When you're hugged, your brain releases oxytocin. This chemical, sometimes referred to as the "cuddle hormone," makes us feel warm, secure, and relaxed. Weighted blankets aim to mimic this experience, leveraging the relaxation factor to lull us to sleep.
History of weighted blankets
The concept of weighted blankets isn't new. They actually have psychological and therapeutic roots in deep pressure stimulation (DPS) and touch therapy. An early pioneer of their modern iterations was the famed autism researcher Temple Grandin, who studied the calming effects of compressive devices on animals.
These modalities have since been employed to treat children with sensory and anxiety disorders, most recently with weighted blankets and garments. It's simply a method to initiate the chemical release that soothes us.
The comfort of touch, warmth, and security begins in the womb; we aim to recreate this effect for babies through swaddling, and as adults, through cuddling. Weighted blankets, then, rise to the occasion of a full-body embrace that allows you to move freely, yet securely, beneath the blanket.
Weighted blankets arrived right on time as society is undergoing a shift in work-life balance perspectives. They've been included in various product categories, such as non-prescription sleep aids, anxiety relief devices, and even self-care accessories.
Consumers with a variety of chronic health conditions may benefit from sleeping with weighted blankets, including those who struggle with anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, sensory disorders, and pain disorders. While weighted blankets aren't a guaranteed solution to any of these conditions, some people simply enjoy the feeling, even if it's a placebo effect.
Our favorite brand for pillows also makes a weighted blanket, and we're big fans. The Casper Weighted Blanket is made with the care and quality craftsmanship we expect from the name, and it promises to keep you cool whether you opt for the 10-, 15-, or 20-pound option.
This particular model was a big seller among those gifting weighted blankets for holiday 2019, likely because it's one of the only options that looks like a normal quilt. Plus, the quilted cover can actually be removed to be washed, which we love.
This top-rated, 100% natural cotton weighted blanket comes in options between 5 and 25 pounds, all at various sizes to fit any bed. You'll love its luxurious outer shell, which is soft and soothing against bare skin.
This weighted blanket will act as a statement piece, as it has a striking red and black pattern on one side and plush sherpa on the other. Great for those who like the look of flannel or who have a cabin-y vibe in their home.
This weighted blanket is also available in a range of sizes and weights. Its top-quality reinforced stitching ensures the filling stays in place. Choose a shell that suits your preferences among bamboo, cotton, or plush styles.
This super-soft velveteen weighted blanket offers an overall pleasant sensory experience. We love it for its plush feel, though it only comes in grey, so that might be limiting if the color doesn't match your home's accents.
This is another weighted blanket with a removable cover, so it's easy to keep the plush fabric clean and soft. It's made by a trusted brand, and while it's on sale at Kohl's, it falls in the lower end of the typical price range, making it a worthwhile bargain.
For couples who cuddle, this king-size weighted blanket is a whopping 30 pounds, so it can easily cover two people. Its six-layer design features breathable cooling technology that keeps you cozy without overheating, even if one of you is a hot sleeper.
Toddlers and young kids can enjoy one of 12 patterns in these weighted blankets, available in 5-, 7-, or 10-pound designs. They're filled with eco-friendly non-toxic glass beads and are made from 100% top-quality cotton.
Kids can sleep easy everywhere with this travel-savvy weighted blanket. Made from 100% ultra-soft cotton and available in two fun designs -- outer space or mermaid themed -- this blanket zips itself into a convenient carry case.
Older kids and teens can enjoy the perks of weighted blankets with this model available in six pastel colors. It utilizes SensaCool Dot Technology to keep them from overheating.
Gravity Blankets vs. weighted blankets
The Gravity Blanket, a therapeutic-grade weighted blanket, has drawn accolades for its well-engineered design. Gravity Blankets offer one of the larger weight ranges on the market, which is as much as 35 pounds in queen and king sizes. Their grounding feeling has been characterized as second-to-none, making it the top weighted blanket on the market.
While they come with a hefty price tag, Gravity Blankets have the features and design updates to justify it. They're available in a wide variety of shell material blends. Some Gravity Blankets are available in cooling materials, which are ideal for warm weather use or for those who experience night sweats. They even make a weighted sleep mask that's marketed to help the wearer achieve deeper sleep by distributing pressure across pressure points.
Consumers weigh in on the benefits
Like any trending holiday product, consumers have weighed in on social media and other outlets about their weighted blanket experiences.
Some people feel weighted blankets are cumbersome, and unsurprisingly, claustrophobic consumers shy away from them. Other consumers sing their praises, citing their most restful sleep in years as well as enhanced cognitive performance, improved anxiety levels, and overall better moods throughout the day.
At the end of the day, weighted blankets are the kind of product you have to try for yourself because they're hit or miss. Experience is subjective, so you'll need to snuggle up with one for a definitive assessment on whether it's something that might help you achieve better sleep and cut down on your anxiety.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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