Temple Grandin a professor, animal aficionado, autism spokesperson and inventor of the “hug box”. After spending time with livestock, notably cattle, who displayed sensitivity to certain situations, she became determined to find a way to calm anxious animals. She then used her personal experiences and insights to design a tool to calm anxious people. The “hug box” is a therapeutic mechanism that calms and relieves stress using Deep Touch Pressure (DTP).
Many adults today tend to feel like those anxious cows. We are endlessly in search of calming activities, relaxing teas and mindfulness apps. And far too many of us are seeking a way to get a better night’s sleep without the use of medications. Weighted blankets are rising in popularity as a way to fall and stay asleep. Social media touts their benefits, and rightly so. These heavy blankets can relieve stress, insomnia, and anxiety using a form of DTP. Effectively putting an end to the vicious cycle of worrying about to-do’s, tossing and turning, and waking up exhausted.
Best Weighted Blankets for Adults
Weighted blankets have seen a surge in use and admiration since 2017, and currently, there are a few different types and brands on the market. The name is an accurate description of the item, a blanket filled with beads or pellets, padded for softness and breathability, and weighing upwards of fifteen pounds. Similar to products such as weighted vests, long used by the special needs community, weighted blankets calm the body with pressure.
Much like a hug or the swaddling of a baby, the sensation is meant to relax you. Besides its soothing properties, the weight makes it difficult to toss and turn in your sleep; meaning you will be less likely to wake yourself up inadvertently. Envision the x-ray vests used in medical and dental procedures, but a bit heavier.
Choosing a Weighted Blanket
It is recommended that you choose a weighted blanket that accounts for approximately 10% of your body weight. A fifteen-pound blanket is suitable for a 150-pound individual. Remember, the heavier the blanket, the higher the price tag. Experts advise that if you have sleep apnea or frequently snore, that you do not use a weighted blanket as it could further impair your ability to breathe.
Blankets come in many sizes, just as they do weights. While it may be tempting to order the largest size, you want one that conforms to your body. A snuggly fitting blanket will provide you with the most benefits. Most of the blankets are manufactured for single person use, though a few brands offer a couple’s size. However, a blanket that is too large will not evenly disperse its weight, creating a feeling of being trapped and/or causing it to slip off the bed.
Five of the most highly rated weighted blankets include the Layla, YnM, Blanquil, Brookstone, ZonLi and the Gravity Blanket. Each of these will be discussed further in the sections below.
Best Weighted Blanket for Sleep
Sleep is necessary to function properly and ranks right up there with food, water, and shelter on the list of human necessities. The average adult requires seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Without a restful slumber, you are more likely to experience weight gain, decreased alertness, and of course fatigue. Insomnia is characterized by the inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. It can be acute or chronic and associated with other disorders such as anxiety. Regardless of the cause, those struggling with insomnia are likely searching for ways to get a better night’s rest. One solution might be DTP.
If you dive into the science behind weighted blankets and their use in treating sleep disorders like insomnia, you will probably run across the term Deep Touch Pressure or DTP. DTP is defined as tactile sensory input distributed over the entire body. It is easy to see how DTP and cocooning yourself within a weighted blanket relate. Early studies have shown that DTP can promote serotonin in humans, a chemical hormone that helps regulate sleep.
Using a Brookstone weighted blanket is a way to perform your own version of DTP at home. Their Sleep Tight blanket conforms to your body to provide that uniform touch. Uniquely so, it is also is crafted to stay on while you sleep but not bunch at the face, by containing a curved neck cut-out. It is available in five sizes and weighted from five to twenty-five pounds. Another distinctive feature of this blanket is that it is “constructed smaller than most” allowing the weight to fall evenly across your body instead of being dispersed over the bed. You won’t have to worry about feeling trapped or too compressed with the Sleep Tight.
The Gravity Blanket
Insomnia is no joke. If you are beginning to feel like Edward Norton’s character in Fight Club, it might be time to take steps to improve your sleep. The Gravity Blanket began with a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 and is now wildly popular. Since its early funding days, it has seen an astronomical rise in use and sales. This blanket is at the upper end of the spectrum in terms of price; the original being listed at $250. You can select from fifteen, twenty, and twenty-five pounds of evenly distributed pressure. If you would like to upgrade, Gravity also offers a cooling version. The Gravity Cooling blanket adds a breathable layer that promises to wick moisture. Harkened as a “Thundershirt for adults” the Gravity blanket provides a gentle, yet firm hug to lull you to sleep.
Yet another awesome product offered by Gravity is Gravity x Calm. Calm is another of the latest and greatest trends to hit the wellness scene. It is a mindfulness and meditation app with a collection of soothing sounds, stories, and exercises. Gravity and Calm have collaborated to offer a Calm Branded Original Gravity Blanket that includes a single year’s subscription to the Calm app. With this duo teamed up, you may want to change your handle to Rip Van Winkle.
Best Weighted Blanket for Anxiety
Everyone has likely felt nervous at some point during their life. Whether it be a first date, a job interview or public speaking. A little anxiety is normal and often a natural response to stressful situations. But if those feelings of “butterflies in your stomach” become intense, lasting, or cannot be managed, you may be dealing with anxiety. A variety of things can cause anxiety or panic, such as major life events, past experiences or ongoing situations. If you think you may be dealing with anxiety, first and foremost you should talk to your doctor. But there may also be a helpful calming method you can try in the form of a weighted blanket.
