Weighted Blankets


Sophia Maybin

Image depicts a person wrapped in a weighted blanket.

Most people have probably heard of the weighted blanket and some may even have one of their own. But even if you own one, or are thinking about getting one, do you know what the actual purpose of it is?

The first official weighted blanket was invented in 1998 by Keith Zivalich, and its purpose was to help people, including young children, with anxiety and other disorders like PTSD. When people get stressed out or really anxious their heart rate increases and sometimes this makes it harder for them to calm down. These people would be given a weighted blanket which would gently apply pressure on their bodies allowing them to calm down. This method was called pressure therapy and it applies a calm, relaxing pressure similar to a hug or being swaddled, stroked or held.

Weighted blankets can provide a sense of security as well as warmth when you use them. If a person has autism, it can help them when they become too overstimulated, or if someone has ADHD, it can help them to stay calm and focus. These blankets come in different sizes as well as different colors and weights. The weight of these blankets can usually be from 4 to 25 pounds, so smaller children can get one that weighs a little less. People who have insomnia have also said that these blankets have helped them get a more restful sleep.

Many have described the blanket as the feeling of getting a hug. Others say it is like when the dentist puts that x-ray vest on you. The typical weighted blanket is filled with plastic beads, but some are also filled with glass beads and weighted disks. Some studies say that if you do decide to get a weighted blanket you should get one that is 10 percent of your own body weight, so if you are 150 pounds your weighted blanket should weigh 15 pounds.

You don’t have to be a person with autism or ADHD to get a weighted blanket. However, keep in mind that even if these blankets do help you they will not work right away. On average it might take around 21 days since that is how long it takes to form a habit. Maybe you are someone who has a bit of trouble falling asleep, or maybe you just want that snug feeling on you. Whatever it may be, weighted blankets are for everyone.