Therapeutic benefits of weighted blankets
Things feeling heavy lately? Recently, weighted blankets have come into popular use as a stress-relief tool — and, of course, a sleep aid. Originally designed for the neurodivergent community as a way to regulate mental and physical stimulation, weighted blankets are widely produced and used by all kinds of individuals hoping to regulate the stress caused by any number of factors and giving many therapeutic benefits as well.
Weighted blankets work by simulating the effects of deep-touch pressure stimulation, a therapy designed to replicate the feeling of being hugged or held. As you have probably experienced, when we are touched by another person — with a hug, a stroke, or even swaddled as babies — the nervous system responds. The sensation of touch prompts our autonomic nervous system to go into “rest” mode, slowing our heart rate and breathing. Essentially, it factory-resets your brain into calm mode, reducing anxiety and allowing for deeper relaxation or relief from external stressors.
Benefits of the deep-touch sensation include:
- Lowered Stress
- Reduced Anxiety
- Improved Quality of Sleep
- Lessen Chronic Pain
- Calm the nervous system
- Reduced symptoms of restless leg syndrome
- Improved mood
- Increased comfort
As adults, however, we don’t always have the option to go to our mom’s house and ask her to swaddle us (hooray for you, if you can!). Human touch in general is not always the ideal way to trigger our deep-touch response; touching others can feel too warm, or come with complicated social and emotional stressors that render the calming effects of the touch useless. Many people are not comfortable touching others, perhaps due to past trauma or fear of germs, for example. And, on top of all that, human touch isn’t always available when we need it. That’s where the weighted blanket comes in, allowing you to reap the benefits of deep-touch therapy without relying on another person.
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How to pick what best suites you
There are two main types of weighted blanket: the duvet-style and the knitted-style. The duvet-style blanket uses heavy fill, such as glass beads, ball bearings, or plastic, to create the weighted effect. A knitted-style blanket is woven using dense, heavy yarn to increase the weight.
Weighted blankets come in different sizes and weights. Which weight is right for you? For optimal comfort, a weighted blanket should be somewhere around 10% of you body weight:
- 10 lb: Best for people who weigh 125 pounds or less, or for those who prefer a more light pressure sensation. A child 50 lb or more can benefit from a 5lb-8lb blankets
- 15 lb: Best for people who weigh around 150 pounds, or for those who prefer a medium pressure sensation.
- 20 lb: Best for people who weigh 200 pounds or more, or for those who prefer a more heavy pressure sensation.
*It’s worth noting that weighted blankets should not be used with children under 2 years of age, as they present a risk of suffocation. Always consult a pediatrician before using a weighted blanket with any child, just to be safe!
Like I mentioned above, weighted blankets are widely produced now that they have become more commonly used; if you Google “weighted blanket”, Amazon will have 300+ options for you! But, if it’s within your means, I encourage you to look into small businesses in your area. Purchasing products that are made and shipped locally can reduce emissions, as the product travels a shorter distance to get to your front door. Small businesses with a local clientele also tend to invest in eco-friendly products and community-safe practices.
Here are my recommendations for responsibly-produced weighted blankets in the USA and Canada:
(Made in Canada)
10lb $199 – 20lb $279 CA
- Tailored to you: 10, 15, or 20 lb weight options
- Stylish colours: Dark Grey, Light Grey, Navy, Cream
- Moisture-wicking and breathable cotton sleeps cool
- Superior, leak-proof design – no pesky glass beads
- Cotton + recycled polyester are easy on the environment and vegan friendly
- Provides even pressure on the body
- Machine washable for easy cleaning
- 120 night sleep trial, 2 yr warranty
Breathable Hand Knit Design the Douglas Hand Knit Weighted Blanket has better temperature regulation compared to conventional weighted blankets. With its intertwining cotton braids, excess body heat can escape — which helps keep you cool while you relax on the bed, couch, or recliner.
Every Douglas Hand Knit Weighted Blanket is made with natural, jersey-knit cotton. On the inside, the durable polyester fill has been recycled, which means we can avoid some of the waste and emissions that come with new fabric manufacturing.
(Made in USA)
Twin 15lb $123 – King 25lb $168 US
- The Luxury Weighted Blanket features a dual-sided cover for double the comfort. Choose to snuggle up to the beautiful grey ombre jersey top or a solid dark grey bamboo-based bottom.
- Our Luxury Weighted Blanket has small glass beads sewn between a poly-fill batting to carefully distribute weight and keep quiet when moved around.
- The Luxury Weighted Blanket’s dual-sides feature a cozy, jersey ombre top and a soft dark grey bottom layer of rayon from bamboo.
- Equipped with edge and corner loops so you can easily cover with a Nest Bedding Duvet to match your mattress bedding.
- Comes with a Travel size tote
- 30 day sleep trial
The Nest Bedding 100% Bamboo fabric is made from bamboo rayon pulp fiber which is a kind of regenerated cellulose fiber. Bamboo plants need to be smashed to make pulp, after that, the pulp is dissolved into a viscose state, then made into fiber by a wet spinning method. Fabric made from Bamboo pulp fiber is soft-to-the-touch, comfortable, moisture-wicking, and breathable. With all of these superior qualities, bamboo pulp fiber is a bedding material favored by many.
I hope I helped out with choosing the right weighted blanket for you! Please let me know if you have tried a weighted blanket and your thoughts and the possible benefits you may have felt from it!