What are the benefits of a weighted blanket?

Stress, be gone!

A blue, pink and purple gradient background with cut outs of a weighted blanket and white sparkles
(Image credit: Future / Luna / Beth Mahoney)

As a troubled sleeper who's hunting for anything that could help, you've likely wondered about the benefits of a weighted blanket. These heavy additions take it a step further than your classic throw, and there are quite a few perks that come with using one.

I have a lot of friends who swear by their weighted blankets, so I’ve chatted to them about what they love about them and spoke with experts to find the best research-backed reasons for owning one.

Interestingly, it turns out that the reason they (and presumably many others) love their weighted blankets so much is because they feel a lot like a hug: warm, comforting, and super calming. We know that weighted blankets are comfortable and ideal for troubled sleepers, but what exactly are the benefits and why should you buy one? 

What are the benefits of a weighted blanket? 

If you're on the verge of buying weighted blanket or curious about their capabilities, read on for the best benefits that come with using one. 

1. Weighted blankets create a sense of comfort 

The moment you wrap yourself in your weighted blanket many feel a sense of total comfort, but why is that? 

 "Weighted blankets are specially designed to feel like a hug to support your body, which helps to reduce anxiety symptoms”, says Emily McLean, Head of Product for Nuzzie.

Similar to the comfort babies experience when their parents swaddle them, it turns out that a weighted blanket can create the same sense of coziness. And because the person wrapped up feels comfortable and secure, weighted blanket users tend to fall asleep more quickly. 

2. Reducing feelings of stress and anxiety 

For many weighted blanket users, the heaviness of a weighted blanket can also help to quell feelings of stress and soothe anxiety. 

Emily explains, "One of the most popular options to treat anxiety is using weighted blankets. These blankets are designed to provide deep pressure stimulation, which is believed to have calming effects on the nervous system - perfect for when you’re feeling overwhelmed."

This is super helpful as stress and anxiety tend to interfere with snoozing, making it difficult to drift off and stay asleep. But as the blanket reduces those feelings, falling asleep becomes far simpler. Although research is still being conducted, one study from the National Institutes of Health found that a reduction in anxiety is possible with a weighted blanket.

 Jeff Kahn, Co-Founder & CEO of Rise Science, says:“Those who struggle with anxiety, or conditions like ADHD or autism might find weighted blankets beneficial. Because weighted blankets are a non-pharmacological, tactile-based method for potentially improving sleep quality, they can potentially be used as a complementary tool in addressing sleep problems or insomnia.”

3. Enhance quality of sleep 

If you’re someone who struggles to sleep well  —  whether it be issues drifting off or staying asleep  —  then a weighted blanket could really help. Using deep pressure stimulation, weighted blankets are thought to be able to stimulate the production of serotonin (the happy hormone) while also reducing the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone), and boosting melatonin (the hormone that aids sleep). This then helps enhance the quality of your sleep. 

4. Help to relieve perception of pain 

Although a weighted blanket isn't able to actually relieve pain, what it can do is help to relieve the perception of pain. This was discovered during a study published in The Journal of Pain, and it showed that this more comfortable experience led to less awareness of said pain and "greater reductions in broad perceptions of chronic pain." Anyone living with these conditions might find that using a weighted blanket may aid comfort. 

Who shouldn't use a weighted blanket?

While weighted blankets are considered safe to use, they’re not suitable for everyone. So, who shouldn't use a weighted blanket? 

 Jeff Kahn, explains: “People who should avoid using a weighted blanket include those who have claustrophobia or other anxiety disorders that may be triggered by the feeling of being restricted. Weighted blankets should also be avoided by people who have difficulty breathing or who are at risk of overheating.”

It is also recommended that anyone who doesn’t have the strength to lift a weighted blanket off of them after use should be cautious when wrapping up. And, if you have certain medical conditions, such as respiratory or circulatory issues, asthma, low blood pressure, type two diabetes, or claustrophobia, you should contact your doctor before using a weighted blanket. 

FAQs

Is it ok to use a weighted blanket every night?

Using a weighted blanket every night is perfectly safe, as long as you are using the right weight for you and are able to lift it off of you when needed. By using a weighted blanket every night you are more likely to benefit from it. 

Do you really sleep better with a weighted blanket?

When using a weighted blanket, the majority of users report sleeping better and enjoying an enhanced quality and quantity of sleep. Some studies report that weighted blankets help reduce anxiety, too.

Beth Mahoney
Staff Writer

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a Staff Writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.


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