I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty willing to try any new trend or fad that promises to help me feel cozier and more relaxed. If it’s affordable and doesn’t require me to ingest anything too shady, I’ll give it a shot.
Enter weighted blankets. I have an obsession with soft and cozy blankets anyway, so this trend was basically like catnip to me.
As it turns out, weighted blankets are actually more than just a fad! There’s real science behind how they work, and they’re safe for kids and adults, too.
What Are Weighted Blankets?
They’re pretty much exactly what they sound like. Rather than being filled with down or other cozy fluff, these blankets are usually filled with special beads or pellets to add weight. I know that doesn’t sound particularly comfy, but the blankets are usually pretty soft, and the pellets aren’t hard or uncomfortable!
You can get blankets that weigh anywhere from 5 to 50 pounds, and they come in all different sizes, too.
What’s So Special About Weighted Blankets, Anyway?
There’s a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation that’s pretty well-known for providing relief to people with anxiety, chronic pain, and other issues. Weighted blankets are thought to mimic this kind of pressure. More specifically, weighted blankets are used to help anybody who struggles with anxiety, sleep problems, or sensory issues.
The idea behind this kind of pressure therapy is pretty cool. When we’re stressed or anxious, our sympathetic nervous system activates. This is what kicks our bodies into the “fight or flight” response. That’s when your heart starts fluttering, your senses feel on high alert, and you might start sweating, shivering, or breathing faster.
Unfortunately, when we’re dealing with stress often, we start living in this “alert” state, and that can lead us to feel anxious, exhausted, and irritable. In some cases, even when we aren’t stressed, we still aren’t relaxed because we’ve spent so much time on edge.
Weighted blankets use deep pressure stimulation to help anybody who struggles with anxiety, sleep problems, or sensory issues.
The good news is that we have a natural counter to the sympathetic nervous system: the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for soothing us. It allows us to feel relaxed and safe, and it releases “happy chemicals” like endorphins, serotonin and dopamine.
The pressure from a weighted blanket helps to “activate” this relaxation response for many people, and this is what makes it so effective.
How Do I Choose the Right Weighted Blanket?
How much it weighs is the most important part! Most companies recommend starting with 10 percent of your bodyweight (e.g., if you weigh 150 pounds, start with a 15-pound blanket), but it really comes down to personal preference. Personally, I like a blanket that’s closer to 15 to 20 percent of my bodyweight, so use your judgment!
Also, if you’re in between sizes (like maybe you’re 165 pounds, for example), it’s usually better to buy the next size up! Remember that you won’t get the soothing benefit if the blanket isn’t applying enough pressure to your body.
In order to work correctly, a weighted blanket should be big enough to cover your body from the neck down, but it shouldn’t be huge. This is especially true if you’re planning to sleep under it.
If your blanket is large enough to hang over the sides of your mattress, the weight of it can cause it to slide onto the floor in the middle of the night. Not exactly soothing, right?
Most adults benefit from a twin-sized blanket. If you’re buying for a child, it’s usually best to get one specifically for kids because those are usually smaller and lighter.
A weighted blanket should be big enough to cover your body from the neck down, but it shouldn’t be huge.
Glass beads and plastic pellets are the two most popular fillings for weighted blankets. One isn’t better than the other, though! Glass beads are usually heavier, so the blanket is thinner overall. Other than that difference, they function the same way.
Remember that this blanket is going to be heavy (obviously), and most regular washing machines aren’t equipped to clean a blanket that bulky and heavy.
My suggestion is to look for blankets that have a removable cover. Some can also be put into a duvet cover as well! If the blanket itself ever needs cleaning, spot cleaning is best so that the filling doesn’t get squished around too much.
Relax and Get Cozy With a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are amazing tools for adding a little extra relaxation to your life. They can help you feel less stressed, lower your anxiety, and help you sleep better. Who doesn’t need that?
Do you have more questions about weighted blankets? Do you have a favorite brand? Share with me in the comments!