While weighted blankets have become more and more popular in recent years, the science behind them is often left out of the narrative. So how much do you really know about weighted blankets? From easing the symptoms of insomnia to helping support those who struggle with PTSD, the benefits are endless.
Here are 20 benefits of weighted blankets, according to science:
1. Eases Insomnia
Until you’ve experienced insomnia, it’s easy to dismiss it as a mere bump in an otherwise smooth road of easy sleep.
It’s safe to say anyone with this attitude has never truly experienced insomnia. If you’re one of the 70 million Americans who suffer from the condition, you know exactly how Edward Norton’s character in Fight Club felt. (He was so exhausted he literally hallucinated through the entire movie. He also punched himself.)
While your insomnia might not drive you to create an underground boxing club, it can definitely interfere with your life. Research has shown that a form of therapy called deep touch pressure stimulation promotes the release of serotonin, a chemical that regulates sleep. Weighted blankets provide this firm but gentle pressure anytime you need it, which means lots of blissful Zs.
2. Helps with Sensory Processing Disorder
Researchers have described sensory processing disorder as a “traffic jam” in your brain. Information gets in, but it somehow gets jumbled and clogged up along the way. This can lead to anxiety and meltdowns. Sensory processing disorder can be especially challenging for young kids, who don’t always have the emotional maturity to verbalize how they’re feeling.
Studies have shown that weighted blankets can produce a “calming effect” in kids and adults with a sensory processing disorder. The same research also found that weighted blankets help reduce the anxiety that often accompanies the condition.
3. Reduces Anxiety
Anxiety is unfortunately quite common, affecting about 40 million people in the U.S. There are several ways to ease anxiety, including identifying your triggers, setting aside designated “worry times” throughout the week, and using a weighted blanket.
A weighted blanket is a lot like getting a firm but gentle hug — except you don’t have to ask your roommate or significant other to give you one. Even better, you can get the benefits just about anywhere, from the sofa to your bed.
4. Fights Back Against Stress
Stress happens to everyone, and you don’t have to experience chronic stress to feel the negative impact. Whether it’s a bad day at work, an argument with your spouse, or an avalanche of bills, stress can do a number on your mental and physical health.
The good news is weighted blankets help you fight back by calming the nervous system through deep touch pressure stimulation therapy. Luna offers weighted blankets in a wide range of attractive, contemporary patterns and styles, you can even incorporate your weighted blanket into your home’s decor.
5. Improves Focus for those with ADHD
One of the most common hallmarks of attention-deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD) is a lack of focus for adults and children alike. Some have trouble completing a task, others are inclined to restlessness.
The bottom line is that ADHD poses a wide range of possible symptoms, and it doesn’t always affect everyone the same way.
Deep touch pressure stimulation, which is what weighted blankets offer, has been shown to produce a calming, soothing effect that reduces anxiety. And because deep touch pressure also helps with mood and sleep, it’s also great for addressing those symptoms in ADHD sufferers.
For a deeper dive, check out our blog post for more tips on dealing with ADHD: Do Weighted Blankets Help with ADHD
6. Eases Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome
Patients with restless leg syndrome often describe it as a tingling or “creepy crawly” feeling in their legs. Because symptoms tend to happen more frequently at night, it can lead to insomnia and unsatisfying sleep. Traveling in a car or riding in an airplane can be a nightmare when you have an overwhelming urge to constantly move your legs.
Some patients say they could get relief if only they could somehow weigh down their legs or put constant pressure on them. Many even turn to compression socks to get some relief.
However, these socks can be extremely tight and even add to the discomfort. They can also be difficult for people with arthritis or mobility challenges to put on. Weighted blankets provide the deep pressure you crave without any constriction on your legs. Pro tip: Opt for a child's size for traveling!
7. Eases Fibromyalgia Pain
Fibromyalgia has often been called a “silent disease” because so many sufferers fail to get a diagnosis or have to wait years before receiving one. It’s also a condition that disproportionately affects women.
