Weighted Blankets and How They Work

weighted blankets

Photo by different_nata on Adobe Stock.

What are weighted blankets?

Weighted blankets are just as they sound ― a blanket that is heavier than your average, normal blanket. A weighted blanket is either knitted or duvet-style. The duvet-style blanket is made by adding plastic or glass beads, ball bearings, or heavy fillings inside a duvet to increase weight, the closest comparison being lead vests that you would wear during a dental x-ray. On the other hand, knitted-style weighted blankets are given weight by using a denser yarn.

The weight of weighted blankets can range from 5 to 30 pounds. A wide range is available to determine what weight works best for you. The general rule of thumb is that the blanket should weigh no more than 10 percent of your body weight. For older children and adults, the guideline is ten percent of their body weight plus one or two pounds. However, if you are having trouble rolling around under your blanket, or feel trapped, then the blanket’s weight may be too heavy for you. Although, if you do choose a blanket that is less than 10 percent of your body weight, you may not experience the benefits that weighted blankets are known to provide.

Benefits of a Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets mimic a lot of the same effects as deep pressure stimulation ― a therapeutic technique that uses firm, calculated pressure to invoke feelings of calmness. The Sleep Foundation listed some benefits that they have found from using weighted blankets.

Comfort and Security. Just like babies find being swaddled comfortable and cozy, weighted blankets work in the same way. Feeling comforted and secure before bed has been proven to help people fall asleep quicker.
Ease Stress and Soothe Anxiety. A weighted blanket can help soothe any feelings of stress and anxiety. Because stressful and anxious thoughts can get in the way of a peaceful night’s rest, using a weighted blanket may result in better sleep habits.
Improve Quality of Sleep. Deep pressure stimulation is known to stimulate the production of serotonin, the mood-boosting hormone, reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, and increase melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for putting you to sleep. Overall, this provides a much better quality of sleep.
Calm the Nervous System. If your nervous system becomes overactive, this can lead to anxiety, hyperactivity, rapid heart rate, and shortness of breath. All these conditions can ruin a good night’s rest. Allowing an equal amount of weight and pressure on the body helps calm the fight-or-flight response and activates the parasympathetic nervous system that signals the body to prepare for sleep.

Who Should Use a Weighted Blanket?

Plenty of research has been done to determine the ways in which weighted blankets provide assistance to physical and emotional symptoms. A Healthline article, Do Weighted Blankets Work, lists some conditions that may benefit from using a weighted blanket.

  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Medical Procedures

If you are interested in using a weighted blanket for sleep troubles, anxiety, stress, or other conditions, consult with a trusted healthcare provider to discuss if a weighted blanket is right for you.


We hope that this information on weighted blankets is useful to you.

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