They claim to relieve stress and wrap you in a giant hug. Here's what an expert says—and what you should know before you buy. 

By Amanda MacMillan and Susan Brickell
September 25, 2019
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Move over, Instant Pot, because weighted blankets have officially won the popularity contest for 2019. Weighted blankets are exactly what they sound like: Comforters with tiny pellets or metal chains woven throughout, so that weight is distributed across the body when a person lies underneath them. They come in a variety of weight ranges—weighing upwards of 40 pounds—and make you feel like you’re being swaddled in a cozy cocoon. Why would you invest in a weighted blanket, you ask? Because it’s calming AF.

Weighted blankets have become the bedding accessory to have, as well as a super popular gift to give this season. A quick glance at their online reviews shows that plenty of people really do rely on them to help with conditions like anxiety and insomnia. It may sound a bit pseudo-scientific, but it’s actually true: the potential benefits include helping  to improve mood, reduce stress, and promote restful sleep. 

So what’s the real story here? Could a weighted blanket really be the answer to your sleep or anxiety problems? It might be worth a try, says , an instructor of psychology at Columbia University Medical Center—but there are a few things you should know before making your purchase.

RELATED: 12 Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder

First, there aren’t a lot of studies to back up weighted-blanket claims. Most of the research on these products has been on people with developmental disorders, like children with autism, Solz explains. “From those studies, we’re finding that there aren’t significant differences in terms of objective measures like how quickly kids fall asleep and the total time they spend asleep,” she adds.

What those studies do show, however, is that participants who use weighted blankets seem to like it better than a regular blanket, she points out. "It can feel nice and luxurious—like a big hug—and that may be helpful for some people."

A few small studies have looked at the effect weighted blankets have on anxiety and insomnia in adults. A 2015 study in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders, for example, found that participants’ and nighttime movement decreased when they used weighted blankets, compared to regular blankets. They also reported that it was easier for the study participants to settle down to sleep with the weighted blanket, and that they felt more refreshed in the morning.

RELATED: This New Diet Is Supposed to Help Your Anxiety—So I Tried It

In 2006, a 32-person study in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health found that 63% of participants after using a weighted blanket (compared to lying down with no blanket at all), and 78% said they felt more relaxed with the blanket than without. That study also found that weighted blanket use was safe for healthy adults, having no effect on vital signs like pulse and blood pressure.

If you want to try a weighted blanket, read online reviews first and look for features that you think will help you relax, says Solz: Maybe material softness or breathability is important to you, or maybe you want a blanket with built-in aromatherapy to evoke a spa-like environment, for example.

Many of us carry around anxiety, which can cause trouble sleeping, so it’s important to have healthy coping habits you can turn to when you’re stressed, she explains. "You might do deep breathing or take a hot shower or cozy up in your favorite sweater, and a weighted blanket might be another part of that arsenal."

RELATED: 9 Cooling Weighted Blankets That Will Keep You From Waking Up Sweaty

You’ll also want to consider choosing a blanket that’s about 10% of your body weight: The authors of the 2006 study wrote that, in their clinical experience, patients preferred blankets that weighed at least this much. (Too much more, however, could become uncomfortable and difficult to move under.)

Weighted blankets shouldn’t be a substitute for proven therapies for anxiety or insomnia, warns Solz—and if you’re currently in treatment for a mental health condition, get the okay from your doctor or therapist before buying one. "For some, like people with panic disorders or agoraphobia, the sensation of a weighted blanket could have a counter-effect and make anxiety even worse," she adds.

Ready to give them a try? Here, the 12 best weighted blankets for anxiety, according to customer reviews.

The Gravity Blanket

 

To buy: $249;

This weighted blanket comes in 15-, 20-, and 25-pound versions, each measuring 4 feet by 6 feet. (King and queen sizes are in the works, but the company recommends the blankets not be shared by couples who might disrupt each other's sleep, since using one is supposed to be a "grounding" experience.) It’s made of breathable fabrics, and both the weighted inner layer and outer duvet cover are machine-washable.

