Do Weighted Blankets Work? | Anxiety & Insomnia | My Experience
What Are Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets, or sensory blankets, are blankets that are filled with plastic beads, which are evenly distributed into pockets, similar to a quilt. Some weighted blankets are filled with beads and poly-fil, which give the blanket more body and softness.
Who is a Good Candidate for Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets can be used for those who have autism, sensory disorders, anxiety, sleep disorders, and anyone who enjoys deep pressure on their body. I do not have autism, but I do have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), previous bouts of insomnia, and I enjoy deep pressure.
Deep pressure can be forms of contact such as massage therapy, firm hugs, or pressure from x-ray vests (like at the dentist or hospital). Deep pressure can bring up feelings of comfort and safety for people who enjoy these forms of contact, so if you enjoy these forms of contact, you might like a weighted blanket.
While researching weighted blankets, I learned that most websites that sell weighted blankets recommend that you buy a blanket that is one pound for every ten pounds of your body weight. So, if you are 150 pounds, they recommend you get a 15 pound blanket.
I thought 15 pounds might be too heavy for me, so I picked up a free weight of 10 pounds. I decided it was way too heavy for me, so I tried eight pounds. Even though it was a little heavy, I figured it would be just enough weight for me to feel the appropriate amount of deep pressure.
My recommendation when choosing a weight is to pick up the weight you think you want and think about carrying that weight around and being under that weight.
If you don't have weights at home, there are free weights in the fitness sections of SuperTarget and Wal-Mart, so you can just try out the weights there for free.
I decided to get my blanket from SensaCalm because after reading reviews of weighted blankets, I learned that they have a good return policy. I decided to get a pre-made blanket with a blanket cover, so I wouldn't have to wash the blanket all the time. SensaCalm has several types of fabric to choose from. I chose a soft, minky material that featured a grey and white chevron pattern for my blanket cover.
I got a light grey blanket in a medium, which just covers my body (I am 5'3"). I also got snaps to make sure the blanket stays attached to the blanket cover. The pre-made blanket was 40% off, and the cover was full price, so the total for everything was just over $220.
The pre-made blankets are usually shipped right away, but I had to wait a few days for my blanket to ship because I ordered a cover with it. I received my blanket in 10 days.
When I got my blanket, I was impressed with how well the blanket and cover were stitched. I chose a soft blanket cover, which doesn't feel cheap or pill up. I think that the cover will last a long time and is a good investment.
If you aren't sure if you are going to like a weighted blanket, I would order a pre-made blanket first, then get a cover later when you know you like it and are going to use it.
How Does the Weighted Blanket Feel?
When I first took the blanket out of the box (it comes in a box, wrapped in a big plastic bag), I was a little taken aback at how heavy the blanket seemed.. I sat on our couch and spread it out, and was immediately comforted by the pressure of the blanket.
However, after about five minutes of having the blanket on my legs, I noticed my legs were starting to hurt. I have arthritis, so I wasn't sure if my legs hurt because of the weather or the blanket, so I took the blanket off, then put it back on. Sure enough, a few minutes later my legs hurt again. I took the blanket and wrapped the upper half of my body in it and felt very safe and comforted. I began to feel sleepy, so I took it off for a while.
Later on, I went to bed and put the blanket on the top half of my body. At first it felt too heavy because I was lying on my back, but as soon as I turned to my side, the pressure on my chest stopped and I felt like I could breathe better.
If you are feeling any kind of discomfort with the weight of the blanket, try distributing the blanket to other parts of your body and see if that helps. If you have any kind of pain from the blanket that doesn't go away even with adjustments, you may just need a lighter blanket or weighted blankets might not be for you.
Sleeping with the Weighted Blanket
The first night I used the blanket, I noticed that I felt more relaxed when lying in bed and I had fewer anxious thoughts. I fell asleep quickly the first night, which was very surprising to me since it usually takes 45 minutes for me to fall asleep even when reading a book. My guess for the first night was that I fell asleep between 10 and 15 minutes of lying down.
Since receiving the weighted blanket, it has consistently helped me to fall asleep within 10 to 15 minutes of lying down. I also wake up less during the night with the blanket. Whereas I'd usually wake up three to five times a night, I now wake up only once or twice a night. If I do wake up, I fall back asleep much more quickly than I used to. Finally, I've noticed that I sleep much more deeply than I used to and feel rested when I wake up.
How Does a Weighted Blanket Work for Anxiety?
In my experience, the weighted blanket brought about a sense of calm, comfort, and peace. Because the blanket makes me so relaxed, I always fall asleep when I put it on. Yes, it does lessen my anxiety, but it lessens it in a way that lets me fall asleep easily.
I am interested in trying out weighted vests or smaller weighted blankets/lap pads to see if those lessen anxiety while I am active.
If you are trying to decide on a blanket, make sure you read the dimensions of the blanket and get one that covers the length of your body and gives you room on the sides for stretching out. I only cover the top half of my body with my blanket, so it's fine, but if you plan to sleep under your entire blanket, get one that gives you a little extra room.
Do your research before you buy a blanket. Weighted blankets are expensive and an investment. If you aren't sure if you are going to like it, get a blanket from a company that is reputable and has a good return policy.
Other Helpful Reviews of Weighted/Sensory Blankets:
I hope this review has helped you decide if a weighted blanket is something you'd be interested in. Are you going to buy a weighted blanket? Do you already have one? If you have one, do you find that you sleep better with it? Has your anxiety decreased since using the blanket? Do you have any questions for me about the weighted blanket? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!