The Ultimate Guide to All Things Weighted: Blankets, Pillows, Robes, and More

published May 20, 2021
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Welcome to Restival Season, Apartment Therapy’s series about slowing down, sleeping more, and relaxing however you can — no fancy wristbands needed.

I was a 10-year-old when I first discovered the amazing benefits of a “weighted” product — though rather unconventionally, I must say. My parents stuck us with a babysitter for the night, who proceeded to allow me to watch “The Blair Witch Project” before bedtime. It’s fake; I get that now, but back then, in my childhood home surrounded by woods, the only possibility was that I’d absolutely get kidnapped and dragged into the forest by the elusive, terrifying Blair Witch. The only way I was able to get some shut eye that night (and the subsequent few weeks) was if my parents tucked me in under the covers, pulling them as taught as possible around me and piling them high will all the extra frilly pillows my Laura Ashley-covered room had to offer. The pressure of the tightly-pulled sheets and weight of the pillows gave me the comfort and calmness I needed to shut off my mind to fall asleep.  

Years later, I’d put the same methods to use when dealing with a bout of crippling clinical anxiety, this time turning to a then up-and-coming weighted blanket to help put myself at ease. These days, weighted products are everywhere, not only in blanket form but as other marketable relaxation products like robes, eye masks, and more, each promising to be the solution to your nervousness, your restlessness, your unease.“Weighted blankets are popular because lying under them provides pressure that can feel very calming,” says Dr. Lynelle Schneeberg, a sleep expert, clinical psychologist, and fellow at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Many people do find this pressure to be quite relaxing — think about the last time you received a massage, got a hug, or consider the fact that many parents swaddle their babies to improve their sleep.”

Along those same lines, according to Katherin Hamm, founder and CEO of the weighted blanket company Bearaby, some science-backed studies have linked weighted blankets to sleep improvement and anxiety alleviation.

While the jury may be out on the exact efficacy of weighted products in the general population, after the year-and-a-half we’ve all been dealt, it’s no surprise that many people are looking for more ways to find our zen and alleviate stress. With any holistic product that turns into a marketing powerhouse though, it’s hard to know what’s actually helpful when it comes to weighted products and what’s just clever branding. Enter: These heavy-hitters (pun intended, thank you very much!) that can help you mentally reset, calm your nerves, or just ease out of your work day. Below you’ll find our ultimate guide to weighted products for “Restival” season and beyond. 

Credit: Erin Derby

Weighted blankets

Though the weighted product industry is rather new (at least, when it comes to mass consumption and not those products and companies geared towards a specific population, like those dealing with clinical sensory disorders), some research has been done on the effectiveness of weight products, especially when it comes to weighted blankets. “Blankets are the most commonly-used weighted product to alleviate anxiety,” says Dr. Ainsley Hawthorn, an expert in sensory studies. “Research suggests that just 15 to 20 minutes under a weighted blanket can significantly reduce not only feelings of worry but also physiological measures of stress like pulse rate and sweating.”

Whether you find it helpful to sleep beneath a weighted blanket or prefer to just cuddle up under one on the couch, styles — and weights — out there run the gamut. “Weighted blankets typically work best when used as part of your regular sleep regimen, but even taking a few minutes to snuggle under one is a quick, comfy, natural way to de-stress from the day,” says Hamm. “We recommend choosing a blanket that’s at least 10 percent of your body weight to make sure you’ll be getting the right amount of therapeutic benefits and allow your body some time to get used to the sensation of resting under the extra weight.” These picks are a good place to start your search for the right product for your needs.

Bearaby Velvet Napper

This cozy Bearaby blanket is made of 100 percent recycled, upcycled marine plastic. It comes in three different weights (15 pounds, 20 pounds, and 25 pounds) and a slew of stylish shades, so it will be right at home on the arm of your couch or end of your bed.

Buy: Bearaby Velvet Napper, Starting at $269.00 from Bearaby

Credit: Gravity

Cooling Weighted Blanket

Calling all sweaty sleepers! You’ll love this cooling weighted blanket style by Gravity. It’s made from a moisture-wicking fabric that helps with breathability, and hypoallergenic glass beads (versus plastic) give it its weight.

Buy: Cooling Weighted Blanket, $199.00 from Gravity

Credit: Baloo

Baloo Weighted Blanket

If aesthetics are your thing, opt for this crisp white cotton weighted blanket from Baloo. The stitch pattern reminds me of a quilt, so you can use it to top your bed without taking away from that all-white hotel bedding look. Bonus: It’s machine-washable and safe for the dryer, too. 

