What is a Weighted Blanket? - Amerisleep (2023)

Weighted blankets, also known as gravity blankets, feel like getting a giant hug while you’re sleeping at night. However, they do much more than keep cozy.

Compared to your average blanket, weighted blankets produce a calming effect to potentially improve the symptoms of various conditions. For example, a weighted blanket can help with ADHD, insomnia, and autism.

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Occupational therapists have used weighted blankets in therapy for ages. However, they’ve become increasingly popular for everyday individuals looking to improve their sleep. Both children and adults can use weighted blankets to make getting to and staying asleep much easier.

How Do Weighted Blankets Work?

Weighted blankets are a form of throw blankets. They come in two forms, knitted or duvet. Knitted weighted blankets feature a dense yarn, while duvet weighted blankets are filled with heavy materials, such as discs, glass beads, or plastic pellets.

The blankets can weigh anywhere from 3 to over 25 pounds. However, it shouldn’t feel overly constricting or hot. The right blanket size and weight of the blanket will depend on a person’s:

  • Age
  • Body weight
  • Sleeping position

With this in mind, no toddlers or kids under 2 years old should use a weighted blanket.

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Weighted blankets are commonly used for patients in occupational or sensory integration therapy to mimic the sensation of deep touch pressure (DTP) therapy. Deep pressure stimulation relaxes the central nervous system and releasesserotoninVerified SourceNational Library of Medicine (NIH)World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceand oxytocin. These neurotransmitters lead to a calm feeling overall.

Benefits of Weighted Blankets

What is a Weighted Blanket? - Amerisleep (2)

Since weighted blankets mimic deep pressure therapy, they offer similar benefits. These benefits primarily affect your sleep and mental health. Weighted blankets provide a non-intrusive, non-medicinal solution to improving your comfort at night by:

  • Soothing anxiety
  • Cradling your body
  • Raising your melatonin levels

Has a “Hug-Like” Feel

When hugging another person, the body releasesoxytocin.Verified SourceNational Library of Medicine (NIH)World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceThis hormone lowers blood pressure and heart rate, promoting relaxation.

Babies commonly relax and respond well to being swaddled because it releases oxytocin the way being hugged or cuddled does. As an adult, a weighted blanket can recreate this swaddled, “hug-like” sensation.

Soothes Stress and Anxiety

Experiencing some level of stress and anxiety is normal for us. However, it is draining and eventually negatively impacts our mental, emotional, and physical health if not addressed. Sleeping with a weighted blanket can ease the autonomic nervous system—which affects the body’s basic functions and also triggers the body’s fight or flight response.

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Improves Sleep Quality

Tossing and turning, late-night anxiety, and overall discomfort is bound to happen to all of us at some point. All of these can affect your sleep latency and duration. If you’re constantly struggling to get restful sleep at night, you may want to try a weighted blanket.

Studies on insomnia find using weighted blankets limits movement, in turn inducing sleep. Not only that, but the deep pressure stimulation from a weighted blanket triggers melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone known for causing sleepiness and regulating the body’scircadian-rhythm.Verified SourceNational Library of Medicine (NIH)World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View source

Boosts Mood

One of the great parts of using a weighted blanket is it can help improve your mood. Using a weighted blanket stimulates serotonin and oxytocin production. Paired with decreasedcortisol (the stress hormone) production,Verified SourceNational Library of Medicine (NIH)World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceusing a weighted blanket can make you feel more upbeat and improve your overall well-being.

Calms Individuals With ADHD

It’s common for people withattention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)Verified SourceNational Library of Medicine (NIH)World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceto struggle with:

  • Lack of focus
  • Poor self-control
  • Restlessness
  • Impulsivity

One study found that when wearing weighted vests, people with ADHD were able to complete and focus on tasks better. Similarly, the deep pressure stimulation from using a weighted blanketreduces sleep onset latencyVerified SourceNational Library of Medicine (NIH)World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourcesignificantly, improving the person’s attention span and focus during the day.

