A Sleep Expert Reviews The Best Weighted Blankets For 2021
WHY A WEIGHTED BLANKET CAN REDUCE ANXIETY, IMPROVE SLEEP, AND OPTIMIZE YOUR OVERALL HEALTH
You’ve seen them everywhere. A blanket that snuggles and swaddles your body while you sleep. Is it hype, or is there evidence that a weighted blanket can actually reduce anxiety, calm you, and help you fall asleep faster? I’ve been a bedding and textiles designer for over 25 years, and I’ll offer my carefully curated list of the best weighted blankets on the market today.
A weighted blanket is essentially a conventional comforter or blanket, filled with either plastic or glass beads which causes the contents to wrap snugly around your body. It’s a totally different experience than having your bedding lie on top of your body, the theory being that the swaddling and extreme hugging effect can actually calm you, even reducing anxiety. It provides a subtle restraint sensation which humans perceive as a very primal, nurturing and snuggling, comforting effect.
The weight of the blanket creates a kind of hyper-gravity sensation, keeping you gently pushed down on your mattress, creating the feeling that you are being hugged or cradled. This sensation is very powerful, according to Irina Zhdanova, MD, CEO of a company called Clock Coach, a wellness web site that specializes in optimizing your health, in a piece presented by NBC News.
“Being hugged is a very powerful stimulus. When you’re hugged, you feel more secure”, says Zhadanova. Weighted blankets are used during wisdom teeth extraction to reduce anxiety, with studies demonstrating that the blankets reduce brain stress signals to near normal levels.
Elementary school students who wore weighted vests were notably calmer during class, and weighted blankets or pads have been in use to reduce anxiety in children with autism, benefiting from the compression effects of the devices.
Elder care providers and family members of those in hospice care often report that a weighted blanket helps their older loved one rest more calmly and sleep more deeply and restfully. If you provide care for someone with dementia or age-related insomnia, a weighted blanket may be an effective way to manage symptoms and provide relief and comfort.
The good news is that the benefits for healthy individuals are even more beneficial than you can imagine.
You don’t have to have any health issues to take advantage of the benefits weighted blankets can bring. Everyone loves a hug, and a good dopamine spike is great for your body.
The effects are deeply soothing and highly therapeutic for your body and your mind.
Clearly, they have overwhelming calming and anxiety reducing effects. It’s well known in the bedding industry, but for a long time weighted blankets were kind of a niche item, not a popular or fast moving element, kind of like sleep masks.
Weighted blankets can offer relief to individuals suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, insomnia, and autism as well, according to The Weighted Journal.
As a relief for insomnia, researchers note that the brain has neurotransmitters or chemicals responsible for various bodily functions. He states that an imbalance of neurotransmitters may lead to several conditions, including insomnia. With insomnia, the levels of serotonin decrease. This neurotransmitter or chemical that helps relay messages from one brain area to another, including the brain cells associated with mood, appetite, sleep, learning, social behavior, and memory.
Weighted blanket benefits are in the form of warmth and the feeling of being hugged. They help your body release serotonin, which can promote relaxation and sleep. Also, heavy covers will help the body to naturally increase the levels of melatonin, an essential hormone that controls the circadian rhythm. It’s the body’s internal clock, telling it when to sleep or wake up.
Of course, sleep masks and weighted blankets have rocketed to the forefront of popular products as more and more people are taking charge of their sleep hygiene in order to optimize their overall health.
WHAT MAKES A WEIGHTED BLANKET HEAVY?
Weighted blankets are typically made with several layers which are sewn together, forming a quilted like duvet. The interior layer is a compartmentalized sleeve, stitched together in a waffle like pattern typically, and contains weighted pellets, usually resin or plastic based, but ideally made using glass beads.
Glass beads are ideally the best media to use, according to most bedding product designers. “They are inert, and by volume, weigh the most, and also, they tend to make zero noise when shifting or moving while using a weighted blanket”, says Anderson. Glass beads are typically used in better quality blankets, which vary in size and in weight.
It’s also important to note that there is a recommended guideline for determining which weight to choose when buying a weighted blanket. The general formula is one pound for every 10 pounds of body weight, so a 20 lb person should use a 12 pound blanket, and a 200 lb person should employ a 20 pound blanket. Here’s a chart which provides typically guidelines for one manufacturer who builds various sizes and weights of weighted blankets.
HOW TO SIZE UP A WEIGHTED BLANKET TAILORED TO YOUR BODY
I’ve tested several weighted blanket configurations. I weigh typically around 185 pounds and do a lot of tossing and turning. I found that using weighted blankets that were on the 18 lb. side were too heavy.