Buy: Weighted Blanket, Starting at $159.00 from Baloo

Credit: Luna

Luna Cotton Weighted Blanket

Filled with glass sand and boasting a breathable channel-construction, this weighted blanket from Luna easily molds to your body shape, whether that’s spooning with your partner during a Netflix binge or laying in bed reading a book. If solid colors aren’t your thing, you’ll love that this one comes in pattern and prints (and all versions are under $100!).

Buy: Cotton Weighted Blanket, Starting at $69.99 from Luna

Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock

Weighted robes, wraps, and masks

You can also opt for a wearable such as a robe, wrap, or mask. While these items may impede your function a bit (I’m not sure cleaning the house while wearing a weighted robe is going to be the easiest thing), they’re still a great way to get in on the benefits if you’re not exactly a “chill under a blanket” type of person. 

Credit: Nodpod

Nodpod Weighted Sleep Mask

If you tend to have trouble falling (or staying) asleep, a weighted eye mask may provide you some help in that department. This soft style is dual-sided (one boasts microfiber, one boasts jersey cotton) for extra comfort and features four weighted pods filled with BPA-free beads. Velcro it around your head and say goodbye to counting sheep.

Buy: Weighted Sleep Mask, $34.00 from Nodpod

Credit: SensaCalm

SensaCalm Skinny Wrap

Good news: If you’re someone who wants to travel with their weighted item (or use it while riding on a plane or a train ), this skinny wrap from SensaCalm weighs in at just three pounds, so it’s super easy to throw in your work bag or suitcase. The versatile tube shape is great for draping over your shoulders or laying atop your chest.

Buy: SensaCalm Skinny Wrap, Starting at $29.95 depending on fabric selection from SensaCalm

Credit: Gravity

Gravity Fleece Weighted Robe

This fleece robe by Gravity features a three pound weight wrapped into the collar for a cozy, hug-like effect. It can be unzipped and removed too, so you can rock the robe weight-free or wash it easily on the off chance you get a bit of midnight Ben & Jerry’s on it.

Buy: Fleece Weighted Robe, $130.00 from Gravity

Credit: Asutra

Asutra Silk Eye Pillow

Made by Asutra, this chic eye mask pairs a 100 percent silk exterior with a removable interior core that can be filled with anything you want. It comes with a satchel of flax and lavender to start you off with some light weighted pressure, but you could also pack it full with something slightly heavier (like rice) or different aromatherapy elements if you are into other scents. 

Buy: Silk Eye Pillow, $19.99 from Asutra

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Pillows and cushions

Complete your weighted collection with a cushion or pillow, which can be totally versatile. You can add it into your bedtime routine, use it during your meditation practice, or even calm your nerves with one during an especially tense work meeting on Zoom — no one will see it if you position your camera just-right!

Credit: Project Full

Project Full Meditation Support Cushion

Upgrade your meditation or yoga practice with this posture pillow from Project Full. Inside the 100 percent recycled shell (made from a combination of cotton and hemp) is 6.5 pounds of buckwheat hulls, making for a flexible and versatile weighted product. You can use it to support your head during savasana or place it on top of your lap to center yourself during meditation.

Buy: Meditation Support Cushion, $179.00 from Project Full

Credit: Harkla

Harkla Weighted Lap Pad

Basically a mini weighted blanket, this five pound lap pad is great for younger children or if you want to have something that just covers the tops of your legs instead of immobilizing your whole lower body. It could be a great discrete option to wear during WFH Zoom calls or during any scenario where your nerves may be running a bit high and you could use some grounding.

Buy: Weighted Lap Pad, $44.99 from Harkla

Alternatives to weighted products

It goes without saying, but if you’re unsure if a weighted product is the right choice for you, tap your resources and network (whether that’s your therapist, doctor, or a similar qualified expert) to work through your options. Turns out, you can mimic the effects of a weighted product in other ways, too. “Because of the pressure they put on the body, weighted products may not be appropriate for people with some conditions including respiratory disorders like asthma or sleep apnea, skin sensitivities or injuries, and poor circulation,” explains Dr. Hawthorn. “There are many ways to create deep pressure sensations other than using a weighted product. Massages, prolonged hugs, and back rubs from loved ones are an easy and low-cost option. Compression clothing, swaddling blankets, and wraps can also provide pressure without weights.”