May Foster Sleep For People With Autism

Some individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may struggle with anxiety and stress, along with sensory issues that make it difficult to feel comfortable.Touch therapyVerified SourceHarvard UniversityA private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts that's one of the oldest in the U.S.View sourceis shown to be beneficial for people with ASD as it soothes anxiety and muscle spasms. Sleeping with a weighted blanket mimics the sensation of touch therapy, thus producing similar benefits.

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Helps With Sensory Disorders

Sensory disordersVerified SourceNational Library of Medicine (NIH)World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceare common for children and people with autism or anxiety disorders. The pressure placed on sleepers’ bodies minimizes overstimulation and provides a sense of security with that “hug-like” feel we mentioned earlier. By feeling less stimulated and more comfortable, people with sensory disorders can have a better time sleeping.

Alleviates Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome

When struggling with restless leg syndrome (RLS), it’s common to experience a creeping, crawling sensation on your legs, leading to discomfort and tossing and turning throughout the night. Applying pressure on the legs, such as with a weighted blanket, can help combat RLS symptoms and make it easier to sleep.

Decreases Seizure Occurrences

While not all health benefits are guaranteed, deep pressure stimulation triggers the parasympathetic nervous system (SNS). This system is responsible for the body’s rest and digestion response after a “fight or flight” situation. The calming sensation from a weighted blanket lowers heart rate, relaxes muscles, and improves blood circulation, which can potentially decrease the rate of seizures at night.

FAQs

Can you wash a weighted blanket?

Yes, weighted blankets are machine washable! It’s best to wash weighted blankets on their own on a cold cycle or spot clean any stains with a mild detergent. However, if your weighted blanket weighs more than 10 pounds, take it to a laundromat as commercial washing machines can handle heavy loads better than standard ones.

To minimize how often you wash the blanket, try pairing it with a duvet cover. Duvet covers are usually used with comforters and duvet fills to keep them clean. However, you can use it with a weighted blanket, too. Using a duvet cover can help you get away with washing a weighted blanket three or four times a year.

Are weighted blankets good for side sleepers?

People can enjoy weighted blankets regardless of their primary sleeping position. However, when side sleeping, we recommend using a weighted blanket no heavier than 15 pounds. An overly heavy blanket can place too much pressure on your side. This added pressure can push your body down and cause pain.

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Is it okay to sleep with a weighted blanket every night?

Yes, it’s fine to use your blanket nightly! In fact, the benefits of weighted blankets improve with time, so it’s best to use them frequently. Some people prefer only using their weighted blanket for 20 to 30 minutes before sleeping. However, it’s fine to sleep with a weighted blanket all night, every night.

Do weighted blankets make you hot?

Although weighted blankets are heavier than the standard blanket, they aren’t hotter than the standard blanket. Whether or not your weighted blanket will make you hot depends on the fabrics and materials it’s made from.

Look for blankets made from fabrics such as Tencel™, cotton, or bamboo. In terms of the blanket’s filler, micro glass beads generally allow for more air circulation compared to polyester pellets.

How do I know if a weighted blanket is too heavy?

Weighted blankets come in all types of weights, but there are some clear signs to look out for if a weighted blanket is too heavy for you:

  • You struggle to move under the blanket
  • You have difficult breathing or feel suffocated(claustrophobia)Verified SourceNational Library of Medicine (NIH)World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View source
  • You feel trapped and uncomfortable, not at ease
  • You feel restless and can’t relax
  • You can’t sleep well

Conclusion

Weighted blankets have so much to offer whether you’re just looking to sleep better or alleviate specific health conditions you’re facing. They do take some time to adjust to. However, after a few weeks of consistently using your weighted blanket, you may notice yourself falling asleep faster. You may also feel less anxious or more energetic.

Although weighted blankets are often used in therapeutic forms, they’re readily available at:

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  • Drugstores
  • Department stores
  • Online stores

They’re a bit pricier than the average throw blanket, often costing between $65 to $300. However, many weighted blanket owners say they’re worth the investment. While it is an additional cost, we suggest purchasing a duvet cover with a weighted blanket. Duvet covers can slip over a weighted blanket and protect it from dirt, stains, and spills.

