A woman peacefully sleeping in a bed with a gray blanket.

Weighted Blanket Basics: Why & How Weighted Blankets Work

At Mattress To Door, we understand the importance of quality sleep and effective bedding accessories that can enhance your rest. As Canada's leading online mattress provider, we offer a wide selection of mattresses and bedding designed with your comfort in mind. That's why we're excited to now provide weighted blankets - an innovative product scientifically shown to reduce anxiety, improve sleep disorders, and promote relaxation. Keep reading to learn all about the benefits of weighted blanket therapy and how these therapeutic blankets can help you sleep better at night. Then explore our site to find the perfect weighted blanket to complete your new Mattress To Door sleep system.

Weighted blankets are a popular sleep and relaxation tool that have recently gained mainstream popularity outside of the medical setting. But what exactly are these therapeutic blankets, and how do they work?

Weighted blankets are blankets that have extra weight added, typically through materials like plastic poly pellets or premium glass beads sewn into sections. This evenly distributes the weight across your body. These blankets generally weigh between 5 to 30 pounds, with the weight depending on blanket size.

Weighted blankets first became popular in clinics and hospitals, where medical professionals used them to help provide comfort to patients with anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, and other conditions. Research showed the calming effects of deep pressure from weighted blankets, which helps relax both the mind and body.

Now weighted blankets are more accessible than ever, offering an effective, natural way to aid with insomnia, stress relief, relaxation, and more. But how do these blankets actually work? The gentle pressure activates your parasympathetic nervous system, releasing serotonin and other calming neurotransmitters. It's like getting a warm, soothing hug!

The benefits of weighted blanket therapy include:

Improving sleep quality
Reducing anxiety and stress
Promoting overall wellbeing

This article provides a complete guide to weighted blanket basics - from how they work to choosing the right one for you. Read on to learn all about the science behind these therapeutic bedding accessories and why they've become so popular for better sleep and relaxation.

A woman peacefully sleeping on a couch, covered with a cozy blanket.

Introduction to Weighted Blankets

  1. What are weighted blankets?

    Weighted blankets are blankets that have added weight to provide a calming, comforting effect for the user. They are often filled with materials like plastic poly pellets or tiny glass beads that are sewn into separate pockets or squares within the blanket. This gives the blanket an even weight distribution so the heaviness is spread evenly across your body when you lay under it.

    Unlike regular blankets, weighted blankets are purposely made to be heavier, typically weighing between 5 to 30 pounds. The general guideline is to choose a blanket that is around 10% of your body weight. So for a 150 pound person, a 15 pound weighted blanket would be recommended. The weight ranges to accommodate both children and adults. Smaller weighted blankets designed for kids may start around 5 pounds.

    [Table showing recommended weighted blanket weight based on body weight]

Body       Weight

Recommended Weighted Blanket Weight


100 lbs

10 lbs

125 lbs

12-15 lbs

150 lbs

15 lbs

175 lbs

17-20 lbs

Weighted blankets first became popular in the medical field, used by doctors and therapists to help treat patients with anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, and other conditions where deep pressure touch could have a calming effect.

B. Brief history of weighted blankets

The use of deep pressure stimulation through weighted blankets originated from Temple Grandin's research on ways to help relax individuals with autism. Grandin invented the "Hug Machine" which applied gentle squeezing pressure, and found it had a calming effect.

Weighted blankets apply this same principle of deep touch pressure. Though originally used in clinical settings, over time weighted blankets became more mainstream as people learned about their stress relieving, relaxing properties.

Now weighted blanket therapy is accessible to anyone looking to reduce anxiety symptoms, improve sleep quality, or simply destress in a natural way. These therapeutic bedding accessories have evolved into weighted products like vests, masks, and more. Weighted blankets are one of the most popular weighted wellness products thanks to their versatility, comfort, and scientifically backed benefits.


How Do Weighted Blankets Work?

  1. Deep touch pressure stimulation

    The reason weighted blankets have such powerful relaxing and calming effects comes down to deep touch pressure stimulation.

    When you lay under a weighted blanket, the gentle pressure it applies to your body activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for promoting relaxation throughout your body and mind.

