The Best Weighted Blankets For Anxiety And Insomnia

"Stress-relieving" and "relaxing" are words that are constantly thrown around in marketing — especially when it comes to products. That said, while a scented candle or bath bomb might help you to unwind after a tough day, they're not exactly considered clinical treatments for stress or sleep disorders. The best weighted blankets for anxiety and insomnia, on the other hand, might actually have some scientific backing, and even some mental health experts have noted their effectiveness.

To shed some light on the matter, I spoke with Stephanie Hartselle, MD, who is an associate professor of psychiatry at Brown University. Dr. Hartselle also specializes in anxiety and sleep disorders, which are two of the most common issues that weighted blankets aim to alleviate. "Scientists have been interested in weighted blankets for more than 40 years," Dr. Hartselle says. "Most studies have found a clear reduction in subjective anxiety (in children, adults, and those with autism spectrum)."

That said, you don't necessarily have to experience chronic anxiety to reap the benefits of a high-quality weighted blanket. According to Dr. Hartselle, "Some [studies] have shown, especially in adults, an ability to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. The mechanism is unclear entirely but it's hypothesized that the blankets reduce sensory input and lower physiological arousal, providing a sense of calm."

As weighted blankets gain popularity, there are more and more options on the market to choose from. This is, in part, a good thing — but it can also lead to the use of lower-quality materials and a misunderstanding of their purpose. Ultimately, you'll want to find one that uses hypoallergenic filling like glass or ceramic, rather than plastic; it should also be the correct weight and fabric for your body and preferences.

Below, I utilize Dr. Hartselle's insights to help outline the best weighted blankets for various needs, as well as the features you should consider when making your purchase.