Weighted blankets have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, becoming a crucial tool in helping to form healthy sleep habits for many. But just what are weighted blankets, how exactly do they work and are they even worth the hype? Scroll on for everything you need to know about weighted blankets, including the best ones to buy now.

What is a weighted blanket?

As their name suggests, weighted blankets are heavier than normal duvets or down quilts, and are used for therapeutic purposes. They typically weigh between 4 and 30 pounds and are supposed to be roughly 8-12% of a person's body weight for ultimate effectiveness.

How do weighted blankets work?

Weighted blankets use a technique called deep pressure stimulation, which increases the amount of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, relaxing the user's nervous system and making them feel more secure. In the same way that a warm hug results in feelings of security and safety, a weighted blanket offers a physical connection that helps the body relax.

What are the benefits of weighted blankets?

Research has proven that there a number of benefits associated with weighted blankets, some of which include:

  • Anxiety relief

One of the main uses of a weighted blanket is for anxiety relief. Deep pressure stimulation can help reduce autonomic arousal, which is responsible for many of the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate and restlessness.

  • Improved sleep quality

Weighted blankets are often used by insomniacs as a non-drug approach to improving their sleep quality. This is because the added pressure helps to calm one's heart rate and breathing. The sensation of a light touch also stimulates neurotransmitters relaxes the nervous system.

  • Chronic pain reduction

Weighted blankets have been shown to reduce the perception of pain. This is because a weighted blanket helps to “ground” the body during sleep by pushing it downwards. This grounding may be responsible for a reduction in cortisol, which has a negative effect on the immune system and also increases blood sugar levels and impacts the digestive tract.

  • Panic disorder control

A weighted blanket can help people with panic disorder sleep better by promoting the ‘calming’ hormones and neurotransmitters to calm the body and brain.

  • Relief of depression symptoms

Deep pressure stimulation promotes the release of serotonin and dopamine, two brain chemicals that create a calming effect and can relieve symptoms of depression.

Should you buy a weighted blanket?

If you are following good sleep hygiene with regular bedtimes, a calm sleeping environment and avoiding electronics at least an hour before bedtime and you still can't get to sleep, it may be worth considering investing in a weighted blanket. Insomnia can be incredibly frustrating, resulting in further anxiety, which a weighted blanket can help to reduce.

3 best weighted blankets to buy in 2023

Mela Weighted Blanket

Mela is a Manchester-based startup making weighted blankets of the highest quality. Each Mela weighted blanket is engineered to provide the best possible night's sleep. The look is of a deluxe duvet, complete with cover in soft polyester, 100% cotton — or even bamboo. The inner blanket is where the magic happens, with weights discreetly sewn in at selected points around the padding. The idea is that you'll feel - as Mela put it - "swaddled, the physical connection that you feel provides a sense of warmth and safety that helps the body relax”. There's a 30-night trial so you can make sure it suits your needs before you commit.

Emma Hug Weighted Blanket

Emma is perhaps known for its premium mattresses, but the label has extended its expertise to weighted blankets. Its 7kg Hug weighted blanket is made from breathable cotton with two layers of microfibre and polyester pad for ultimate softness and extra fine glass beads for evenly spread weight. A removable 100% bamboo cover replicates the luxurious feeling of silk, but is easier to maintain and clean. Emma gives you 200 nights to decide if it’s right for you and, if not, you can return the blanket at no cost.

Kuddly Weighted Blanket

Kuddly's 5kg weighted blanket is perfect for adults and children. It features anti-rustle glass micro sand beads that are encased in a pocket of polyester and silently mould to your body’s shape. A breathable fleece shell is designed for optimal airflow to maintain the most comfortable temperature throughout the night. It's the size of a throw blanket or single bed, making it easy to transfer across rooms. Choose from two versatile hues — navy or grey.

Shop all blankets and throws at OPUMO.