What is a Weighted Blanket and What are the Benefits?

Updated on June 1, 2021

A weighted blanket is an old-fashioned heavy blanket that is now used to help reduce stress and sleep at night. At first, weighted blankets were originally used to help people with sensory processing disorders, dementia, autism, and other mental health conditions. Today, they are a common household item. They come in a variety of colors and styles. Many brands even provide custom options to make sure that the blanket is used for the right purpose.

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Studies have found a direct correlation between sleep onset hormones and happiness hormones. The type of blanket that helps people sleep better at night, may also help them lead happier lives in the long term. A study published by the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that those who used a weighted blanket on a nightly basis were more alert and had higher counts of melatonin, than those who did not use a blanket. Melatonin is known to be an asleep hormone, which is released through the nose into the bloodstream. The higher the levels of melatonin in the bloodstream, the deeper and longer the hours of sleep.

Because the entire weight of the blanket must be supported by the user, it requires no springs, ropes, or expensive electrical components. Many types of blankets use two plastic pellets, one for each side of the blanket. These plastic pellets are filled with either air or a mixture of water and other liquids. When you lay on top of the weighted blankets, the plastic pellets push the weight of the blanket onto your body, causing you to feel weightless. Many users claim that this unique feeling can help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer periods.

Distributor Device

Weighted blankets may also contain what is called a “distributor” device. This device may be used in conjunction with deep pressure stimulation or with melatonin to enhance the therapeutic effects. Some experts believe that by using both deep pressure stimulation and melatonin, that they may be able to strengthen the link between the brain and the subconscious, which in turn, may help patients cope with their anxiety and other disorders.

Additional Layer of Comfort

Another weighted blanket benefit in addition to standard fabric bedding is that the fabric provides an additional layer of comfort. Because there is only one piece of fabric under the weight of the blanket, it provides an additional layer of softness and support. This extra layer of support can reduce the amount of disturbed sleep that occurs when one is sleeping in an uncomfortable fabric. Many of these blankets are also made with materials such as wool or cotton, which are known to provide warmth and comfort.

Therapeutic Tool

A weighted blanket is a therapeutic tool used to reduce stress, improve circulation, and promote better sleep. It can help people quit smoking, lose weight, and improve their health. It has been used for many years as a treatment for ailments such as arthritis, hypertension, and cancer. Many studies have shown the many benefits of this product, and people who use them are amazed at how fast they lose weight.

There are several ways that the weighted blanket works. First, it provides support to reduce pressure points while you sleep. Weighted blankets generally have between five and twenty pounds of polyethylene pellets or other materials that provide support to various pressure points while you sleep. Some weighted blankets even contain up to eighty pounds of tightly packed, densely packed polyethylene beads on key areas of the blanket.


Weight Transfer

Each time you roll over the blanket, the weight transfers to a different pressure point. When you are sleeping, your body tends to roll onto your back, and the weight transfer occurs to your lower back. When you wake up, the weight transfers to your front, and so on. This continuous process happens all night long, and although the blanket may feel slightly heavy at first, you will find that you are comfortable and relaxed the minute you roll onto your back. In addition to using a weighted blanket, you should also choose a box spring as the wooden slats that hold your body and mattress conform to your body shape. The dense materials of the weighted blankets allow you to roll onto your stomach, and the extra weight will evenly distribute across your body.

Beneficial to Women

In one study, researchers found that women who used the blankets were less likely to have abnormal menstrual cycles or abnormal vaginal discharge. These same researchers found that women who used the blankets while they were pregnant experienced much lower levels of anxiety and depression. Another study showed that mothers who used the blankets while they breastfeed experienced less crying during and after feedings than did mothers who did not use the blankets. Mothers also reported that the blankets helped to soothe physical pain and discomfort.

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Research is still being conducted to determine whether the materials contained in weighted blankets have any effect on various health conditions, such as asthma. One study found that asthma attacks were reduced by 70 percent in nursing homes that used blankets. In addition, it was determined that mothers who used the blankets while they breastfed were less stressed and less likely to bottle-feed their babies. The same study also found that mothers who used the blankets while they took prenatal vitamins experienced less discomfort during and after taking these prenatal vitamins. It has not been established whether or not the increased level of circulation caused by the blankets has any effect on reducing health conditions.


A study found that women who used the weighted blankets when they lay on their back had a lower mean arterial pressure (MAM). MAM is a pressure of blood against the walls of the arteries. In addition, a woman who lay on her side with the weighted blankets had lower blood pressure at the time of their most stressful activity – feeding the baby. It was determined that the pressure of blood against the walls decreased because mothers were less stressed.


There is no clear evidence of whether the weight of a blanket affects the body’s natural circadian rhythm or not. Some studies have found that weight-bearing blankets can help keep a person’s internal clock more synchronized. Circadian rhythm is the tendency of an individual’s body to return to the same internal sleeping and waking hours every day. When people are deprived of sleep, they are unable to get back into a natural rhythm. Weighted blankets may help develop a natural sleep cycle and consequently improve overall health.

Many hospitals across the globe use this form of sensory therapy to promote relaxation, relief from stress and to encourage better sleep. Many individuals find that the physical relaxation associated with weighted blankets allows them to drift off to sleep naturally. There is currently no clinical research that supports the use of sensory therapy in the treatment of sleep disorders. However, many doctors believe that it can be beneficial for those who suffer from sleep apnea.


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