Will a weighted blanket for adults actually help your anxiety and insomnia? Or is this just a “fad” that is the latest “cure-all of all things anxiety” on the market?
I splurged and bought a weighted blanket to try out. Two different ones actually. (I even bought and tried yet another one for my anxious 3-year-old to see if it would do anything for his anxiety and sleep issues.) Here’s my brutally honest review of weighted blankets for adults with anxiety and insomnia.
A highly anxious mind never shuts off. Ever.
Especially when laying down to go to sleep for the night.
In a perfect world, after a long days work, you do your calming, dim-lighted nightly bedtime routine, and when your sleepy head hits that pillow, you peacefully and happily drift off to sleep – and stay asleep…for the entire night…with no tossing and turning…and no middle of the night wake ups that result in not being able to fall back asleep for sometimes hours later.
Wouldn’t that be AH-MAZING?!
But this sure ain’t a perfect world so here’s how your nights likely go instead:
Lay down in bed, get comfy, and close your eyes. You’re beyond exhausted and you’ve got your fingers and toes crossed that tonight will be the night that you’ll actually fall asleep in less than 10 minutes, stay asleep all night, and wake up rested tomorrow morning.
You’ve even got your smelly good lavender essential oil from Rocky Mountain Oils diffusing so yep, tonights gonna be the night! SLEEP.
But your anxious mind has other plans.
Here come the thoughts. All the thoughts. Every freaking thought that your freaking mind can freaking come up with. Even thoughts of things you said and did long in the past that don’t even matter anymore!
Thoughts of all you need to do tomorrow. All that you needed to do today but didn’t get to because you suck at time management (lol, just me?).
Your anxious brain won’t shut up! And great…it’s now 12:30 AM and you’re still laying there wishing you could just FALL ASLEEP. Ugh.
Have you ever tried using a weighted blanket at night to lower your anxiety and help with your insomnia?
What the heck is a weighted blanket?!
Well, it’s exactly what the name says it is – a blanket that is weighted.
Specifically, a weighted blanket is a heavy blanket that has been filled with an even distribution with either tiny poly-pellets, nano-ceramic beads, or very fine, almost sand-like glass beads. This gives the blanket its “weight,” which can range from 3lbs up to 30lbs.
The Theory Behind Weighted Blankets For Anxiety & Insomnia
Anxiety: The idea behind a weighted blanket is that the weight can create a “calm” feeling by giving just the right amount of pressure to your body.
You know that feeling you get when someone you love leans in and gives you a genuinely warm and tight bear hug? That immediate feeling of comfort and security as you melt in their arms? That’s the idea behind a weighted blanket – to give you the warm feeling of being hugged and secure.
Another (sort of weird) comparison:
Have you ever had someone just literally lay on top of you? Such as your child, or your spouse? Doesn’t it feel surprisingly calming to have that evenly distributed heavy weight over the top of you?
Sounds silly, I know. But, try it! Lay on your stomach or your back, either one, and have someone lay over top of you! (Obviously, a weighted blanket will be way lighter than a full grown human, but the point is weight draped over your body feels oddly comforting!)
Insomnia: In case you hadn’t put two-and-two together, anxiety, stress, worry, depression, too busy of a life, all are common causes of chronic insomnia.
To get over your insomnia, you have to tackle the likely source: Anxiety
And this is where the heavy, yet comforting feeling of the weighted blanket comes in!
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Ways you can use your weighted blanket
Weighted blankets come in a few different forms and sizes.
There are weighted:
- Blankets – such as a full-sized blanket you’d put over your bed
- Throws/Kids-sized – smaller version and can be used for a single person
- Travel blankets – even smaller than a standard throw
- Sleep masks – drop some of your lavender and/or chamomile essential oil on this and you’d be in heaven!
- Vests – mostly used on children to help with autism, mood, ADHD, and sensory struggles. But there are compression vests for adults such as THIS ONE that give the same effect.
But as far as how to use your weighted blanket, there really is no right or wrong way!
Some people use a weighted throw draped over their shoulders to relieve neck and shoulder tension.
Others use a weighted blanket over their entire body as they lay in bed or sit on the couch.
Some drape it over their legs under their desk at the office.
Hell, carry it around like a small child does their security blanket. (Who says adults can’t have a ‘blankie?!’) Whatever works for you, works!