“It literally feels as your being snuggled and it’s a pretty awesome feeling to say the least,” shared . “I’m tickled a friend recommended this item to me as I suffer from severe anxiety and panic disorder along with insomnia and this blanket truly helps with these conditions. I was in doubt when purchasing the Gravity Blanket due to the price but I have to admit it’s well worth the money spent.”

Blanquil Quilted Weighted Blanket

To buy: $169;

This 47-by-74-inch cotton blanket comes in 15-pound or 20-pound models, and is encased in an ultra soft polyester microfiber that makes it look and feel incredibly luxurious. Tiny plastic pellets are distributed evenly across the blanket in stitched pockets, which gives it a stylish, quilted look. 

“No, seriously the cover is so soft! If you never pet a bunny before you’ll know what it feels like after you buy this blanket,” raved .

Platinum Health Calmforter Weighted Blanket

To buy: $119;

At 60-by-80 inches, this h blanket weighs 12 pounds and is large enough to fit a queen size bed. (If you want more or less weight, the company suggests sleeping under half the blanket or doubling it up on top of you.) One side has a silky smooth minky polyester fabric, while the other features a textured dot pattern "for fingers and hands that like to fidget."

“We chose to purchase this one for our son who has FASD, ADHD, Anxiety, an unspecified sleep disorder, & SPD. We are so very happy that we did! As soon as the package was opened, our son laid under it for over an hour. He said he felt much calmer and we noticed that he remained calm most of the evening. Texture: He loves both the soft and textured feeling the material as well. His sensory needs are being met when using it as he can rub his fingers over the bumpy side and the other side as he needs for tactile input,” said .

YnM Weighted Blanket

To buy: $60 to $189; 

YnM’s best-selling, top-rated weighted blankets come in various sizes and weights—ranging from 5 pounds to 30 pounds—and are some of the most popular weighted blankets on Amazon Made with 100% cotton material, they’re filled with tiny, evenly-distributed glass beads that are designed to comfortably hug your body You can opt to enjoy the blanket as is, or purchase a duvet cover separately for easy cleaning. Despite the smaller size options, the instructions state not to use these blankets “on your little ones or people who can’t move the heavy blanket themselves"—a warning that should be heeded for all brands of weighted blankets. 

“I haven’t slept through the night for almost 6 years, thanks to a difficult pregnancy and baby,” wrote . “It trained my body to only sleep a couple hours at a time. I tried everything, and am shocked that a weighted blanket worked so magically! From restless legs, insomnia, anxiety, it is an instant fix!”

RELATED: 12 Expert-Approved Tips to Get a Better Night's Sleep

Magic Weighted Blanket

To buy: $149-$254;

These weighted blankets, made in the USA, come in 11 different size-and-weight combination, and a variety of fabrics including cotton and flannel—so you can really customize yours to make it your own. Their most popular fabric  is the polyester chenille that’s super cozy, won’t shed, and features soft fibers long enough to run your fingers through. 

“This blanket is so soft and looks like a normal throw blanket. Incredibly high quality. I bought mine for my anxiety, which occasionally makes it hard for me to sleep or gives me nightmares, and sleeping under this blanket helps tremendously,” said . 

Quility Weighted Blanket

To buy: $70-$200;

With over 8,300 perfect 5-star Amazon reviews and a section,  this is truly the weighted blanket to beat. It’ll keep you surprisingly cool and comfortable while you sleep, and it also includes a removable cozy cover you can use if you want added warmth in the winter.

“The weight is very evenly distributed so that it sort of cocoons around me without my feeling constrained or confined. The "minky" cover feels great but I get too hot under it so I ordered the smooth cotton cover. I sleep more soundly under this blanket and my restless leg symptoms are dramatically reduced,” wrote .

