Could a weighted blanket be the cure to your sleeping struggles?

Jeff Ehling Image
Friday, March 19, 2021
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Are you struggling with anxiety, insomnia or restless sleep? Consumer Reports is putting weighted blankets to the test.

These days, it feels like the list of things keeping us awake at night is never-ending. If you're looking for a way to get some shut-eye, maybe you're considering a weighted blanket.

They're the newest insomnia relievers to hit store shelves, and many people swear by them. But are they right for you? Consumer Reports has some shopping tips if you're looking to buy.

Many of these popular weighted blankets claim to calm you when you're anxious, help with your insomnia, or even make you feel like you're being hugged.

So, what exactly is a weighted blanket?

"Basically, a weighted blanket is a quilted blanket, that each of these little pockets is filled with glass or plastic beads. The pockets keeps the weights from shifting around while you're sleeping," said Bernie Deitrick with CR.

Many find the weight comforting. Weighted blankets have been used for years for kids with autism.

Sales of weighted blankets have been climbing, but sleep experts like Dr. Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg say although there isn't a lot of evidence-based research on whether they work, her patients like them.

"I do recommend weighted blankets for some of my patients that struggle with sleep, especially if they feel very restless, and the feedback has been positive," said Abbasi-Feinberg.

Will they work for you? CR's testing looked at weight and warmth.

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CR found that blankets sold with the same weight could vary in size, changing the pressure you feel.

For example, CR compared two 15 pound blankets. The 70 by 48 inch Gravity Blanket weighs about 10 ounces per square foot, while the larger YnM Weighted Blanket weighs about 7 ounces per square foot.

Are weighted blankets hot? CR uses a device called the Tin Man to measure each blanket's heat retention.

"Our tests found that models with duvet covers were slightly warmer, but all the blankets add about the same amount of warmth that you'd get from a fluffy down comforter," said Deitrick.

Manufacturers say you should pick a weighted blanket that's around 10% of your body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should choose a 15 pound weighted blanket.

CR says that a good reason to improve your sleep habits and get a good night of shut-eye is that good sleep is tied into your immune system. The better you sleep, the better your body's ability to fight off viruses.

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