I knew I had an unusual sleep pattern, and it was becoming a problem that affected my days. I knew I had a propensity to stay up later than normal. I knew my cats were easily able to rouse me at 3 am when my husband seemed able to sleep through anything. I didn’t realize I had an actual factual issue with insomnia until I started wearing a Fitbit every day. According to those stats, I rarely get more than 5 hours a night. Sometimes it’s 3. That isn’t good enough. The result of my terrible sleep pattern (or lack thereof) is that I’m often exhausted and unproductive during the day. Something had to change. This wasn’t sustainable or healthy or good for my spirit. I need SLEEP. I am TIRED. It’s causing all kinds of ripple effects. Point blank period, I need regular, normal, satisfying sleep in order to be functional every day. We all do. We deserve.
I’ve been very hesitant to seek out prescription medications for my sleep issues, because I fear addiction and have heard too many scary stories. To fight my sleep issues, I’ve tried exercising at night, showering at night, drinking warm milk and honey, meditation, melatonin gummies (those Olly restful sleep gummies are delicious and somewhat effective to me). Then I started seeing more and more buzz around weighted blankets being used for insomnia. Especially on Twitter, everyone I knew who had a weighted blanket absolutely raved over the way it helped them relax, the way they slept through the night, and how this magical blanket alleviated their stress and anxiety. I was somewhat familiar with weighted blankets for other purposes – specifically for therapeutic use for special-needs patients across the autism spectrum. But to battle insomnia? Stress? Anxiety? I had to find out for myself.
The folks at Sensacalm were kind enough to send me a blanket for review, and they helped answer ALL my questions about weighted blankets. If you check out their website you’ll see – Sensacalm is one of the leading weighted blanket brands, and they offer every kind of option you can consider. Crazy prints for kids, luxurious textures and patterns or solids for adults, and every kind of weight/fill type you can imagine. I was initially overwhelmed with choices, but Sensacalm co-creator helped me make the right choice. Sensacalm turned out to be the perfect weighted blanket brand for me for other reasons as well. This Chattanooga-based family business is run by a mother and daughter team, Donna and Sarah. They are early influencers in the weighted blanket world – Sensacalm started in 2008, long before they became mainstream recommendations for those with sleep and anxiety issues. Now they’re a specialty family owned business that began far ahead of the current curve.
Choosing your weighted blanket can seem overwhelming – there are so many options! Sensacalm has a really helpful article here on choosing the right blanket for you. For my size and weight, I was advised to consider a 20 to 25 lb blanket. Sarah let me know exactly which weight and fill type to pick. “If you have anxiety I would suggest the 20lb, this is because a lot of our customers with anxiety have been much happier when they exchanged for a lighter weight than what is normally suggested,” she told me. I had some questions about how exactly the fill worked. She helped to break that down as well.
“We do our weight suggestions by the amount of pressure in each square and that is why if you look through the website it will say different suggestions for each size, because the pellets are spread out more in bigger sizes and less in the smaller sizes. For instance, a 15lb in our Medium size would feel MUCH heavier than the 15lb in our Full size,” Sarah said. OK! So helpful. Smaller weighted blankets feel heavier. I chose the full size. But what kind of fill to choose? That’s a whole nother question. Polyfil vs. No Polyfil – which to choose? “Most people prefer the blankets with polyfil because they are more like a regular comforter and more fluffy and soft, however people who sleep hot at night or really like the blanket to fold up easily prefer the no polyfil option. I feel like it is more like a weighted sheet. …It almost feels to me like because it isn’t fluffy, it molds to your body more,” Sarah explained. SO helpful, and so much more personalized than just choosing a generic, imported weighted blanket from a mainstream retailer.
It took me a while to choose my Sensacalm blanket, so hopefully my choice can help inform your own. I’m a dress size 18/20 or a size 2X. I chose a full size, 20lb blanket without polyfil. I went for a reversible blanket, in their custom fabric choices of Silver Etchings/ Peppered Green – our bedroom is grey with a soft green accent wall, so this is perfect. I’ve been sleeping with this blanket since mid-January, and here’s my review based on nightly use.
I love it, I need it, I don’t sleep as well without it. I run pretty hot, so I feel that the no polyfil option was the right choice for me. However it’s not that fluffy or fun to cuddle with (according to my husband). It’s also kind of noisy, just in moving the blanket to slip into bed at night all the pellets shifting around. For those reasons, I’d be open to trying the alternative to see the difference. Weighted blankets are typically filled with small pellets that distribute heaviness throughout the blanket but if polyfil feels softer and more cuddly, it may be easier to sleep with. Using this blanket, I get up far less often during the night. If/when my cats come to disturb me at 3 am, I’m knocked out enough that they barely rouse me (unless they knock something off my dresser. That remains a challenge).
Has it helped my anxiety? Maybe. I’m not sure. I know I feel less anxious about going to bed, I’m not as worried about the prospect of not sleeping. And I can tell you this – if I get into bed with this blanket, I’m more likely to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep longer without restlessness. And if I use the one-two combo of my weighted Sensacalm blanket AND this Flora and Bast CBD sleep tincture I’ve been taking? I’m out for 5 and a half blissful hours and that’s much more than I’ve been getting. I’m actually waking up feeling blessed and refreshed thanks to this blanket. It has made a difference for me.
This Healthline article touches on the anxiety angle of the weighted blankets, and explains it quite well: “Weighted blankets create deep pressure touch, which is thought to help calm the nervous system of people in states of sensory arousal…The calming benefits of weighted blankets are supported by some research, too. One small study tested the effectiveness of weighted blankets in adults in 2006. The results were staggering: 63 percent reported lower anxiety after use, and 78 percent found the weighted blanket an effective calming mechanism.” That right there – calming mechanism. That’s how it makes me feel. Calm, secure, and literally weighed down so you don’t want to move too much or be too restless. It calms your body down so your mind can, too. If that makes sense.
How do you WASH it, though? That’s been a question and an issue for many. I have a front-loading stacking washer and dryer, and luckily it’s hardcore enough to wash a 20 lb blanket. But I was kinda scared to run it through the dryer and I may try to air dry it as much as possible next time I try. There are instructions on wash care on their FAQ as well as an entire blog post about it on their site.
Would I recommend a weighted blanket for anyone? Not necessarily. They can be pricey and bulky, so if you’re already a sound sleeper and you have a small home with little linen closet space, you may not need to really consider this. BUT if you struggle with anxiety or insomnia and you’ve tried many things and haven’t found a suitable solution, this could be a game changer for you. If you’re not getting enough sleep, I’d say it’s worth a try because you deserve great sleep. It is essential. It makes such a difference in your life. In that regard, my weighted blanket has definitely helped me. There are several brands making weighted blankets, but I love that Sensacalm is an American based family business run by a mom and daughter. You can click here to check out Sensacalm’s website for more, or click here to check them out on Amazon.