FAQs

What is considered a heavy weighted blanket? ›

Most weighted blankets weigh between 5 and 30 pounds, significantly heavier than most comforters and duvets. Some weighted blankets come with a removable cover for ease of cleaning.

What weight of weighted blanket do I need? ›

Determining how heavy your weighted blanket should be is fairly easy. The general weighted blanket guidelines for adults is 10 percent of your own body weight. Usually, a weighted blanket should be between 12 to 20 pounds for adults.

Is a 15lb weighted blanket enough? ›

The general wisdom is to pick one that's 10 percent of your bodyweight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you'd get a 15-pound blanket. If you are closer to 200 pounds, a 20-pound blanket is a good fit, and so on. Most adult weighted blankets are 10, 15, 20 or 25 pounds -- kids blankets are lighter, starting around 5 pounds.

How do you know which weighted blanket is right for you? ›

The Ten Percent Rule

A general rule-of-thumb for weighted blankets is 10 percent of the person's body weight. For children, many occupational therapists recommend a blanket that is 10 percent of their body weight plus 1 to 2 additional pounds.

What happens if weighted blanket is too heavy? ›

A blanket heavier than 35 pounds is more likely to cause discomfort because: The blanket begins to cause your body temperature to rise. It will place too much pressure on your joints throughout the night. It will make you feel restricted.

Do weighted blankets work for anxiety? ›

The pressure of weighted blankets puts your autonomic nervous system into “rest” mode, reducing some of the symptoms of anxiety, such as a quickened heart rate or breathing. This can provide an overall sense of calm.

Who should not use a weighted blanket? ›

Weighted blankets may be unsuitable for people with certain medical conditions, including chronic respiratory or circulatory issues, sleep apnea, asthma, low blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, and claustrophobia.

How do you figure out what size weighted blanket you need? ›

The general guideline? 10 percent of your own body weight. Both Fish and LeMond agree that the ideal weighted blanket is 10 percent of your body weight so that it fits your frame. For children or older adults, the formula is 10 percent of body weight plus 1 to 2 pounds.

Can weighted blankets cause back pain? ›

But for both my husband and for myself – older creakier bodies with a lot more wear and tear on our backs – a weighted blanket brought those benefits, but at a cost. Our backs really started to hurt. If your back starts to hurt after using a weight blanket, try sleeping a few nights without and see what happens.

Who is a 15lb weighted blanket for? ›

Is the 15 lbs Weighted Blanket right for me? We recommend you purchase a Weighted Blanket around 10% of your body weight. The 15 lb Weighted Blanket is perfect for you if you weigh between 120 lbs - 190 lbs.

How much should you weigh to use a 12 pound weighted blanket? ›

How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be for Adults? As a thumb rule, a weighted blanket should approximately weigh 10% of body weight for adults.

How much should you weigh for a 20 pound weighted blanket? ›

If you or the person you're buying it for are tipping the scales at between 165 to 200 lbs, you could choose either a 15 lb or a 20 lb weighted blanket. Adults who weigh more than 200 lbs might want to go with a 20 lb or 25 lb+ adult weighted blanket to get the calming effects that deep pressure touch can bring.

Can you sleep on your side with a weighted blanket? ›

Weighted blankets work equally well for both side sleepers and those who sleep on their back or stomach. For side sleepers who are choosing between two weights that are otherwise the same - for instance our Full/Queen 15lb or 20lb options - we would suggest trying the lighter weight.

Should you put a sheet between you and a weighted blanket? ›

If you choose to use both, the weighted blanket can be placed either on top or below your bedding. It's all about your preference!

Should a weighted blanket be directly on you? ›

Cover your entire body: For full relaxation, cover your entire body from your shoulders down to your feet. If needed, you can use just half of the blanket (over your legs) for the first few days to let your body adjust. Lying on your back can help evenly distribute the weight, but by no means is it required.