Common Questions & Concerns
I’m a researcher. Not professionally or anything. But what I mean is, before I buy most things, my Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) kicks in (ha! The irony!) and I get this off-the-wall fear of buying the wrong one.
PS… One of the classic symptoms of GAD is indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision. Super. lol
Then my paralysis-by-analysis goes full throttle and it can literally take me weeks to make a decision on one item!
It’s quite annoying.
Anyway, if you’re anything like me and my decision making (or lack of lol), then I hope this Q&A section can give you a little peace of mind as I’ve already done all the research for you.
These were some of the questions I had before I (finally lol) purchased my weighted blanket:
“Will a weighted blanket make me too hot? I’m already a hot sleeper.”
The short answer: Yes.
But hold on a minute! Hear me out!
I’m a very hot sleeper. Always have been.
I also have one of the earlier model Tempurpedic mattresses. You know, the ones that have zero airflow. (Ugh.) All body heat that radiates onto the mattress just radiates right back onto yourself. And it gets reallyyy toasty with two people in the bed.
Furthermore, I currently live in Arizona, US which is literally THE DESERT! (We have scorpions all around my house! So yeah, DESERT!) It’s hot as a living hell here for about 4-5 months of the year. We had entire weeks back to back last summer where temps reached upwards of 120 degrees F and never got below 110 degrees F at night time….and that’s a “normal” summer around here! “Winter,” which seems to only last 2 seconds, rarely ever gets below 50 degrees F.
But I liked the idea of a weighted blanket to help me with my anxiety-related insomnia, so I had to figure out a way to make this work!
So do you want to know what I did to fix this problem?
I invested in Bedjets for my bed!
A Bedjet is an on-demand heating and COOLING system for your bed. It sends a virtually silent stream of room temperature air under your comforter to keep you cool at night by wicking out body heat and body moisture instantly.
BedJet cooling is awesome relief for hot sleepers like myself. They’re also great for anxiety-related or menopausal hot flashes. Additionally, having a Bedjet for your bed is perfect for cold sleepers or cold winter nights because you have automatic heat that blows right into your bed sheets!
As a gift to ourselves, my husband and I purchased the Bedjet Dual Zone Bundle which came with two Bedjets, one for his side of the bed and one for my side, and also comes with their 100% cotton specialized AirComfort Cloud Sheet that only works with a Bedjet. And let me tell you, this is the best thing since sliced bread.
You can program your Bedjet to personalized heating and cooling settings for every hour of the night! So if you know you are cold when you first get in bed, then get hot some time around, say, 1am, and then cold again, then hot again, and then want to wake up to a warm “desert breeze” (one of the heat settings you can choose from) then you can literally program your Bedjet to turn on the heat, then cooling, then heat again, then cooling again, and then “desert breeze” around 7am when you wake up!
My husband and I are both hot sleepers, but my husband is a human furnace who could wear shorts and a t-shirt in 30-degree weather and be fine. He’s hot always lol. He uses the Bedjet app on his phone (which is Bluetooth-linked to his Bedjet) and sets his Bedjet to like 60%-80% cool air blow power.
Meanwhile, when I get in the bed, my feet are always cold and I can’t fall asleep until they warm up. So I set my Bedjet to a programmed sequence:
- Turbo heat (100% blow power) – 3 minutes
- Wait (off) – 30 minutes
- Cool at 35% blow power – until 8am
The Bedjet works with any sheet. But, to get the full effect I highly, highly recommend getting their AirComfort Cloud Sheet (comes in the bundle) because it is specifically designed with hollow interior flow cavities so the air can flow and distribute perfectly within the sheet.
The AirComfort Cloud Sheet also gives the dual-zone option. This is huge if you and your partner have different cooling and heating preferences when you sleep. I don’t feel my husband’s Bedjet air flow and he doesn’t feel mine – even if he’s running his cold air on full blast and I’m running my heat on turbo full blast. I don’t know how they did it, but Bedjet did an amazing job with their AirComfort Cloud Sheet!
And get this!: The Bedjets even come with essential oil diffuser strips that you can attach to the inside the air exhaust nozzle! Just grab your beloved Rocky Mountain Essential Oils (’cause they’re the best essential oils on the market, duh!), put a couple drops on the strips, and you’ll conveniently have means for diffusing essential oils straight into your bedsheets!
They have great customer service, too. I had to email them with a dummy mistake I made on setting up my Bedjet and they immediately responded and helped me through it.
