Weighted Blanket for Adults – The Best Solution to Your Insomnia, Anxiety, and Stress-Related Problems
When was the last time you went to bed feeling grounded and relaxed?
The last time you can honestly say that your inner compass was working without a hitch, pointing true north at all times?
I’m blessed to say that I had that feeling last night as I was drifting into sleep, enveloped in a snuggly embrace of a weighted blanket for adults I picked up from Calming Blankets – an Adelaide-based company selling anxiety-relieving blankets used by thousands for their therapeutic effects.
Covering yourself with a heavy, weighted blanket in the hopes that it will somehow help you deal with stress and anxiety is a seemingly odd proposition. At least, it was for me when a friend first suggested it after I told him I was struggling with insomnia.
I decided to look into it because taking any sort of medication was out of the question. I didn’t have a diagnosis – I just felt slightly anxious, out of sorts…restless. And I needed a fix for that, fast.
While it did take a little while to get used to the blanket, I can’t begin to describe the beneficial effects it had on me. If you’ve ever felt unanchored, or slightly unbalanced because the stress of the daily grind was getting to you, a weighted blanket can act like a grounding rod for your problems. It lets your body know where it is in relation to its surroundings, allowing your sensory inputs to settle down.
Weighted anxiety blankets are an offshoot of something called deep touch pressure stimulation (or deep pressure therapy – DPT) – an approach widely used by therapists dealing with autism spectrum disorders, OCD, PTSD, and anxiety sufferers.
I’ll talk a bit more about the science behind the beneficial effects of weighted blankets (for adults, in particular), but you can also check out this short video from Calming Blankets.
When I first heard about weighted blankets, I immediately thought of something tarp-like and went ‘Yuck!’. The fact is, the product from Calming Blankets is not only functional, it’s also stunning – just look at the pretty sheen on that fabric!
After getting mine, I immediately contacted the company to see if they would mind if I did a photoshoot at our Adelaide studio. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
What Is a Weighted Blanket for Adults & How Does It Work?
I’ll admit – I was a bit sceptical myself about the benefits of these blankets (particularly about the stress and the anxiety relief part), but a bit of online digging was enough to convince me.
When you think about it, they can’t NOT work. When a baby starts to cry, isn’t it only natural to hold them closely to your chest, giving them a gentle squeeze that almost always calms them down?
People with small dogs often say that they feel more ‘grounded’ if their pet sits on their lap while they’re working or watching TV. That sensation of something interacting with our body in such a wholesome way triggers a deeply relaxing effect.
Scientists have been investigating this phenomenon for decades, which lead to remarkable discoveries about how the human body actually works. I won’t pretend that I’m an expert, but I can share what I’ve learned.
Basically, in addition to our senses of sight, smell, and hearing, we also take in information through touch, movement, and the signals our brain gets from our muscles and joints.
If, for any reason, we can’t process those proprioceptive (muscles and joints) signals the right way, we’re at high risk of suffering from sensory, motor, or emotional difficulties.
Based on studies corroborating the positive effects of proprioceptive signals to our wellbeing, occupational therapists developed deep pressure therapy (DPT), which I’ve already mentioned. DPT helps our bodies to ‘ground’ themselves, providing valuable tactile input that can be extremely soothing and relaxing.
It also promotes the production of serotonin (happiness hormone) and reduces the levels of cortisol (stress hormone), which has a harmonious effect on the body.
In the past, DPT was predominantly used in inpatient care facilities. Today, with the creation of easy-to-use heavy weighted blankets, it’s becoming more mainstream and its beneficial effects are available to everyone.
People with small dogs often say that they feel more ‘grounded’ if their pet sits on their lap while they’re working or watching TV. That sensation of something interacting with our body in such a wholesome way triggers a deeply relaxing effect
So, what exactly is a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket is a blanket that is filled with extra material (often glass beads or poly pellets) that gives it additional weight. It applies pressure to our whole sleeping body, delivering those relaxing and healing effects of deep pressure stimulation.
