What is a weighted blanket?
Weighted blanket, also called anxiety blanket, in its simplest form, 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; just like heavy lead vests do at dentists’ office.
In fact; occupational therapists recommend weighted 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 8 best-weighted blankets for children and adults.
But first, let us study the principle used in weighted blankets in detail:
Principle behind Weighted Blanket
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”. 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 blankets. Their deep touch pressure simulation activates hormones in the brain which significantly improve mood.
Emergence of Heavy Blanket for Anxiety
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. Let us study the benefits of Weighted Products.
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 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. Weighted blankets 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.
Studies and Research on Weighted Blankets
Several randomized 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.
- Reduced anxiety in adults - Weighted blankets give a feeling of peace and comfort that reduces the feeling of anxiety.
- 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.
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 5 to 10% of individual’s body weight. Vests, cushions and toys can be 5% of body weight whereas weighted blankets can be up to 10% of body weight.
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 Blanket For?
You can safely use weighted anxiety blankets 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?
Weighted products are available in many places. You can even make your own weighted blankets but I feel it is best to leave the task to the experts. This way, the blankets will conform to the right weight and you will be assured of using them scientifically.
Online retail stores like Etsy are some good places to buy these products. But I would always recommend buying them from Amazon. Amazon has some amazing selection of blankets and you can also read honest reviews before making an informed choice. Below I have included the reviews of top weighted blankets you can find on Amazon.
How To Choose A Weighted Blanket
- 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 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 Products
- 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.
- 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
Sizes available - This weighted comforter is available in 5lb, 10 lbs and 15 lbs sizes. You can also buy it for toddlers and 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 are also 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.
Colours - Currently, it is available in navy and mini safari animal prints for kids.
- 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 is a must have for adults and children who wish to sleep better at night.
- 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.
- After a few months of use, the beads came out.
- YnM weighted blankets are available in 10 different sizes ranging from 5 lbs to 25 lbs. Choose the blanket based on 10% 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 18 different colours and prints.
- 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.
- The 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.
- Some people experienced skin irritation from the beads.
- A few children pulled out the pellets and swallowed them.
These weighted 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.
- 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.
- These premium weighted blankets with top reviews are available in generous 60x80 inches dimension. You can also get them in XL size with 12 lb weight or 6lb or 9lb lightweight sensory blankets.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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, 6lb, 7lb, 8lb, 10 lb Adult Lite, 10 lb Teen Medium, 12 lb Teen High Pressure, 14lb Adult Med, 16lb Adult Md Pressure, 18 lb Adult-high and 20 lb Adult Ext High pressure.
- The weighted comforter is made with premium quality cotton and cotton flannel.
- This heavy blanket contains sugar like glass beads
- You can get 3 different colours and prints in this best weighted blanket on Amazon such as Jungle, Dolphins and Bugs prints.
- 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 anxiety blanket can withstand gentle machine wash cycle and air drying.
- It is perfect for kids and adults who get panic attacks or suffer from anxiety, ADD, pain, sleep problems, sensory disorders etc.
SensaCalm weighted blankets for anxiety and sleep issues come in 4 different sizes
- 12 lb for 90lb user
- 14 lb for 110lb user
- 16 lb for 130lb user
- 18lb for 150lb user
Typical dimensions are 38”x72”.
- Blue with aquamarine border-only colour available.
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. Always consult an occupational therapist before purchasing weighted items. Avoid weighted blankets that exceed 10% of body weight.
ORDER BY DEC. 5th FOR CHRISTMAS DELIVERY. ALL BLANKETS ARE CUSTOM MADE FOR YOUR ORDER and ship within 4 weeks of order date. Lifetime Sensory Solutions weighted blankets are made by Melissa Hartwick, a former bridal couturier who switched to weighted blankets to help her daughter. She now uses her expertise with a sewing machine and design to help other special needs families like her own. Made in USA. Woman owned, woman-run business!
Our weighted blankets provide a CALMING EFFECT, and bring a sense of SAFETY to children and adults who have various needs ranging from Autism, Asperger's, and Sensory Processing Disorder to PTSD, Anxiety, and Insomnia. We have even had success with users suffering from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain!
FREE EXCHANGE OR RETURN POLICY. If you find the weight isn't quite right, you can exchange it for your desired weight, or send back for a full refund!!!
Sewn with incredible detail and quality. Use in both summer and winter seasons due to our breathable cotton fabric!! We use a 100% cotton top, Cotton/Poly blend backing (a "silkier" feeling for those with sensory sensitivities), and filled with hypoallergenic plastic pellets, securely sewn into pockets evenly distributed across the blanket. We add hypoallergenic "fluff" for added comfort, so your blanket will feel like a true blanket and not like a "beanbag".
MACHINE WASH AND DRY. Blankets are sized at 42" by 60". For kids up to 5 feet tall.Enter your text here...
The amazing change in our family started the idea for Lifetime Sensory Solutions, formed so that other families could find customized sensory support for their unique situations.
My products are designed by me, a special needs mama; tested by my daughter, with strong sensory preferences; and then produced by us right here in Charlotte, NC with attention to detail, care, and longevity.
- Available in 10 different sizes ranging from 5 lbs (36”x48”) to 25 lb (60”x80”)
- YnM blankets for therapy are available in 18 different colours.
- 100% cotton and weights are non toxic, hypoallergenic odourless sand pellets
- Inner and outer layers of these weighted quilts can be separated so washing and care is easy.
- The heavy blanket is perfect for people with nervous disorders as it gives them the feeling of being hugged.
- YnM Company claims that the blanket helps release serotonin and melatonin levels for restful sleep at the right time while reducing cortisol levels.
- Does not get too hot-so you can use it in warmer weather too.
- Gentle machine wash and air drying will not damage this sensory weighted blanket.
- The pellets came out for some users which can be dangerous from special kids’ point of view.
- Magic blanket is available in 11 different sizes and weights ranging from 4lb to 24lb.
- 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.
- Outer fabric is elegant, soft and plush Chenille which gives the feeling like that of a beloved pet sleeping on you!
- This heavy blanket for anxiety has been featured in Forbes and Dr. Oz Magazines
- 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 not get too warm or make you sweaty
- You can machine wash it on gentle cycle and air dry it
- The weights used inside these weighted blankets for anxiety 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).
- You must select and measure the size and weight properly before ordering since returning could cost you a heavy shipping fee.
Many occupational and physical therapists as well as rehab professionals utilize therapeutic weighted blankets and promote their use for children and adolescents with learning disabilities or developmental disorders.
Parents of kids with autism, Aspergers 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.
Contraindications for use include pregnant women, patients with heart issues and asthma; such patients should not use weighted products unless permitted by their therapist/healthcare provider.
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