Characterized by chronic, idiopathic pain in at least 11 out of 18 pain points, fibromyalgia can be debilitating. While certain drugs may help patients manage their symptoms, there is, unfortunately, no cure.
For some, the gentle but firm pressure of a weighted blanket is an important tool for preventing flare-ups. At Luna, we constantly hear from fibromyalgia patients who swear by their weighted blankets and wouldn’t sleep without one.
You can read more about fibromyalgia and weighted blankets here: Can a Weighted Blanket Help with Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
8. Improves Sleep Quality
Not everyone who experiences bad sleep has insomnia. Sometimes, fatigue is simply the result of poor sleep quality. While it’s important to get the right amount of sleep, it’s also crucial that the sleep you get is truly restorative. Some experts refer to sleep quality as sleep hygiene.
One way to improve your sleep hygiene is by using a weighted blanket. Because deep touch pressure stimulation boosts serotonin, sleeping under a weighted blanket can help you fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and wake feeling more rested.
9. Boosts Mood
When you feel down, it can sometimes seem like you’ll never feel happy again. While it’s normal to feel grouchy or irritable, researchers know that some bouts of sadness are caused by chemical changes in the brain. For example, if your brain isn’t producing enough serotonin, it could actually impact your emotional health.
Fortunately, deep touch pressure stimulation has been shown to boost the production of serotonin. There’s also evidence that deep touch pressure reduces cortisol (stress) levels.
10. Promotes Sense of Calmness
Have you ever had a day that just refused to go right? The kind of day where you get stuck in traffic on the way to work, spill coffee all over yourself at your desk, and then come home to a dishwasher that leaked all over the floor?
Bad days can strike when you least expect it—or need it. A popular misconception about weighted blankets is that you must have a diagnosed medical condition to truly need one. While we here at Luna love hearing from people and families who use our blankets for medical issues, we also talk to customers who use their weighted blankets to unwind and de-stress after a long day.
The reality is that everyone can benefit from feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. You deserve a little TLC. A weighted blanket can definitely deliver it!
11. Encourages Focus in the Classroom
If your child is on the autistic spectrum or has a sensory processing disorder, yo traditional classrooms can often pose a set of challenges. Classrooms and hallways can be noisy, filled with bright colors, and overwhelming. Occupational therapists often use weighted blankets or vests to help kids feel less anxious, supported, and more focused.
12. Eases Pain without Drugs
Understandably, many people prefer to treat pain without drugs. If you’re tired of reaching for over-the-counter painkillers, or you take other medications that make it unsafe for you to use pain relievers, a weighted blanket is a 100% natural alternative to prescription or non-prescription drugs.
At Luna, we also use 100% hypoallergenic and non-toxic materials. Read more about what goes into our weighted blankets on our FAQ page.
13. Can Lessen Travel Anxiety
Travel is supposed to be fun and exciting, but it can also lead to anxiety and stress. Some people have trouble with small, confined spaces like airplanes and cars. For others, the hustle and bustle of the airport or train station can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to be out of your comfort zone.
This is where a weighted blanket or weighted wrap may help. The soothing weight of a weighted blanket can prompt your body to produce the feel-good chemical serotonin. In fact, 78% percent of people who used weighted blankets in a study said they preferred it as a “calming modality.”'
14. Helps the Elderly
There are many ways weighted blankets may benefit the elderly. As we age, we’re at an increased risk of chronic insomnia, and older people tend to experience higher rates of anxiety, stress, or depression.
If you have an older loved one, you may have noticed they tend to stay up very late at night or sleep in short stretches throughout the day.
When sleep researchers studied weighted blankets, they found that people who use them “liked sleeping with the blanket, found it easier to settle down to sleep and had an improved sleep, where they felt more refreshed in the morning.”
15. Addresses Symptoms of PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is most often associated with veterans who have experienced combat. However, PTSD can affect anyone who has suffered from a traumatic or stressful event.
