Weighted Blanket Benefits & How to Use to Unlock a Better Sleep

The weighted blanket is considered this decade’s best new find…

…and tops everyone’s must-have or must-give list. For over 20 years, weighted blankets (and weighted vests) have been a critical therapeutic solution for sensory motor issues in children as well as for anxiety and stressors in adults. 

Today, millions of people use a weighted blanket to relieve everything from insomnia to chronic pain.

This post offers information about the benefits of weighted blankets and answers your most common questions.

Chapter 1

What is a Weighted Blanket?

Medical professionals typically use weighted blankets to provide deep touch comfort for anxious and restless patients in a therapeutic setting. Dr. Temple Grandin, an animal behaviorist, was the first to observe that deep-pressure touch calmed the central nervous systems of animals and humans with sensory disorders. Dr. Grandin, who has autism, was inspired by personal sensory issues and those observed in animals. She developed a "hug machine," which led to the weighted blanket's development and use.

Heavier than standard blankets, weighted blankets apply even pressure across the body to promote relaxation.

Today, millions of adults and children use weighted blankets to promote restful sleep, feelings of well-being, and relaxation.

How Do Weighted Blankets Work?

Weighted blankets provide deep-pressure therapy, very much like the touch therapy experienced with massage and reflexology. Deep pressure all over the body helps the brain to release calm-inducing dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters promote feelings of relaxation and well-being. Users describe their response to using a weighted blanket as one of feeling hugged or held.

How Are Weighted Blankets Made?

A weighted blanket cover is constructed from between four and seven layers of fabric. Natural organic cotton is the best cover material to support moisture-wicking, breathability, and temperature control. The weighting material can be 1/8-inch poly-plastic pellets, weighted discs, or micro glass beads. The glass beads are fine-textured like sand, while poly-pellets resemble pearl barley in size. Weighted disks are ultra-thin metal discs with a ceramic or plastic coating.

Chapter 2

Weighted Blanket Benefits

Talk to anyone who has trouble falling asleep at night, and you’ll hear their frustration through a fog of fatigue. They’ve likely tried everything. A warm bath, herbal tea, meditation, sleep hygiene (no screen time before bed), gentle music, and as a last resort, a medication that leaves them groggy the next day. The struggle is real.

When news about the benefits of weighted blankets reached the world of non-sleepers, there was no looking back. The heavy blankets, which for years were primarily a therapeutic medical tool, became available to everyone. And users couldn’t be happier. It seems that most people enjoy at least one of the following benefits.

Weighted Blanket Benefits That Everyone Can Enjoy:

  • Help you fall asleep faster - say goodnight to insomnia!
  • Make you feel as though you’re being hugged as you drift off to sleep.
  • Reduce tossing and turning in the night.
  • Help you feel grounded and relaxed - to help you sleep through the whole night.
  • Help you wake up rested and refreshed.

The weighted blanket continues to benefit adults and children who experience anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). The deep pressure of weighted blankets can also help those with depression, ASD (autism spectrum disorder), restless leg syndrome, and insomnia.

Weighted Blankets are also suitable for daytime relaxation. Enjoy the calming effects of your weighted blanket while you relax on your favourite chair or couch. Watch television, read, listen to music, or simply take a nap under your weighted blanket.

Weighted Blanket for Anxiety

The deep pressure afforded by weighted blankets can help reduce anxiety in both children and adults. Phobias, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders are some commonly known examples of anxiety. Weighted blankets can help anxious people achieve a relaxed state, allowing them to sleep more deeply.

Weighted Blanket for Depression

There are many types and causes of depression. Your physician can help you decide if the deep pressure touch provided by weighted blankets will alleviate your condition. Deep pressure triggers the release of the hormones dopamine and serotonin, which combat stress, anxiety, and depression.

Weighted Blanket for Restless Legs

The Mayo Clinic describes Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) as a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation. It typically happens in the evening or nighttime hours when you're sitting or lying down.

The deep touch pressure (DPS) of weighted blankets may relieve the unpleasant symptoms of RLS by placing evenly distributed weight over the body and triggering pressure points that help in the production of crucial relaxation and sleep hormones.

