A blanket that’s supposed to reduce stress, decrease anxiety, and increase the quality of your sleep; is it too good to be true? Weighted blankets have burst onto the scene lately. More people are talking about them. Social media ads are popping up everywhere. But are weighted blankets worth it? Do they really deliver all the benefits they promise?
Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my honest opinion about weighted blankets, breaking down the science, as well as sharing my personal experience using one. And if you’re ready to try a Calming Blanket for yourself, I’m sharing a discount code, just for Dr. Allison Answers readers, at the end of this video. Watch below for my candid, calming blanket review, and hear my answer to the question, “Are weighted blankets really worth it?”
About a year ago, I got an email from a reader, asking my opinion on weighted blankets. I responded back honestly, saying that I didn’t know much about them. I looked into the research and found there wasn’t a ton. So I sent her some of my initial thoughts, and I made a mental note to learn more.
Fast forward to a few months ago, when Calming Blankets, an Australia based company who ships to the US, reached out. They asked if I’d be willing to share a calming blanket review, and I enthusiastically said yes. It felt like the perfect opportunity. Learn more about the science of weighted blankets, test one myself, and then share my thoughts with my readers? Count me in!
(Full disclosure, this is not a sponsored post. Calming Blankets was kind enough to send me one of their weighted blankets for free, simply asking that I review it honestly. I’m not getting paid for this review. No one told me what to say. Like always, I’m giving you honest and accurate simplified psychology, no strings attached.)
So What is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a blanket, typically weighing between 10 to 25 pounds. It usually has weights or small glass beads sewn into the blanket, giving it a heavier feel.
Weighted blankets have been said to help with all sorts of things, including anxiety, stress, insomnia, sleep quality and chronic pain. There is also some evidence that they are helpful in kids with ADHD or autism. The theory is that weighted blankets provide deep pressure stimulation. You know the feeling you get when someone you love wraps you up in an embrace? Or that feeling of warmth and safety that babies feel when they’re swaddled? That’s what weighted blankets are designed to mimic. The thought is that weighted blankets activate specific neurotransmitters and the parasympathetic nervous system. This of course has all sorts of implications for stress, anxiety, insomnia, and more.
What Does the Research Say?
As a psychologist, research and evidence-based approaches are important to me. And in terms of the research on weighted blankets, well, there just isn’t a ton.
Some objective findings include increased sleep time and decreased movement during sleep. Subjective, self-report findings have been more pronounced. People report improved sleep, decreased anxiety, and increased feelings of calm. Participants report that it’s easier to settle down, and they also report feeling more refreshed in the morning.
Like most new things, we need more research to know just how impactful weighted blankets are. But so far, the research is encouraging!
To be honest, when I first received my calming blanket, I was somewhat skeptical. I wasn’t sure I’d really like it or notice that much of a difference. However, right away I noticed a huge difference in my sleep quality. I’ve been using the weighted blanket for several weeks now, and I’m consistently sleeping better throughout the night and waking up feeling more refreshed.
I normally fall asleep fairly quickly, but with the weighted blanket, it’s been even faster. I’ve also noticed that I wake up and stir less throughout the night, which is likely the reason I feel more rested in the morning. I’ve experimented by going a few nights without the blanket, and some of the first words out of my mouth the next mornings were, “I did not sleep well last night!” So whether that’s placebo effect or this weighted blanket in action, it’s made a major difference with my sleep and how rested I feel.
One of the other major benefits that people talk about is how weighted blankets help with anxiety. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t notice a huge difference in terms of my anxiety. However, I think I’m a little bit unique in this respect. Because I’m a psychologist, and a huge part of my career is helping people with anxiety, I have a lot of tools and tricks up my sleeve for dealing with anxiety. So in some ways, I don’t think the blanket had a chance to work on my anxiety, because I work consistently on that throughout the day.
How Weighted is Weighted?
The blanket I have is exactly 10 percent of my body weight. And I’m so happy with this weight. Most companies recommend that the blanket be about five to fifteen percent of your body weight, and Calming Blankets recommends aiming for ten percent. This weight felt perfect for me, forming to my body and really mimicking that sense of being wrapped up in a hug.
If I were to have gone any heavier, I think it would been too heavy and not therapeutic. So if you’re interested in a weighted blanket, I would resist the temptation to go heavier in an attempt to “maximize the effect.” I’d follow the 10 percent recommendation and see how that feels.
And while it might sound superficial, it’s worth noting that I love the way this weighted blanket looks. I’ve seen several weighted blankets, and some of them aren’t very attractive, taking more of a functional look. I like that this specific blanket has smaller quilting, soft minky fabric, and a beautiful rich color. Functional and beautiful? Count me in!
An Exclusive Discount Code for Dr. Allison Answers Readers
If you’re ready to try a weighted blanket after seeing this calming blanket review, then you’re in luck! Calming Blankets has graciously offered all my viewers and readers a discount code for $85 off one of their weighted blankets, their largest discount offered. Just enter the code “ALLISON” at checkout. (And remember, I don’t profit in any way whether or not you buy a blanket, so this is my honest opinion!)
Overall, I love my weighted blanket and give it a solid A+. So if you’re looking for a side-effect free way to sleep better, reduce stress, and calm anxiety, a weighted blanket might be worth a try!
PS: Want to get serious about tackling your anxiety while you wait for your blanket to arrive? Learn the worst thing you can do for your anxiety, and why you’re probably doing it!