How it works
Thinking back to the best hug you’ve ever had, you experienced a short glimpse of what it’s like to sleep with a weighted blanket—although, no, they don’t have arms.
Surprisingly, being held or hugged is comforting for essentially the same reason why sleeping under a heavy blanket is so effective: deep touch pressure.
Deep touch pressure, which is gentle, constant pressure similar to a long hug, has a calming effect, relaxing the nervous system and stimulating hormones that regulate mood, sleep and more. This effect allows you to go from stressed and anxious to calm and peaceful completely naturally.
By boosting endorphins, weighted blankets may create a change in the body’s chemistry and decrease cortisol, the stress hormone. This is the hormone that creates the fight or flight instinct which can leave you feeling panicked, anxious and exhausted.
If you’ve ever been late to a flight, prepped for an interview or read through text messages after a night out, you definitely know the feeling that cortisol creates—and you don’t want to experience that feeling as you’re trying to settle in and get a good night’s rest.
One of the most important endorphins that’s released by weighted blankets is serotonin, sometimes known as “the happy chemical”, a hormone and mood elevator. Sunshine, exercise and foods like salmon and spinach can boost serotonin, however, not everyone lives in sunny Los Angeles, gets enough time at the gym or eats spinach like Popeye, so serotonin is often in short supply. With weighted blankets, this serotonin production is stimulated naturally.
Feeling happy through boosted serotonin is great, but it doesn’t necessarily help you sleep better, right? Wrong, actually.
Serotonin leads to the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes one feel sleepy and regulates sleep patterns. Ultimately, this combination of increased serotonin and melatonin can create a relaxed, calm state and chilled out nervous system ideal for sleep.
Wrapping up the science lesson and coming back to weighted blankets, it’s the weight of the blanket creating pressure on the body that creates these chemical reactions and benefits. Some users describe the feeling as similar to a personal cocoon or the sensation of being cradled or swaddled. Sign us up.