Is Getting a Weighted Blanket Worth It? (Both Sides)
Weighted blankets are getting a lot of hype these days, despite a bit of mixed research on how well they work.
If you’re going to buy something like a weighted blanket that costs more than a “normal” alternative, it makes sense to ask if it’s worth it or not.
Essentially, you need the answers to 2 questions:
- Will a weighted blanket work for you?
- How much of a difference can a weighted blanket make?
I’ll do my best to give you a concise answer to those questions to make your decision easier.
Will a Weighted Blanket Improve Your Sleep?
Most research on weighted blankets is fairly recent, and there’s still many studies being done, so the consensus on weighted blankets could change in the coming years.
Currently, some studies show that weighted blankets are effective for anxiety and insomnia, while others show no improvement in sleep for certain conditions.
Overall, a recent systematic review was only able to find 8 high quality studies on using weighted blankets to improve sleep, and concluded (1):
Weighted blankets may be an appropriate therapeutic tool in reducing anxiety; however, there is not enough evidence to suggest they are helpful with insomnia.
If insomnia is specifically caused by anxiety, which is fairly common, weighted blankets would likely help.
There’s also evidence to suggest that weighted blankets reduce movement during sleep, so they may help with certain conditions like restless leg syndrome (2).
SummaryIf you have symptoms of anxiety while trying to sleep (e.g. restlessness, constant thoughts, etc.), it’s probably worth giving a weighted blanket a try. Otherwise, there’s not much evidence supporting the use of a weighted blanket to improve sleep quality (although there’s not much of a risk of it making it worse either).
How Much of an Effect Does a Weighted Blanket Have?
The second question is even harder to answer because studies on weighted blankets have mainly been done on people with ASD or in mental health institutions, so the findings may not apply to you.
But we can still have a look at the impacts that weighted blankets potentially had.
One study found that weighted blankets reduced anxiety by 60% when used during inpatient mental health hospitalizations (3).
A study using weighted chain blankets in psychiatric patients with insomnia found that (4):
The mean level of insomnia improved from almost reaching “severe”, to a level of “subthreshold insomnia” on the primary outcome measure
That’s certainly a significant effect size, but it also demonstrates that even in the best case scenario, a weighted blanket won’t fix severe sleep problems alone. So if you really have insomnia, you should see a doctor, not buy a weighted blanket (although you could do both).
Summary: Is a Weighted Blanket Worth It?
If you still have questions on the practical changes a weighted blanket brings, you might find my post on the pros and cons of weighted blankets useful.
I would recommend trying a high quality one if you’re going to test it out. See my page on the best weighted blankets made in the U.S. if you need recommendations.
If your budget is tighter, there are still some good cheap weighted blankets, they might just not last as long.
Finally, many manufacturers do offer a money-back guarantee. So while it’s definitely annoying to lug a heavy blanket to the post office, it at least mitigates some of the risk if you don’t think the blanket is useful.
- Weighted Blanket Use: A Systematic Review
- Restless Legs Syndrome in Children and Adolescents
- Evaluating the Safety and Effectiveness of the Weighted Blanket With Adults During an Inpatient Mental Health Hospitalization
- A randomized controlled study of weighted chain blankets for insomnia in psychiatric disorders
Medical Disclaimer: The information on SnoozeUniversity.com is not intended to be a substitute for physician or other qualified care. We simply aim to inform people struggling with sleep issues about the nature of their condition and/or prescribed treatment.