Are weighted blankets worth the hype? (Spoiler: YES)

Weighted blankets are set to be the biggest wellness trend of 2020 as people slowly discover the various benefits of weighted blankets, from better sleep and reduced anxiety, to helping with symptoms of various health conditions.

Here are all your questions answered along with my honest review, and the verdict from the mother of an autistic child.

(I purchased one from Tranquillow and absolutely love it. They are a start-up, which is definitely one of the best weighted blanket UK brands as they include a weighted eye mask and have great customer service — not that I had any problems, but I reached out to them for this blog post.)

What is a weighted blanket?

The heavy (and incredibly soft) blankets have the science of deep touch pressure (DTP) on their side, with benefits going far beyond a good night’s sleep. DTP triggers various responses from the body’s nervous system, including the release of serotonin (often referred to as ‘happy hormones’) which is necessary for the body to then release melatonin — the sleep hormone.

How to use a weighted blanket

This is up to you. The more of your body you cover, the better, but it doesn’t need to be used only for sleep. Use it whenever, wherever, and reap the benefits. If you are using it in bed, it doesn’t matter what position you sleep in either.

What size weighted blanket do I need?

It isn’t really about size, this will vary by brand (Tranquillow is a little smaller than a double). The blanket should be approximately 10% of your body weight, which will distribute evenly across you (so it is not advised that the blanket be shared).

How do you wash a weighted blanket?

This might vary according to the brand, but Tranquillow blankets can be machine washed on a cold setting.

Weighted blanket benefits

According to Tranquillow, it can help both adults and children who live with or experience autism, ADHD, restless leg syndrome, cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and high blood pressure.

The effects of DTP help the body to fall asleep, as well as soothing anxiety and various symptoms of ill mental health.

The verdict: will a weighted blanket help me sleep better?

I have been a bad sleeper my entire life and I do not exaggerate. I can recall many a sleepless night from my childhood spent listening to the rest of the family go to bed one by one (I’m the youngest) or waking up in the middle of the night for hours.

My inability to sleep well goes beyond my memory; my mother has often told me that even as a baby I didn’t sleep well and stopped napping pretty quickly compared to others my age. 

I chose the 7kg blanket, which is more than 10% of my weight but the option below would have been too low. I had been wary at first, of feeling trapped or claustrophobic and the founder of Tranquillow warned me some people need about a week to get used to weighted blankets.

On delivery I was shocked at the weight of it, but once spread across my body it didn’t seem like much at all. It was soothing and has definitely helped, after a few nights I began falling asleep faster, and now I am surprised to write I want an even heavier blanket.

The verdict: will a weighted blanket help with symptoms of autism?

I don’t have autism, nor do I know anyone who does, so I sought out somebody to give me their verdict.

Nicki Rodriguez’s eight year old son Harrison, who has an autism diagnosis as well as sensory processing disorder and global development delay, has been benefiting from a weighted blanket for a while.

“He started off with a weighted blanket to help calm his anxiety as the pressure makes him feel secure and relaxes him. He uses it for sleep but more so when he is anxious in the daytime. It didn’t take him any time to get used to it — it had effect immediately, the pressure of the weight calms him down.”

See more health and fitness features here.

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