Weighted Blanket Pros and Cons: Should You Get in on the Craze?
We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Cooler temperatures will soon arrive, providing the perfect excuse to cuddle up under a warm blanket with a juicy novel. If you believe the hype you see online, a weighted version could be your ticket to bliss-city. Is it worth the investment? Here are the weighted blanket pros and cons — should you get in on the craze?
Benefits of Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets aren’t only cozy. They offer various health benefits for many. Check out some of the perks.
1. Ease Anxiety
Nearly a fifth of all Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder. Far from a mere mental ailment, the stress associated with this condition can cause physical health woes, like increased heart disease risk.
Weighted blankets create a feeling of cozy security that can ease stress and anxiety. It’s like a protective shell between you and the world, imparting a sense of calm.
2. Activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System
Weighted blankets simulate deep pressure stimulation. This therapeutic modality helps your body switch off your sympathetic nervous system and turn on your parasympathetic one.
Your sympathetic nervous system is responsible for fight or flight, while your parasympathetic half tells your body it’s time to rest and digest. This change stimulates the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, both of which make you feel calm and relaxed.
3. Promote Melatonin Production
The increase in serotonin may help you sleep more soundly. That’s because it serves as a precursor to melatonin, a vital sleep hormone. Your pineal gland, a small structure in your brain, produces this substance from the amino acid tryptophan — the stuff in turkey that has a reputation for inspiring post-meal naps.
4. Reduce Restless Leg Syndrome
If you have restless leg syndrome, a weighted blanket could be your best friend. People who have tried these claim that they work wonders for the condition.
The secret once again lies in the magic of serotonin and melatonin. Additionally, weighted blankets decrease cortisol levels, a stress hormone that may contribute to the pesky compulsion to move your legs throughout the night.
5. Simulate a Hug
Who couldn’t use more hugs? After the isolation of the past pandemic year, many of us crave a bit more human touch.
A weighted blanket doesn’t replace human companionship but does help you feel less alone when you’ve been isolated for a while. Why not consider sending one to a distant loved one whom you haven’t seen in some time? It’s like sending them an embrace in the mail.
6. Sleep More Soundly
Probably the most significant benefit of weighted blankets is that they can help you get your best night’s sleep ever. All of the perks above combined can help if insomnia keeps you tossing and turning.
Create a wind-down routine consisting of chamomile tea, a novel and your weighted blanket. Put your phone in another room, and you might drift off before you know it.
Are There Any Cons to Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets sound fantastic, but are there any drawbacks? Here are some reasons you should pause before you hit “add to cart.”
1. People With Certain Health Conditions
If you are one of the millions of Americans with diabetes, you may wish to give weighted blankets a pass. This condition impacts your circulation, and the additional heaviness can complicate matters even further. Anyone with circulatory disorders should avoid using these products, as they can affect blood flow.
Likewise, if you have difficulty breathing, you shouldn’t place any additional pressure on your chest and airways. People with sleep apnea and COPD may find that weighted blankets make their symptoms worse, which can be dangerous.
Many children, such as those on the autism spectrum and sensory processing disorders, benefit from weighted blankets. However, you should avoid using them in children under two or those with mobility issues. These youth may become entangled in the blanket, unable to free themselves.
3. Some Cases of Phobia and PTSD
Weighted blankets can work wonders for anxiety, as described above. However, in some cases, they make matters worse. If you have claustrophobia, the added pressure could end up making you feel trapped, triggering panicked feelings.
Likewise, people with PTSD stemming from a past sexual assault might find weighted blankets triggering. They could feel too much like an assailant’s weight on your body. Only you can ultimately decide if these products comfort or harm your psychological state.
Selecting the Perfect Weighted Blanket for You
If you’ve decided a weighted blanket is for you, what should you look for when you go to buy? Please follow these four tips to get the most for your money:
- Pick the right weight: Weighted blankets weigh anywhere from 10 to 25 pounds. Most experts recommend going with 10% of your body weight, but some people prefer heavier.
- Choose your substrate: Most weighted blankets use either glass beads or plastic to add pounds. Additionally, you can find those with added down or polyester to add extra warmth if you live somewhere chilly — or always feel cold.
- Consider washability: You can’t toss the whole blanket in the washer without losing structural integrity. Seek those with removable covers if you tend to cuddle up under yours while snacking and sometimes drip french onion dip.
- Look at length and width: You want your blanket to cover your toes comfortably, so size yours accordingly if you are big and tall.
Will You Get in on the Weighted Blanket Craze Now That You Know the Pros and Cons?
Weighted blankets offer multiple benefits, although there are a few drawbacks. Now that you know the pros and cons, will you get in on the craze?