Blanquil is yet another brand promising a calm mind and peaceful sleep. Along with deep breathing, meditation, and other relaxation methods, a weighted blanket can be a valuable addition to your arsenal. Their Original Premium weighted blanket is available for $169 and comes in a variety of colors. With shades such as gray, navy, and taupe you are sure to find one that suits your tastes. Their website touts the positive effects that this blanket can have on your nervous system, reading: Blanquil simulates “the feeling of being held or hugged. This increases serotonin and melatonin levels while decreasing cortisol levels. Thus improving and promoting restful sleep at the same time.” For those who suffer from anxiety and restlessness, this can be a godsend. Not only will Blanquil help you drift off to sleep, but you will also be less likely to wake up during the night. The gentle compression provided by the blanket minimizes movement, making it difficult to jolt yourself awake. Anxiety can strike anytime, not just in your bed. Blanquil can be used as a wrap or shawl whenever you need a gentle hug. As a bonus, Blanquil even sells weighted sleep masks so you can be sure to get some shut-eye.
Cheap Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are very on trend, but that doesn’t mean they have to be expensive. ZonLi occasionally offers sales on their natural cotton weighted blankets for those who don’t want to break the bank. You can afford better sleep with a price tag as low as $69. Better yet, ZonLi has many sizes and weights available, including two options for couples. Their products are filled with non-toxic, hypoallergenic, odorless, and environmentally friendly glass beads. This filler is concealed in your choice of either natural bamboo fabric or natural cotton. ZonLi.com offers insight into how their blanket can benefit you. “ZonLi weighted blanket is not only for sleep, but it also helps produce dopamine and endorphins – your body’s feel good hormones. What’s more – your heart rate and blood pressure decreases”. Slip under the weighty covers and you will be relaxed in no time.
Best Weighted Blanket for Autism
Autism Speaks defines autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as “a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication”. The disorder is not rare, affecting about 1 in 59 children in the United States, according to the CDC. One facet of autism is sensory issues. Those with autism may find certain types of stimuli extremely uncomfortable. They may struggle with body awareness or proprioception. For those that dislike physical contact, but enjoy sensory stimuli in the form of pressure, either for comfort or to provide a spatial context, a weighted blanket can be a valuable tool.
Weighted vests have long been a staple in homes and schools who care for those with autism. Therapeutic use of the vests can be traced back to 1999. In the beginning, to procure a weighted blanket someone in the community with the tools and know-how would have to fashion you one. Now, you can receive comfort and concrete sensory input by choosing from the vast array available online.
Weighted blankets can be used to provide tactile evidence about where one’s body is in space, a sensory need often desired by those with autism. The blanket can produce a calming effect when worn after a high-energy activity or tense situation. YnM offers a seven-layer blanket, filled with glass beads and LESS-fiber, their blanket provides optimum temperature control. “Each compartment has a glass bead sewn into place to prevent movement and noise”, often an important consideration for those on the autism spectrum. If you or a loved one craves pressure but has a difficult time with physical touch, a YnM blanket may be a suitable alternative. However, as with those dealing with anxiety, a weighted blanket is not a substitute for medication or therapy prescribed by a doctor.
Best King Size Weighted Blanket
The Layla weighted blanket is available in sizes twin, queen, and king. It varies in weight from fifteen pounds to twenty-five pounds. If you are hoping for a blanket that has warming qualities as well as weight, this may be your optimum choice. The blanket features two “feels”; a cotton cover on one side and a plush polyester fur on the other, making it ideal for winter or summer. Perfect for sleeping on any sized bed, this soft, insulated weighted blanket includes a five-year warranty and a thirty-night sleep trial. The king-size dimensions are 80” x 87”, large enough to cover your standard king mattress. This oversized blanket is full of micro-glass beads to eliminate undesired lumps and make as little noise as possible with movement.
Why it’s Worth It to Give Weighted Blankets a Try
If the feeling of confinement or laying under something compared to “feeling like you are back in the womb” alarms you, you may be wary of weighted blankets. However, don’t dismiss them just yet. The weighted blankets mentioned range from a comforting five pounds to a hefty twenty-five, so you have a few options regarding level of pressure. You don’t have to jump in to immediately sleeping with the blanket, but instead test the waters. Weighted blankets can be used as “in the moment” comforts, a short period producing a calming effect. Give it a try by wrapping up on your couch to watch television or scroll your feed, but no promises you won’t fall asleep.
You can also perform a trial run of your blanket by settling under it for a nap. The sensation provided by a weighted blanket can be likened to a hug without having to bribe another person, or a dog on your lap that need not be fed. Some brands offer a trial period, so if you decide a heavy blanket isn’t your thing, you can return it. Worried about feeling like you’re in an oven? Most, if not all of the blankets are manufactured with cool and breathable materials. Some brands even offer a specific cooling version to wick away moisture and circulate air. If the idea of a weighted blanket makes your palms sweat, I encourage you to try one anyway, it just might leave you feeling calm and relaxed.
A Weighted Blanket for Every Need, Size, and Budget
If you are suffering from anxiety,
sleeplessness or just searching for a way to unwind, a weighted blanket has got
you covered — literally. There is a huge variety of choices on the market to
suit your needs. Cooling or plush, large or small, even Eco-friendly; you can
take your pick. Weighted blanket prices range from affordable to high-end to
suit any budget. Some may consider weighted blankets a trendy new item, but
with all the benefits described, they are unlikely to fall out of use anytime