One thing’s for sure: If a weighted blanket helps reduce anxiety, this sure beats using drugs and alcohol. And just how can a weighted blanket improve sleep?

Certainly there’s no risks from using a weighted blanket at night when you go to sleep.

Insomnia can lead to anxiety and make pre-existing depression worse.

The weight of these therapeutic blankets will vary depending on the user’s desires – obviously, children will require a lighter pressure.

How does a speciailly weighted blanket work?

“How it works is that the pressured weight from the blanket causes a therapeutic effect by triggering the nervous system to release a hormone called serotonin,” says Sashini Seeni, MD, a family medicine practitioner with DoctorOnCall, an online doctor and pharmacy.

“Serotonin helps your body and mind to calm down,” continues Dr. Seeni.

“Also, it helps to lower your heart rate and breathing which helps a person to calm down and fall asleep faster.

“One of the tricks of falling asleep is lying still, and a weighted blanket could stop you from moving around before sleep.”

The second we get positioned in bed for the night, our minds are no longer distracted by activities.

Instead, our minds are then prone to roaming — and usually the roam heads straight towards stressful areas, causing anxiety and often difficulty falling asleep.

In addition to the release of seratonin, the blanket can produce a calming effect due to the blanket’s mimicking of a cocoon or of being held in a firm embrace.

Enclosure within the blanket may subconsciously trigger memories of being swaddled as an infant – when everything was secure and everything was taken care of for you.

And, with an increase in the serotonin comes an increase in the hormone melatonin, which aids sleep.

So why not just layer some regular blankets?

Laying two or three common blankets will not result in the even weight distribution that the “weighted blanket” provides.

Throughout the course of the night, the user’s movements may throw off the distribution of regular layered coverings even more.

A single blanket that offers the extra pressure is more convenient; there’s no layering to hassle with, and the pressure will always be evenly distributed.

DoctorOnCall is the largest digital healthcare platform for citizens of Malaysia, allowing patients to consult doctors for advice, book appointments and place orders with local pharmacies.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.