It’s nighttime. You’ve turned off the lights and you’re lying down in bed, cuddled under blankets, trying to sleep. But yet again, you can’t. You’re thinking about all you need to get done, and no matter how close you get to falling asleep, you still can’t fully get there.

Frustrating, right? If you’ve been in this position like I have, you know how stressful sleep can be 一 especially if you also have anxiety. Add in the fact that sleep can be especially hard for women. It’s easy to feel hopeless.

 The answer is heavy.

But I’ve found a solution that may work: weighted blankets. They’re basically regular blankets with beads inside, and you can buy them at different weights, from five pounds to 30 pounds. Depending on the heaviness, they can be safe and helpful for kids and adults alike.

Additionally, anxiety and insomnia aren’t the only issues weighted blankets are for; they can also serve as sleep aids for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, osteoarthritis, chronic pain, and more.

How Weighted Blankets Work

While they may not be a cure for everyone, weighted blankets can calm down your body and mind, expediting sleep. 

Here’s how they work: When you’re anxious, your heart rate increases. The pressure of the weighted blanket activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers your heart rate and brings you feelings of calmness. Even if you’re not feeling anxious, this can still help you relax and fall asleep.

Further, these blankets can affect more than just your nervous system; they can also change your hormone levels in a beneficial way. For example, the heaviness of the blanket can regulate the release of cortisol, a stress hormone, in your body. Additionally, the “hug” sensation you feel from the blanket can release oxytocin, the love hormone, which causes you to feel safe, comfortable, and grounded.

What to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Weighted Blanket

To ensure the blanket you buy works for your body specifically, you’ll want to keep the size in mind. The general guideline is choosing a blanket that’s 10 percent of your body weight. However, kids and older adults are an exception to this guideline; those populations want to aim for blankets that are 10 percent of their weight plus one or two pounds.

If you’re worried the heaviness will make you hot, I hear you! Weighted blankets can certainly warm you up, especially if you buy a fleece one, which is probably best for winter. 

Otherwise, if you’d like the pressure without the heat, cooling weighted blankets do exist as options! These are usually made with different materials, like naturally cool cotton, lightweight bamboo, or another material that won’t make you sweaty.

If you’re interested in buying a weighted blanket, here are some top-rated options you can order online, ordered from low to high price:

●  Smart Queen Cooling Weighted Blanket, Premium Cotton with Natural Glass Beads (Amazon’s Choice, 4.5 stars) for $28.99, originally $59.99

●  YnM Weighted Blanket, Cotton with Premium Glass Beads (#1 Bestseller, 4.5 stars) for $39.90, originally $79.90

●  BUZIO Sherpa Fleece Weighted Blanket, Dual-Sided Cozy Plush (Amazon’s Choice, 5 stars) for $66.99

Happy relaxing and sleeping!

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About Ashley Broadwater

Ashley Broadwater is a freelance writer and graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media. She's been published in POPSUGAR, Medium, and more. You'll find her writing about body positivity, relationships, mental health, and entertainment regularly.

View all posts by Ashley Broadwater