Is a Weighted Blanket Right for You?

This trendy bedroom accessory promises to improve feelings of comfort and wellbeing. Does it work?

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Quality sleep starts with having a bedroom environment that is conducive to relaxation. Along with comfortably cool temperatures and the ability to block out light, the bed should be comfortable to promote restful sleep. Breathable sheets, a supportive pillow, and soft blankets are all great ways to set the stage for a good night’s sleep.

Blankets, in particular, have come a long way in the past few years. The latest innovations involve a heavier-than-usual construction method designed to apply gentle pressure to the sleeper so he or she feels soothed and secure. While much is still being learned about the benefits of weighted blankets, they may help lessen anxiety and improve feelings of safety.

The concept is simple; the construction is a little more complex. Weighted blankets are typically made with plastic beads or metallic magnets that are evenly distributed throughout the material and then sewn into place inside the double-layer fabric. The resulting sensation is one of gentle, even pressure across a person’s body that feels something like a full-body hug.

While a novel concept for adults, the idea is reminiscent of a technique used to help babies sleep. Infants are frequently swaddled in a snug bundle, as the experience of light pressure surrounding their bodies creates a warm and safe sensation. A weighted blanket offers a similar constant pressure throughout the night. Some studies suggest using one could lengthen certain stages of the sleep cycle and improve sleep quality.

Weighted blankets are generally safe for adults and teens, but they shouldn’t be used for a baby. The safest sleep environment for an infant is a bare crib free of pillows, comforters, stuffed animals, and bumper pads.

Be sure to consider a room’s temperature and existing bedding before sleeping with a weighted blanket, as a too-warm space or too many non-breathable covers may make it harder, not easier, to fall asleep. While there is no guarantee that a weighted blanket will send you swiftly to dreamland, there’s no downside either. If you think you could benefit from it, go ahead and give it a try.