For years, occupational therapists have been using weighted blankets as a calming therapeutic tool for
children with sensory processing disorders.
With anxiety affecting over 40 million adults in the US alone, it is no wonder that weighted blankets have recently gone mainstream. They are now also recommended for busy adults who want to enjoy peaceful nights.
Similar to a hug from a loved one, the weighted blankets will calm the mind and body, while promoting
a more restful sleep. These combined benefits help combat anxiety, stress, and insomnia problems.
In this article I have reviewed the best weighted blankets for anxiety and insomnia that are currently available (this article has been updated in 2018) and outlined their important features and benefits. Did you know that 20 lb weighted blanket is the most popular choice for adults?
You can be sure that all the blankets featured below are of excellent quality. I hope you will find this information useful and it will help you to easily select the most suitable brand, colour and size for you or your child, so you can enjoy better sleep and less anxiety.
What is a Weighted Blanket or Anxiety Blanket?
Weighted blanket, also called anxiety blanket, gravity blanket or heavy blanket, is two pieces of fabric sewn together with heavy filling or weight inside. The filling may be sewn into squares for even weight distribution.
Compared to regular blankets, weighted blankets are not for keeping the user warm. Instead, they are designed to give them a feeling of comfort and peace through a calming compression therapy.
In fact; occupational therapists recommend heavy blankets for treating various nervous disorders including anxiety, panic attacks, autism, ADD and ADHD as well as aches and pains.
This is due to the feeling of comfort one experiences upon donning the blanket; many people actually describe said feeling as being is ‘akin to peace’, ‘like being hugged’ or ‘as if a loved pet is sleeping on you’. Grief-stricken people and people with sleep issues or sensory problems who have used weighted comforters describe feeling centred and happy.
Weighted blanket for anxiety can be safely used by kids and adults. Even babies are known to sleep better with these sensory quilts.
In this guide, I am going to review eight best weighted blankets for adults and children. But first, let us study the principle weighted comforters are based on.
How Does Weighted Blanket Work?
Everyone from very young babies to the fragile and elderly patients wants comfort and peace when resting. We all know about our 5 senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. But there are two more senses that are important us and which let us know about our body parts.
These are body awareness and movement. A weighted blanket uses the principle of “sensory input via deep pressure” - effective compression therapy. In laymen terms, this means the surface pressure exerted by most types of touching such as holding, stroking, petting and swaddling.
These touches alert the nervous system into a feeling of calmness. Notice how infants and newborn babies relax when swaddled in blankets? The same principle lies behind weighted comforters. Their deep touch pressure simulation activates hormones in the brain which significantly improve mood.
Emergence of Heavy Blanket for Anxiety - Compression Therapy
Weighted blankets have always existed in the world (with little or no research). However, it was only in May 2017, that a company called Kickstarter started selling gravity blankets that claimed to treat a variety of health issues.
However, experts called out against Kickstarter’s use of the words “treat and cure”. The company claimed that weighted blankets cured many ailments without patients having to fill out prescriptions. Since then, Kickstarter has dropped the terms like “cure, treat, prevent” etc. as there are no regulatory agencies to support these claims.
People who used the gravity or sensory quilts were impressed with the restful sleep they got. And that is how weighted blankets became popular.
Benefits of Weighted Blanket for Sensory Issues
Weighted items like blankets, vests and toys provide deep pressure that gives a calming input. When one is calm, the brain is able to easily process information and learn quickly.
As a result, weighted anxiety blankets and toys can be beneficial for children having learning difficulties. Sensory blankets and quits are also useful for patients who are not able to stand human touch or are not body aware. Weighted items can help with following disorders:
- Improved alertness, focus and attention.
- Reduced aggression.
- Calming and decreasing activity.
- Relaxation and sleep.
- Deep pressure for chronic pain.
- Surgeries, illness and injury can cause a lot of anxiety. The calming and regulating effects of the anti anxiety blanket help patients recover quickly.
- Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive difficulties and sensory processing issues also benefit from weighted items.
The advantage of using weighted products like quilts, toys and vests is that they can be used in schools for children with autism or attention deficit disorders.