I tried a 12 lb. unit and it was perfect, offering enough compression and body contact to reduce tossing and turning, and I felt cuddled and cradled.
There are two ways to approach a weighted blanket setup. For one, you can choose to buy a weighted blanket that is designed to cover your body but not take up the entire mattress, as shown above.
However, many sites sell weighted blankets that are the size of the mattress dimensions and have a slight amount of drape at the edges.
You will also find that the weighted areas of the blanket do not extend all the way to the edge, and that there is a flange or border with not weighted cells.
Either way, your results should be similar. If you find a fully fitted weighted blanket too restrictive, you can switch to the “body size” version which may be sold on a more limited basis.
“The reason for this is that Americans is highly accustomed to having our comforters, blankets, and sheets conform exactly to the sizes of our beds”, says Marc Anderson.
EVEN SMALL CHILDREN AND TEENS CAN BENEFIT, THOUGH WEIGHTED BLANKETS ARE DESIGNED FOR ALL OF US.
For small blankets, ideal for children or very petite individuals, to determine the weight of a properly fitted blanket, use 10 percent of your body weight and add one pound for an ideal feel. A small blanket might measure 34 inches by 50 inches and work for children between 1 and 6 years old.
Don’t use a weighted blanket on a child under one year of age. Before using a weighted blanket for a child, have a chat with your health provider.
For children between the ages of six and twelve, use a weight that factors in 10 percent of the user’s body weight plus two pounds. A medium size blanket might be roughly 38 inches by 62 inches and is appropriate for children between the ages of 6 and 12.
For taller teens and most adults, use 10 percent of the person’s body weight and then add three pounds. These blankets might ideally measure 38 inches by 72 inches.
Anderson noted that as a very light sleeper and a tosser and turner, he tended to remain in one place longer and slept far more soundly with a weighted blanket than without. “ I slept much deeper with the blanket than without. If I don’t use my weighted blanket now, I wake up more frequently and don’t get the restorative rest I need”.
Experts say that despite their huge benefits, purchasing the correct weighted blanket requires some considerations. First, they can be very warm because of the liner required to contain the specialized beads, which needs to be durable and heavier. Often times, the fabric used is not very breathable. Choose a manufacturer or brand that has a breathable fabric interior, along with fabrics and materials that ventilate effectively.
The best way to research a weighted blanket is to simply read reviews. Check out Google, Yelp, TrustPilot, or other third party reviews, and as we always mention, avoid reviews that appear to be written by the web site themselves and cherry picked so that only the good reviews are in the top tier.
WHERE TO BUY THE BEST WEIGHTED BLANKETS
1. LUXOME WEIGHTED BLANKETS
Probably the largest and most comprehensive selection on the web, in my opinion. Options include removable cover blankets, integrated blankets, and cooling blankets, in assorted colors.
Luxome’s blankets are 15-30 lb., and range from $135 to $220. The quality is superior, and reviews are quite high, average 4.6 out of 5 stars on Google, from 6,909 reviews.
One reviewer noted that it’s one of few options where the weighted glass beads don’t gather in bunches at the edges, a complaint we observed with many brands where the design did not contain the weighted materials properly.
Luxome Weighted Blanket Features
- Nearly undetectable 1mm glass beads (certified lead-free)
- No weight bunching or excess heat- cooling fabrics are used.
- Optimized to a perfect weight per square foot
- Choice of ultra-plush minky, luxury bamboo lyocell, or combination cover
- Blanket & cover are 100% machine washable
2. MOSAIC WEIGHTED BLANKETS
Laura LeMond is the owner and cofounder of Mosaic Weighted Blankets. Laura is a native Austinite and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin.
After years of trying to identify a solution to calm her system and rest her mind, she began to discuss with her girlfriends a way to help herself and others.
Her first weighted blanket experiments involved using weighted sand. That was 2010. Today, her brand is the most popular on the web.
Choose from many styles, all with free shipping. She offers a kid’s line, cotton and microfiber blankets, and even a really cool sale section that has great deals.
Use my link and you can get a 15% off code when you visit the Mosaic site. Each blanket is made in Laura’s Austin, Texas based facility, by hand.
Mosaic Weighted Blankets are made by sewing a grid of pockets of hypoallergenic BPA free pellets into the fabric, evenly distributing the increased weight across the entire blanket.
When draped naturally and evenly across your body, or part of your body, it provides just enough gentle pressure to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone, and release a few different chemicals into your system: oxytocin, melatonin, and serotonin. Collectively, these chemicals relax the body, reduce stress, and induce a general feeling of happiness and security.