The trending product that combats anxiety
Gravity blankets -- otherwise known as weighted blankets -- look just like an average comforter, but they actually can be a game-changer for sleep and mental health.
They are exactly what they sound like: blankets with a heavy filling intended to weigh them down and distribute pressure across your body. The idea is that this mimics the sensation of being held or hugged, creating a relaxing effect.
Gravity blankets were originally used as a tool by occupational therapists and psychiatric professionals to help with a range of mental and physical health issues, but they're now available for purchase by anyone with sleeping troubles.
Read on to learn the benefits of these blankets plus how to make one on your own.
(If you're already ready to check out a line of weighted blankets that we love, the Goodful Weighted Blanket collection is on sale right now at Macy's. For more affordable buying options, check out our shopping list below.)
How does it work?
Gravity blankets are shaped like typical comforters but are filled with glass or plastic pellets and usually weigh 15 pounds or more. They're designed to improve sleep quality by providing pressure that stimulates serotonin release, which leads to decreased anxiety, feelings of calm, and more restful sleep.
Many find that the deep pressure the blanket applies is akin to a hug, providing calming "deep touch pressure." Some people even go as far as comparing it to a return to the womb or a swaddling sensation. Overall, these blankets can be ideal for those looking for a respite from restless nights.
Benefits of gravity blankets
This deep-touch pressure provided by weighted blankets has proven a successful anti-anxiety and relaxation assistant for many. The theory is that it stimulates the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.
Melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep and relaxation, is also linked to the production of serotonin. Besides bringing a general sense of calm, other possible uses for gravity blankets include treatment for:
Nervous system disorders
Sensory processing disorder
While there are no major risks connected to gravity blankets, they should only be used by teens or adults and can be dangerous for children and infants.
Is it worth it?
Many enjoy the gentle yet firm sewn-in pressure of the beads within gravity blankets, but others find that the added weight feels more constrictive than comforting. Some professionals think that there needs to be a high baseline of anxiety or another disorder in order to see tangible physiological changes.
But if it could help you sleep better at night, what do you have to lose? Amidst the stress and chaos that we put ourselves under daily, something that could potentially lighten that load does appeal to many.
There are plenty of existing cognitive behavioral therapies for both anxiety and insomnia, and a weighted blanket might not be the cure to all your problems; ultimately, you can't hack sleep. Gravity blankets aren't a miracle cure for anything, but a nightly de-stressor can't hurt.
Our favorite gravity blanket picks
The Zonli Cotton Weighted Blanket is one of our favorite models. In testing, it proved to be a worthy couch companion, and is on the more affordable side of the market.
If you tend to be a hot sleeper, another top-of-the-line option is the Weighted Idea Cooling Weighted Blanket, which offers blankets of various weights and dimensions. This model offers top-tier luxury and therapeutic functionality.
For parents in the market for a child-specific option, we recommend the 5-pound blanket from Roore that's specifically for kids. An adult blanket is too heavy for small children, so if your child could benefit from a gravity blanket, you should purchase them their own.
Naima Karp is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.