The Kakun Mini Weighted Blanket. The organic cotton Kakun mini Weighted Blanket is ideal for those suffering from RLS. Its smaller size is perfect for placing over the legs while relaxing or sleeping.

The deep touch pressure of the mini weighted blanket also relieves stress and anxiety when draped around the neck and shoulders or across the lap while lounging or sitting.

Weighted Blankets for PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) usually develops after particularly stressful and traumatic experiences. One of the biggest challenges for people with PTSD may be achieving a whole night of restful sleep. Patients with PTSD symptoms sometimes experience nightmares, panic attacks, flashbacks, and interrupted sleep. According to Harvard University Health, research about the benefits of deep pressure therapy (weighted blankets) for PTSD is limited. However, weighted blankets may provide some relief to those suffering from symptoms of PTSD. Speak with your doctor or therapist about this sleep solution for your condition.

Weighted Blanket Autism

A weighted blanket offers gentle compression that feels like a hug to children with autism. Children on the ASD spectrum are often averse to sensory overload from physical hugging but respond well to the pressure or “hug” of a weighted blanket or vest. The weighted blanket or vest causes the child’s body to release oxytocin, a hormone being studied for potential benefits to children on the spectrum.

Weighted blankets for ADHD

Weighted blankets can be beneficial to people with ADHD. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a common condition that makes it hard to focus, keep still, manage emotions, and consider consequences before acting.

Many children with ADHD have trouble calming down and self-regulating. For some, a weighted blanket may be helpful. Speak to your child’s pediatrician or occupational therapist about the benefits of weighted blankets for your child’s unique needs.

Chapter 3

How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?

The standard weights of blankets are usually 10, 12, 15, 17, and 20 lbs. Sleep solution specialty shops like Resthouse carry weighted blankets in all sizes.

The following chart offers a basic guideline as to blanket weights.

Weighted Blanket Chart

When choosing the proper weight for your blanket, calculate 10% of your body weight and round up or down by up to 2 lbs.

Blanket WeightBlanket SizeBody Weight
4-6 lb30" x 45"30 to 50 lb
7-11 lb38" x 58"60 lb to 100 lb
12-17 lb42" x 66"100 lb to 160 lb
18-25 lb42" x 76"170 lb to 240 lb

What Is the Heaviest Weighted Blanket?

Researchers studied the effects of various blanket weights and determined that 35 lbs (almost 16 kg) was the heaviest blanket advisable.

A blanket heavier than 10-12% of your body weight can be uncomfortable and possibly restrict blood flow. Heavier isn’t necessarily better.

Chapter 4

How to Choose a Weighted Blanket

If you are considering investing in a weighted blanket and are not sure about the size, filling, breathability, or care of your blanket, visit a store specializing in sleep solutions. A sleep specialist will help you choose the perfect blanket. The sleep specialist should also invite you to try out various weighted blankets that fall within your advised weight range.

Some manufacturers sell weighted blankets in bed sizes such as king, queen, or double, but sharing a weighted blanket is not recommended. Each person should choose their own blanket with expert advice from a sleep solutions specialist. It’s important to obtain the ideal weight for each person.

Weighted Blanket for Kids

If you're buying a weighted blanket for a child, consider their size, weight, and age. Typically, the correct weighted blanket will be about 10% of your child's body weight. You can add 1 to 2 lbs to give some flexibility since blankets often come in fixed sizes, such as 3 lbs, 5 lbs, and up.

Children under three years of age should not use a weighted blanket. If you want to buy a blanket for a child under three years of age, or less than 50 lbs in weight, speak to your doctor first.

Cooling Weighted Blankets

The National Sleep Foundation says that the ideal temperature for high-quality sleep is between 15°C and 19°C or 60-67 °F). If you are looking for a weighted blanket that provides cooling effects, choose one made with moisture-wicking and breathable fibres. One-hundred percent natural organic cotton or bamboo offer excellent thermal regulation and help maintain a comfortable sleeping temperature. These fabrics also support sustainability.

