I publish these articles because I agree with most of what is in them, but not necessarily all of the information. You will see my added notes and my own opinions after 6 years of experience working in this field and nearly 20 years of raising sons on the Autism Spectrum.
Some of these seem long, especially because of the lay out. Just keep scrolling down and you will find more.
Thanks for your patience.
Weighted blankets are surging in popularity thanks to their ability to relieve stress and improve sleep.
May 12, 2018, 1:55 PM MDT / Updated Oct. 18, 2019, 1:39 PM MDT
By Christina Heiser
Thanks to high stress levels and a brain that wouldn’t shut off, I was in search of a way to get a better night’s rest (without having to resort to drugs). I’m a serial tosser-and-turner, and it’s often difficult for me to fall — and stay — asleep because I’m constantly thinking about what I have to tackle on my to-do list the next day. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves me feeling completely drained in the morning.
I had been seeing weighted blankets pop up in my social feeds over the past couple of weeks, so I decided to give the trend a try. Weighted blankets are seeing a surge in popularity lately, with many proponents saying they have stress-, anxiety- and insomnia-relieving effects. The hype is palpable: Gravity Blanket racked up more than $4 million on its Kickstarter campaign in 2017, and according to Pinterest, saves for weighted blankets are up a whopping 259 percent these days.
So with Rocabi's 15-pound weighted blanket in hand (which is the size the brand recommends for people who are between 100-150 pounds) I got into bed, hopeful but nervous. I was worried that the blanket would be restrictive and too hot (disrupting my already patchy sleep), but I was able to turn onto my side pretty easily, and it didn’t cause me to overheat. (Now, I probably won’t use a weighted blanket on 90-degree nights, but it was totally fine on a 70-degree night.) When I slipped under the blanket, I felt like I was wrapped in a cocoon, as if the blanket were hugging me. (That feeling of being hugged is what Irina Zhdanova, MD, CEO of ClockCoach, told me was likely responsible for any calming effects.) Although it was possible for me to shift onto my side, the blanket was definitely more snug than my regular comforter, and I felt like it encouraged my body to stay still. Normally, I’m pretty restless in bed, and the act of moving around makes my mind wander. But, because I couldn’t physically move as much, I noticed that my thoughts weren’t racing as much either. I was able to just focus on the present, and that made it easier to fall asleep. I didn’t wake up once in the middle of the night, which is very rare for me and after 7 hours of solid sleep, I felt so refreshed that I didn’t even need to stop for my iced coffee on the way to office.
But is there really any concrete evidence to support my seemingly better sleep experience? Or was it all in my head?
Weighted blankets are exactly what they sound like — they’re heavy blankets (typically 15 pounds or more) filled with a material such as plastic pellets. The theory is that the deep pressure you feel from being under all of that weight has a calming effect.
The deep pressure of the blanket makes you feel like you’re being hugged or swaddled, says Zhdanova. “Being hugged is a very powerful stimulus,” she says. “When you’re hugged, you feel more secure.” Plus, weighted blankets offer mild restraint, says Zhdanova — they make it harder for you to move and thus harder for you to disturb yourself while you sleep.
For a study published in the “Journal of the Formosan Medical Association,” participants undergoing wisdom tooth removal (which the researchers identified as one of the most stressful medical procedures) wore weighted blankets during their surgeries. Under the weighted blankets, the patients showed more activity in the part of the nervous system that is in control during times of low stress.
One of the most popular uses for weighted blankets is for treating children with disorders like autism and ADHD. “It’s absolutely true that some kids benefit from compression, either from weighted blankets or stretchy Lycra sleeping bags [which also provide deep pressure],” says Lynelle Schneeberg, board-certified sleep psychologist and director of the behavioral sleep program at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. A study published in “The American Journal of Occupational Therapy” found that elementary school aged students who wore weighted vests paid attention more and fidgeted less in class.
How to pick the best weighted blanket for you:*
If you are going to try a weighted a blanket, keep in mind that they can get pricey. A 20-pound Gravity Blanket, for example, costs $249. (If you’re crafty, Schneeberg says you can DIY your own version — here’s a DIY weighted blanket tutorial.)
Committed to shelling out some cash? Zhdanova recommends sticking with a weighted blanket on the lighter side. Most experts advise choosing one that’s roughly 10 percent of your body weight — so if you’re 150 pounds, you should buy a 15-pound blanket. Zhdanova notes that you shouldn’t use a weighted blanket if you snore or have sleep apnea, because anything that is placed on your chest can disrupt your breathing even further. But if stress, a mile-long to-do list and funneling caffeine to get through the day is the battle you're fighting, a weighted blanket may just help you put those sleepless nights behind you."*
Weighted blankets are therapeutic items and should be made to the need of the individual. 20 lbs. is very heavy. The old rule of thumb was, 10% of body weight plus one pound. However, I have found that for some people, that that is too heavy, for others not heavy enough. Each person is different and has different needs. Don't assume that because a particular weight worked for one person, that the same will work for you. It would be best to talk to someone who has some knowledge about these, whether a therapist or someone in the field. This is why I have a bed in my store, so people can try on different weights while lying down, to make sure we get the exact right weight.
