By Jessica Giles
This past Christmas, one of my presents was a little heavier than most. When I tore into the box, I thought my sister had gotten me a sandbag. But when I opened the bag inside, I found something I never knew I needed: a weighted blanket.
I had read everyone’s high praise for weighted blankets all over the internet in the past, but I was skeptical that a heavy piece of fabric could be worth the $70 to $100 I saw them going for online. Now as the proud owner of a 15-pound blanket, I can say that I’m a believer — and a big one. Whether you’re a weighted blanket skeptic or you’re considering buying one right now, here are some of the benefits of a weighted blanket.
- They can help calm anxiety
One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed since snuggling up under an extra 15 pounds is that my anxious mind is more easily put to rest. There’s science to back this up too. Weighted blankets provide deep touch pressure all over your body to help your body shift from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest” mode, according to the American Sleep Association. When anxious thoughts keep us up at night, it usually means our body is working overtime in “fight or flight” mode. Weighted blankets help put your mind at ease so you can get to sleep.
2. They could improve your quality of sleep
For people who struggle with insomnia, weighted blankets could be a great non-medicinal path to better sleep. In a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders, participants who slept with a weighted blanket didn’t move as much during sleep, spent less time awake and felt more refreshed in the morning. The deep touch pressure that helps switch your body into “rest and digest” mode also helps your body produce more serotonin and melatonin, which are key chemicals that make us sleepy.
3. They can be a useful tool for people with autism
Weighted blankets can be used for more than sleeping. In fact, they’ve been found to be a powerful tool for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. People with ASD may feel as though the sensory stimulations around them like noise and touch are too intense. This can make social situations overwhelming. Weighted blankets provide pressure that some people with ASD may find comforting and could prevent them from feeling overwhelmed by surrounding stimuli, according to Penn Medicine.
So if you’re looking to catch some quality Z’s, a weighted blanket could be worth the investment.