It’s the winter season, which means it’s the perfect time for those classic hot mugs of pumpkin spice and all things nice, fuzzy socks and sitting down to watch all your favourite comfort films and shows. But the perfect evening curled on the couch surely can’t be complete without a cosy blanket, can it? And why settle for a normal one, when weighted blankets can do more than just wrap you up warm before bed?
Before we get into bed with the blankets in question, let’s peek into the industry behind the innovation—starting with weighted sleepwear and sportswear. Featuring gravity training apparel like vests, top and bottom sets with added weights, Omorpho—an upcoming athleisure brand backed up by star athletes like tennis champ Ajla Tomljanović—are making workouts more effective, albeit cooler. When these weights shift onto our beds, even celebrities have caught onto the concept, as well as us fellow simpletons, and the blankets are now everywhere. Fit for every purpose, some even come with sleeves. In a world where comfort is king, and daylight savings makes us all want to snuggle up sound asleep, we are always on the hunt for items to tuck ourselves in when we’re tuckered out with life. And, with their multipurpose use—yes, they’re not just a way to literally help you sleep tight at night—these cosy comforters can actually help ease both anxiety and insomnia. So, if your main prerogative is to relax, then sit back as we list off some of the top brands to get your new bedtime buddy. But first, let’s have a quick look at what weighted blankets are and how they actually work.
Before we get to grips with the science behind how they work and how to cop the best one for you, we should get clued up on this nifty nighttime item. Basically, weighted blankets are just heavy blankets. It’s exactly what it says on the tin: a throw where the weight is evenly distributed throughout, one that bundles you up while using it. They are typically made from cotton, or various other soft materials, and have beads (either glass or some form of plastic) lined inside of them to add weight. Though, newer versions opt-out of the beaded interior and the covers they come with entirely, and instead create that sought after heaviness by simply layering the cotton.
Perfect for swaddling you to sleep—with some actually designed to actively cool you down—these blankets can cocoon you into a restful state. They use deep touch pressure (DTP), a type of sensory input that arises from hugging and squeezing you. Much like the weighted Moon Pal, DTP (that hugging and squeezing sensation) is thought to reduce stress and bring comfort. This, in turn, helps them to ground you, affecting your hormone levels, and overall, lessening feelings of anxiety.
Some things to remember—the weight should be between 5 to 10 per cent of your body weight. So for an adult, a blanket could or should range between 10 to 30 pounds. Weighted blankets are generally safe to sleep with every night, but should be removed if it begins to feel too heavy. Always consult your doctor first if you have any sort of medical condition or any concerns about using one.
Everyone can do with a good hug these days, and actually, they tend to make people feel calmer and more at ease. If anxiety is described as the condition that puts you in fight or flight mode, then weighted blankets combat it head on in a rest and digest. Like sleeping naked, or the feel-good freedom that comes from masturbation, hugs cause the release of oxytocin—a hormone that helps knock your blood pressure down a peg, slows that thumping heart, and makes you feel cool as a cucumber.
Weighted blankets simulate this experience and also release that oh-so-loved serotonin, a hormone that decreases stress. They also help to ground you, an important factor in aiding your sleep. Evidence provided by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that the body being grounded, or weighed down, actually leads to a more satisfying sleep because the secretion of cortisol is regulated during it. That’s right guys, cortisol, the same fear-striking stress hormone that flares when you’re anxious—and leads alpacas to have a taste for classical music—has a hand in how well you sleep.
So, we’ve piqued your interest. Let’s have a look at some of the weighted blankets already out there.
With the market for blanket options growing wider by the day, from Amazon to independent sellers, here’s the best weighted blankets for all your different chillaxing needs.
You might have already heard of the Gravity Blanket since it’s got a thriving following of over 78,000 followers on Instagram. Gravity—the company behind the infamous Gravity Weighted Blanket—caters to all of your sleeping needs,from weighted sleep masks to matching robes. Its popular Gravity Weighted Blanket for adults is a consumer favourite retailing for £180, comes in a cool dark grey shade, is hypoallergenic and perfectly sized to cocoon one person on a bed or sofa.
A more affordable option, but still top-of-the-line, is the Weighted Blanket by Mela. Mela has over 25,000 followers on Instagram, and was even named ‘Best Weighted Blanket’ of 2019 to 2021 by the Evening Standard. Sitting at £120 (keep an eye out for the company’s price slashes), it also has the stamp of approval from Good Housekeeping. Available for single, double and king size beds, a large selling point of their blanket is the “anti-rustle” glass quartz pellets it’s made from, which “move around silently and mould to your body shape,” as stated on its website.
For those really looking for a blanket to help with anxiety, Karmara is the brand for you. It stocks a wide range of weighted blankets that target specific sensory needs for fibromyalgia, autism, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and anxiety in both children and adults. Its irresistibly soft £49 Karmara Snug, for example, in a cool elephant gray is “the perfect way to help you relax on those cold winter days” according to the company’s website. The blanket is filled with glass micro-beads, “made from 100 per cent organic cotton,” is biodegradable and hypoallergenic.
