The key to getting a good night’s sleep is comfort. Whether that comfort is from the bed itself or the bedding you use, it all plays a part. Weighted blankets (sometimes known as gravity blankets) are the newest thing to shake up the sleep industry, promising even more comfort. If you’ve heard the term weighted blanket then you may wonder what it is.
People all over the world are buying weighted blankets in order to relieve stress and improve the quality of their sleep. There has a been a recent surge in popularity, and even some celebrities swear by them. There are already of thousands of great reviews of weighted blankets online as well. So if you’re considering purchasing one, read on.
What Exactly is a Weighted Blanket and how does it Work?
A weighted blanket is designed to provide a light and consistent pressure on your body while you wear it. This pressure is known in the industry as deep pressure simulation. The idea behind the deep pressure simulation is to mimic the feeling of being held or hugged. Research suggests that such feelings have helped to improve people who suffer from the following conditions:
- Compromised immune system
So what are the Benefits of a Weighted Blanket?
Anxiety is a major problem because it prevents good quality sleep. The deep pressure stimulation provided by a weighted blanket has been shown to increase serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is able to regulate sleep. During the night, serotonin undergoes metabolic changes and is converted to melatonin. This is the chemical that leads to a more calm state and it also induces sleep.
When you use a weighted blanket, the feeling you get also encourages your body to produce a feel-good hormone called oxytocin. This hormone can relieve pain, lower levels of stress and alleviate depression. All while simultaneously boosting your immune system. The extra feeling of safety and security by using a weighted blanket in bed can help you sleep better too.
A study was conducted on some people who suffer with insomnia back in 2015. The study concluded that a weighted blanket helped those with insomnia to sleep better, simply because it made them feel more settled and comfortable before they went to bed.
Are there any Concerns over Weighted Blankets?
Although relatively new in the bed retail industry, there are already many different weighted blanket available to buy. Weighted blankets cost more than standard blankets, so it’s well worth doing some research so that you know what you’re buying. As with anything that you purchase for your wellbeing, it’s important to buy something that is good quality.
When purchasing a weighted blanket you should always consider your own bodyweight. As a general rule, a weighted blanket should be between 5 and 10% of your bodyweight. It’s also worth considering what material is used to add weight to the blanket. Common materials are plastic pellets, metal or glass beads. All of these have their advantages and disadvantages so do your homework.
When using a weighted blanket, it shouldn’t hang off the sides of your bed. If it does, then it will likely fall off during the night which will affect your sleep. So make sure you choose a weighted blanket that is the correct size for your bed.
A good weighted blanket should be able to be moved easily by an adult in case it begins to feel too heavy or too hot during the night.
It is also important to be very vigilant with children and the use of weighted blankets. They are not recommended for pets or children under the age of 3 at all. Children over 3 years old can use them, but it is recommended to only put the weighted blanket on the child at the start of the night, before monitoring them during use and then removing it when they are asleep.
Other people who should avoid using a weighted blanket are people who suffer from any of the following health conditions:
- Obstructive sleep apnoea
So do Weighted Blankets actually work?
The jury is still out on that one! There are plenty of reviews online to suggest that they do work, but some people seem to find them more effective than others. It’s important to realise that a weighted blanket isn’t a substitute for good sleep hygiene. Remember to:
- Keep your sleep patterns as regular as possible
- Avoid technology (especially screens) for one hour before bed
- Avoid foods and drinks that hinder sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Keep an ideal bedroom environment in terms of noise level and temperature
So now that you’re a little more educated on weighted blankets, you may be considering investing in one. But where do you start when there are so many to choose from? We’ve reviewed many weighted blankets and a good place to start is our top 5 weighted blankets, all of which are from some of the sleep industry’s most recommended manufacturers.
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WhatMattress has strict sourcing guidelines and we try to rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations where possible.