There are few things more exciting than planning the details of your wedding day—but it can also be incredibly stressful. What color scheme should you choose? Your dream venue costs how much? It’s easy to lose sleep over the endless checklist of things to get done before the big day finally comes. Fortunately, there’s one simple hack that might be able to help you relax: a weighted blanket.
“The pressure of a weighted blanket can help relax the body’s nervous system, which can reduce anxiety and stress, increase sleep quality, improve focus, and provide a sense of calm,” explains psychologist Dr. Shelby Harris. Sleep expert Dr. Whitney Roban agrees: “Weighted blankets offer a soothing feeling of calmness and security. People often report that using a weighted blanket feels like receiving a ‘big hug.’"
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Shelby Harris is a licensed psychologist and is board certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine. She is also the Director of Sleep Health at Sleepopolis.
- Dr. Whitney Roban is a sleep expert, author, and the founder of Solve Our Sleep.
I've heard a lot about how weighted blankets may help promote better sleep and calm nerves. To find out if they actually work, I put one blanket to the test. Dr. Harris and Dr. Roban also weighed in (pun intended) on the proven benefits and side effects of weighted blankets, as well as their top tips for better sleep and well-being.
The Blanket: Weighted Idea Cooling Weighted Blanket
Buy it: $100, Amazon.com
This chunky knit weighted blanket is both functional and stylish. It comes in five different colors and several different sizes, so it fits a range of different decor aesthetics. According to the brand, using this blanket can promote better sleep and comfort. Plus, the knitted, hollow design helps keep you cool while still providing the benefits of a weighted blanket.
As someone who sometimes struggles with falling asleep and anxious feelings, I wanted to put this weighted blanket to the test myself. After sleeping under it almost every night for a month, I found that using the blanket helped me fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. It's heavy enough to be comforting, but doesn't weigh me down too much. I can still move around and adjust positions as needed.
However, despite the knitted design, I found that it can get a bit stuffy underneath the blanket. If I were to order this again, I would probably go with a slightly lighter option. The brand recommends using a blanket that is 8% to 12% of your body weight. “If your weighted blanket is too heavy, it can make it difficult to get up, change sleeping positions, or lead to feelings of physical discomfort,” Dr. Harris says.
So, what are the benefits of a weighted blanket? “Although more research is needed to know the full benefits, many people with anxiety, autism, or ADHD find that weighted blankets can help with feelings of security, increased relaxation, and improved sleep," says Dr. Harris.
"This relaxation can lead to lowered levels of physiological and psychological stress and anxiety," adds Dr. Roban. Because overheating a common problem that can cause us to wake up, she recommends looking for a weighted blanket that feels breathable—think a knitted blanket instead of a quilt. "The material is also important, as hot sleepers will do best with fabrics like cotton, bamboo, and linen," she adds.
If you’ve been losing sleep over wedding gown decisions and the cost of flower arrangements, a weighted blanket might be a great pre-wedding purchase. It’s also an excellent addition to your registry if you or your partner generally deal with anxiety or lack of sleep.
Put Sleep Health First
Of course, a weighted blanket won’t work if you’re not making an effort to also create healthy mindfulness and sleep practices. “If you’re struggling with sleep, make sure your sleep hygiene is on point,” Dr. Harris recommends. “Staying up watching TV, scrolling on social media, or answering emails can all interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep.”
It’s hard not to spend hours looking for wedding inspiration on Pinterest, but do your best to limit your screen time in the evening. She also recommends avoiding coffee within eight hours of bedtime and alcohol or heavy meals within three hours of bedtime.
Dr. Roban also recommends following “a brief and consistent bedtime routine every night. Do something that relaxes you (yoga stretches, deep breathing, journaling, reading a non-digital book, listening to relaxing music) every night before bed. A consistent bedtime routine will signal to the brain and body that it is time for sleep.”
When the stress and excitement of wedding planning is added to your plate, it’s especially important to prioritize your sleep and everyday well-being. After all, you'll want to make sure that you feel your best on the big day!
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Chloe Caldwell is a Commerce Writer for Brides. She has more than five years of journalism experience writing about beauty, fashion, accessories, and weddings.