When placed around the shoulders or neck, they calm tantrums, relax and improve attention. Heavy blankets for anxiety can be used during activities to provide weight to the body which helps hyperactive children sit in one place.
During sleep, they provide comfort to restless, sad or depressed adults. Even soldiers coming back from the horrors of war, and people with post-traumatic stress disorders are known to benefit from the sensory weighted blanket.
Weighted Blankets for Anxiety and Insomnia - Studies and Research
Several randomised controlled trials have shown the efficacy of weight blankets in treating different disorders.
- Autism - Weighted blanket study on 73 autistic children showed that the blanket per se did not improve sleep quality but it was greatly preferred by both, the children and their parents. The weighted blankets were shown to help with transition and change and helped prevent tantrums and restlessness as well as bedtime anxiety.
- Improved sleep quality - Some studies have shown that weighted sensory quilts helped increase serotonin levels in the brain to provide better and faster sleep to insomniacs.
- ADHD - Along with other tools like watches and weekly schedules, weighted blankets provided cognitive support in adult patients with ADHD. In school-aged children with ADD and ADHD, task completion speed, attention to tasks and in-seat significance greatly improved after children wore weighted vests. Compression therapy using weighted blankets can be very effective.
Weighted Blankets for Adults: What are the Benefits?
Heavy blankets are beneficial not just for toddlers and kids. They are great for adults. How can something so simple as sleeping with weighted blanket be a solution to stress, anxiety and insomnia?
Studies confirmed that heavy blankets give a feeling of peace and comfort that reduces the feeling of anxiety. A 2008 study that explored the safety and therapeutic effects of deep pressure stimulation on adults using a weighted blanket. The results revealed that the use of the 30 lb weighted blanket, in the lying down position, was safe and lowered anxiety and had as a calming effect on study participants.
Another study published in the Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering in 2011 that investigated Physiological Effects of Deep Touch Pressure on Anxiety Alleviation: The Weighted Blanket Approach, provided physiological evidence to support the positive clinical effects of DTP (deep touch pressure) for reducing anxiety.
Weighted blankets can benefit adults in many ways. Depression, aggression, and bi-polar disorder have all been linked to low serotonin levels in the brain, which weighted blankets can help with. In addition, people dealing with depression, all sorts of trauma or going through detoxification program have reported symptoms relief.
Weighted blankets have also been reported to help people suffering from a Tourette’s syndrome, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease.
How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?
It is very important that the weight and size of weighted products should be appropriate and you must use it according to the situation as well as the condition you wish to treat.
However, almost anyone and everyone can use a weighted blanket as a part of one’s daily routine and even incorporate it into one’s day to day activities. Here are the weight limits for weighted items:
As a thumb rule, weighted items should be between 10 to 15% of individual’s body weight. Vests, cushions and toys can be 5% of body weight whereas weighted blankets can be up to 15% of body weight. Please follow the weighted blanket weight chart below when choosing a blanket.
Use the minimum weight which you find to be effective and comfortable. If in doubt, consult an occupational therapist for the right weight for your needs.
How Long Can You Use the Weighted Anxiety Blanket For?
You can safely use heavy blanket for anxiety all night. In case of therapeutic grade weighted items for use in classrooms, it is best to consult an occupational therapist regarding the time limit to use them for.
Where to Buy Weighted Blankets? Where Can I Find a Cheap Weighted Blanket?
Weighted products are available in many places. You can even make your own weighted blanket but I feel it is best to leave the task to the experts. This way, the blanket will conform to the right weight and you will be assured of using it correctly.
Online retail stores like Etsy are some good places to buy these products. But I would always recommend buying them from Amazon. Weighted blankets can be expensive and I've seen some that are poor quality.
Amazon has some amazing selection of cheap gravity blankets and you can also read honest testimonials from the actual users before making a decision to buy.
Below I have included the reviews of top rated weighted blankets you can find on Amazon. They all have had high ratings and I summarised the most important features and benefits below.