Science Weighs In On the Benefits of Heavy, Weighted Blankets
Although DPT has been in use for years, it pays to note that there are new scientific studies emerging that are confirming what we know about this time-tested therapeutic technique.
These couldn’t come at a better time, considering how many of our fellow Australians are struggling to live a peaceful and fulfilled life.
I believe that the stats that I’m about to share with you will have as sobering of an effect on you as they did on me:
- 75% of Australians feel that stress negatively affects their everyday life; 64% of them believe that stress is having a detrimental effect on their mental health.
- 14% of Australians suffer from anxiety. Anxiety disorders can include everything from mild phobias to full-blown panic attacks and selective mutism.
- Insomnia is another common problem – 40 – 50% of our population battles transient insomnia. Acute insomnia (which I was bordering on) affects 10% of Australians.
- Autism spectrum disorders are less common, but infinitely more difficult to deal with. In 2015, ASDs affected more than 164,000 Australians (0.7%).
DPT can help with the symptoms of these disorders. It won’t cure them, but it will definitely make them more manageable, and help people lead more productive and happier lives.
Short of prescribing anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications to the entire continent, there doesn’t seem to be much that doctors can do.
Anxiety Blankets Help Break the Vicious Insomnia-Anxiety Circle & Promote Healthy Sleep Patterns
When I was dealing with insomnia, the mere thought of climbing into bed would upset me. The whole bedtime routine was sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy – I knew that I will have trouble sleeping and that knowledge grated on my nerves, which resulted in the loss of sleep.
Several studies involving weighted blankets link this to cortisol – the stress hormone. Once it spikes in the evening, it’s difficult to get it down and prepare your body for sleep. One study in particular found that using heavy anxiety blankets seems to put people at ease – their blood pressure goes down, as well as their heart rate, and their palms stop sweating, all of which is indicative of a reduction in cortisol levels.
Additionally, a fairly recent (2015) Ackerly et al study found that participants using a weighted blanket (adults with mild cases of insomnia) all reported beneficial effects in the morning. Objectively, researchers noted an increased sleep bout time and decreased movement overall. Subjectively, the participants said that they felt refreshed and invigorated in the morning, and that they fell asleep faster than usual.
ASD, PTSD, OCD, and Symptoms of Other Disorders Can Be Managed With Heavy Blankets
Deep touch therapy (in the form of heavy vests and weighted blankets) can provide a proprioceptive sensory input that will ‘ground’ and relax people with behavioural disorders. A close friend of mine employs this tactic with her autistic child – if a blanket is not immediately available, she will hold him tight until his tantrum passes.
Studies have found that deep pressure touch can increase the production of serotonin, a vital hormone that our brain produces to regulate our mood. People with PTSD, OCD, and autism spectrum disorders have lower serotonin levels, which is why they benefit from using weighted blankets (adults and kids alike).
Deep Touch Sensory Stimulation Promotes Focus In People With ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) starts in the childhood but can persist well into the adulthood. People suffering from it have trouble focusing on simple tasks at hand – even sitting still can require a tremendous amount of willpower. One study has shown that a weighted implement (such as a vest or a heavy weighted blanket) can increase on-task behaviour by 18 to 25%, at the same time decreasing hyperactivity and promoting focus, and allowing sufferers to go through ordinary, everyday tasks with a minimum amount of fidgeting.
Weighted Blankets Are Completely Non-Medicinal
First thing’s first – don’t be afraid to take any medication that has been recommended to you by a specialist (well, at least two of them). Your health (especially mental health) comes first and it’s time to end this particular stigmatization. That said, sometimes your symptoms don’t warrant that kind of an intervention but are still pervasive enough to damage your daily routine and cause significant discomfort. If that’s the case, picking up a quality weighted blanket for adults will help you mitigate the worst of those symptoms.
