Trying to sleep when you have anxiety is not fun and games.
If you’ve got anxiety, I’m sure you’ll recognise the picture. It’s late at night and you’re lying in bed. You’ve been trying to sleep for hours, but there are too many thoughts racing around your mind for your brain to simply ‘switch off’ and let you drift away.
The more you try, the harder it gets. Then you’re facing added anxiety on the fact that you just can’t sleep.
It’s a common problem. In fact, there are an estimated 6 million people in the UK who suffer from an anxiety disorder.
But the great news is that the less sleep you get, the worse your anxiety will be.
Oh, did I say great news? I lied. It’s not great news. It’s a vicious cycle of sleepless nights and worsening anxiety symptoms. The only way to improve this is to break the cycle. And while we don’t have a magical cure for anxiety, we do have tips to help you sleep better at night.
The best thing you can do to help sleep when you have anxiety is to get a weighted blanket. Let us explain why and the weighted blankets you need to know more information about.
What are weighted blankets?
Weighted blankets are in essence, exactly how they sound. They are blankets that have extra weights attached. Also known as gravity or anxiety blankets, the weight is designed to add pressure to your body, creating a comforting and calming effect.
They are usually made with weighted materials such as plastic pellets sewn into the inside, which is then made from a softer material like traditional blankets. They are designed in a way to evenly distribute pressure all over your body.
It’s like being physically hugged by your own blanket.
This sensation doesn’t only feel nice but also stimulates your body to release serotonin, which makes you feel good. In addition, this will also help your body produce more melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for sleep.
In short, weighted blankets are designed to help you feel good and sleep better.
They are available in different sizes and weights, but the general rule is that they should be roughly 10% of your own body weight. This will ensure that you get enough pressure to feel the benefits, but not too much you actually start to get crushed under the weight.
Which weighted blanket is right for you?
Answer 4 simple questions below to get a personal recommendation on which weighted blanket brand is most likely to suit you:
Do weighted blankets help with anxiety?
Yes, weighted blankets have been shown to help improve symptoms of anxiety. Like anything, it’s not a magical cure that will remove the disorder from your life.
Research has shown that deep pressure stimulation, which is created by weighted blankets, reduces autonomic arousal, or the ‘fight or flight’ responses. This is one of your body’s alarm systems, which creates common anxiety symptoms such as an increased heart rate or palpitations, hyperventilation, and nausea.
Therefore, having pressure on your body will prevent your body from going into anxiety-driven states of panic, helping you feel calmer. It immediately showed an improvement in 33% of the participants. In another study, 63% of adults showed an overall decrease in anxiety after using weighted blankets.
Now, that’s a powerful blanket.
But that’s not the only way a weighted blanket can help anxiety.
Weighted blankets improve sleep
The more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to get to sleep.
When it comes to comfort, you can’t really get better than a weighted blanket. It’s like being hugged or gently massaged. With it, you’re more likely to drift off. It’s the same sensation as a baby being swaddled before they go to sleep.
As mentioned earlier, they also help stimulate the release of serotonin and melatonin, making you feel happier and ready to sleep.
But that’s not all, they also decrease the amount of cortisol in your body. This is the main stress hormone, which means that weighted blankets also help relieve feelings of stress – another factor in helping you get a great night’s sleep.
They help with restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is a condition where people have uncontrollable and irresistible urges to move their legs. If you’ve ever been sat next to someone who can’t seem to stop bouncing their leg, this is what is causing it.
The condition can also cause an unpleasant ‘crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs’, which is often worse at night. This means restless leg syndrome can prevent people from getting to sleep at night, or even wake people up in the middle of sleep by involuntary jerking their limbs.
It can be fairly common with those who suffer from depression and anxiety and can also trigger the conditions.
By creating a comfortable weight on your legs, weighted blankets can ease the symptoms of restless leg syndrome and quieten the urges to move it. This will, in turn, also help improve sleep and ease anxiety.
How long does it take for a weighted blanket to work?
You’ll be able to feel the weight and comfort of weighted blankets straight away.
But when it comes down to sleep and mental health conditions, it can take longer to get an accurate picture of how it is affecting you. That’s why we recommend trying a weighted blanket for at least a few weeks to fully see how they are working for you.
Don’t worry, it won’t be long before you’re asking if it is OK to sleep with a weighted blanket every night.
The answer: of course it is.
Do weighted blankets make you hot?
Most of the time, no. Weighted blankets shouldn’t make you hot.
It’s easy to see where this question comes from. The idea of being underneath a big heavy blanket sounds like a winter dream. But in the hot summer nights, this is properly the last thing that you would want.
Ultimately, it depends on what fabric it is made from. If you go for ones made from fleece or flannel, you might find yourself getting uncomfortably warm underneath. This is because although these materials are nice and soft, they’re not breathable. They trap body heat underneath the blanket, making it nearly impossible to cool yourself down.
To stop yourself from getting too hot underneath, you need to choose one with breathable fabric that will circulate cool air during the summer.
As we’ll cover later in this article, Mela Comfort blankets are a great example of breathable anxiety blankets. They’re made from a machine washable and breathable fabric, which means you won’t get too hot underneath them.
