I've used a weighted blanket for over a year — and it's changed the way I sleep

A weighted blanket
(Image credit: Future)

There’s just one thing I can’t be without at night — my weighted blanket. I switched from a conventional comforter to a weighted blanket set up just over a year ago and I’m finally getting rid of those dark circles under my eyes.

Designed to simulate the feeling of being hugged or swaddled, the extra weight is thought by some to promote the sleep hormone melatonin. Similarly, some have found sleeping under a weighted blanket to be linked to increased levels of the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine while simultaneously lowering cortisol (a hormone linked to stress) levels.

In the summer and parts of fall I sleep under just the weighted blanket and a sheet, this is just the setup i need to keep me cool in the British summer but still comfortable enough to sleep. In the winter I use the blanket over the top of a comforter and another traditional blanket and still feel the relaxing effect. 

My blanket is from Zzznest but sleepers who want to make a change should try one of the best weighted blankets.   

The benefits of a weighted blanket 

Since switching to a weighted blanket, I have noticed a drastic reduction in night sweats. And I do find myself with less thoughts running through my head at night as well.

As a serial worrier, sleeping under a weighted blanket was first suggested to me as an anxiety-reducing measure. This is a hard metric to gauge but one of the side effects of tossing and turning in bed was persistent night-sweats. Since switching to a weighted blanket, I have noticed a drastic reduction in night sweats, even if sometimes I do use the classic one-leg in the bed, one-leg out, method. In general I do find myself with less thoughts running through my head at night as well. 

Weighted blankets are also believed to be good for addressing joint pain and after having major knee surgery a few years ago I was often kept awake at night from an ache. While not completely gone, many weighted blankets have a cooling touch and I feel like this has reduced my personal aches and pains. There is no scientific evidence of the effect of weighted blankets on joint pain but it is based on the principle of massage therapy from the pressure it applies.

A weighted blanket on a bed

(Image credit: Future)

The concerns about weighted blankets

Some people have told me they are worried about sleeping under a weighted blanket, that it could be dangerous and make them feel claustrophobic. Experts say a weighted blanket should be between 5% and 10% of your body weight. My blanket weighs 16 pounds, and I have never felt trapped under it.

Should I wriggle or it slips off kilter in the night it can be a pain to readjust and It can sometimes feel heavy when getting out of bed for an early morning start, but I suspect that is more down to my own laziness. Of course, when washing a weighted blanket it will be much heavier when wet and this can be a challenge. Fortunately, my weighted blanket is machine washable and dryer safe.  

Struggling to sleep? 

Considering we spend almost half of our lives sleeping, if something works for you it’s best to stick with it. With the stresses of modern life, it can be hard to sleep. It's always good to try and spend at least an hour away from a screen before bed and keep a regular evening routine. If you’re not feeling comfortable at night, try adding one of the best pillows or best mattresses, too — they can make a big difference. 

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer – VPN

Andy is Tom's Guide Staff Writer for VPNs and privacy. Based in the UK, he originally cut his teeth at Tom's Guide as a Trainee Writer (go and click on his articles!) before moving to cover all things Tech and streaming at T3. He's now back at Tom's Guide to keep you safe online, and bring you the latest news in VPN and cybersecurity.