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Here's What A Professional Sleep Doctor Wants You To Know About The Weighted Blanket Trend That's Still All Over TikTok And Instagram

Dec 19, 2023Dec 19, 2023

I dumped them on the nearest surface I could after I hauled them into the house, then came back to discover my dog had accessorized them with a soft toy. Thanks, bud.

Also pictured is my silk pillowcase, which I bought because they are also supposed to be cooling. One day you're young and cool, and the next day you're spending half your paycheck pimping up your bed...

A clinical psychologist with more than two decades of experience in his field, Breus is a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

He's been in private practice as a sleep doctor for nearly 25 years, so he certainly knows his stuff when it comes to catching zzzs.

Breus explained that the evenly distributed weight added to a blanket causes “deep pressure stimulation", which is the gentle, firm pressure that can also come from a massage or other physical contact.

Deep pressure stimulation lowers arousal and makes you feel more relaxed. As research shows, deep pressure stimulation decreases the activity of the body’s sympathetic nervous system — that’s the system that promotes alertness and vigilance and responds to stressful stimuli. It’s the “fight or flight” division of the nervous system.

At the same time, deep pressure stimulation increases activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is sometimes called the “rest and digest” system. When it’s activated, it lowers heart rate and blood pressure, and increases relaxation and feelings of calm.

Breus' website,, has some more information about the science behind weighted blankets, but the bottom line is that weighted blankets promote the sleep part of the nervous system and lower the activating part so it's easier to drift off to sleep and actually stay asleep through the night.

After sleeping under it for a while now, I can say it was perfect for mild spring nights — I stayed at the right temperature all night, it was really cozy, and I didn't wake up too warm. But the second the weather got hotter, the blanket was far too hot to sleep under. By the time summer hit, it was pretty clear to me that the cooling aspect is a gimmick for increasing sales.

I asked Breus if there is an ideal weight per person for a weighted blanket, and he told me that the data suggests about 10% of a person's total body weight — but he disagrees.

He said: "If you are a 250-pound person and I throw a 25-pound blanket on you, it's going to be uncomfortable and hot. I ask all my patients to start with 12 pounds and see how they feel."

So start small, see how you feel, and work your way up to 10% of your body weight if you want to. It's also worth noting that weighted blankets aren’t appropriate for infants and toddlers since they could put the child at risk of suffocating or becoming trapped. During the first year of a child’s life, bedding can also increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, some weighted blankets are designed for older children.

Individuals with chronic respiratory or circulatory conditions, asthma, low blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, claustrophobia, and other medical conditions should also consult their doctors before using weighted blankets.

In a nutshell, anyone using a weighted blanket should have the strength and coordination to remove the blanket themselves if necessary. This means that those who are frail or have limited mobility should also not use weighted blankets. And keep them away from small animals too!

(Maybe I'll do some quick bedtime blanket pull reps — increase my strength and wear myself out before sleep. Sounds like a win-win!)

Just start light, prepare yourself for a heavy package in the mail, and don't fall for marketing that promises cooling effects.