    This is the system that kicks in when you are resting, recharging, and digesting food. Being under the evenly distributed weight of the blanket triggers it, releasing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine to make you feel calmer.

    It's similar to the feeling you get when someone gives you a soothing hug. The pressure stimulates your sense of touch, making you feel comforted and secure. This is what provides that floating, calming sensation that weighted blanket users describe.

    B. Science behind weighted blankets

    Several scientific processes happen within the body when using a weighted blanket that lead to reduced stress and better sleep:

    The deep pressure touch encourages the release of serotonin, also known as the "happy hormone." Serotonin boosts your mood, feelings of wellbeing, and helps maintain healthy sleep/wake cycles.

    Weighted blankets boost production of the hormone melatonin, which regulates your circadian rhythm. More melatonin means you'll feel sleepier at the right times.

    The pressure slows down your nervous system and physiological processes like heart rate and breathing. This triggers your parasympathetic nervous system for relaxation.

    Cortisol, the stress hormone, is decreased to further distance you from feeling stressed or anxious.

    The production of endorphins may also be increased, reducing pain sensitivity and enhancing feelings of pleasure and comfort.

    Overall, the gentle stimulation of weighted blankets brings about tangible changes in hormone levels and nervous system activity that prep the body for an easier transition into sleep and more effective rest.
A woman cozily wrapped in a warm blanket, finding comfort and solace in its embrace.

The Benefits of Using Weighted Blankets

Weighted blankets offer many advantages beyond just better sleep. Here are some of the top scientifically-backed benefits of weighted blanket therapy:

A. Improve sleep quality

One of the most common reasons people turn to weighted blankets is to get a more restful, uninterrupted night of sleep. The gentle pressure of the weighted blanket helps increase serotonin, reduce cortisol, and boost melatonin - all changes that make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Specific ways weighted blankets enhance sleep include:

Falling asleep faster. The blanket helps your body transition into sleep mode more quickly.

Staying asleep through the night. The deep touch pressure means you'll toss and turn less.

Less time awake in the middle of the night. More melatonin prevents waking up prematurely.

Feeling well-rested in the morning. Higher quality sleep leaves you refreshed.

Regulating healthy sleep-wake cycles. Your circadian rhythm functions properly.

Sleeping with a weighted blanket is like being wrapped in a warm, calming embrace all night long. This helps insomnia sufferers and those struggling with disrupted sleep finally get the restorative sleep their body and mind needs.

B. Reduce anxiety and stress

Weighted blankets are very effective at reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and panic.

The heavy blanket mimics the feeling of being held or hugged. This produces a reassuring sensation that helps relax your body and mind.

Physically, the deep pressure touch helps lower blood pressure, steady breathing, and activate the parasympathetic nervous system for relief from "fight or flight" anxiety.

Mentally, the comfort and security you feel calms racing thoughts, eases nervousness, and grounds you in the present moment. It's like a portable anti-anxiety tool you can use anytime.

C. Promote overall wellbeing

Getting better quality sleep, lowering stress hormone levels, and boosting "feel good" brain chemicals like serotonin naturally improves your general health and wellbeing.

People who use weighted blankets regularly report feeling more energized, clear-headed, and peaceful. Sleep is critical for cognitive function, emotional regulation, immune health, and more.

When you're well-rested and relaxed, you're better able to handle daily stresses and take care of your body's needs. Weighted blankets help create the optimum environment for healing and thriving.

The soothing power of deep pressure touch makes weighted blankets an excellent addition to relaxation techniques like meditation, mindfulness, breathwork, and visualization.

Blue background reflecting right tick for Choosing the Right Product


Choosing the Right Weighted Blanket

With so many weighted blanket options on the market, it can be tough to select the right one for your needs. Here are some top factors to consider:

A. Weight and size considerations

The most important factors are choosing the right weight and size for your blanket.

For weight, a good starting point is selecting a blanket that's around 7-12% of your body weight. But you can go heavier or lighter depending on personal preference.

Many sources recommend 10% as the ideal weight percentage. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you'd look for a 15 pound weighted blanket.

Keep the following weight considerations in mind:

If you're a side sleeper, err on the lighter side. A heavier blanket can strain pressure points.

If you sleep hot, choose a lighter blanket to prevent overheating.