Mental health professionals often see PTSD in people who have been involved in bad car accidents or a physical assault. Basically, any stressful or traumatic experience can trigger PTSD symptoms.
Various forms of therapy can help ease these symptoms, which often include insomnia and depression. In studies, researchers have observed that weighted blanket therapy lowers blood pressure, reduces pulse rates and helps 63% of study participants feel less anxious.
For a deeper dive, read more about weighted blanket therapy and PTSD here: Weighted Blankets for Anxiety and PTSD.
16. Decreases Anxiety in Pets
Does your pup struggle with loud noises? Is your dog an emotional wreck every time an ambulance passes the house, or the neighbors decide that 10 p.m. is a perfect time for setting off fireworks?
You may have seen special shirts or wraps designed to fit snugly around a dog’s body. Unlike a weighted blanket, however, they don’t contain any additional weight beyond the minimal weight of the fabric itself.
While some pet owners say these shirts work, others say their dog would do a full Houdini routine to wriggle out of them. Based on the reviews we’ve seen online, these products seem to have about a 50-50 success rate.
If a thunder wrap or shirt hasn’t worked for your furry family member, a weighted blanket might do the trick. Just as a weighted blanket can soothe and comfort a human, it may also reduce anxiety in dogs. In fact, many of our customers first learned about weighted blankets by ordering one for their pet, only to end up buying another for themselves!
17. Soothes Symptoms of Panic Disorder
Panic disorders can literally stop life in its tracks. Worse, many people with panic disorder don’t know when an attack will strike. For others, stressful events seem to make them more susceptible to experiencing a panic attack.
There are many ways to manage panic disorder, one of which includes using a weighted blanket. Studies have shown that people who sleep with a weighted blanket wake feeling less anxious and more refreshed. Because fatigue is a common trigger for panic disorder, a good night’s rest is an invaluable tool when it comes to controlling it.
18. Helps Manage OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects about 1 in 40 adults and is characterized by persistent, obsessive thoughts and behaviors.
The disorder can cause a large range of symptoms and behaviors, and it tends to look a little bit different for everyone. While many people think of OCD as a strong aversion to germs—and this can certainly be a form of OCD—the reality is the disorder is much broader than how people normally think of it.
Like other psychological disorders, OCD has been linked to low serotonin levels. By using deep touch pressure stimulation therapy, weighted blankets may help boost serotonin and ease the severity of OCD symptoms.
19. Supports Autism Symptoms
If you or a loved one is on the autism spectrum, you know just how incredible that person is. So finding ways to support them through some of their daily struggles is essential. According to Harvard researchers, “one therapy that has mounting evidence of support is a massage or touch therapy.” In studies, autism patients responded most favorably to gentler, slower touch.
Additionally, researchers found: “Touch therapy has been noted to have immediate and long-term effects on the body’s biochemistry, including decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increased levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which play roles in mood regulation, movement, impulse control, and more.”
Looking for a weighted blanket for a loved one on the autistic spectrum? Check out our guide: How to Find the Best Weighted Blanket for Autism.
20. Recreates a Hug
What’s better than being enfolded in a big, warm bear hug? Babies definitely know what’s up. Most infants respond positively to being swaddled, cuddled and rocked. When a child is hurt, one of their first actions is usually to run toward a parent in search of a hug.
As it turns out, adults really aren’t all that different. The instinct to crave a hug doesn’t go away, and most of us still feel calmer and more relaxed when we get one. Skeptical? Think about the last time you snuggled under a down comforter or burrowed under your blankets on a chilly or stormy night.
Or maybe you enjoy it when the dentist puts that heavy x-ray protector vest over you, but you can’t quite figure out why.
The comforted, peaceful feelings most of us get from hugs and gentle pressure is really just weighted blanket therapy at work. Studies show that hugs can boost serotonin and dopamine, the two feel-good chemicals in the brain. With a weighted blanket, you can get a hug whenever and wherever you need one. Count us in!