With their 60-day “love it or return it” guarantee with free return shipping (USA) and fast 100% refunds with no restocking fees, you really can’t go wrong with trying out a Bedjet. Try it. If you hate it (I doubt you will!) then just send it back. Easy peasy.
By the way…Bedjet has their Bedjets on Amazon, and yes you could order it there, but know that if you do you wouldn’t get the 60-day “love it or return it” guarantee nor the free return shipping. If ordered through Amazon you would fall under Amazon’s return policy for the Bedjet – which would be 30 days and they’d take a cut of the original purchase amount to pay for return shipping! So I suggest you get your Bedjets straight from the source at Bedjet.com.
ANYWAY, back to my point here! – Investing in our Bedjets completely eliminated the dread of getting too hot during sleep while using my weighted blanket.
But, another option to beat the heat of a weighted blanket is to not use the whole blanket over your entire body.
You can put it over your legs only. Or your torso only. Or just the top or bottom half of your torso.
I’m a weirdo and no matter how hot I am, I can’t sleep unless I have some sort of cover over me (probably due to my anxiety!). So if you’re anything like me, try using the weighted blanket on just the top half of your torso and then using a sheet only on the rest of your body. This way, you still get to feel the cuddly security of your weighted blanket, and the rest of your body is still covered and can stay cool at the same time.
And still, a 3rd option is to get a weighted blanket that uses “cooling technology,” using more breathable fabric such as this YnM Cooling Weighted Blanket with 100% Natural Bamboo Viscose or this LUNA Weighted Blanket with 100% Organic Cooling Cotton. Most other weighted blankets are made of cotton and/or polyester on the outside as well as on the inside stuffing and this can get hot and sweaty pretty quick.
You can also get cooling duvet covers for your weighted blanket, and I will discuss covers and the different options of them in a little bit.
“I’m a side sleeper. Will a weighted blanket still work for me?”
I’m a side sleeper as well and, yep! My weighted blanket still gives me that “hug” feeling just as much as it does when I lay on my back (rare).
It doesn’t matter what position you sleep! Just like it doesn’t matter what position you are when somebody is hugging you! A hug is a hug and it feels good no matter which way you’re laying.
“How heavy of a blanket should I get?”
You will need to be sure to get the correct blanket weight according to your body weight. Most experts say to choose a weighted blanket that is about 10% of your body weight plus a pound or two.
Do be sure to take a minute to do the calculations to find out your correct blanket weight. A blanket that is too heavy can not only be uncomfortable but could also restrict breathing.
Suggestion to consider: When in doubt, get the lighter weight. For example, I weigh about 170 lbs. So theoretically I would need a 17-20 lb weighted blanket. But if my only choices were 15lbs or 20lbs, I’d pick the 15lbs and here’s why:
If you find that 15lbs is not enough weight for you, then you can always fold the weighted blanket in half to add more weight to the targeted area of the body. But if you were to get one that you feel is a bit too heavy and makes you feel like you’re suffocating, you can’t take away weight! So it’s better to get the lighter and “add weight” by folding it in half than be stuck with a weighted blanket that makes you feel smothered.
Second suggestion to consider: If you already know you like a lot of weight over you, such as you currently stack 2 comforters plus a heavy quilt over yourself and then make your dog sleep over your legs on top of that, then get a heavier weight than the suggested 10% of your body weight. Again, I’m 170lbs and if this were how I liked to sleep, I would get a 20-25lb blanket.
“How restrictive is a weighted blanket? Will I be able to shift and move without feeling stuck and waking me up every time I need to change positions?”
First, you will need to make sure you get the correct amount of weight for your weighted blanket. (See above).
Once you have the correct weight, the short answer to this question is: It’s not restrictive at all!
One thing to keep in mind is that the weight of a weighted blanket is not the amount of weight that will be over you. What I mean is, a 20lb weighted blanket means that the entire blanket itself weighs 20lbs. And you won’t have the entire blanket over you at any given time. You will most likely be in the center of the weighted blanket as the rest of the blanket drapes down the side of you onto the bed.
You can also try and think about what it feels like to have a small baby laying on your chest. A 12-15 lb baby isn’t restrictive at all, and you’d easily be able to turn over if you wanted to. And that’s with having the entire 15 lbs weight of the baby on you – unlike what it will be like having the partial weight of a 15lb weighted blanket over you.
