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84: What a weighted blanket can do for your sleep

sleep Nov 11, 2023
What a weighted blanket can do for your sleep

Weighted blankets have gained popularity for their reported benefits in improving sleep and reducing anxiety. These blankets are typically filled with materials like glass beads or plastic pellets that create more heft to the material.  They come in various weights, usually ranging from 5 to 30 pounds. 

The idea behind a weighted blanket is that it provides gentle and evenly distributed pressure (DTP, or deep touch pressure) over the body.  This mild compression simulates a hugging effect, which can be calming and especially useful if you are trying to sleep.  Use of a weighted blanket may allow you to have less tossing and turning at night; reduced restlessness may translate to better sleep quality.

Weighted blankets can also be used during meditation or for relaxing.  The pressure sensation can reduce anxiety and stress by increasing a feeling of security and calm.    

In addition to cost, there are three other important considerations to keep in mind when you are shopping for a weighted blanket.  

Weight:  the rule of thumb is to select a weighted blanket that is about 10% of your body weight.  However, blanket weights vary by size (such as twin, queen, and king), so it’s helpful to try different weights out and find out what works for you.  For adults, I recommend sizing up on the weight; kids should size down.  Before buying, check to see if there is a trial period.  

Breathability and temperature:  weighted blankets can be hot.  If you want a blanket that is more breathable, choose one that has an open, braided look.  You will be able to work your fingers through the weave, and this allows for air circulation.  Blankets with fabric covers tend to retain heat more, and some have polyester fiberfill which also makes them even warmer.  Cotton is more breathable than mink-like fabrics.

Washability:  check that the blanket is washable or has a washable cover.  Sometimes a cover is sold separately.  Washability is important since this is a significant investment and the life of the blanket will be extended. 

Reputable weighted blanket brands at the time of this writing include Bearaby, Sweet Zzz, Baloo, Silk & Snow, Luxome, Hush Iced, Brooklyn Bedding, and Saatva.

Weighted blankets are not recommended for infants, young children, or individuals with certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or respiratory problems, as the added weight can pose safety risks.




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