Probably by now, you’ve already heard of the wonderful benefits of a weighted blanket.
Initially intended to help kids with their sensory and anxiety problems, it has soared in popularity these past few years (they’re still helpful for kids though).
Worldwide Google searches on weighted blanket has multiplied by sixfold on average since 2015.
On Instagram are countless photos of people with big smiles on their faces, getting snuggled by their weighted blankets. These are practical testaments to how it has helped them get better sleep.
But if you are interested in what science has to say about it, we explain here how it works and what benefits you can get from it.
We will also answer the most common questions our subscribers (maybe, you as well) have about weighted blankets.
How does a weighted blanket work?
Comforters are called as such for a reason. It provides warmth that makes you comfortable in bed at night.
Weighted blankets take it up a notch by providing the feeling of getting cocooned. Its heaviness applies even and “feel-good” pressure on your body, which activates deep pressure stimulation.
What happens here is your parasympathetic nervous system, the one responsible for your body’s rest response, becomes heightened. Your muscles start to relax, heart calms down, and endorphin levels (our happy hormones) rise.
Overall, this produces a calm and soothing feeling that leads to better sleep.
Dr. Temple Grandin, Ph.D., an animal scientist, pioneered this therapeutic application of deep pressure stimulation.
She observed that cows held up inside a squeeze chute (think of it as a cow-hugging machine) appeared significantly calmer than when they went in.
So, she thought, why not create one for humans?
She developed a hug machine when she was 18 to manage her anxiety attacks and found excellent results with it.
To test it further, she invited college students to take part in a “sensory perception” experiment, without telling them what this machine’s main purpose is.
Fifty-five percent of the participants said that they were relaxed and some felt like they were “floating in the air.” Interestingly, this is just within ten minutes of using it.
Though you can’t use a big, heavy machine just to sleep at night, you can still take advantage of the same benefits it can provide through your weighted blanket.
What are the benefits of a weighted blanket?
With the growing interest in weighted blankets comes a growing number of researches studying it. So far, here’s what we know:
Improves sleep quality
Recently, we sent out a survey (we’re still accepting responses) about weighted blankets to all our e-mail subscribers.
We found out that the average sleep duration of all respondents is only 6.3 hours (for context: this survey was conducted during the community quarantine).
This is even a half-hour short with Healthy Living Index Survey’s findings, stating that Filipinos only get 6.8 hours of sleep each night (still not a good amount though).
We should not put up with this situation.
Using weighted blankets has been found to help people stay asleep longer and with fewer interruptions throughout the night. These are the findings of a study on 31 chronic insomniacs, as published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders.
When the participants were interviewed about their experience, they said that the blankets helped them sleep easier at night and improved the quality of their sleep.
It also did not make them feel hot, which is the usual concern with sleeping under a weighted blanket.
Personally, I can relate to this.
My biggest concern with sleeping is that I often wake up (usually three to five times every night) during the wee hours for a restroom break.
Sometimes, I find it hard to go back to sleep, which compromises my overall sleep experience.
When I was trying out samples of our goodmood Weighted Blankets, I noticed that I only wake up once or twice a night then always doze off instantaneously.
This happened just after using it for three nights (using it up until now).
Reduces stress and anxiety level
You’re having your morning coffee fix, and all of a sudden, you thought of whether you’re going to make it in life or not.
We do not exactly know how, but anxious thoughts just pop into our minds. It can be as simple as an upcoming exam or those important things like job security.
When this happens, our body’s fight-or-flight response system fires up.
The heart beats faster and breathing quickens. Sometimes (or rather most of the time), it makes falling asleep at night problematic.
A weighted blanket does the opposite. The gentle pressure it produces puts your body into “rest mode,” which calms you down and makes you feel more relaxed.
A study published on the Occupational Therapy in Mental Health agrees with this.
Thirty adults with mental health illnesses were subjected to an experiment about the effectiveness of weighted blankets. Sixty percent of the participants reported that using the blanket reduced their anxiety.
The catch is that the blanket was only put on each participant for five minutes!
This same group of researchers did a similar study in 2006 that led to similar results.
Aside from reduced anxiety levels, one-third of the participants also exhibited lower electrodermal activity, which suggests a greater sense of relaxation.
Just like with Dr. Grandin’s hug machine (and the cows’ squeeze chute), weighted blankets aren’t for bedtimes only. You could drape yourself with it while streaming Netflix, reading a book, or just whenever you’re feeling stuffed.
Aside from better sleep and lower anxiety levels, using weighted blankets help improve your overall mood.
During deep pressure stimulation, our body goes into rest mode, making us feel calm and relaxed.
What’s great is that these also signal the production of melatonin in the body.
It is a hormone that helps us fall asleep, which is why it has become a popular supplement for those with sleep problems.
Common questions about weighted blankets
In this section, we’ll answer the most common questions we have received about our weighted blankets.
How heavy should my blanket be?
The general rule of thumb in choosing a weighted blanket is to get one that weighs around 10% of your body weight.
This is practically heavy enough to produce “feel-good” pressure on your body (imagine a cuddling hug) to maximize the benefits of sleeping under one.
Our goodmood Weighted Blankets will be available in 5.4 kg and 6.8 kg options, which are ideal for those who weigh between 50 kg and 75 kg.
However, you should still consider your preference and lifestyle. If you work out regularly or prefers harder massages, then heavier-than-recommended blankets may suit you better.
Consider this especially if you fall in between the two options (say, you weigh 60 kg).
Do weighted blankets make you feel hot?
Even with the additional weight, weighted blankets are not necessarily hotter than your typical comforters.
Our goodmood Weighted Blankets are designed to be comfortingly heavy while minimizing heat buildup and retention.
Material choices have a big impact on your comfort, so we tested different fabrics in developing it.
We found out that using bamboo cotton as the material of our blanket’s duvet cover is the perfect choice for our warm climate here in the Philippines.
Bamboo cotton is very soft to touch, more breathable, and moisture-wicking compared to other fabrics we have tested.
Plus, they are more environmental-friendly!
Will the weight of the blanket make me feel more anxious?
The additional weight isn’t supposed to make you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. Rather, a weighted blanket should be calming and relaxing.
In this study, the weight of the blankets selected and used by the participants ranged between 12% and 38% of their body weights.
These numbers are higher than what’s typically recommended. However, they reported that the blanket’s heaviness wasn’t distressing and in fact, made them feel secure.
Suppose you’re still feeling anxious about it (and that’s okay!). In that case, we recommend that you cover only a portion of your body (maybe your legs) during your first few nights of using it.
How do I wash my weighted blanket?
Machine wash your goodmood Weighted Blanket‘s duvet cover with cold water and gentle detergent. Tumble dry it in low heat or line dry it outside.
With the duvet cover, you’ll rarely need to clean the inner weighted blanket piece.
When you do, we recommend that you only hand wash it. This is to minimize the risk of the filler glass beads from leaking out.
After washing, lay flat on a drying rack or hang evenly to air dry your blanket.
When will your blankets be available?
Our goodmood Weighted Blankets are now available for orders. Excited to get yours? Head on here.
Share your thoughts with us below!
Got additional questions? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.