Choosing the Best Adult Weighted Blanket
Before I stumbled onto Calming Blanket and their amazing products, I’ve done a lot of online research, reading dozens of weighted blanket reviews. And, I’m glad I did, otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to brag about my incredible find right now.
An anxiety blanket is a seemingly simple buy. However, there’s a lot to consider there. While I was searching for the best weighted blanket for adults, I’ve learned about a couple of things you need to pay attention to, so you don’t end up with something you can’t use.
- Materials and design
- Weight and weight distribution
- Blanket size
- Durability and ease of maintenance
Materials and Design
When considering the materials, my first though was of the outer fabric. I wanted something soft and warm, but not too hot or slippery. I found a lot of options out there – cotton, satin-cotton, fleece, linen-rayon, minky – you name it. Your choice will depend on personal preference and might be limited by fabric allergies you may be suffering from, so keep that in mind.
The stuffing that weighs down the blanket can also vary. Commonly used materials are glass beads and poly pellets, but there are manufacturers out there who will put anything inside a blanket, including rice or even lead – avoid the last like the plague.
Calming Blankets products are made from plush, ultra soft minky fabric, which is most commonly used in making baby blankets. It’s absolutely perfect – warm enough for the winter months but breathes with my body, and never gets too hot. Calming Blankets use premium, thoroughly vetted fabrics that are completely vegan and cruelty-free.
The special design of the glass beads also means that the blanket is not too bulky – the beads are not noticeable or uncomfortable and they don’t shift excessively inside their small pockets. Most adult weighted blankets are noisy; this one whispers – I can barely hear the beads when I’m folding it, let alone when I’m covered with it. To top it all off, the blanket has a neutral-colour covering – space grey with a slight sheen to it – and it won’t look out of place in your living room. Frankly, most other weighted blankets for adults are a bit of an eye sore; something that’s only good for the bedroom (and, if someone is visiting, the back of your closet).
UPDATE: The colour of Calming Blanket just went from neutral to gorgeous! If you have an eye for aesthetics, you will love the sand-coloured addition to the line. Both iterations are equally comfy, you just have a better chance for a couch-blanket colour match now.
Weight and Weight Distribution
The weight of the blanket is what makes or breaks the experience of deep pressure stimulation for most beginners. As a rule of thumb, most experts recommend you aim for around 8 to 15% of your weight. There are not many options here – most manufacturers go with either 6.8 kg weighted blankets or up that to 9 kilos – kiddy blankets are usually around 2 to 3 kilos. Weight distribution is another important aspect – is the pressure even or does the blanket feel heavier in places? You should always look for uniform weight distribution because extreme variations can defeat the purpose of using a weighted blanket in the first place.
My first order was for the 9 kg blanket because the 6.8 kg one was sold out. Plus, I figured I would be on the upper limit somehow. However, as soon as I received it, I knew that it would be too heavy for me. Luckily, the 6.8 kg weighted blanket was in stock a day later and Calming Blankets’ customer support representative was kind enough to let me exchange mine for no additional cost.
The pressure now feels perfect, completely tailor-made for my body. The weight doesn’t shift (even if I’m having a restless night) because the pellets are equally distributed in small, sewn-in pockets, which means that I’m comfortably weighted down from the tip of my toes to my chest..
Although there are two-person blankets on the market, I personally wouldn’t recommend them since no two people react the same to them. Your partner might find the weight uncomfortable, leaving you stuck with a huge blanket that you have to somehow fit on your side of the bed. A single-person blanket will be much more comfortable for everyone involved, although it might feel a bit lonely at first, especially if you’re used to cuddling up to your partner. On the plus side, though, you will never have to engage in the endless ‘tug of covers’ in the middle of the night again!