“Are the beads inside noisy? Will I hear them every time I move?”
The poly-pellets or glass beads inside each sewn in square of your weighted blanket are packed inside a soft polyfill layer of stuffing. This is what gives your weighted blanket its soft and cozy feel, just like any other blanket. It also encases the beads into each square and acts as a sound barrier.
So as long as you be sure to get one of the well-known, quality weighted blankets and not a cheap knock-off brand, then nope, you won’t hear any beads moving about! (I mean, if you literally put your ear up to one of the squares then sure, obviously, you will hear something moving around in there. But it’s a very, very subtle sound and can’t be heard while you’re sleeping.)
“How do you clean it?”
Some weighted blankets do say they are machine washable. Others say spot clean or dry clean only. And almost all that I’ve seen say hang dry.
Where the heck would you even hang a 20 lb blanket without breaking whatever you’ve got it draped over to dry?!
The heavier the weighted blanket, the more likely the chance your washing machine will have a hard time – and could possibly break it! (And then break your dryer, too!)
My 3-year-old has a 5 lb weighted blanket. Even though I don’t do this, I’d be more willing to put that in my washer than, say, my 15 lb weighted blanket!
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The quick and easy solution to keeping your weighted blanket clean is to simply get a duvet cover for it. That way all you have to do is remove the cover, throw said cover in the wash, dry it, and put it back on your weighted blanket. Good as new!
Now, speaking of duvet covers, weighted blankets have specialized duvet covers, so you won’t want to just go out to your local Bed Bath & Beyond and buy any ‘ol duvet.
First off, weighted blankets tend to have slightly different dimensions than traditional blankets. Partially because they are not necessarily made to replace your comforter on your bed.
You know how your bed comforter hangs a few inches off the sides of your bed? Well, a weighted blanket won’t; It’s not supposed to; So don’t expect it to! And you wouldn’t want it to anyway because you see, there’s this thing called gravity and the weight hanging over the side of your bed would pull the blanket towards the ground and would A) make the blanket fall off the bed (or couch) onto the ground and/or B) make it feel as though more weight is over top of you as each side of the banket would be pulling against you!
Second, duvet covers made specifically for weighted blankets have 4-8 loop & string ties inside so that you can fasten the weighted inner layer to keep it in place within the duvet. Without these ties, the weighted blanket would bunch into the corner of the duvet cover faster than you can say ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.’ 😉
There are different types of duvet covers for weighted blankets:
- Cotton – Made of 100% cotton fabric
- Minky – Super soft minky fabric for those cold winter nights! These are so cozy, warm, and comfy! (Think, super soft, fuzzy baby blanket!)
- Bamboo – Made of 100% natural bamboo viscose to aide in cooling (great for you hot sleepers like yours truly!)
Pick one that matches your needs and style! You could even get one for the cold winter months (minky) and one for the hot summer months (bamboo) and change them out as the seasons change.
So, what’s the verdict? Do weighted blankets help with anxiety or not?!
That is the question, ain’t it?! Is purchasing a weighted blanket just a big hype and waste of money? Does it really help with calming anxiety?
And the answer is…………Yes, no, or maybe so.
Not the answer you were hoping for? Sorry my friend. But, hear me out on this..
Obviously, nothing is a guarantee. Everyone is different. Everyone’s bodies are different. Everyone’s anxiety levels are different. What works for one may not work for someone else. You know this.
Also, understand that there really is no one thing that you can do that will “cure” your anxiety. It will take a number of smaller things that add up.
I have a pretty comprehensive list of things you can try to help alleviate your anxiety (plus how to quickly calm a panic attack before it starts) HERE.
And yet another list of remedies to help with anxiety-related insomnia HERE.
That being said, a weighted blanket is another tool to add to your “things that calm my anxiety and make me feel a little bit better” list! Every little thing helps. And if a weighted blanket is something that feels good when you drape it over you, then that’s a win! Feeling good is better than feeling bad. 😉
Here’s my personal experience with using a weighted blanket to help my stress and anxiety
For about the first week or two, it did nothing for me. If anything it made my insomnia worse because I had this newly foreign, and different feeling object in my bed that I wasn’t used to having there. Plus I had to finagle with figuring out what was most comfortable for me as far as how I like my blanket positioned – do I want it on my entire body or just over my legs or torso. And lastly, it took a few nights of figuring out what new setting to set my Bedjet cooling system at since I now would need to increase the blowing power so that I wouldn’t sweat all night.