"Can A Weighted Blanket Speed Athletic Recovery?"
"In a word: Absolutely. Muscles that have been pushed to the max need time to rest. But they can’t do that if you’re stressed out or tossing and turning because of discomfort. A weighted blanket means more restful sleep, and that translates to relaxed, healing muscles and tissue in the body. If your HIIT or CrossFit workouts are leaving you sore and drained the next day, that’s nothing a good recovery supplement and a weighted blanket can’t fix.
So it’s far more than just a fad; weighted blankets are a full-blown trend because—bottom line—they work. If you’re getting out of bed achy, sore, or grumpy, get yourself a weighted blanket today. Your body will recover faster, your mind will be sharper, and everyone around you will thank you.
The market is flush with weighed blankets these days; here are a few of our favorites—some of them are even on sale.
One of the hottest trends in sleep therapy right now, weighted blankets, are far more than just a fad. Clinical studies have proven that through firm, deep pressure stimulation, weighted blankets result in deeper and more satisfying, more restful sleep. It’s simple, really. The weight of a heavy blanket provides a cocooning sensation, and the material inside the blanket produces a stroking, soothing tactile sensation when you move.
Hospitals have used weighted blankets as a natural stress reliever for decades. Studies prove that not only does it calm nerves, the weight sensation actually increases serotonin and melatonin levels and decreases cortisol levels in the brain—improving your mood and promoting restful sleep at the same time. Along with feeling better rested, you wake up feeling happier and less stressed."
I need to tell you about my weighted blanket. You’ve probably heard about these gizmos: cozy blankets stuffed with beads, discs, pellets or, should you desire something more exotic, the skulls of your enemies—any object to give your blankie some extra weight, some heft, so the sensation of wrapping yourself in it is akin to being gripped in a tight hug, or getting gently suffocated by a cloud.
To say weighted blankets are trendy is to sell them short. They are a cultural rage. Weighted blankets are basically Fortnite for stressed-out parents. I bought one immediately. No, you can’t borrow it.
My weighted blanket weighs 20 lbs*. There was an option for a 10-pounder—an introductory weighted blankie, if you will—but I figured I’d skip the appetizer and go straight to the Big Boy.
What does it feel like? Well, it’s possible that you wake up every morning and do 20 lb. biceps curls, but 20 lbs. is about the weight of a good-sized Thanksgiving turkey, or a very sedentary house cat. The blanket’s weight is distributed evenly, however, so it doesn’t feel like you’re snuggling a turkey or a cat with Friskies-bingeing issues. It’s more like a sleeping bag, filled with nickels.
When does one use a weighted blanket? Anytime one needs it, my friends. A weighted blanket is said to have genuine benefits: They’re credited with helping to alleviate anxiety and sleeplessness and have been used in the treatment of ADHD and autism in adults and children.
As for me, I am your garden-variety nervous, fidgety, leg-jiggling light sleeper. When I go to bed, I flip around like a freshly caught bluefish on the deck of a charter boat. It’s a wonder I’m still married.
So far, my weighted blanket has been a revelation. I wrap that thing around me, and I instantly become less squirmy. I’m not saying my mind stops racing—Did I lock the front door? Will the Knicks ever make the playoffs again? Am I really going to never be the kind of person who has a backyard pizza oven?—but it settles me. Turns out, with the luxuriant weight of a sedentary house cat upon me, I am not just a better sleeper but a better person.
Now I’m the Linus of weighted blankets. I need it all the time. Which leads to some other issues. You can’t really bring a weighted blanket into work—yet. If people can get treadmill desks, I don’t think a weighted blanket is such a big deal.
But what about at a restaurant? Curling up in a booth at Chipotle, burrito in front of me, my weighted blankie wrapped over my shoulders? Weird? Says who? Apple sells $250 icicle earrings and can’t keep them on the shelves. What’s weird anymore?
I’m waiting for the first airline to announce weighted blankets for passengers. I guarantee it would be a huge hit. You’d probably have to carry fewer passengers, but that also seems like a plus. Who wants to fly with more people?
I know, I know, we’re becoming a soft culture, consumed with self-pampering. The turmoil of the outside world is driving an indulgent economy of high-thread-count sheets, foam rollers, soothing eye masks, brushed-cotton boxers and relaxation candles. I think I saw an advertisement on Instagram for travel sweatpants that are 100% made from the daydreams of unicorns.
We’re getting squishy to the point of gooey, unrecognizable to prior generations made from flinty, harder stock. I know I should toughen up. But I don’t care. I’m under my weighted blankie, and nobody can bother me here."
Write to Jason Gay at Jason.Gay@wsj.com
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