Calming Blanket is a one-size-fits-all, measuring 121 cm x 189 cm. This means that it’s wide enough for two if you decide to cover with it while watching TV, or cuddle with a loved one on the living room couch. The company also sells a kid version, which I ordered a few weeks back; it weighs 2.2 kilos and measures 91 cm x 121 cm. I intended it as a present for my restless nephew but ended up using it as a lap cover when I’m working at my desk. I figured that something this good isn’t just for half of the day. I guess I’ll be ordering an extra since my sister is visiting soon and I’m not about to part with this one!
Durability and Ease of Maintenance
By far the biggest problem with adult weighted blankets is the fact that they don’t seem to last much. The added weight is often too much for the small pockets, causing the seams to loosen and, eventually, leak pellets or glass beds. The other problem is the maintenance – the blanket needs to be washed occasionally, and if the thread work is subpar, it will simply not hold.
Calming Blanket is a stellar example of supreme craftsmanship – even after months of use, my anxiety blanket still holds at the seams. I’ve washed it several times now, taking care to separate the covering from the inner blanket before popping it into the washer on a gentle cycle. I avoid tumble drying, as per the instructions but, otherwise, I don’t treat it any differently than my other blankets. Care for it as you would for any other blanket and you will get years of good service out of it, if what I’m seeing so far is any indication.
Calming Blankets Is So Good That It’s Almost Never In Stock…
… which is exactly why you need to grab yours as soon as you see your desired weight is available.
However, if you miss out now, rest assured that this is one product that’s definitely worth the wait. At the beginning, these blankets sold like hotcakes, flying out of the warehouse in a week (I was a day late and cursed my indecisiveness).
Amazing quality aside, there are other, more intangible reasons why you’ll want to give your money to Calming Blankets:
- Top-notch customer support – I’m not an easy shopper and customer support representatives around the country dread getting a message from me. Most are patient, up to a point. Calming Blankets’ reps were patient EVERY SINGLE TIME! All of my questions were answered in a timely manner and politely (even the obvious ones), my return was dealt with expediently, and the overall purchasing process was as smooth as can be.
- Free and fast shipping in Australia – depending on where you’re located, you can expect your heavy weighted blanket to arrive in 5 to 8 days. In my case, it was 4 days for the first blanket (the one that I returned), and then an 8 day wait for the replacement to arrive (that’s with the time needed for the first blanket to reach them).
- Amazing Value for Money – most adult-sized weighted blankets cost an arm and a leg. I’ve seen some prices climb up to $499! While it’s difficult to put a price on health, I’d say that $500 for a blanket is just a tiny bit excessive. Comparatively, Calming Blanket is a real find – a company with a top-shelf product which is selling for only $219 (please note that you need to sign up to get this price, they send you a coupon code). When you factor in the quality of make, expediency, and the sheer joy of dealing with them, you will realise that their deal is absolutely amazing.
- Excellent return policy – most other companies have a 3-day return policy, along with a bunch of other hoops that you need to jump through in the process. Calming Blankets is happy to take back their product even 10 days after it was delivered to you, provided that you return it unused and in the original packaging.
Supports Afterpay – adult-sized weighted blankets of this quality can put a bit of a dent in your wallet, and the company is aware of that. That’s why they support Afterpay, which allows you to pay for your order in four easy bi-weekly instalments. The best part is, if you’re on time, you will not pay a cent more than you signed up for.
If you want to experience the same calming effects of using a weighted blanket (which, in all honesty, changed my life completely) order yours today. The answer to your problems is staring you in the face, whether you’re struggling with anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, or just general, everyday stressful episodes that are interfering with your happiness. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain – peace of mind, an anchor in the turbulent sea of life, and a good night’s rest!
UPDATE: Exciting news, everyone!
Calming Blanket reached out to thank me for a wonderful review. Based on the number of inquiries about their weighted blanket coming from our readers, they asked us if we would be willing to stock their products. Of course, I said yes! That means that, come mid June, you will be able to visit the Kimberly James Furniture salon here in Adelaide, actually touch the product, and purchase it on the spot, without bothering with online orders and potential delivery delays.
We’re looking forward to seeing you!