There are few things less frustrating than being unable to sleep at night. This is especially true when you have to get up early the next day. Each minute that clicks by leaves you feeling all the more desperate for sleep. For many, this is an unfortunate aspect of everyday life. They have trouble sleeping on a nightly basis. And a weighted blanket may just hold the key to fixing it.

Lack of sleep greatly interferes with our mood, health, concentration, and quality of life. If these circumstances describe you, or someone you know, and you'd like to learn more about weighted blankets, we've got you covered (pun intended). This article will answer your questions about weighted blankets and help you determine if using one is right for you.

What Is A Weighted Blanket?

A woman sleeps peacefully.

If you haven't heard of a weighted blanket until now, you're not alone. They've been used in the area of occupational therapy for decades, where they've been found to be particularly helpful calming children with ADHD or on the autism spectrum. In recent years, weighted blankets have started gaining popularity with adults struggling with anxiety and sleep disorders.

As you probably guessed by the name, weighted blankets are heavier than an average blanket. The extra weight comes from pellets sewn inside. On average, a weighted blanket weighs anywhere between 10-30 pounds.

When you lay beneath a weighted blanket, you're rewarded with a soft, subtle pressure. It's almost like receiving a gentle hug across your entire body. The scientific community calls this sensation "grounding". It's a form of Deep Touch Pressure, usually referred to as DTP. DTP generally refers to firm hugs, squeezing or swaddling.

How Do Weighted Blankets Work?

A couple sleeps in bed.

Weighted blankets can help adults struggling with anxiety because when we lay beneath them, we feel secure and comforted. In other words, less anxious. In addition, the subtle pressure weighted blankets put on our bodies prompts the release of dopamine and serotonin into our bloodstream, which, simply put, make us feel good. This also serves to lessen our anxiety.

Anxiety, in many cases, keeps us awake at night. It keeps our mind running around in circles, preventing us from achieving any sort of fitful sleep.

Weighted blankets don't stop there. They do more than help with anxiety. Scientists have also found that the comfort of a weighted blanket or DTP can also help alleviate the symptoms of insomnia.

This same concept applies to dogs and other animals, as well. DTP is the science behind anxiety jackets for dogs and cats. These jackets are particularly beneficial in helping pets who are terrified of being left alone or hearing loud noises such as thunder.

It seems all creatures benefit from the feeling of being touched and hugged. It's unsurprising that adults are any different.

How Heavy Should A Weighted Blanket Be?

A couple peeks out from beneath their blankets.

If you think you'd like to try a weighted blanket to help you sleep better at night, the general rule of thumb is to find one that weighs about 10 percent of your body weight. Realistically, your budget may also be a factor for an adult wishing to purchase a weighted blanket. The heavier the blanket, the more expensive it's likely to be.

You may also want to consider temperature when it comes to selecting a weighted blanket. Sleeping under a 15-pound blanket might not be as appealing in 100-degree weather as it is when the weather is, say, 70 degrees. In general, weighted blankets made from natural fibers such as cotton tend to be more breathable than those made of synthetic fibers such as polyester. This will result in a cooler sleeping experience.

Lastly, co-sleeping situations need to be considered. If you share your bed with a partner or spouse, discuss your desire to use a weighted blanket to help you cope with anxiety or sleep better at night in advance. This conversation will help you determine if you'll need your weighted blanket to cover the entire bed, or if you can purchase a smaller one to simply cover yourself. It will also help you determine what weight to purchase.

Are There Any Health Risks To Weighted Blankets?

If you suffer from asthma, sleep apnea, snoring, or have a lung disease such as COPD, you should discuss your situation with your doctor before you begin using a weighted blanket. The extra weight on your chest could make it even harder to breathe in such circumstances. Your doctor will help you determine if it would be safe to use a weighted blanket, and if so, how much weight is appropriate for your specific health condition.

Are Weighted Blankets Safe For Children?

A child sleeps peacefully with a teddy bear.

Weighted blankets are not recommended for children under the age of two, or any child who lacks the mobility of motor skills to pull back or free themselves from being beneath a weighted blanket on their own. Take care to make sure a weighted blanket does not cover your child's face. You should also avoid swaddling or wrapping your child in a weighted blanket too tightly.

If you have any questions or concerns about whether or not a weighted blanket would be right for your child, discuss the situation with your family doctor or pediatrician.

Where Can I Purchase A Weighted Blanket?

If you suffer from restlessness, anxiety, or the inability to sleep at night, a weighted blanket may be able to help. Ultimately, the decision to use a weighted blanket is a personal one. Your budget, health status, and individual circumstances will all need to be considered. If you believe a weighted blanket is right for you, check out our list of the best-weighted blankets on the market. We've included options in various styles and price ranges.

Are Weighted Blankets Covered By Health Insurance?

Every insurance plan is different, but many plans do offer coverage for weighted blankets. To find out if yours is among them, consult your handbook or give your insurance carrier a call.

A weighted blanket might be the right fit for you, but they're only worth investing in if you've done the background research. Take the time to learn what your needs are, and see if a weighted blanket is to your tastes.

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