On a budget? I got you, the RATEL Weighted Blanket comes in at just shy of £40—bargain. Sold on Amazon, this accessible and affordable weighted blanket brand offers a range of quilted and fleece blankets for both adults and children. The blanket weighs 7.2 kilograms and is made from high-quality cotton and is lined with glass beads for that weighted feel.
With an Instagram following soon to reach 10,000, Remy is an international weighted blanket brand for all your comfy cover needs. Featured in publications like GQ, Remy is a brand to look out for. Remy’s The Sleeper—a fan-favorite with its 360° zipper fastening system and bamboo cover—comes in an array of colour options, standing out against the standard gray and muted colour choices for most brands. The company also invested in a sleep study testing their products, which found that out of 512 participants, 83 per cent reported better sleep, and a resounding 90 per cent claimed feeling less stressed when asked questions about their wellbeing while using Remy products.
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If you’re looking for a more kid-friendly weighted blanket, then Snoozzzy is the brand for you. The brand primarily focuses on children’s wellbeing and specialises in weighted blankets. With patterned blankets like its Dinosaur Cover and Blanket, that come with removable covers, priced at £85. The Independent recommended the Snoozzzy for its “special attention to detail and consideration for children’s safety.” The cover and blanket stitching, as well as the zips, underwent “rigorous strength-testing” during development to make it as safe as possible. Another bonus is the dyes used are formaldehyde-free, so this blanket is perfect for helping children sleep soundly, safely and in style.
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So, whether it’s to relieve anxiety or simply to fulfil your warm and fuzzy needs as the days get colder, weighted blankets might just be something topping a couple of Christmas lists this year.
In uncertain and scary times—from the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis to an ever-widening wealth gap and a society strife with human rights violations—mental health issues are at an all-time high. Enter Moon Pal, a five-pound anti-anxiety stuffed plushie here to give you a much-needed hug. Moon Pals have taken the internet, particularly TikTok, by storm, but what are they? Why are they so different from any other regular stuffed animal toy? Can they actually help with anxiety? Here’s everything you need to know about the cute cuddle buddy.
As someone who struggles with anxiety, trying to calm myself down (especially in the midst of an attack) does not come easy; I feel constantly stressed and with some of the problems listed above, you can probably relate. A big misconception around anxiety is that ‘it’s all in your head’. Not only does that diminish the validity of such a condition but anxiety also manifests itself in many ways—some being physical symptoms. Some of these include: weakness or fatigue, muscle tension or pain, nausea, trembles, digestive trouble and often, an increased heart rate. Trying to combat such symptoms in the moment can be difficult but Moon Pals may be able to offer that little bit of help.
There has been an influx of popularised weighted products designed to provide relief for anxiety—you must have heard of weighted blankets by now—and Moon Pals are the newest (and perhaps the most effective) rendition of the concept. While weighted stuffed animals have been used to help struggling children cope with any issues they may have, reports have shown that they have also been incredibly powerful for adults too, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there haven’t been any large major studies conducted on why weighted objects—particularly a soft-weighted toy—can help a person feel comforted, there is some research that explains this reaction. Director of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine Center, Chris Winter MD, told Thrive Global, “We are probably programmed to respond to the feeling of pressure from infancy… So when an adult is upset, we put our arms around them and squeeze them.”
“It’s likely that there is a deep-seated reflex and we respond to that tightening and pressure, as babies and adults. The pressure from the blankets can make us more relaxed and secure,” Winter continued. Soft-weighted toys may offer an even better solution to blankets as they are less restrictive in comparison. It may also relate to that inner child in you. Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania Philip R. Gehrman PhD also told Thrive Global that as a child, you may form an attachment to a toy when it’s time to sleep which then triggers that sleep response throughout your life.
“Parents are told that it’s good to build a bedtime routine for children, reading books and taking stuffed animals to bed. These transitional objects are associated with sleep and give off cues triggering sleep—and that applies to adults too,” he continued. There is no shame in having a cuddly toy to help you sleep, no matter your age. I feel slightly less embarrassed about my 20-year-old mangled teddy bear now. In fact, it’s been mostly adults raving about the Moon Pals online. Listen, we are under a lot of pressure, we need this. So, connect with that inner child of yours.
Their popularity seems a result of their unique and improved design in comparison to traditionally soft-weighted toys. Weighing at around 5 pounds, what differentiates them is the distribution of the weight across the body of the toy. The anti-anxiety toys’ weight is described as creating “magically weighted hugs [that] use targeted pressure points to optimally disperse Moon Pal’s weight.” Rather than situated in just the core, some of the weight is felt along the Moon Pal’s long 16-inch arms, placing gentle weight across your shoulders and upper body—feeling like a much-needed real hug. Just lay down with it or wrap its arms around you for an “anti-anxiety therapeutic experience.”
Not only are they functional, but you cannot deny their incredibly cute design—coming in a multitude of colours and names, there’s plenty to choose from. Their plush and soft outer casing, large ears and limbs are described as only further “enriching your sensory experience.” Promoting better sleep, relaxation, emotional support and calming effects, plus they’re cute? I’m sold! I want one. Heck, I might need one, but there are a few downsides. For starters, it costs an eye-watering $95 and only ships to the US. Typical.