What are weighted blankets?
As the name suggests, a weighted blanket is a blanket that is heavier than a regular blanket.
The extra weight is provided by small plastic pellets or glass beads. These are distributed across the blanket in small stitched quilted compartments to hold the weight evenly across the blanket. This applies a gentle, even pressure on the person using it, like a 'warm hug'.
This gentle weight provides deep touch pressure (DTP), encouraging the brain to release neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Working alongside melatonin, these chemicals naturally induce a calming effect on the body, helping to sooth the nervous system and encourage restful sleep.
Similar to a gentle massage, the light touch from a weighted blanket is also thought to release oxytocin, the ‘feel good’ hormone which helps reduce blood pressure and provide a feeling of calm and relaxation.
What is a weighted blanket for?
Weighted blankets were originally developed as an aid for some of the anxiety tendencies associated with autism. However, the positive effects of weighted blankets have created an increase in popularity as an alternative way to help manage anxiety and stress and difficulties falling asleep.
A weighted blanket for anxiety?
Feeling anxious affects us all at certain times. Stress and anxiety cause cortisol to increase in the body. Often called the ‘stress hormone’, cortisol stimulates the nervous system and can lead to a range of symptoms, including muscle tension, headaches and difficulty relaxing.
This is where a weighted blanket may help!
The deep touch pressure stimulation (DTP) of the blanket helps to both reduce cortisol and encourage the brain to produce serotonin; a natural mood enhancer. Serotonin also naturally converts to melatonin, which helps your body and nerve activity to relax in preparation for sleep.
A weighted blanket for insomnia?
Many sleeping disorders are thought to be associated with low serotonin and melatonin levels, so the gentle pressure of a weighted blanket may help calm excess activity in the nervous system through stimulating the natural release of serotonin, a hormone which helps regulate our sleep/wake cycles. Serotonin also naturally converts to the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin, which tells our body when it’s time to get ready for sleep.
A 2015 report from the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders found that a weighted blanket did help those with insomnia to sleep better.
Weighted blankets may also reduce tossing and turning at night purely through the extra pressure exerted on the body.
What is the 'weight'?
Weighted blankets can be filled with many substances but traditionally use plastic poly pellets or glass beads.
Luckybacks weighted blankets are filled with tiny 0.8mm glass beads. As these are denser than plastic, fewer are needed to create the same weight resulting in a less bulky blanket. Compared to plastic the glass bead filling also creates less noise when moving and retains less heat if you have a tendency to get hot at night.
Will it make me feel hot at night?
Luckybacks weighted blankets are made with breathable 100% cotton.
A weighted blanket will enclose the body with few gaps for cold air to enter, so while they have a 4.5 Tog rating they may feel warmer, allowing you to enjoy the benefits all year round.
What weight do I need?
As a recommendation, weighted blankets should be approx. 8%-12% of a user’s body weight as per the guide below.
Blanket Weight User Kgs User Stone
6.8kg (15lbs) 57-85kg 9st-13st
9.0kg (20lbs) 75-113kg 12st-17st
11.3kg (25lbs) 94-140kg 15st-22st
If you suffer from any underlying health conditions, we recommend consulting with your GP before use.
At what age can I use one?
Some manufacturers suggest an appropriate weighted blanket may be used for toddlers from the age of 2, but others suggest waiting until a child is around 6 or 7. Luckybacks only make weighted blankets for adults with a weight suitable for most between 9 stone and 22 stone (57kg-140kg).
Before using please ensure the user can adequately move the blanket on their own.
Is a weighted blanket for me?
Weighted blankets are increasingly used as an aid to sleep and relaxation. Initially designed as a sensory aid for autistic children, the use of weighted blankets has fast increased in popularity as a way to help a much wider range of stress related and sleeping issues, as well as disorders such as ADHD or even restless leg syndrome.
So if you struggle to fall asleep, suffer from stress or anxiety and are looking for a practical, drug free option to help sleep or focus better, why not try a weighted blanket?