Weighted blankets: how they work and the surprising benefits

You'd be forgiven for thinking it's another wellness fad, but here's how they can revolutionise bedtime...


by Hannah Mellin |

After the past few years full of stress and chaos, it's no surprise that weighted blankets have risen in popularity. The wellness trend, that soared during the pandemic, found us all thinking a lot more about things that make us feel better and help ease our anxieties.

One product that many have looked to is the weighted blanket, a simple but solid solution to help us stay calm and get a better night's sleep.

But do they really take all your worries away? And are there any risks involved? We've got your need to know about the weighted blanket trend...

What is a weighted blanket?

Weighted blankets are therapeutic blankets that can weigh between 2.5 and 30 pounds. They are used to reduce anxiety, stress and to improve sleep quality. Weighted blankets have been used as sleep aids and calming aids in special-needs communities for years but soared in popularity during the pandemic - where many of us sought solace in all things wellness.

What do weighted blankets do?

In short, they're like a big hug. Weighted blankets use deep pressure stimulation, which is thought to stimulate the mood-boosting hormone (serotonin), reduce the stress hormone (cortisol), and increase levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. All in all, these blankets are here to give you good vibes and reduce some of the pressure you're feeling at the end of a long day.

What are the benefits of a weighted blanket?

As well as helping you have the best snooze of your life, weighted blankets also:

  • relieve the perception of pain

  • relieve symptoms of depression

  • reduce symptoms of anxiety

  • calm the nervous system

  • provide comfort and security

  • help treat sleep disorders like insomnia

Can you use weighted blankets all the time?

If you want to. Adults and older children can use weighted blankets as their main bed covers or for relaxing on the sofa. However, it really depends on you. If you get too hot, for example. They are also not recommended for children under the age of 2.

Are weighted blankets hot?

It really depends on the type of weighted blanket and the weight (it's a common misconception that all weighted blankets make you sweat). For example, flannel or fleece may feel soft to the touch, but these fabrics do make you hotter than cotton and more breathable fabrics.

Are weighted blankets safe?

Yes, weighted blankets are generally considered safe, as long as you can lift the blanket off yourself when necessary to prevent suffocation or entrapment.

More tips for getting a good night's sleep:

Limit screens: aim to stop using all of your screens a few hours before bedtime. Now is the chance to do your skincare routine and read a book.

Switch to decaf: well, at least after lunchtime, so your body can naturally release melatonin, the hormone responsible for our sleep-wake cycle.

Try the Calm App: it has soothing meditations which are designed to help you fall asleep. Works like a charm.

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