The best weighted blankets have been proven to alleviate anxiety symptoms, helping to lull you into a peaceful, restorative slumber. So, with Christmas fast approaching and with that special person in your life who seemingly has everything still to buy for, the answer is a weighted blanket — because what could be a better present than the gift of quality sleep?
A weighted blanket is a sleep aid usually weighing in the region of five and 30 pounds. The deep pressure relief they provide help alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
Much like sleeping on the best mattress, a decent weighted blanket can improve your sleep, reducing the time it takes for you to fall asleep and even help you to stay asleep all night. The deep pressure relief that a weighted blanket provides can help calm the nervous system by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
However, there are some things you need to take into consideration before buying a weighted blanket, such as how heavy it should be, and if there are any health risks associated with them. Before you add to cart, let’s take a quick look at everything you need to know before buying a weighted blanket this Christmas.
What are the benefits of a weighted blanket?
Anxiety sufferers will be familiar with how unpleasant symptoms can ramp up around bedtime, which can have disastrous consequences on both sleep quantity and quality. Weighted blankets are often filled with glass beads, cotton or sand to apply weight. This design helps alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety, thanks to the deep pressure stimulation that they provide. Studies indicate that this pressure mimics the soothing sensation of a hug, which can help lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and stem the fight or flight response that’s keeping you awake.
While it has been shown to improve sleep quality (which, in turn, can help reduce anxiety symptoms), you don’t have to use your weighted blanket purely at bedtime. Snuggling up on the sofa or reading a book under your weighted blanket can help promote general feelings of calm.
But do weighted blankets actually work?
Some weighted blanket companies make some pretty lofty claims surrounding the benefits of a weighted blanket – but does the science back it up? Yes, weighted blankets are scientifically proven to improve sleep among anxiety sufferers. If used correctly, a weighted blanket can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps slow your heart rate and ready both mind and body for sleep.
As well as being a useful sleep aid for adults suffering from anxiety, studies indicate that weighted blankets can help ease symptoms of anxiety among children on the autism spectrum. The deep pressure relief from the weight of the blanket can help reduce the hyperactivity in the brain among children with autism. However, it is important that the weighted blanket isn’t so heavy that a child is unable to lift it off of themselves if the need to and should never be used on babies or toddlers.
What you need to know before buying a weighted blanket
Different blankets come with different sizes and weights but usually weigh in the region of 5-30 lbs. The weight you choose depends on the strength and dexterity of the person you’re buying for — they need to be able to freely lift and move the blanket off of themselves, should they need to.
Obstructed seep apnea (OSA) sufferers are advised against using a weighted blanket as the heavy weight may restrict airflow. Check with your doctor if you are unsure if a weighted blanket is safe for you to use.
Comfort is key when choosing the right weighted blanket, so carefully consider size and material. Having rigorously tested the best weighted blankets of 2023, we think weighted blankets in the region of 15 lbs can provide beneficial pressure relief without feeling too restrictive.
We especially love the Oodie Weighted Blanket, which you can buy for $79 (was %159) at Oodie, thanks to its extra large size, plastic-free bead design and heat retention which is perfect for cooler months. But we can't talk about weighted blankets without mentioning the Gravity Weighted Blanket, which is possibly the most popular (and expensive) weighted blanket on the planet. During our review, we were impressed with its sleep-inducing comfort. Right now, you can buy the Gravity Weighted Blanket for $162.50 (was $249.99) at Amazon.
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Nicola Appleton is Sleep Features Editor at Tom’s Guide, specialising in quality news content surrounding sleep and wellbeing. Nicola cut her teeth as a journalist in a busy newsroom in Bristol, UK, 15 years ago as part of a team at Britain's largest independent press agency. Since then, her job as a journalist has taken her to the States, to Sydney, and then back to Blighty, where she has written and edited features for a whole host of prominent British and international brands, including The Independent, The Sydney Morning Herald, HuffPost, Refinery29, Stylist and more. As well as tackling the vast topic of sleep, Nicola will be joining the raft of expert mattress reviewers at Tom's Guide, helping steer readers towards the very best mattresses on the market.