Wrapping yourself in a soft, warm blanket can feel like a comforting hug. It may bring you back to your childhood days, when being “tucked in” at night provided a sense of security.
This idea of security and comfort provided by blankets has recently spun into a new type of therapeutic purchase: the weighted blanket. Over the past year, it has become trendy to own a weighted blanket, with the item added to self-care lists and gift recommendations. What are weighted blankets, and do they actually have any health benefits?
A weighted blanket is exactly what it sounds: a heavier-than-average blanket crafted from cloth squares filled with tiny pellets or beads so that the blanket weighs 5 to 25 pounds. Few independent scientific studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of the weighted blanket among the general population, but the item has grown in popularity thanks to users who reported feeling calmer and more rested after using the product.
Weighted blankets use “deep-touch pressure” therapy to mimic the feeling of being held or swaddled. This type of pressure stimulation can alleviate anxiety, insomnia or ADHD, and has been used to help people diagnosed with autism. Weighted items like blankets have long been used in occupational therapy to assist kids and adults with various behavioral disorders, with research showing it can help people feel calmer.
To test out a weighted blanket, choose one that is roughly 10% of the user’s body weight.
A weighted blanket may be a helpful part of a good sleep routine, which includes setting a clear bedtime and limiting technology use before bed. Now, go curl up under the blanket and catch some Z’s.