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5 Unexpected Benefits of a Weighted Blanket & How to Choose One

by Ann Ferguson

No doubt you've heard about weighted blankets and people raving about how their lives have changed, but you're still on the fence. Can weighted blankets really help your sleep that much?

The short answer is YES! A weighted blanket is heavier than standard blankets and comes in a duvet or knitted style. The extra weight simulates a deep pressure stimulation technique, which uses firm, controlled pressure to induce a calming sensation. Basically, it works like a big hug that increases the amount of dopamine and serotonin in the brain.

But wait; there's more! We'll go over the benefits a weighted blanket provides and how you can choose the best option for your sleep!

Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional psychiatric or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you suffer from any symptoms or diagnoses we discuss, please consult your psychiatrist or physician prior to making any decisions.

Comfort & Security

Woman peacefully sleeping with weighted blanket

If you struggle to fall asleep or deal with constant anxiety, a weighted blanket might be precisely what you need. The extra weight on your body helps relax your muscles and ease any tension you may feel, which enables you to doze off more quickly. And since weighted blankets mimic the sensation of being held or a tight swaddle, they also provide much-needed emotional support.

The touch therapy also helps reduce your heart rate and can even help reduce chronic pain points.

Eases Stress

Another way a weighted blanket benefits you is how it lowers your stress levels. Studies have shown that the increased weight in the blanket reduces cortisol levels (the stress hormone) in both adults and children. They've even demonstrated that people with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD benefit from the extra weight and comforting feel.

A weighted blanket even helps people on the autism spectrum because it helps them focus on the deep pressure of the blanket instead of other sensory stimuli. This is especially helpful for children on the autism spectrum.

Better Sleep Quality

Woman reading a book with knitted heavy blanket around her

While comfort and reduced stress contribute to better sleep, a weighted blanket improves your sleep quality even more. As mentioned before, the deep pressure stimulation increases your serotonin levels and decreases cortisol levels, so you have more happy hormones and fewer stress hormones.

But in addition to that, a weighted blanket also increases your melatonin levels and your production of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone. Combined with the other elements, you have the perfect brain cocktail for good sleep!

Calm Nervous System

Woman trying to calm down her brain

Besides producing good hormones, weighted blankets also help your sleep by calming your nervous system. When you experience anxiety, hyperactivity, rapid heart rate, and shortness of breath, your nervous system is over-stimulated, which negatively affects your sleep.

But the even weight distribution and pressure of a weighted blanket help calm your fight-or-flight response. It also activates the relaxing parasympathetic nervous system, which prepares you for sleep — it puts your nervous system into "rest mode" and decreases panic attacks. So, a weighted blanket is just the ticket if you suffer from chronic anxiety or a panic disorder.

Reduced Nighttime Movement

Nighttime movement is a significant disruptor of your sleep, but a weighted blanket fixes that. The weight of the blanket simulates a cocooning effect that helps reduce tossing and turning. It even helps with restless leg syndrome since the blanket applies pressure to the legs for a significant amount of time.

Weighted blankets have even proven to help reduce the number of seizures in people with seizure disorders!

How to Choose a Weighted Blanket

Comparison of knitted blanket and duvet style blanket

Now that you know how a weighted blanket can benefit you, it's time to choose the right one for you! These blankets come in various weights from 4 lbs. to 50 lbs., so choosing one that fits your body type is essential. You'll want to choose a blanket that is around ten percent of your body weight. So, if you're 150 pounds, a 15-pound weighted blanket would be a good option for you.

Weighted blankets also come in standard bed sizes, including twin, full, queen, and king, as well as children and travel sizes. So, be sure to choose one that fits your mattress size. But if you're looking to upgrade your mattress soon, you might want to hold off on selecting a weighted blanket until you've found your ideal mattress solution.

As for materials, they come in a variety, including cotton, fleece, or mink-like fabric. And they come in either duvet or knitted styles. The duvet style adds weight using plastic or glass beads, ball bearings or heavy fill, while knitted blankets are woven using heavy yarn. So, if you have any preferences in terms of material or style, be sure to take that into account when choosing a weighted blanket!

Is a weighted blanket right for you?

The benefits of a weighted blanket are hard to deny, but they're not for everyone. Weighted blankets are not recommended for children under the age of two or for children who suffer breathing issues or epilepsy.

And if you suffer chronic respiratory issues, circulatory issues, low blood pressure, claustrophobia, asthma, or type 2 diabetes, a weighted blanket might not be for you. If you have any of these or other medical conditions, be sure to consult with your doctor before buying one.

Sleep is Heavy

Woman sleeping deep in the day

The benefits of a weighted blanket are hard to deny, especially when it comes to your quality of sleep. And if you struggle with racing thoughts or depression that keeps you from sleeping, the comforting hug of a weighted blanket is out of this world. But before you go out to look, give your mattress a once-over. If it's getting lumpy or old, it's time to find your upgrade at Westco Home Furnishings!

And if you have any questions about upgrading your mattress, please give us a call or stop by! We'll help you find what you need to discover, or rediscover, what good sleep feels like!