Blankets can do more than just keep us warm; weighted blankets can help improve our sleep.
If you are unfamiliar with weighted blankets, they are a specialized version of blankets, usually weighing between 7 to 25 lbs, that provide pressure to individuals as they rest. Recommendations for selecting a blanket are that it should be around 10% of your body weight.1 These blankets have become a popular sleep aid in recent years, so let's consider their benefits.
First, the added weight increases the user's sense of security. It's the same idea as swaddling a baby or wrapping yourself in a blanket burrito — you feel more secure because you are actually more secure thanks to the weight that keeps the blanket (and you) in place.
The other aspect that makes weighted blankets so effective is their apparent ability to relieve anxiety and reduce stress. This impact is at least partially attributed to the similarities between using a weighted blanket and receiving a hug.2 Studies have found that hugs stimulate the production of feel-good hormones, like oxytocin, and reduce the production of cortisol, the stress hormone.34
Finally, weighted blankets help with overall relaxation through deep pressure stimulation. So, if you struggle with restlessness, anxiety or stress as you try to fall asleep, it might be time to try a weighted blanket!5
- The Sleep Foundation. Weighted Blanket Research Methodology. Accessed January 12, 2023.
- Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic Minute: How weighted blankets may lift anxiety. Accessed January 12, 2023.
- Harvard Health Publishing. Oxytocin: The love hormone. Accessed January 12, 2023.
- Scientific Reports. Huggable communication medium decreases cortisol levels. Accessed January 12, 2023.
- Occupational Therapy in Mental Health. Exploring the Safety and Therapeutic Effects of Deep Pressure Stimulation Using a Weighted Blanket. Accessed January 12, 2023.