5 Best Weighted Blankets to Help You Sleep and Chill Out
By: Alison Moodie
May 8, 2018
It’s tough to feel Bulletproof when you’re not getting enough sleep. You’re doing all the right things — no caffeine after 2:00 p.m., shutting down electronics a couple of hours before bed, and blacking out your room. But if you still have trouble nodding off or staying asleep, here’s another tool to add to your arsenal: a weighted blanket.
Originally developed for children with autism, weighted blankets have entered the mainstream for their purported calming and sleep-inducing effects.
Weighted blankets are typically filled with plastic poly-pellets, making them heavier than normal bedding. The way the blanket molds to the body is a form of deep pressure therapy (DPT) — firm squeezing, stroking, cuddling, hugging, or swaddling that relaxes the nervous system.
What weight should you buy?
Weighted blankets typically weigh between two and 24 pounds. Figuring out what weight to buy can be tricky, and depends a lot on personal taste. Most companies allow returns anywhere from a week to one month after purchase, so if the blanket doesn’t feel right, you generally can exchange it for another weight or size.
For a child or a teenager, choose a blanket that’s 10 percent of their body weight plus an extra couple of pounds to make room while they grow. So for a 40-pound child, you’ll buy a 6-pound blanket. However, this formula works out to be pretty heavy for an adult. Most companies take the guesswork out and offer handy guides on their websites for which blanket to choose based on your weight (note that a weighted blanket should never be used on a child under three).
Related: How to Hack Your Sleep: The Science And Art of Sleeping
I was surprised at how heavy the blankets felt — I struggled even to lift some off the ground using both hands. Just something to keep in mind so you don’t pull your back out. And they don’t come cheap — expect to shell out an eye-watering $200 or more for an adult-sized blanket.
We took the most popular weighted blankets to bed to see how they performed. Here, the best weighted blankets to help you sleep:
I chose the company’s 14 pound “large” blanket in volcanic gray. SensaCalm suggests their large size — 38 by 72 inches — for women, while men do better with their full size (56 by 72 inches). They also offer a small, medium, and queen size option.
My review: The polyfill insert gives it a pillowy effect, so it feels more like a normal duvet — ideal for nighttime sleep. The company says that a weighted blanket should be sized to fit the person, and not the bed. “Because the blanket is weighted, if it hangs over the sides, you will spend the entire night fighting to keep it from sliding into the floor,” says the company on its website.
Yet the blanket still seemed a bit narrow, and I’d have preferred a bit more room. If you’re someone who likes to sleep with your limbs splayed out and you move around a lot, the large size likely won’t provide enough coverage, and I’d suggest you go for their full- or queen-size blanket. But if you like the idea of feeling cocooned, opt for the smaller size.
The Magic Blanket
I tried the “Magic Blanket Lite” — their most popular blanket — priced at $209. It weighs 10 pounds and measures 42 by 78 inches (the company sells blankets up to 24 pounds). I chose the chenille fabric in charcoal color. They created the Lite option after some customers found their same-sized heavier blankets too intense, says Katie Zivalich, director of communications at The Magic Blanket.
“[The Lite] is intended to feel like a gentle hug,” says Zivalich.
Other fabrics include minky (silky), fleece, cotton, waterproof, or a mix-and-match option. But don’t plan on sharing this blanket. “It’s intended for one individual so that the blanket can mold to the body,” said Zivalich.
Our review: The chenille fabric feels incredibly luxurious and soft, and the charcoal color looks stylish and works with most decor schemes. The blanket itself was lighter than the others that I tried — a good or a bad thing, depending on what you’re looking for. It felt just slightly heavier than a normal blanket — familiar, with some nice added weight. I found it ideal for kicking back on the couch while watching Netflix or for an afternoon nap, but if you’re looking for something to really weigh you down, you might want to consider one of the company’s heavier offerings.
Mosaic Weighted Blanket
Mosaic Weighted Blankets has by far the widest and most eclectic range of fabrics on the market (Day of the Dead or Emoji anyone?). I tried their 14-pound blanket in the more subdued Dove Grey Batik cotton fabric, which measures 42 by 72 inches and costs $195.
Our review: The thinnest, least bulky of the lot, it really hugs the body and molds to your anatomy more than the others do. With less fabric, the pellets seem to touch the body more directly, giving the feel of a firm hug. Once you’re under this blanket, it’s hard to get up again — you’re too warm and snug. One possible downside: You can easily feel the inner pellets when touching the blanket, and the pellets make a bit of a noise when you shift around, like the sound a bean bag makes when you sink into it. If you’re a light sleeper (and you probably are if you’re reading this article), this could be an issue for you (or your partner).
Think of the Gravity Blanket as the celebrity of weighted blankets. The buzzed-about bedding raised nearly $5 million last year on Kickstarter (they raised $150k on the first day). I gave their 20-pound blanket a test run (they also have a 15- and 25-pound option). It comes in just one color — metallic gray — and costs $249 a pop.
Our review: Although the heaviest blanket that I tried, it didn’t feel that way — the weight is nicely spread out, thanks to the fabric’s grid-like pattern, which evenly distributes the poly-pellets throughout. And the soft microfiber plush fleece fabric — combined with the blanket’s thickness — is luxurious and soothing. You feel a bit like a forest creature burrowing underground for the winter when under the Gravity — a good thing.
The company claims the breathable material means you won’t get too hot while sleeping, but I did find it a little warm, and ended up kicking it off during the night. It feels ideal for colder weather, but maybe not so much during the summer months. That could also be down to the heavier weight — perhaps the 15-pound blanket is a better option, depending on your own height and body weight.
Bottom line — it’s minimalist in style, extra comforting, and expensive. If you’re someone who appreciates the finer things in life, then this is the blanket for you.
The Calmforter (get it?) comes in just one size — 12 pounds and measuring 60 by 80 inches. It’s the most practical of the bunch (and at a cost of $179, the most affordable, too). You’ve got a choice of just five standard colors — I tried the gray. One side is a silky-soft, minky fabric, while the other has rows of raised bumps, designed as a calming tool for people who like to fidget.
Our review: If you like the idea of sleeping under a mink coat (let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?), then this one’s for you. Like the Magic Blanket, it’s on the lighter side. The company suggests folding the blanket once over if you want it to be heavier. You’re meant to tie the inside insert to the cover to prevent the insides from bunching up, but our blanket seemed to be missing some ties, so the insert did separate at times from the cover. The blanket feels roomy, a plus if you move around a lot while sleeping. And those funny bumps that are meant to calm anxiety? They actually work!