A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist US.
While occupational therapists have used weighted blankets for years to treat patients with sensory processing or autism spectrum disorders, it wasn’t until the introduction of the widely popular Gravity Blanket that they became mainstream options for dealing with occasional insomnia or everyday anxiety.
Dr. Raj Dasgupta, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, compares sleep to a puzzle, with factors like light, temperature, sound, and physical comfort as the pieces. It’s with that last puzzle piece that weighted blankets make a difference. ‘People want that snuggly effect’, he says. Dasgupta explains that while there hasn’t been a perfect, double-blind study (there’s no version of a weighted blanket you’re oblivious to sleeping under), self-reported questionnaires support claims that weighted blankets may prolong sleep times and relieve anxiety.
To find out which weighted blanket is truly the best to gift, we consulted with sleep experts and tested out a few on our own. Ideally, a weighted blanket should weigh in at around 10 percent of the user’s bodyweight in order to provide enough heft without being uncomfortable, but for adults there’s some more wiggle room (around 8 to 12 percent is generally fine).
While any weighted blanket will give you that soothing, grounded sensation, the Baloo’s thoughtful design makes it the most comfortable and aesthetically pleasing one of the bunch. Besides feeling calmed and relaxed underneath it, I never needed to adjust the blanket during the night, and it has a surprisingly thin profile for a heavy blanket. It’s filled with tiny glass beads that stay concentrated in their quilted pockets so the weight never feels uneven in its distribution. In distinction to other bead-filled blankets that are noisy when their beads shift around inside, it’s totally quiet and the beads are barely noticeable. Because it isn’t super-thick, I felt cooler sleeping under the Baloo than most of the other blankets — and I generally sleep very warm. It’s only available in a soft-white color, which does look crisp and clean on a minimally styled bed, and it also has loops on each corner to conveniently secure a duvet cover.
We first discovered the YnM blanket while searching for the highest-rated weighted blankets on Amazon, and sleep experts agree that this is one of the best. “It conforms well to the curves of your body, so you really feel like you are getting hugged,” says Joe Auer, founder of sleep-product review site Mattress Clarity. He also likes that YnM offers blankets for hot sleepers and a range of weights and colours. They also make one of the only truly couple-size weighted blankets. If you are sharing your blanket with a partner though, bear in mind that you’ll only feel the effect of half the blanket’s weight. Regardless of the size, don’t expect a weighted blanket to drape plushly over the sides of your bed — the weight is meant to be concentrated over your body, so it should only cover the mattress surface.
While the Gravity blanket has the greatest name recognition, onetime Strategist deputy editor Jason Chen liked, but didn’t fall in love with it. It’s not quilted, so the beads can shift and the blanket needs to be refluffed. He also reported that it felt hotter in warmer weather, so it may be one to avoid if you’re a sweaty sleeper. The blanket has its devoted fans, though. Logan Block, director of content at Sleepopolis, says, “I do have a Gravity blanket at home and can say it is a great product. I have the 20-pound version and was surprised by how much it actually felt like it weighed me down.”
Some other Strategist-recommended weighted blankets
When we scoured Amazon for the best-rated weighted blankets, the jaymag came out on top. With an average of 4.8 stars, the jaymag weighted blanket seems to impress almost everyone who has bought it. Specifically, every single reviewer who reports having autism, anxiety, or insomnia has given this weighted blanket a glowing review. Some write that the blanket is almost too effective. One reviewer found their blanket was so comforting that they wrapped themselves up in it to read a book, then promptly fell asleep.
If you’d like to purchase a weighted blanket with a trial period, Mela offers a 100-night trial period and has a U.K.-based support team. Aside from that, when we searched the reviews on Amazon, this weighted blanket receives the usual plaudits about cosiness and improved sleep. Additionally, customers call out the how-to guide that arrives with the blanket and laud the company for donating a percentage of every sale to charity.
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