How to Choose a Weighted Blanket for Anxiety and Insomnia
Some people have tried to make their own blanket and found it to be costly and difficult. Making this type of blanket is not easy as the weight has to be distributed evenly and the blanket needs to be of the highest quality, otherwise it can "leak" or even fall apart.
Choose one of the blankets included in this review as they all have had great feedback from many happy customers. Always follow the weighted blanket weight chart.
- As stated above, the user/child should be comfortable with the weight of the blanket. It should not be more than 10% of the user’s body weight.
- Select a good fabric that is hypoallergenic and easy to clean.
- The squares of the blanket should be evenly placed and no more than 8x8 inches. This is to ensure that the weight is evenly distributed.
- Check the weights used in the blanket. Good weighted products ideally contain non toxic poly propylene pellets. Avoid products made with corn, beans and rice which can get mouldy after washing. Many manufacturers use sand and glass beads as well.
- Top rated weighted blankets for ADHD and nervous disorders will guarantee a risk-free purchase. This means you can return the product for full refund.
How to Take Care of Weighted Comforters
- Remove the weights before washing the blanket.
- You can easily replace the weights. Just make sure they are intact and have retained their shape.
- It is best to hand-wash the blanket in warm water. Air dry the blanket since a dryer could ruin the shape. Some of them can be washed in a washing machine on a gentle cycle.
- You can also cover the blanket with a duvet cover which is easier to wash in case of stains. Alternatively, choose a good blanket that offers removable covers which can be easily washed without damage to the inner/weight layer.
As always, follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning the product.
Best Weighted Blankets Reviews - Weighted Blankets on Amazon
1. Premium Weighted Blanket for Adults and Kids by InYard - Amazon's Choice Rated 4.5 Stars
This 10 lb weighted blanket is suitable for a child between 70-90 lbs but you can buy it in other sizes suitable for toddlers or adults.
Fabrics - This hypoallergenic blanket is made with 100% navy flannel on the back and navy microfleece 100% polyester on the front. The smaller size/ kiddies blankets sometimes are available with mini safari fabric and 100% cotton and 100% flannel on front and back respectively. Inside, the blanket contains non-toxic poly pellet beads for weight.
- Handmade in the USA.
- You can easily hand wash and also air dry this wonderful weighted quilt.
- It has been specially formulated with the help of occupational therapists.
- One need not be on the autism spectrum to enjoy this blanket; even chronic insomniacs and otherwise healthy adults/children have enjoyed deep restful nights with this baby.
- You get the weight of multiple blankets with this single product and the best part, you do not feel too warm or sweaty.
- Parents of ADD and ADHD kids have reported better sleep quality in their wards from its use.
- Comforting and cosy, this weighted blanket for anxiety and insomnia is a must have for adults and children who wish to sleep better at night. Check it out on Amazon here and select the appropriate size.
- The seams ruptured after a few uses. It is best to cover the blanket with a duvet so you can prevent stains.
- Flannel from the blankets tends to get on clothes.
- A slight movement and the blanket slides off of you.
2. Inexpensive Weighted Blanket for Adults - by YnM - 20 lb and 25 lb Weighted Blankets
- YnM top rated weighted blankets are available in different sizes ranging from 5 lbs to 25 lbs. 20 lb weighted blanket is the most popular size for adults and suitable for individuals weighing around 190 lbs. It's definitely one of the best weighted blankets for adults with anxiety or insomnia.
- Check out the king size 25 lb weighted blanket here that is great for people over 200 lbs or couples. Always remember to choose the blanket based on 10-15% of your body weight.
- This weighted blanket for sensory issues is made with 100% cotton and filled with non-toxic, hypoallergenic sand pellets that are delicate and comfortable.
- You can get this weighted blanket in several different colours and prints. Check out the price and see the colours here.
- The inner weight layer and outer warm duvet covers of this sensory weighted blanket are separable so you can easily wash its outer cover. This feature lets you enjoy it even on warm days as you simply use the inner layer.
- Very popular inexpensive weighted blanket for adults.
- The anti anxiety blanket has been specially formulated with help of therapists. It gives a feeling of being hugged that helps users fall asleep deeper and faster. People who normally took 30 minutes or longer to sleep actually slept off in 5 minutes with this blanket!
