Can a Weighted Blanket Transform Your Kids’ Sleep?

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Motherhood » Can a Weighted Blanket Transform Your Kids’ Sleep?

Let’s be honest… as moms, we will do just about anything to get our kids to sleep. Sleep is what makes a parent’s world go ’round. We need good sleep, and we desperately need our kids to get good sleep, too. Recently, I’ve begun reading about how a weighted blanket may be able to help kids sleep better.

While there are lots of natural remedies that can help kids sleep, like tart cherry juice, breathing techniques, and inversions (read more about those tricks here), weighted blankets provide restful sleep on a different level.

What Is a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets are specially made blankets that contain a weighted material, usually some kind of plastic bead, sewn into a grid design to be dispersed evenly throughout the blanket, between two layers.

Blankets can be made in differing weights to accommodate the size of the user. Even small children can enjoy lighter weighted blankets, while bigger kids will need heavier blankets.

Why Use One?

Weighted blankets have been shown to be beneficial for anyone having trouble sleeping, as well as those suffering from anxiety or ADHD. They are an especially non-invasive way to help children who have trouble falling asleep.

Who Needs One?

Weighted blankets especially benefit those suffering from anxiety or insomnia. They are particularly helpful for children on the autism spectrum, who crave touch and pressure but are unable to tolerate typical physical touch from loved ones.

These children become sensory-seeking because, although they need stimulation, they cannot endure hugs and squeezes that neurotypical kids enjoy. Temple Grandin, a noted animal expert and advocate for those on the autism spectrum (and autistic herself) recalls the sensation of being touched as a child:

I would stiffen and pull away when people touched me, and I was oversensitive to both touch and sound…

Temple went on to complete a study of a device she built, called the “Squeeze Machine,” which exerted deep touch pressure to users. The study found that deep touch pressure benefited children with autism and ADHD by calming them. It also reduced self-injuring and stimulatory behaviors.

Studies have also found that babies, especially those born prematurely, benefit from deep touch pressure. As for the calming effects of a weighted blanket for sleep, Temple reports: “A high functioning autistic woman stated, ‘I need heavy blankets on me to sleep well, or else my muscles won’t calm down.’”

Weighted blankets provide the calming touch those on the spectrum need, in a way they can receive it.

Can Weighted Blankets Benefit Neurotypical Children?

While it may seem that weighted blankets are clearly a help for children on the spectrum who need the calming effect of the weights, weighted blankets can benefit all children.

Parents have reported that, despite the blankets being originally designed to benefit children on the autism spectrum and with sensory processing disorder, their children without such a diagnosis have experienced extraordinary benefits from using a weighted blanket, primarily in the form of better sleep.

A writer for Forbes Magazine reports: “When word got out among parent friends at my son’s school that weighted blankets were turning moody 10-year-olds into well-rested angels, everyone started tucking in.” He goes on to say his 10-year-old son began sleeping more soundly and waking up happier and more focused after regularly using a weighted blanket, and that other parents reported similar results.

Can Weighted Blankets Help Adults?

These blankets can also help adults sleep more deeply. My husband tracks his sleep using an Oura ring and wasn’t getting enough deep sleep. Adding an adult weighted blanket and ChiliPad helped improve his sleep scores and he feels more rested.

How They Work

The pressure from a weighted blanket on the skin activates sensory systems, which in turn affects the brain. In response to the additional pressure, the brain releases neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which improve mood and induce a calming effect.

For jittery kids who spend all day at school or too much time indoors during cold winter months, a weighted blanket may be an important tool when creating a calming bedroom and nighttime routine. The deep touch pressure provided by weighted blankets calms the nervous system as well, which is necessary for good sleep.

How to Find a Good Weighted Blanket

Weighted blankets have become common enough that you can find them easily online.

What to look for:

  • Choose a fabric your child will enjoy; many weighted blankets are made from a soft minky or fleece material.
  • Pay attention to weight; blankets should typically weigh between 5-10% of your child’s body weight plus 1 or 2 additional pounds, though suggestions vary.
  • Choose a blanket size that will work for your child; sizes can range from a small lap blanket to ones large enough to cover a bed.

