This bedding upgrade (that feels like you’re being hugged!) could be just what you’re looking for if you’re feeling a bit anxious and finding it hard to relax. Here’s why

From marvellous mental health resources to feel-good beauty products, we’re always on the lookout for things that could help us feel calmer when we have temporary feelings of worry. But what if there was something that might do so while we rest?

Well, research suggests that weighted blankets may be a useful tool. Soft, snuggly and designed to feel like a hug (sounds blissful, right?), here’s everything that you need to know about the potential duvet upgrade.

What are weighted blankets?

As their name would suggest, weighted blankets are blankets with more weight to them than your average blanket. While some get their weight from layering cotton up into a thick weave, most have glass or plastic beads stitched inside of them. Predictably, the more beads there are, the heavier they are. They tend to come in calming neutral tones like grey, white or cream, with the outside material often being cotton or even velvet to provide the utmost softness and comfort.

In terms of heaviness, it can vary. According to the Sleep Foundation, it can be helpful to look for one that’s around 10 percent of your bodyweight, but anywhere between 5 percent and 12 percent can be a great option. It’s best to be guided by what works best for you. As a general rule of thumb, find one that gives you a feeling of comfort, makes you feel safe and allows for movement underneath.

Are weighted blankets good for anxiety?

While there is some evidence to show that it can be a helpful tool for reducing anxiety, it’s been noted that more studies are needed to back this up.

Anecdotally though, members of the Boots Health & Beauty team have said that they have helped them to feel less on edge during anxious moments. This could be connected to the fact that touch in general – whether a firm hug or a soft caress – can cause a decrease in cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) and an increase in happiness hormones like serotonin and dopamine, which help with mood regulation – amongst other things.

So if you’re looking for something that can help you feel more relaxed, there’s no harm in giving a weighted blanket a try!

How do people use weighted blankets?

People use weighted blankets just like normal blankets: to relax underneath during the day and to sleep under at night. But it’s worth noting that you can either use a weighted blanket instead of a duvet or with one, and whether you place it on top or underneath said duvet doesn’t matter either.

For full relaxation, we recommend covering your entire body from your shoulders down to your feet, but we’ve found that even covering just your legs can be enough to alleviate feelings of restlessness. Indeed, as one 5-star reviewer on says, a weighted blanket can feel “weird and heavy to begin with”, so covering more and more of yourself gradually may well help you to get used to it. It’s worth persevering in our experience.

Do weighted blankets help with sleep?

While there’s not enough evidence that weighted blankets help with sleep conditions such as insomnia, they may be a good investment if you find it hard to unwind at night and reduce chances of waking yourself up (and the person next to you) if you happen to be a wriggler! An academic study published in 2020 found that people with sleep issues noted numerous improvements – from better sleep quality to falling asleep faster – when using a weighted blanket. What’s more, participants reported feeling 13 percent less stressed at bedtime and 17 percent more relaxed while trying to fall asleep. Ultimately, those participants who reported improved sleep using a weighted blanket didn’t only sleep better once asleep, the process leading up to being asleep was a lot more blissful too.

What’s the best weighted blanket?

If you’re looking for a new way to help you unwind (especially before bed), we happen to think this Naeo number is pretty perfect for anyone using a weighted blanket for the first time. Soft to the touch and in a comforting grey hue, it’s been designed to help you feel instantly comforted and calmer. It won’t break the bank either!

5.5kg Weighted Blanket (£35)
All prices correct at date of publication