user is and the size of the blanket, the weight may vary anywhere from 10–30 pounds. These special blankets are designed to be warm, cozy and provide gentle pressure to the person snuggled up in them, mimicking the feeling of being held to aid sleep and relaxation.

The underlying science behind weighted blankets is a method called deep touch pressure (DTP), which involves gently applying pressure to the body to increase the release of the hormone serotonin — a chemical your body produces to promote relaxation. In a 2012 study published in the Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering patients’ nervous system reactions to experiencing DPT through the use of weighted blanket were surveyed and there was evidence to support that DTP (deep touch pressure) reduces anxiety.

The constant, even pressure of a weighted blanket is said to have a positive, soothing effect on a person’s mood. This may be one of the reasons weighted blankets are gaining popularity as an alternative resource to people who struggle with autism, anxiety, or other sensory disorders. According to a study by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), the use of a weighted blanket reduced participants’ perceived levels of anxiety by 78 percent.

In the past, weighted blankets were successfully used in various forms of physical and occupational therapy for people struggling with sensory disorders, but they are now becoming more mainstream for popular use by people who suffer from insomnia or anxiety. In a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders, it was found that participants who used a weighted blanket had a calmer night’s sleep.

If you have ever considered trying a weighted blanket to help you sleep or relax, now is the time to grab one and sink into its comforting embrace.

Blankets to Try

Having struggled with sleeping soundly myself, I decided to try using a weighted blanket to see how it would affect my insomnia. Here’s what I thought.

  1. I slept very well, I mean really well. The kind of sleep where you wake up and realize you hardly moved throughout the entire night.
  2. I felt warm, relaxed and extremely comfortable. It was easy to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.
  3. I woke up feeling happy, rested and ready to tackle my day!

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SensaCalm Weighted Blankets

$89.95+, Sensacalm.com

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The Magic Blanket

$69+, Magicweightedblanket.com