How To Use A Weighted Blanket For Better Sleep

How To Use A Weighted Blanket For Better Sleep
Sometimes, there’s no better way to fall asleep than feeling safe and secure when being hugged by someone. 

Weighted blankets, also known as gravity blankets, or anxiety blankets have recently exploded in popularity for this exact reason. The weight of the blanket makes it feel like you’re being hugged, giving you ultimate night time comfort. 

Not used one before or sure how they work? We’ve got you covered in this guide of how to use a weighted blanket for better sleep. 

What is a weighted blanket?

So first up, what exactly is a weighted blanket? 

Weighted blankets are a type of blanket that have extra weights sewn into, or attached to them to make them extra heavy. The extra weight, usually made from plastic pellets or glass beads, is designed to add pressure to your body.

It may not sound nice, but this pressure creates an immediate calming effect, the same way someone hugging you would. Except, with a blanket you’re not being hugged by a total stranger, so it’s even more calming. 

It’s like being physically hugged by your own blanket. This sensation isn’t just comforting, but also encourages your body to release the feel-good hormone serotonin and the sleep hormone melatonin. 

It’s the perfect recipe for feeling good and heading on your way to a great night’s sleep. 

Our Top-Rated Weighted Blankets

Weighted BlanketQualityValue For MoneyOur RatingReviewOfficial Site
Mela Comfort ReviewsExcellentGood
9.4
Read ReviewVisit Website
Sommio ReviewsExcellentAverage
9.1
Read ReviewVisit Website
Gravity Blankets ReviewsAverageAverage
8.8
Read ReviewVisit Website

How do weighted blankets work?

Think about the immediate relief you get from a hug from a loved one when you’re going through a tough time. Or, in the horror show year of 2020, think about how good it was to give someone a hug when you finally saw them after months of shielding and isolation. 

Hugs are naturally calming sensations. It’s why babies love to be swaddled and are at their happiest when tucked into their parent’s arms. 

Weighted blankets work by stimulating this effect using something called deep pressure stimulation. 

Deep pressure stimulation decreases the activity of the body’s sympathetic nervous system, which is what is responsible for making you feel stressed and anxious. At the same time, deep pressure stimulation from the blanket also increases the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers heart rate, blood pressure, and gets your body ready for rest and relaxation. 

One study of weighted blankets found they reduced stress levels by 33%. In addition, 63% of participants reported a decrease in anxiety, and 78% said they found using a weighted blanket a preferable way to increase their level of calm.

What’s more, the deep pressure stimulation from weighted blankets can also cause the release of: 

  • Serotonin, which is the hormone that makes you feel happy.
  • Oxytocin, which is a hormone that makes you feel calm and attached to someone. This hormone has also been linked to increasing sleep time and quality and can reduce symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. 
  • Melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for sleep. 

In addition, deep pressure stimulation can also reduce the levels of cortisol, which triggers the body’s stress response. So, weighted blankets reduce feelings of stress, make you feel calmer, happier, more relaxed, and ready to sleep.  

How to use a weighted blanket

Nothing like trying out your blanket to see how you feel. The rewards are instantaneous.

The best way to use a weighted blanket is to just try it for yourself. Lay down on your back, put the blanket on, and see how you feel. Use it on your bed at night for better sleep, or on a sofa in the day to help you feel calmer, relaxed, and lessen symptoms of anxiety. 

Ultimately, there’s no one right way of how to use a weighted blanket. As long as the blanket is over you and you feel comfortable, then you’re golden. It’s just like any other blanket, with better side-effects. 

How to use a weighted blanket to increase sleep

If you’re thinking of getting a weighted blanket to improve your sleep, you’ll want to use it as part of a healthy sleep routine. 

Weighted blankets help a lot of people sleep. But if you have other sleep disorders or factors that are distributing your night, they’re only one piece of the puzzle. 

Alongside your weighted blanket, you might want to consider: 

  • Giving up the caffeine and alcohol, especially in the afternoon;
  • Avoiding gadgets, as the light and stimulation can make it hard for your body to switch off;
  • Cleaning your room to get rid of any mental distractions that might keep you awake;
  • Keeping your room cool at night.

For more tips, see our guide to building a healthy sleep routine here. 

If you suffer from anxiety or get a lot of anxiety attacks when sleeping, you might also want to pair your weighted blanket with relaxation exercises designed to help lower your anxiety levels. 

Who can use a weighted blanket? 

Weighted blankets can be used by anyone. Adult or child, the benefits of weighted blankets are available for everyone above the age of 1. 

If buying a weighted blanket for a child, make sure that you select a blanket that isn’t too heavy for them. They should be able to easily lift the blanket off them and not feel trapped by it. 

How heavy should weighted blankets be?

When it comes to choosing weighted blankets, 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. 

If you’re buying a blanket for a child, it’s always better to be cautious and buy a blanket that’s less than 10% of their weight just to be sure. 

Weighted blankets should feel heavy, but not heavy enough that you can’t lift them off you. You should be able to move around under the blanket – but feel so comforted that you don’t want to. 

How to pick the right weighted blanket 

Weighted BlanketQualityValue For MoneyOur RatingReviewOfficial Site
Mela Comfort ReviewsExcellentGood
9.4
Read ReviewVisit Website
Sommio ReviewsExcellentAverage
9.1
Read ReviewVisit Website
Gravity Blankets ReviewsAverageAverage
8.8
Read ReviewVisit Website

There are many different weighted blankets and styles for you to pick from. There’s bound to be the perfect weighted blanket match for you, whatever budget you have. 

When choosing your weighted blanket, these are the different qualities you want to look out for to get your right match. 

Size

Weighted blankets come in a range of sizes. You can get small, single blankets that are perfect for children, to big king sizes perfect for you and your partner to share in bed.

If you are buying a weighted blanket for bed, it’s recommended that you don’t buy it bigger than your bed size, as the weight will hang off the sides and not sit right on you. 

Weight

Weighted blankets range from 10-20 pounds. As we’ve discussed before, you want to aim for a weight that’s roughly 10%, or under, your own body weight. If sharing with a partner, it’s best to go with the lighter partner’s weight for this measurement. 

Material

Weighted blankets are available in all different types of fabric and styles, including ones that are hypo-allergic and machine washable. This one is all about preference and the types of blankets that you usually go for. 

Once you know what you want from a weighted blanket, you’ll have plenty of options to get your perfect match. 

If you need more help or guidance, why don’t you check our guide to the best-weighted blankets for anxiety, the best options in the UK, or see our full range of weighted blanket reviews. 

To get you started, we’ve also picked our favourite weighted blanket selection… 

Our top-weighted blanket pick

Mela Comfort Review

The Mela Comfort has been voted as the UK’s best-weighted blanket. And at Sleep4Beginners, we have to agree. 

Using glass pellets instead of plastic, the Mela Comfort blanket ensures that the weights are more evenly spread through the blanket and don’t realign themselves in the night. They’re SGS certified and entirely-rustle free, designed to give you a premium night’s sleep.  

What’s more, it’s also better for temperature regulation, helping keep cool in the summer and hot in the winter – as well as being a better option for the environment. 

The Mela Comfort blanket comes in a big 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. 

We’re not going to lie though, this kind of quality does come at a price. costing an impressive £159.99, it’s one of the priciest options out there. 

But it’s worth every single penny. And, you have an amazing 100-night trial to see if you agree. 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. 

Read the full Mela Comfort weighted blanket review here.