- The company assures 100% customer satisfaction. They work with manufacturers to source the products which translate into savings for you. See more details about 20 lb and 25 lb weighted blankets here.
- If you are after a king size weighted blanket, go for this brand.
3. Weighted Blankets Plus LLC in Solid Colours
These weighted anxiety blankets manufactured by Weighted Blankets Plus LLC are available in different weights like 10 lb, 14 lb, 16 lb, 18 lb and 20 lb and also vary in pressure such as Lite, Medium, Extra High Pressure etc.
You get these weighted blankets in 10 beautiful colours.
The material is 100% cotton and flannel, both of high quality. The duvets are filled with evenly distributed sugar-like glass beads for weight. The beads are filled inside 4x4 squares for even distribution.
- These therapeutic blankets are made in the USA
- They are particularly recommended for Asperger’s syndrome, anxiety, autism, SPD, sleep apnea, night terrors, insomnia and other mental disorders. Check them out here on Amazon. They have received many amazing reviews and overall have been rated 4.5 stars.
- Some users felt that the packs that hold the weight are too large so even distribution of weight is not possible. The weights also seem to fall off to the sides and not remain on top as most people would want.
- Many felt that the sensory blanket did not work as intended.
4. Weighted Blankets Plus LLC Prints - Best Weighted Blankets for Kids on Amazon
Weighted Blankets Plus provide soothing weight and pressure to stimulate a great nights sleep. They produce fantastic therapeutic results for individuals with anxiety, Asperger's, autism, SPD, PTSD, sleep apnea, night terrors, RLS, insomnia, relaxation and more. They have been rated 5 star by many happy users who enjoyed improved sleep while using this weighted comforter.
- Typical size of sensory quilts for babies and young kids is 48” (L) x 30” (W) - 5 lbs medium pressure. You can also buy different weights like 4 lb, 6 lb, 7 lb, 8 lb, 10 lb Adult Lite, 10 lb Teen Medium, 12 lb Teen High Pressure, 14lb Adult Med, 16 lb Adult Md Pressure, 18 lb Adult-high and 20 lb Adult Ext High pressure. Check out the available sizes of the Jungle print sensory blanket here and follow the weighted blanket weight chart.
- The weighted comforter is made with premium quality cotton and cotton flannel.
- This heavy blanket contains sugar like glass beads.
- Weighted Blankets Plus gravity blankets are top rated on Amazon, come in 5 gorgeous prints - (great weighted blankets for toddlers), including Jungle (shown above), Dolphins, Fox, Giraffe and Bugs. Each of them is available in several sizes, so no doubt you will find a blanket that you or your child will love. HINT: teenagers love the Giraffe print in black and white. You can also get the giraffe print blanket for adults (available in up to 20 lb extra high pressure size).
- Grid pattern allows for even distribution of weight.
- The material is perfect for use even in warm weather as it does not cause sweating.
- This high quality sensory anti anxiety blanket can withstand gentle machine wash cycle and air drying.
- Fantastic weighted blanket for kids - check out the beautiful prints
- It is perfect for kids and adults who get panic attacks or suffer from anxiety, ADD, pain, sleep problems, sensory disorders etc.
CALMFORTER premium weighted comforter are 12 lb weighted blankets with top reviews from many happy users are available in generous 60x80 inches dimension.
- Users get a choice of 5 different colours in this comforter: blue-green, purple-grey, pink-grey, coffee-grey and grey-grey.
- The premium weighted anxiety blankets from Platinum Health use special technology in their weighted products which allow quiet, even pressure. The Stardust™ micro-bead filling offers even pressure which feels like the best hug ever. The outer cover is smooth and silky made with minky fabric. It also has Sensadot™ texture pattern for kids or adults who fidget a lot.
Check out this comparison diagram below showing its advantages and order it here on Amazon.
- Outer cover unzips easily so you can wash just that instead of washing the entire blanket.
- It has helped people with fibromyalgia, insomnia, autism, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, ADHD, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, chronic pain etc.
- The texture is extremely soft.
- You can double the blanket up or, conversely, halve it to adjust the weight.