In other words, I had to get used to it.
But, now that I’ve got all those kinks figured out, my weighted blanket is just another part of my comfy, nicely cooled bed (thanks to my Bedjets!). Same as my other comforter, sheets, and pillow.
Some nights it works and helps me fall asleep pretty quick. Other nights, not so much. The not-so-much nights almost always happen when my anxiety was excessively high that day and nothing, not even my nightly calming bedtime routine, is going to help me fall asleep. The weighted blanket doesn’t stand a chance on those nights lol. Nothing does.
Staying asleep – that has and still is my biggest obstacle with sleep. Why can’t my brain just stay asleep all night!
Because I toss and turn a lot all night long, sometimes the weighted blanket can end up shuffled off of me. But I do find myself reaching for it in the middle of the night when this happens. I need my cuddle blanket! So note, my weighted blanket helps me fall BACK asleep quickly during my middle of the night wake ups. That’s a win in my book!
Does it keep me asleep all night long? No. But, hell, I’ve got 36 years of shitty sleep under my belt – every single night – due to having Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It’s going to take my body some time to figure out how to sleep perfectly. And, it’s going to take overcoming the root of my clinical anxiety disorder before that can happen. But I’m actively working on it!
Bonus: I have found that using a weighted blanket has helped my Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)! When I lay down at night, within about 20 minutes my legs start the awful and uncomfortable sensations with an irresistible urge to move them. My legs will violently twitch too when my RLS acts up. But the weight of my heavy blanket over my legs seems to keep my RLS at bay! Yes!
The official, but unofficial verdict:
Allllll of this being said, I absolutely recommend getting yourself a weighted blanket to help your anxiety your anxiety-related insomnia!
Recommended Weighted Blankets
There are tonsssss of weighted blankets on the market these days. Some are worth your time, and honestly, some are crap knock-offs.
So which ones should you look into getting?
I personally have this YnM Cooling Weighted Blanket which is made with 100% natural bamboo viscose on the outer layer. I got the 48in x 72in, 15 lb one. And because I know I’m a hot sleeper, I also purchased the YnM Bamboo Duvet Cover that fits perfectly for their weighted blankets. The outer layer of this YnM Cooling Weighted Blanket and the bamboo duvet cover feels cool to the touch. It almost feels silky. Also, this cooling blanket used less stuffing on the inside. Perfect for hot sleepers like myself!
YnM also has their cotton weighted blankets, and although they can be a little warmer, this may be right up your alley if you are always one to put your cold feet on your poor husband while you sleep lol! Also perfect for cooler winter months! (You could even get a YnM minky duvet cover and be warm and toasty as you look like a baby swaddled in a swaddle blanket!)
Another popular cotton weighted blanket is the Amy Garden All-Seasons 7 Layers Cotton Weighted Blanket along with its removable and washable duvet cover.
And lastly, take a look at this Quility Weighted Blanket. It comes with it’s own removable duvet cover that is included in the price. (I am loving and wanting that minky grey/aqua color!)
For my 3-year-old, I got this Sweetzer & Orange kids weighted blanket. I got him the 36in x 48in, 5 lb blanket. For the kid’s sizes (5lbs or 7lbs) this weighted blanket comes with an ultra cute minky duvet cover. I got my son the sleepy dinosaurs cover. He has always been obsessed with minky blankets of all kinds so this weighted blanket has been perfect for him. He loves his “heavy blanket,” as he calls it! It even helps him take a longer nap during the day!
There are lots of things you can try in order to help minimize your anxiety, particularly so that you can get some much-needed sleep and beat insomnia. Try out a weighted blanket and see if it works for you.
And one more thing, check out a few of my other posts that are jam-packed with some more ideas that you can try in order to lower your anxiety:
- 10 Natural Remedies For Anxiety +6 Ways To Stop An Anxiety/Panic Attack
- A Bedtime Routine For Adults To Help You Fall Asleep FAST
- Anxiety-Related Insomnia: 6 Ways To Help You Fall Asleep
- 50+ Cheap (Or FREE!) Hobby Ideas That Can Reduce Anxiety
Have you tried a weighted blanket for your anxiety? What is your verdict? Did it help your anxiety and insomnia? Comment below!
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