(CONSUMER REPORTS) — Weighted blankets are the newest insomnia relievers to hit store shelves and lots of people swear by them but are they right for you? Consumer Reports has you covered with some shopping tips if you’re looking to buy.
Many of these popular weighted blankets claim to calm you when you’re anxious, help with your insomnia, or even make you feel like you’re being hugged.
What exactly is a weighted blanket?
“Basically, a weighted blanket is a quilted blanket that each of these little pockets is filled with glass or plastic beads and the pockets keep the weights from shifting around while you’re sleeping,” explains Consumer Reports’ Bernie Deitrick.
Many find the weight comforting. Weighted blankets have been used for years for kids with autism.
Sales of weighted blankets have been climbing, but sleep experts say although there isn’t a lot of evidence-based research on whether they work, many patients like them.
“I do recommend weighted blankets for some of my patients that struggle with sleep, especially if they feel very restless, and the feedback has been positive,” said Dr. Fariha Abbassi-Feinberg.
Will they work for you? Consumer Reports’ testing looked at weight and warmth.
CR found that blankets sold with the same weight could vary in size, changing the pressure you feel. For example, the 70-by-48 inch Gravity blanket weighs about 10 ounces per square foot, while the larger YnM Weighted Blanket weighs about 7 ounces per square foot.
Are weighted blankets hot? CR uses this device- dubbed the Tin Man – to measure each blanket’s heat retention.
“Our tests found that models with duvet covers were slightly warmer, but all the blankets add about the same amount of warmth that you’d get from a fluffy down comforter,” said Deitrick.
Manufacturers say you should pick a weighted blanket that’s around 10% of your body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should choose a 15-pound weighted blanket.
Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg says that you spend about a third of your life sleeping, and there are other ways to help make it great.
“A few things I often recommend is avoid caffeine at nighttime, avoid watching or reading anything that’s agitating or disturbing to you, and avoid forcing yourself to go to bed when your body’s not ready for bed yet.”
Consumer Reports says a good reason to improve your sleep habits is that sleep is tied into your immune system. The better you sleep, the better your body’s ability to fight off viruses.