If you enjoy feeling "cocooned," select a heavier blanket for maximum coziness.

Start low if unsure and increase weight if needed. You can always add a lightweight throw blanket on top.

For size, make sure to choose an option that will cover your body without excess overhang if using in bed. Measure the top of your mattress and get that size blanket or smaller. Avoid large blankets that could fall off the edges of the bed.

If using for personal use on the couch or chair, opt for a twin or smaller for easy portability.

B. Benefits of different fillers

Weighted blankets contain fillers like plastic poly pellets or premium glass beads. Each has their pros and cons:

Glass beads provide the highest quality option. They contour gently to the body and make no noise. Glass beads do tend to be more expensive but provide maximum comfort and durability.

Plastic poly pellets are very affordable, but they can make some noise as you move around. Plastic is also warmer, so not ideal if you sleep hot. The texture of the pellets may also be felt through the fabric.

Other less common fillers are steel beads, microfiber pellets or sand. Evaluate noise, breathability and potential allergies or skin irritation when considering different weighted blanket fillers.

C. Choosing blanket fabrics

Pay attention to the fabric of the weighted blanket. Important factors include:

Breathability: 100% natural fibers like cotton allow for air circulation so you don't overheat.

Texture: Smooth, sleek fabrics like minky polyester feel cozy. But they retain heat and could irritate sensitive skin.

Noise level: Some fabrics are noisier and will crinkle as you move around.

Aesthetics: Pick a color and pattern that suits your personal style preferences.

Durability: High thread count cotton stands up well to washing and use over time.

D. Caring for your weighted blanket

Follow all manufacturer's instructions for washing, drying and general care of your weighted blanket. Some key tips:

Only wash in cold water on a gentle cycle. Never use hot water.

Line dry or tumble dry on low if the fabric allows.

Spot clean stains when possible instead of full washing.

Use a duvet cover to protect the blanket if needed.

Do not iron or bleach the blanket.

With proper care, a quality weighted blanket should last for years of cozy comfort!

A Woman lying on sofa with blanket

The Benefits of Weighted Blanket Therapy

Weighted blankets offer a safe, natural way to manage common conditions like anxiety, insomnia, stress, and more. Here's a summary of why weighted blanket therapy is so beneficial:

Effective: Multiple studies show weighted blankets reduce anxiety and improve sleep issues. The deep pressure touch stimulates the production of serotonin and melatonin to relax the body.

Accessible: Weighted blankets provide similar benefits to massage therapy and meditation without the cost or time commitment. You can use them anytime, anywhere.

Versatile: People of all ages can benefit from weighted blankets. Use them in bed for sleep or on the couch, chair, or even your lap for portability.

Affordable: Compared to prescription medications and therapy, weighted blankets are an affordable option. And they last for years with proper care.

Natural: Weighted blankets provide a holistic approach without medications. The materials are non-toxic and hypoallergenic.

Easy to Use: Simply drape the blanket over your body while resting or sleeping to feel the relaxing effects. No special instructions needed.

The soothing powers of deep pressure from weighted blankets are backed up by scientific evidence on how they lower stress hormones, boost "feel good" neurotransmitters, reduce pain signals, and regulate sleep/wake cycles through melatonin.

While not a substitute for medical treatment when needed, weighted blankets can be an excellent complement to therapy and medication. They are also wonderful for anyone simply looking to enhance relaxation, sleep better, or manage everyday anxiety in a natural way.

The Bottom Line

For a non-invasive way to improve your mental and physical wellbeing, weighted blankets are a solid investment. With various options to meet different budgets and needs, these cozy blankets can benefit both kids and adults.

Now that you know more about the science behind weighted blankets and their calming effects, visit Mattress To Door to find the right option for you. As Canada's top choice for quality mattresses and bedding accessories online, we're proud to offer weighted blankets from leading brands. Browse our selection of premium blankets in different sizes, weights and styles. All our products are rigorously tested for safety, durability and effectiveness. Plus, our convenient shipping right to your door makes it easy to upgrade your sleep with a weighted blanket. Combine with one of our comfortable mattresses for the ultimate sleep system. Mattress To Door - helping Canadians sleep better, dream bigger.

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