Why you shouldn't get a weighted blanket? ›

Some sleepers should take extra precautions and speak to their doctor before using a weighted blanket. A weighted blanket may be unsuitable for people with certain medical conditions, including chronic respiratory or circulatory issues, asthma, low blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and claustrophobia.

Why shouldnt you sleep under a weighted blanket? ›

The pellets or glass beads can fall out and become a choking hazard. The heavy blanket could cover a child's face while they sleep. If you have sleep apnea, breathing problems, or any chronic health condition, check with your doctor before you use a weighted blanket.

Can weighted blankets have negative effects? ›

There are very few risks for using a weighted blanket. However, according to manufacturers, weighted blankets shouldn't be used for toddlers under 2 years old, as it may increase the risk of suffocation. Always consult your pediatrician before trying a weighted blanket for your child.

Can you wash weighted blankets? ›

Weighted Blanket Care Guidelines

Machine Wash and Dry: When machine washing, choose a bleach-free, gentle detergent, and wash your blanket in cold or warm water on a gentle cycle. Avoid fabric softeners. Choose a light or medium dryer setting and periodically fluff the blanket while it's drying.

Are weighted blankets good for depression? ›

By providing deep pressure touch, weighted blankets can promote relaxation and help break this cycle. This may trigger the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are feel-good hormones produced in the brain. These hormones help combat stress, anxiety, and depression.

Do weighted blankets help with restless legs? ›

People with restless leg syndrome (RLS) may benefit from using a weighted blanket. This is because the sensation of the blanket on your legs may override that restless leg feeling. Bear in mind that there are certain people who should avoid weighted blankets.

How long does it take for a weighted blanket to work? ›

Usually, it may take around a week to get adjusted to a weighted blanket although; to start experiencing the benefits of a weighted blanket one must wait around three weeks. It might take anywhere from three weeks to four weeks (21 days to 28 days) to develop an activity into a habit.

Can weighted blankets cause circulation problems? ›

People with certain conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, should talk to their healthcare provider before using weighted blankets, since they might affect breathing or circulation.

Should weighted blanket be same size as bed? ›

For individuals, a blanket should be big enough to cover the body, but not so big that it drapes over the sides of the bed. Ideally, you'll invest in a weighted blanket that fits the bed size while both you and your partner are resting comfortably under it.

Does a weighted blanket go on top or bottom? ›

Using Your Weighted Blanket

The therapeutic weighted blanket can be used to replace the comforter you currently have on your bed. However, some people prefer to use both a weighted blanket & an extra blanket or comforter on top or beneath it.

Why am I sore after sleeping with a weighted blanket? ›

Sore after sleeping with Weighted Blanket? This question comes up occasionally, but only because people aren't certain about the weight. The only time you might feel sore from using a Weighted Blanket is if you purchase one over our recommendations.

Do weighted blankets help with joint pain? ›

If you're looking for a complementary approach to managing your arthritis pain, a weighted blanket could be a great option. Weighted blankets can potentially reduce your pain and stress, all while giving you the best sleep of your life.

Do weighted blankets make you too hot? ›

Do weighted blankets make you sleep hot? They do not have to. Weighted blankets are heavy, so they can trap heat and moisture, making a person sleep hot. However, some weighted blankets are breathable and have a heat-wicking material to keep the body cool during sleep.

Should you use a weighted blanket every night? ›

Should Everyone Use a Weighted Blanket? Adults and older children can use weighted blankets as bed covers or for relaxing during the day. They are safe to use for sleeping throughout the night.

Was the weighted blanket on Shark Tank? ›

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Are weighted blankets worth it? ›

A more recent study from 2020 reported that weighted blankets improved sleep quality among subjects, but the improvements were small (a 2% decrease in light sleep, 1.5 % improvement in sleep efficiency and 1.4% in sleep maintenance). Although, 36% of subjects said they slept better through the night without waking up.

Can a weighted blanket be too light? ›

A weighted blanket that is too light will not be therapeutic for you. It would just be like a regular comforter. If a weighted blanket is too heavy, it would bring more discomfort to you rather than benefit you.