ZonLi Weighted Blanket

To buy: $47-$187;

This breathable weighted blanket features small squares to help distribute the glass beads inside more evenly, and the outer material  is made of ultra-smooth natural bamboo viscose so you won’t overheat. According to customer reviews, first-timers should opt for one that’s lighter in weight.

“The weight distribution is even and just enough to feel like I'm being cuddled or have a reassuring amount of pressure on my body without being overwhelming,” shared . “I sleep hot and prefer to have only one blanket on me. This blanket is good at regulating temperatures and has been enough to keep me plenty warm on cold, snowy winter nights and keep me from overheating on hot summer nights.”

Luna Weighted Blanket

To buy: $44-$130;

This lightweight weighted blanket is made of super soft, 100% organic cotton and is filled with durable-yet-comfortable glass beads that are carefully woven into the blanket fibers for even weight distribution—so you’ll never have a saggy corner. Plus, this blanket is a number one best-seller and has nearly 2,000 Amazon reviews—with 93% of them being 4 and 5 stars—so it’s a total no-brainer.

“The weight has stayed evenly distributed. No worries about leaking beads, the edges of the blanket have a secure binding all around. The material is lovely, I have both a gel cooling bed and pillow as I am sensitive to excess heat, and I don't find this blanket to hold more heat than the blanket it replaced,” said .

RELATED: 10 Ways to Sleep Better All Winter Long

Weighted Idea Weighted Blanket

To buy: $55-$170;

Available in multiple size and weight options for you to choose from, it’s made with breathable, lightweight cotton, which helps to regulate body temperature and keep you from getting night sweats. Choose from nine different weights—and be prepared to be soothed to sleep.

“I have generalized anxiety and going to sleep is a challenge for me. But putting this on me was instantly soothing and comforting, like someone is giving you a nice hug. I didn't get too warm under it. It's like turning your pillow to the cool side at night,” wrote .

Degrees of Comfort Weighted Blanket

To buy: $55-$150;

Ideal for hot and cold sleepers, this temperature-regulated weighted blanket is great if you tend to heat up at night while your partner runs cold. It includes two washable duvet covers that you can swap out depending on the season: warm fleece to keep you toasty on chilly evenings, and cooling microfiber fabric to ventilate heat away from your body. 

“It's a heavy blanket, but the weight is distributed evenly so it's not crushing,” pointed out . “I also love how cool feeling it is. I live in the south and was fearful a weighted blanket would lead to many sweaty, insomniac nights. So glad I was proven wrong.”

ZZZhen Weighted Blanket

To buy: $43-$125;

This quilt-like blanket is perfect for napping or couch lounging, and won’t look out of place folded at the end of your bed or draped over a chair in your living room. It’s offered in three calming weights—15, 20, or 25 pounds—and features box stitching that helps prevent the beads from shifting, so the weight is uniform all over your body when you’re ready to catch a few Z’s. 

“Within just a few minutes of draping this beautiful blanket over myself, I was feeling more relaxed than I had in months. Anxiety is awful, and sometimes you even have anxiety when you don't realize it, so you don't relax as much as you think you are. But this blanket... This blanket is like a warm hug all over. I have suggested this blanket to every person I know. Get it for your own mental wellbeing,” said .

sSnooze Weighted Blanket

To buy: $40-$80;

You’ll see proven results with this weighted blanket, according to shopper reviews. Swaddle yourself in this luxuriously soft throw, boasting diamond quilt stitching on one side and sensory minky dots on the other. Bonus: Even the largest, heaviest weighted blanket from this brand are priced under $100, so this option is a total bargain.

“I wake up a lot at night and in general haven’t slept well in the last year or so. This blanket really does help. It’s not just that I THINK I sleep better, I actually do. I use my Apple Watch to track sleep patterns and sleep quality. I can actually see in the data charts when I bought this blanket and how my sleep improved. I sleep deeper and wake up much less (it’s rare now). My sleep quality went from an average of 54% to 89% most nights now,” shared .

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