Weighted blankets are having a moment. And no wonder, with the increased anxiety of living with lockdown, we're all desperate for anything that might reduce anxiety, whatever its origin.
So when we were asked to review Calming Blankets' weighted blanket, we were keen to give it a try. We were sent the 6.8kg – the blanket you buy should be around 10 to 15 per cent of your body weight, and this was for a child of around 50kg. We probably could have gone for a lighter one, but since the adults in the house wanted to test it too, we went heavy.
Find out how we got on in our inaugural weighted blanket review, below. And for all the best weighted blankets, don't miss our buyer's guide – or shop below.
Calming Blankets weighted blanket: specs
- Colour: Ocean (other colours available)
- Materials: Polyester
- Filling: Polyester and glass beads
- Size: 198cm x 122cm (other sizes available)
- Weight: 6.8kg (other weights available)
Why buy a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets are designed to make the most of the principles behind deep pressure stimulation therapy, commonly used to calm those with autism or sensory disorders. The theory is that weighted blankets increase serotonin and melatonin production, and decrease cortisol (the stress hormone) production, which in turn promotes relaxation and a feeling of calm.
So, while they've been known for decades to have benefits for people with sensory disorders, anyone suffering anxiety, stress, sleeplessness or night-time restlessness could experience positive effects, too, studies have shown. And, even those of us who don't suffer from any of those problems that lead to poor sleep (and let's face it, we all do at some point) can enjoy the relaxing hug you get from a weighted blanket.
Calming Blankets' weighted blanket: the basics
We tried the 6.8kg adult weighted blanket, £149 by Calming Blankets. But that's just the inner blanket. The outer blanket adds another 1.4kg. That's 8.2kg
First things first: that's quite heavy – well over a stone. We know, it doesn't sound heavy, but when it's a blanket you're trying to manoeuvre on to a bed, it does feel heavy. So, if you're planning on having it on the sofa at night before carrying it upstairs to bed, bear that in mind. It's not going to suit a frail (or small) person if they're planning to move it about a lot. Of course, lying under it is a whole different experience – more on that in a minute.
First impressions of weight aside, we were really impressed by the reusable, environmentally-friendly bag it arrived in (which has been re-purposed elsewhere in the house), and the appearance of the blanket itself – and how it felt to the touch.
Calming Blankets say their weighted blankets are crafted from 'premium fabrics', which make them amongst the 'softest, soothing blankets on the market'. To go into more detail, the outer blanket is made from faux mink fur (polyester); the inner blankets are made of polyester with tiny noise-free glass beads sewn into the separate pockets. We didn't feel the need, but there is the option to buy 100% breathable cotton covers instead of the faux mink fur. And while we wouldn't agree that polyester is a 'premium fabric', it does feel very soft to the touch – and looks really nice too.
As mentioned above, inside the faux mink fur cover, there's an inner blanket which has blanket pockets, each one about 10cm wide, and separately sewn and filled with eco-friendly glass beads. The inner blanket is fixed to the outer blanket with ties so that you can easily separate them. That can mean that if any of your ties come undone, you'll notice that your blanket is suddenly bunching – which is what happened to ours. But that's easily fixed by unzipping the cover and retying the ties.
Both the inner blanket and the cover are machine washable – it's recommended to separate them and wash them on a gentle cycle with tepid water, using only detergent, and no fabric softener. We've not washed ours yet but we'd recommend checking your washing machine's capacity if you have a large weighted blanket – and washing it alone.
What's it like to sleep under the Calming Blankets' weighted blanket
It's heavy to lift but it doesn't feel heavy to lie under – it's more like you've got a pile of blankets on you – in terms of weight, not how how you feel. In fact, we tested our weighted blanket throughout summer and never felt overly hot – a testament to its breathability.
Our main tester suffers from anxiety and can find it difficult to sleep. She – a young teen – found it difficult to describe the positive benefits of the weighted blanket at bedtime, saying only that 'it just feels really comforting' and, of course, insisting on having it on her bed every night.
Having lain beneath it awake (for testing purposes), we can say that it discourages fidgeting and restlessness, so if you've got restless legs or tend to toss and turn and wake yourself up in the process, it's definitely worth a try.
Is it worth buying this weighted blanket – or indeed any weighted blanket? We were somewhat sceptical before we tried this one. We expected it to feel stifling and hot – but it doesn't. It IS comforting and relaxing to sleep beneath – and this particular blanket looks and feels great on the bed, more luxurious than medical.
Weighted blankets and safety
- Weighted blankets are not suitable for children under 3 years old.
- Consult your GP if using alongside serious medical conditions.
- Ensure you can safely lift the blanket while beneath it.