The Kakun Weighted Blanket available at Resthouse Sleep Solutions is an ideal choice that offers the following features:

  • Night-time movement reduction
  • Made using four layers of undyed, quilted, GOTS Certified organic cotton
  • Contains food-grade, BPA-free, 1/8", plastic pellets for consistent coverage from head to toe
  • Machine washable

Heated Weighted Blanket

Unlike an electric blanket which has a temperature control switch, weighted blankets do not heat up. If you sleep cold, use a cozy quilt or comforter beneath or over your weighted blanket. A comforter or quilt made with breathable organic fibres will regulate your temperature best. Quilts and blankets made with organic cotton provide an extra layer of warmth around your weighted blanket, and these fabrics are easy to wash and dry. A heavier weighted blanket is not the answer to more warmth while you sleep. Choose the appropriate blanket weight for your size and add a warmer cover.

Chapter 5

Weighted Blanket User Guide

Choose a weighted blanket that is the right size and weight for you. If you are unsure, speak to a sleep shop specialist about the right blanket for your needs.

How to Use a Weighted Blanket

Once you’ve chosen and purchased your weighted blanket, place it on your bed and try it out. You can put it on top or beneath your quilt or comforter.

Use your blanket consistently to enjoy the benefits. It’s great for snuggling under to enjoy an afternoon nap, as well as for a restful night’s sleep.

Use your weighted blanket while relaxing on a couch or chair. Its weight will make you feel as though you are being hugged!

How to Wash a Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets up to 15 lbs can be laundered in your home washer and dryer.

For heavier blankets (20-25 lbs), an extra-capacity commercial machine (such as those found in laundromats) is recommended for best results.

Use warm water for washing and medium heat for drying. Spot clean by running cool water through the area of focus and draping or hanging your blanket to dry. Please do not use bleach or fabric softener as these will compromise the fabric.

Do not dry clean as dry cleaning involves chemicals and intense heat, which may compromise the organic cotton fabric.

Weighted Blanket Side Effects

As wonderful as they are, weighted blankets are not for everyone. Young children under three years old or less than 50 lbs may be at risk when using a weighted blanket. Always check with your child’s doctor before using a weighted blanket for a child of any age.People with certain health conditions should also avoid weighted blankets. These include chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and obstructive sleep apnea.

Also, a weighted blanket may be unsuitable for claustrophobic people as it may cause anxiety rather than ease it.

Are weighted blankets harmful?

Weighted blankets are not harmful unless used with children under three years of age or less than 50 lbs. Always consult a doctor before using a weighted blanket for a child that weighs less than 50 lbs.

Weighted blankets are not recommended for people with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or obstructive sleep apnea. Also, those with claustrophobia should not use weighted blankets.

Are weighted blankets good for circulation?

Diabetes can cause problems with circulation. The heaviness of a weighted blanket may further restrict circulation in people with diabetes. If you have blood circulation issues, speak to your doctor before using a weighted blanket.

Are weighted blankets bad for arthritis?

No medical research or evidence suggests that weighted blankets are good or bad for osteoarthritis.

Should you use a weighted blanket every night?

There is no evidence to suggest that using a weighted blanket every night is harmful. Many people use their weighted blankets for night sleep and daytime naps with no problem.

Who should not use a weighted blanket?

Young children under three years of age or less than 50 lbs are at significant risk when using a weighted blanket. Always check with your child’s pediatrician before buying a weighted blanket for a child of any age.

People with certain health conditions should also avoid weighted blankets. These include diabetes, circulation problems, and chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and obstructive sleep apnea.

Also, a weighted blanket may be unsuitable for claustrophobic people, as it may cause anxiety rather than ease it.

Are weighted blankets suitable for side sleepers?

Most manufacturers suggest a lighter-weight blanket for side sleepers. A lighter weight would be a few pounds or a kilogram lower than 10%of your body weight.

Do you put a weighted blanket over a comforter?

How you use your combined comforter and weighted blanket is up to you. Feel free to use the comforter under or over your weighted blanket.