Do Weighted Blankets Work?

Weighted blankets certainly have a lot of benefits. They've been shown to reduce the physical symptoms of stress, pain and symptoms of anxiety and sleep disorders. Weighted blankets help your body to release natural hormones like melatonin and serotonin to help you relax and fall asleep more easily - read on to find out more.

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A woman wrapped in a weighted blanket
Discover how weighted blankets work in our helpful guide

What is a weighted blanket?

Weighted blankets are much heavier than the average blanket. This is because they're filled with tiny glass beads, sand or even plastic. These blankets are designed to calm and relax your body by using pressure therapy.

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How do weighted blankets work?

Weighted blankets work by creating gentle pressure on your body. This feels like a hug and gives you physical stimulation to calm your body and mind.

  1. The evenly distributed weight across your entire body stimulates pressure points to create a soothing effect.
  2. The 'hugging' feeling helps to release serotonin and decrease the release of cortisol.
  3. Serotonin then triggers other hormones to calm physical reactions to stress such as slowing your heart rate and decreasing blood pressure.
  4. The increase in serotonin ('happy' hormones) then reduces your stress levels.
  5. You'll feel calmer and more relaxed so you can enjoy a deeper and more peaceful sleep.

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What are they made from?

They're made from a variety of fillings. This can include: tiny glass beads, plastic pellets, sand, steel beads, rice and even pebbles. These fillings are used to provide evenly-distributed pressure therapy to help you drift off into a peaceful sleep.

The covers are often made of cosy materials, such as microfibre, so you can enjoy snuggling under this blanket while you relax.

A woman sleeping
The gentle pressure helps calm and relax you before you drift off to sleep

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Benefits of a weighted blanket

Weighted blankets use pressure therapy to help you to relax and drift off to sleep more quickly. The comforting weight helps to regulate your autonomic nervous system and provides the perfect environment for a more peaceful sleep.

They target your autonomic nervous system because this is the part of your body which regulates your physical responses to stress. This includes your rate of breathing and blood pressure.

  • Calming

The feel of the blanket soothes your body and lowers your heart rate.

  • Reduces stress hormones

The 'hugging' sensation reduces the amount of cortisol your body produces.

  • Releases happy hormones

The decrease in cortisol leads to an increase in serotonin production.

  • Proven to help restless legs

The evenly-distributed weight of the blanket targets pressure points all over your body, and the added weight can help to relax your legs while you sleep

  • Eases pain in your joints

Your brain produces more calming hormones, which can help to combat physical pain

  • Reduces the symptoms of sleeping disorders

As your heart rate slows, your body becomes calmer which can reduce the affects of sleeping disorders

  • Helps to create a sense of calm to help people with ADHD and autism

The even weight surrounding the body helps to calm the body and the mind and has been found to be very effective in helping children with ADHD and autism relax

  • Reduces the physical symptoms of anxiety

As your body relaxes, the physical symptoms such as sweating, increased heart rate and shallow breathing are reduces

  • It feels like a hug!

... and hugs always help!

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A woman sleeping
A better night's sleep can be yours!

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How to use a weighted blanket

There is no right or wrong way to use a weighted blanket - as long as it feels comfortable for you.

One of the best ways to use a weighted blanket is to lie flat on your back with the blanket and covering your body - but not your head! This way, you'll experience the full weight of the blanket evenly distributed across your body. You can use them for a short period of time to relax or to sleep under, whichever is best for you.

You can also wrap it around yourself while you relax or take it on long journeys with you. They can be used as comfort blankets for people with autism or anxiety and can be used in any way as long as it works for you.

A woman sleeping under a weighted blanket
Drape the blanket over you to maximise its benefits

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Can I use a weighted blanket?

Whilst weighted blankets offer comfort and reassurance, they may not work effectively for everyone. Here are some groups that they aren't suitable for:

  • Pregnant women
  • Under 18s
  • Elderly people
  • People with circulatory problems
  • People with respiratory issues

If you're unsure whether you should use a weighted blanket, always check with a medical professional beforehand.

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How heavy should a weighted blanket be?

There is a wide selection of weighted blankets ranging from 4kg (8.8lbs) to 12kg (26.4lbs), so there will definitely be a weight perfect for you! Our cosy Silentnight Wellbeing Weighted Blanket is 6.8kg, which is in the perfect range for older teens and adults.

If you're looking for a weighted blanket for your child, there are weighted blankets specifically designed for children. Before purchasing one for children, we recommend discussing it with a healthcare professional and they can suggest the most suitable option for your child.

Ideally, your weighted blanket should be approximately 10% of your body weight. This is because you'll still be able to move comfortably under the blanket while receiving just the right amount of pressure.

Although these blankets are designed to be heavy, they should not cause you discomfort or difficulties, so you should only use one that you are completely comfortable with.

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Can you sleep under a weighted blanket?

Yes, you can sleep under a weighted blanket. But if you feel uncomfortable using the blanket for a long period of time or can't get used to the feeling, they're also great for just relaxing. You can wrap it around yourself while you're watching TV or reading a good book for the ultimate cosy feeling.

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Are weighted blankets safe during pregnancy?

We don't recommend using weighted blankets during pregnancy, as we haven't found any research to prove that they are safe.

Instead, we advise discussing this further with a medical professional if you would like to use a weighted blanket during pregnancy.

A rolled up weighted blanket
Blankets can offer extra comfort and a reassuring hug

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Do weighted blankets help with anxiety?

The deep pressure therapy that these blankets provide can reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety. In less scientific terms, when you sleep underneath weighted blankets, it feels like you're getting a hug, which releases the 'happy' chemicals in your brain.

Although they're not guaranteed to completely stop you from feeling anxious, weighted blankets can help to slow down a rapid heartbeat and soothe restless muscles. They can also encourage relaxation by trying to combat the 'fight-or-flight' response when anxiety is triggered.

Overall, they help to calm the symptoms of anxiety so that you can enjoy a more peaceful sleep.

A weighted blanket
They help you feel calmer and more relaxed

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Weighted blanket pros and cons

Weighted blankets come with many benefits that can help improve your wellbeing and sleep. Of course, there may be some drawbacks to consider, too. Read on to find out more.

Can improve your sleep and general wellbeingThey can be expensive
Helps you to feel calm and relaxedIt may take a little while to get used to the weight
Relieves stress and anxietyThe weight makes them more difficult to travel with
May reduce some symptoms of sleeping disordersSome may be difficult to wash
Eases pain in your jointsThey can be warm

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Best weighted blanket

Silentnight Wellbeing Blanket packaging
Silentnight Wellbeing Weighted Blanket

Why it's great!

  • Featuring tiny glass beads for gentle pressure
  • With breathable microfibre so you won't overheat in the night
  • Hypoallergenic for your peace of mind
  • Free Next Day Delivery
  • From £99.95

Melt into a peaceful sleep as this is the blanket that hugs you back! Weighing 6.8kg and with a channel-stitched cover, the Silentnight Wellbeing Weighted Blanket moulds around your body shape to provide evenly distributed pressure while you sleep. Made from breathable microfibre, this blanket will keep you cool and comfortable in the night so you don't have to worry about overheating in the night.

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Weighted blankets are a great way to feel calm and improve your wellbeing and sleep. Shop the Silentnight Wellbeing Weighted Blanket or why not take a look at our duvet range online today! You'll be able to experience the supreme comfort that these blankets have to offer.