- Weights tend to bunch together even though there are ties inside that are supposed to hold them together.
- Available colours often do not match the ones seen online.
SensaCalm weighted blankets for anxiety and sleep issues are brightly coloured and come in 3 different sizes
- 14 lb for 110lb user
- 16 lb for 130lb user
- 18lb for 150lb user
Typical dimensions are 38”x72”. They provide minimum weight guidelines and you can add more weight if you are one of those "super" sensory seekers. Weight is evenly distributed across the blanket so you feel the same deep pressure no matter what part of the blanket is touching you.
- Bright pink raspberry and volcanic gray edging.
This therapeutic blanket is made with hypoallergenic fibre fill material. The outer cover is 100% cotton and stitched by experienced seamstresses. The weight is made with non toxic, hypoallergenic poly pellets.
- Tames tempers, soothes sleeplessness and provides deep pressure that is perfect for people with autism, fibromyalgia, anxiety disorders, PTSD etc.
- You can easily machine wash it on gentle cycle with cold water
- Does not make you hot or sweaty.
- For some users the blanket felt too heavy. Avoid weighted blankets that exceed 10-15% of body weight.
- More expensive than other brands
7. Premium Weighted Blanket for Adults and Removable Cover by Quility - 15 lb and 20 lb Weighted Blankets
Quility weighted blanket is made of 100% cotton material and filled with non-toxic hypo-allergenic glass beads. The beads are placed into small polyester pockets so the weight stays evenly distributed.
It is available in 2 sizes: 15 lbs and 20 lbs. The 15 lb weighted blanket comes with minky or fleece cover. See more details and order here on Amazon.
Each sensory blanket comes with a removable fleece duvet cover, which is secured into place with buttons along the edge of the blanket. Removing the comforter not only keeps you cool during summer, but also makes doing laundry much easier.
- High quality weighted blanket
- Best weighted blanket for adults with anxiety
- Combats stress, PTSD, and insomnia and has calming effect, resulting in a deeper sleep.
- Caring for Quility weighted blanket is easy. To wash the outer duvet cover, first remove
the inner blanket. Then, machine wash in cool water on a gentle cycle. To wash the inner weighted blanket, first remove the comforter cover and hand wash using mild detergent. Rinse well.
- Will not make you hot and sweaty.
- None really. Some people did not like the way the blanket attaches to the soft outer cover.
These heavy blankets for anxiety were designed and made by professional sewing contractors using lovely plush chenille fabric and have been featured in Forbes and Dr Oz Magazines.
- Magic blanket is available in 11 different sizes and weights ranging from 4lb to 24lb. Also Magic blanket lite is available.
- You get 6 different colour choices in this sensory blanket including chocolate chenille, lavender chenille, sage green chenille, champagne chenille, navy blue chenille and silver gray chenille. Check out the full selection here.
- Outer fabric is elegant, soft and plush chenille which gives the feeling like that of a beloved pet sleeping on you!
- There is no visible stitching which gives it a smooth non-therapeutic look.
- It has been designed and proudly sewn by experts in the USA.
- This lovely weighted sensory blanket won’t get you too warm or make you sweaty.
- Magic blanket lite version is also available.
- You can machine wash it on gentle cycle and air dry it.
- The weights used inside these weighted blankets for anxiety and insomnia are visible - you tend to feel them as well.
- Some colours available in the Magic Weighted Blankets tend to get dirty quickly and are not too attractive (as reported by many users).
Many occupational and physical therapists as well as rehab professionals utilise therapeutic weighted blankets for anxiety and promote their use for children and adolescents with learning disabilities or developmental disorders.
Parents of toddlers and kids with autism, Asperger's syndrome etc. have enjoyed blissful nights as the kids slept sooner and deeper. Even adults with sensory issues or sleep problems have found comfort with these blankets. In fact, weighted blankets for adults are growing in popularity because they are very helpful if one suffers from insomnia or many other conditions listed in this post.
Contraindications for use include pregnant women, patients with heart issues and asthma; such people should not use weighted products unless permitted by their therapist or healthcare provider.