Weighted blankets for adults have been growing in popularity for treating anxiety, insomnia relief, and promoting relaxation. In this article we discuss benefits of the best weighted blankets for adults and where you can buy one.
What is a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket is simply a blanket with extra weight sewn into it.
Weighted blankets for adults use a grid pattern to create equal sized pockets across the blanket. These pockets are filled with small pellets or glass beads to create the extra weight.
Benefits of Weighted Blankets for Adults
Weighted blankets for adults have been recommended due to a variety of purported benefits. The benefits of a weighted blanket for adults are said to include:
- Deeper sleep
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased relaxation
These benefits may provide some level of relief to those experiencing:
- Weight gain
How does a weighted blanket work?
Weighted blankets are thought to work through what is known as deep touch pressure (DTP).
A 2012 study(1) titled “Physiological Effects of Deep Touch Pressure on Anxiety Alleviation: The Weighted Blanket Approach”, describes DTP as a form of tactile sensory input, which is often provided by holding, stroking, hugging, swaddling, and squeezing.
Think of DTP as the reason why hugging a pet, a family member, a teddy bear, or a blanket can be calming, soothing and relaxing. The best weighted blankets for adults are designed to provide continuous DTP across the body in order to reduce anxiety.
The results of this study concluded that the application of DTP has demonstrated a potential calming effect on the alleviation of anxiety.
Let’s take a look at some more studies involving weighted blankets.
A 2015 study(2) from the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders found a that using a weighted blanket had a positive effect on those who suffer from insomnia. The study concluded that the weighted blanket “had a positive impact on sleep”, and that participants “believed that using the [weighted] blanked provided them with a more comfortable, better quality, and more secure sleep”.
In a 2014 study(3) conducted “to assess the effectiveness of a weighted-blanket […] in treating sleep problems” it was determined that the weighted blanked did not improve the participants quality of sleep. It is important to note that the subjects of this study were children who suffer from autism spectrum disorder (ASD), so the results may not directly translate to adult usage.
As seen in the previous study, there may still be some psychological benefits that aren’t easy to measure because “the weighted blanket was favored by children and parents, and blankets were well tolerated over this [2 week] period.”
The calming effect of a weighted blanket for adults can be seen in a 2008 study(4) which found that out of 32 adults “63% reported lower anxiety after use, and 78% preferred the weighted blanket as a calming modality.”
This study also found that electrodermal activity (EDA) decreased in 33% of subjects. Let me explain why this is important:
Electrodermal activity is a measure of the state of the sweat glands on your skin. The traditional theory behind EDA is that the sweatier you are, the more conductive your skin becomes. Therefore sweat gland activity can be correlated to your level of anxiety. This means that if you have reduced EDA, you are likely to be calmer and more relaxed than if you were to have an elevated EDA.
How heavy should a weighted blanket for adults be?
The best weighted blankets for adults will weigh between 5 and 10 percent of the adult’s bodyweight. For example, the best weighted blanket for adults weighing 150 lbs would be a blanket that weighs between 7.5 and 15 lbs. For children, it is recommended to use a blanket that is equal to half of their bodyweight.
The 2008 study(4) determined that a weight blanket weighing 30 lbs “in the lying down position, is safe as evidenced by the vital sign metrics.”
Weighted Blanket Materials
Weighted blankets, like normal blankets, are available in a variety of materials. Choosing the right material is important because each will offer different benefits. The best weighted blankets for adults are typically cotton, cotton/polyester hybrid or wool.
Cotton weighted blankets are soft and hypoallergenic, which makes them excellent for those with allergies or sensitive skin. Cotton will also help you regulate your temperature so you won’t get too hot at night.
Wool weighted blankets will provide extra insulation during cool nights. Fleece is a good alternative for those who are sensitive to wool.
Polyester weighted blankets are durable and long lasting. Polyester is able to survive years worth of laundry cycles. Polyester does lack the breathability of cotton and wool, so it may be too hot for some.BUY NOW
This website does not provide medical advice. This website is for information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
- Hsin-Yung Chen, Hsiang Yang, Huang-Ju Chi, Hsin-Ming Chen, Physiological Effects of Deep Touch Pressure on Anxiety Alleviation: The Weighted Blanket Approach Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering, 2012; 33(5): 463-470.
- Ackerley R, Badre G, Olausson H, Positive Effects of a Weighted Blanket on Insomnia 2015.
- Gringras P, Green D, Wright B, et al. Weighted blankets and sleep in autistic children–a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics. 2014;134(2):298-306.
- Brian Mullen, Tina Champagne, Sundar Krishnamurty, Debra Dickson & Robert X. Gao, Exploring the Safety and Therapeutic Effects of Deep Pressure Stimulation Using a Weighted Blanket. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 2008.