At anywhere from $70 to $250 and up, a weighted blanket might seem like a hefty investment.
But if it reduces your need for other interventions to deal with cold flashes in menopause, anxiety, insomnia, and/or stress, a weighted blanket might just be cheap at any price.*
Ever since the Gravity blanket raised nearly $5M on Kickstarter, weighted blankets have been flying (well, maybe not “flying” – they’re heavy) off shelves as people test them out for their lauded ability to aid sleep and reduce tossing and turning.
For women dealing with menopause, weighted blankets may be a great addition to your “symptom relief toolkit.” Let’s talk about what they are, what they do, and how they do it.
Pretty much exactly as they sound, weighted blankets are blankets filled with materials such as plastic or glass beads or fabrics, and layers of polyfill or other soft materials for comfort. The blankets are usually “quilted” with sewn squares to keep the weights from roaming and redistributing unevenly.
These blankets can weigh from 5 to 30 pounds, though the recommended weight is 10 percent of the user’s body weight (so, a 15-pound blanket for a 150-pound person).
While that might sound restrictive, it isn’t. The weight allows the sleeper to roll over easily but reduces the restless tossing and turning that interrupts quality sleep.
If you are looking for an alternative to weighted blankets, our team of menopause specialists would recommend our CBD oil for women's sleep.
More research has yet to be done to determine exactly why weighted blankets are effective for many people. So if you decide to give weighted blankets a try, remember that the effects have not been scientifically proven, and that results vary.
Weighted blankets, according to some, replicates touch, and touch can be very good for us. The Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) or Deep Pressure Touch (DPT) of weighted blankets can feel like a hug, and hugs release oxytocin and serotonin, making us feel good and lessening sensations of pain.
Blankets like the gravity blanket may also increase production of melatonin, which many find aids with sleep, and weighted blankets (counterintuitively enough) are sometimes used for hot flashes.
Weighted blankets provide a sensation of “grounding” or “earthing” with a moderate weight pushing the body down. This, say some, helps reduce nighttime levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), allowing for more restful sleep.
Assuming they work as advertised, weighted blankets can potentially help with some of the thorniest menopause and perimenopause symptoms such as depression, anxiety, interrupted sleep, attention deficit issues, and premature waking.
Several sources on the Internet claimed they could help reduce the sensation of Restless Leg Syndrome, but I’d be cautious, as most of those making the claim were blanket producers.
Learn more about where you are in your menopause journey.
Take Gennev's unique Menopause Assessment - free.
If you decide to give weighted blankets a try, there are several things to keep in mind:
Generally, yes, but there are a few things to be aware of.
People with breathing or circulation issues. I only found a couple of articles that pointed to potential concerns for these people, but if you have asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, or any circulation issue, please talk with your doctor before making the purchase.
Little ones. Weighted blankets are not safe for babies, and while they can be helpful for older children – particularly children with autism or sensory processing concerns – they need to be an appropriate size and weight for the child. To read more about weighted blankets for children with autism, be sure to check out this article.
Pets. Don’t let small pets crawl under the weighted blanket, as they may not be able to get themselves out!
Other than those, the worst “danger” I found was the complaint that they made “getting out of bed even harder.” Which sounds like a pretty positive "complaint," really.
Have you tried a weighted blanket to help with anxiety or poor sleep? We’d love to hear more about how it helped you or didn’t and how you chose the one you use. Share in the comments, join the weighted blankets conversation on our community forums, chat with us on the Gennev Facebook page, or join Midlife & Menopause Solutions, our closed Facebook group!