Are there risks to using weighted blankets?
There are next to no risks for using a weighted blanket.
However, there are a few cautions that you need to keep in mind. Having a weighted blanket is great at creating a pressure that’s comfortable for most of us, but not for everyone. If you suffer from any of the following conditions, anxiety blankets might not be right for you.
- Obstructive sleep apnea as the added pressure could worsen your symptoms and further disrupt your sleep;
- Asthma as pressure on your chest or throat could make it more difficult to breathe at night;
- Claustrophobia as the pressure and ‘hug-like’ sensation might feel like you’re being confined, triggering your phobia.
In addition, you need to pay attention to the weight of the blanket. As previously mentioned, you should be aiming for roughly 10% of your body weight.
For those under 2, it’s not recommended to use one. If you’re unsure about getting one for your children, check in with your pediatrician for advice first.
The top 3 weighted blankets you need to know about
Ready to try weighted blankets for yourself and see how they can help improve your anxiety and sleep? Great news!
Now all that’s left to do is find the right one for you. Now, whether they’re called anxiety, gravity or comfort blankets, there’s a lot of options for your weighted blankets.
To make things a little easier, we’ve rounded up the best weighted blankets on the market for you. Here are our top 3 choices that you need to consider.
Top-Rated Weighted Blankets:
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1. Mela Comfort weighted blanket – Our rating: 9.4/10
The Mela Comfort weighted blanket is one of the priciest options on the market, costing an impressive £159.99. If that’s not in your budget, you should skip past this review right now.
But if you can stretch that far, the Mela comfort blanket is definitely worth your attention.
Like the Isaac weighted blanket, Mela Comfort also uses glass pellets instead of plastic. However, Mela Comfort’s glass pellets are SGS certified and entirely-rustle free, giving you a premium night’s sleep.
It also has a bigger range of weights (5.5kg, 7kg, 9kg, and 11kg) and sizes, including both double and king-sized. Which means you can get one to fit your bed perfectly, or prevent your partner from trying to take it off you. There’s room to share in the king-sized option.
It is pricey, but you don’t have to stick to your decision. Mela Comfort offers a whopping 100-night trial. If you’re not convinced it’s worth the price tag after sleeping with it for 100 nights, you can get a full refund.
Our official Sleep4Beginners rating: 9.4/10.
2. Isaac weighted blanket – Our rating: 9.3/10
UPDATE JUNE 2020:
Isaac Sleep has, unfortunately, closed down. The Isaac weighted blankets are no longer available. This review is kept only for historical purposes. We recommend choosing from our top-rated weighted blankets instead.
Instead of using plastic pellets, the Isaac weighted blanket is made from glass pellets.
Using glass instead of plastic isn’t just better for the environment, it also ensures that the weights are more evenly spread throughout. In addition, it increases the blanket’s ability to thermo-regulate, helping to keep it cool in summer and warm in winter.
For added temperature control, you can also remove the covering, making it a great one to have year-round.
Best of all, the Isaac weighted blanket is one of the cheapest options on the market. It really goes to show that more money doesn’t always guarantee the best quality.
It’s available in 10lbs, 15lbs, and 20lbs weights and will fit most double beds, making it a great option for couples. The downside? You’ve only got one colour option. So if you don’t like grey, you’re out of luck here.
Overall, this is a fantastic weighted blanket for those who want to try it but aren’t keen on spending a fortune.
Our official Sleep4Beginners rating: 9.3/10.
3. Sommio weighted blanket – Our rating: 9.1/10
Unlike the other options, the Sommio weighted blanket offers something entirely different to ensure that you get the perfect fit for you. A unique ‘build a blanket’ service.
Yes, this means you can fully customise the weighted blanket that you need. First, pick from 6 different weights, which range from 1kg (perfect for children) to 12kg. Then complete it with your choice of 8 different fabric patterns, putting the single grey option of the Isaac weighted blanket to shame.
If you don’t want a blanket, the Sommio also offers a weighted duvet, which might be a better option for some people.
They also offer a few off the shelve options for you to choose from, as well as a prime upgrade. This upgrade will give you a smaller pocket inside to keep weight more evenly distributed. The downside to this? You’ve got a lot of options to choose from. If you want something simple, sticking with an Isaac or Mela Comfort blanket might be the right choice for you.
Now, you don’t get the luxury of a 100-night with Sommio, but you do get a 21-night exchange policy if it’s not working out for you.
Our official Sleep4Beginners rating: 9.1/10.
Unlock a better night’s sleep with weighted blankets
The pressure caused by a weighted blanket creates one of the most comfortable and relaxing blankets in the world, feeling like you’re being hugged.
The blankets are proven to make you feel better, decrease your stress levels and lower anxiety, all while helping you get a better night’s sleep. It does this by increasing the production of serotonin and melatonin in your body while reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
In addition, the pure comfort of the blanket will also help aid your sleep, helping improve your mental health and ease your anxiety. It’s an all-round winner that’s worth trying today, using our above reviews to help get you started.
Need more tips on getting the best night’s sleep? See more helpful advice here.