Do Weighted Blankets Work?

Weighted blankets have been shown to help reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, stress and some sleep disorders. If you struggle with any of these, then a weighted blanket may work to help you fall asleep more easily. 

We explain exactly how weighted blankets work to help you sleep better, their benefits, how to take care of your weighted blanket and we answer some common questions about weighted blanket safety.

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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 blankets that are much heavier than usual. Their weight comes from being filled with tiny glass beads, sand or even plastic. Weighted blankets are designed to use deep pressure therapy to relax and calm your body when you feel particularly overwhelmed or stressed.

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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, which is similar to the effects of deep pressure therapy.

  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 (the 'happy' hormone) and decrease the release of cortisol (the stress hormone).
  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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Do weighted blankets help you sleep?

If you find it difficult to go to sleep due to stress or anxiety, then a weighted blanket may be able to help you sleep.

As explained above, weighted blankets help to reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol using deep pressure therapy. This comforting feeling may help to soothe you to sleep more quickly.

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What are weighted blankets made of?

They're made from a variety of fillings. This can include:

  • Tiny glass beads
  • Plastic pellets
  • Sand
  • Steel beads
  • Rice
  • 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 wrapped up in the Emma Hug Weighted Blanket smiling.
The gentle pressure of the Emma Hug Weighted Blanket helps calm and relax you before you drift off to sleep

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What are weighted blankets good for?

Weighted blankets are good if you struggle to sleep due to restlessness or stress-related conditions. They 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. It targets your autonomic nervous system because this is the part of your body that regulates your physical responses to stress, including 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 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 effects of sleeping disorders.

  • Reduces the physical symptoms of anxiety

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

  • It feels like a hug!

... and hugs always help!

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Weighted blanket pros and cons

Weighted blankets come with many benefits that can help improve your well-being 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 can take a little while to get used to the weight
Helps to relieve stress and anxietyThe weight makes them more difficult to travel with
May reduce some symptoms of sleeping disordersSome may be difficult to wash
Can help to ease pain in your jointsThey can feel quite warm

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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 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.

Do you use a weighted blanket with a duvet?

Most people prefer to use a weighted blanket on its own, but it’s completely up to you! You can use a weighted blanket either on top of or under your weighted blanket, but you should ensure that their combined weight does not exceed 10% of your body weight for safety reasons.

It may be worth noting that as weighted blankets are designed to be heavy, they are much less breathable than regular blankets. This means that using them with a duvet may make you feel very warm.

Can I put a weighted blanket in a duvet cover?

Yes, you can use a duvet cover with your weighted blanket. Putting your weighted blanket in a duvet cover can also help to protect it from any accidents and spills or hair and dust.

A woman sleeping under a weighted blanket
Drape the Silentnight Wellbeing Weighted Blanket over you to maximise its benefits

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

A woman sat on the sofa reading a book with the Emma Hug Weighted Blanket wrapped around her.
The Emma Hug Weighted Blanket can help to soothe you no matter how you like to relax.

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Are weighted blankets safe?

Yes, weighted blankets are safe as long as they are the correct weight for you and are used properly. 

They are safe for the majority of adults and you should consult with your doctor before purchasing a weighted blanket for a child, just to make sure that they are suitable for their age group and to get the best guidance.

Children, especially if they are young, should always be supervised when using a weighted blanket to ensure their safety.

Who should not use a weighted blanket?

Whilst weighted blankets offer comfort and reassurance, they may not work effectively for everyone. Weighted blankets are not suitable for:

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

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

Safety FAQs

Can you sleep with a weighted blanket all night?

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.

Can pregnant women use a weighted blanket?

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.

Are weighted blankets bad for circulation?

There has not been any official research conducted into weighted blankets’ effects on circulation.

If you have any underlying health conditions and you are concerned about the effects a weighted blanket may have on your blood circulation due to the additional heaviness, you should consult with your doctor before purchasing one.

Are weighted blankets safe for the elderly?

As long as the weight is correct for the person using the weighted blanket then, yes, they are safe. However, if you have any underlying health conditions or worries about using a weighted blanket, you should get in touch with your doctor to discuss it.

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How heavy should a weighted blanket be?

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

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.

Here at Mattress Online, we offer weighted blankets that weigh 6.8kg and 7kg, which is around the correct heaviness for the weight of the average adult.

We’ve included a helpful chart below to help you figure out which weight you need for your blanket:

Body weightBlanket weight

The heaviest blanket on the market is currently 12kg, so we recommend using a 12kg weighted blanket if you weigh over 120kg.

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What can weighted blankets help with?

As we’ve explained above, weighted blankets use deep pressure therapy to help reduce your stress hormones by placing a gentle, even weight across your whole body. This has been shown to reduce some of the physical symptoms of some of the following.

Please note: Weighted blankets are simply a comfort aid, but there is no guarantee that all of your symptoms will disappear.

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.

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How to wash a weighted blanket

Our weighted blankets come with a removable cover that can be machine-washed for your peace of mind.

Before washing your weighted blanket you should always check the care instructions and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure that your weighted blanket stays in great condition.

If your weighted blanket is not machine washable, you can spot clean any accidents that might occur by using a mixture of lukewarm water and dish soap and dabbing at the stain with a cloth.

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Weighted blankets are a great way to feel calm and improve your well-being and sleep, and we hope we’ve been able to answer some of your questions and help you come to your decision.

Shop our range of weighted blankets today and experience soothing, calming comfort as soon as tomorrow with Free Next Day Delivery to most areas!

If you’re looking for a standard duvet instead, we also have a wide selection for you to choose from.