Can you wash a 20 lb weighted blanket? ›

"Blankets over 20 pounds should be taken to a laundromat and washed in a commercial-size machine simply to spare your home machine from wear and tear," she says. If your blanket clocks in at under 15 to 20 pounds, wash it at home on the gentle cycle using cold water and a mild detergent.

Why is my weighted blanket losing beads? ›

Tears or holes in the blanket

Since a weighted blanket is filled with plastic poly pellets or small beads to weigh, even a tiny damage can cause the filler to leak. This filler leaking can result in the blanket to lose all its weight eventually.

Are weighted blankets good for lower back pain? ›

A Weighted Blanket Could Be A Game-Changer. To fight back pain, many people are turning to a natural solution to eliminate their pain: weighted blankets. Weighted blankets have a unique ability to use therapeutic pressure to reduce pain while improving our overall health.

Can two people share a weighted blanket? ›

Technically, yes, you can share a weighted blanket. But that doesn't necessarily mean you should. Unlike standard blankets, weighted blankets are based on an individual's body weight. While preferences vary, most people prefer to use a weighted blanket that weighs approximately 10 percent of their body weight.

Do weighted blankets help with sleeping on back? ›

If you're training yourself to sleep on your back or your side, a weighted blanket can be a helpful sleep aid. Weighted blankets gently push your body downwards, making you less likely to flip back into your go-to sleep position.

Should I wash a weighted blanket by itself? ›

(To be on the safe side, both Danielson and Mehrotra both advise washing it alone—especially if it's a chunky knit weighted blanket.) Be sure to use a gentle cycle since this wash cycle can to help to extend the weighted blanket's lifespan and preserve its durability. You should also use a gentle laundry detergent.

Can weighted blankets cause high blood pressure? ›

Since they mimic the sensation of being held, weighted blankets also have the same health-promoting benefits of hugging, such as decreased stress, lower blood pressure, and improved mood.

Is a 20lb weighted blanket heavy? ›

A heavy blanket weighs more than 20 pounds and will offer greater benefits to those that want it. For people with large body frames, consider a heavier blanket. A light blanket weighs less than 15 pounds and is best for petite body frames.

What is the difference between a weighted blanket and a heavy blanket? ›

Weight – Because weighted blankets typically contain glass beads or plastic poly pellets, they're significantly heavier than comforters. Thickness and Warmth – Comforters are generally much thicker than weighted blankets and provide more insulation, keeping the user warmer on cold nights.

Is a weighted blanket just a heavy blanket? ›

Weighted blankets are heavy blankets used for therapeutic purposes, such as relieving anxiety and stress. Usually between five and 30 pounds, weighted blankets are filled with plastic pellets or glass beads. The added weight is designed to produce a calming effect when placed on the body.

Who should use a 20 lb weighted blanket? ›

For example, a 12-pound weighted blanket may be ideal for someone who weighs 120 pounds, a 15-pound one for someone who weighs 150 pounds, and a 20-pound one for someone who weighs 200 pounds.

Do you use a top sheet with a weighted blanket? ›

If you choose to use both, the weighted blanket can be placed either on top or below your bedding. It's all about your preference!

Do weighted blankets increase blood pressure? ›

Since they mimic the sensation of being held, weighted blankets also have the same health-promoting benefits of hugging, such as decreased stress, lower blood pressure, and improved mood. Weighted blankets are also considered a form of deep pressure therapy (DPT).

Do you need other blankets with a weighted blanket? ›

Replace your current comforter or use both: A weighted blanket can replace the comforter or duvet you currently use, or you can use them both. If you choose to use both, the weighted blanket can be placed either on top or below your bedding. It's all about your preference!

Why can't you sleep with a weighted blanket? ›

The pellets or glass beads can fall out and become a choking hazard. The heavy blanket could cover a child's face while they sleep. If you have sleep apnea, breathing problems, or any chronic health condition, check with your doctor before you use a weighted blanket.

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