A 9-12 pound weighted blanket is generally recommended for children. Here are some good choices:

  • Weighted Evolution – Reasonably priced and we love the weight/color options and the quality of this blanket. It uses glass beads (instead of plastic) and the weight is evenly distributed and super comfortable.
  • Sensory Goods Blanket – On the pricier side but it is organic and plastic-free. Variety of sizes and weights.
  • LUNA Weighted Blanket – Hypoallergenic and has Certified Oeko-TEX Cotton with non-toxic glass beads.
  • Harkla Blanket – Not organic or natural fabric but this one is super soft and the filling is plastic-free.
  • ChilSleep – They have a weighted blanket with a cooling option.

The good news is, if these options aren’t in the budget and you can sew, it’s not very hard to make your own custom blanket!

Here’s how:

How to Make a DIY Weighted Blanket

If you’re familiar with simple sewing techniques, you may be able to try your hand at making your own weighted blanket (you might even be able to make a t-shirt quilt keepsake using this tutorial).

Most pre-made blankets contain plastic beads and I’m not a fan of plastic (to put it gently). Avoid the plastics and all their endocrine disruptors by making your own with an alternative substance like rice or beans. Of course, using rice and beans makes the blanket non-washable so consider this as well.

Items You’ll Need:

  • a sewing machine
  • fabric: a nice, soft fabric like cotton fleece, in a pattern your child will enjoy is perfect. Patterns with lines like plaid make it easier to sew a straight line and make your grids even. Determine the size you’ll need and plan accordingly, getting enough for two layers.
  • rice or polypropylene beads for filling (not washable if you use rice!)
  • matching thread
  • a kitchen scale
  • a funnel

Instructions to Make:

  1. Prepare the fabric by making sure the layers are even.
  2. Stitch the bottom and two sides of the blanket together. Use binding or tuck in the edges to create a hem.
  3. With a fabric pencil, mark off the grid design on the fabric.
  4. Divide the poly beads by the number of boxes in your grid and determine how much will go in each box.
  5. Sew the vertical lines of the grid from the bottom hem to almost the top of the blanket, leaving a couple inches at the top.
  6. Pour enough beads in each row for one box.
  7. Sew the horizontal line over each scoop of beads in the blanket to create the first row.
  8. Repeat until you get to the top of the blanket, then finish the vertical lines at the top and hem the final edge to finish the blanket.

For a super detailed tutorial, complete with pictures, check out these instructions here.

Try a Weighted Blanket

Whether you choose to go the DIY-route or buy a ready-made blanket, there’s good reason to try a weighted blanket to help your kids sleep better. The calming, soothing pressure that a weighted blanket provides can help children with processing disorders, or kids who just need a little help to fall asleep or calm down after a long day.

Here’s to better sleep, which I think is every parent’s dream!

This article was medically reviewed by Madiha Saeed, MD, a board certified family physician. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Do you think a weighted blanket would help your child sleep better? Share your experience in the comments!

Can a weighted blanket solve your kids sleep problems and get you the rest you need? Read the Wellness Mama review and find out how they work.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


76 responses to “Can a Weighted Blanket Transform Your Kids’ Sleep?”

  1. Heather Avatar

    XALM customer service has been an absolute nightmare. I followed the link from this blog and I ordered several blankets (three). It’s been 9 days. They collected my money 9 days ago and they have not sent any blankets. XALM customer service is awful. There is no phone number and it takes 2-4 days for them to respond to an email. They keep punting and not sending the products out. In the meantime, they tell me that they ran out of the product I ordered and that they want to change it and then, 2-4 days after I confirm the replacement, they respond and want to “confirm” again and then inform me that the replacement is out of stock. It is maddening. I don’t think this company has it together. I hope the product is worth it if they ever send the products that they charged me for.

  2. Rose Avatar

    I think this article should have a disclaimer that the AAP’s safe sleep guidelines recommend that parents and caregivers do not use blankets of any kind around babies, and especially while they are sleeping or napping. The AAP recommends the use of approved sleep sacks instead of blankets to reduce the risk of SID’s.
    A weighted blanket could be especially risky to a baby or toddler, as the excess weight could cause the baby to get trapped underneath the blanket and be unable to move. And if the blanket made its way to the baby’s face, it could pose a suffocation risk as well. I just read an account of a child death due to a weighted blanket. I would hate to see this happen to other small children due to lack of knowledge of the risks.

  3. Charlotte Avatar

    I got a weighted blanket for myself after seeing this, with plans to get one for my toddler with sensory disorder and one for my kid who has an anxiety disorder.

    For the 2 weeks with my 12 lb blanket, my sleep is like a marathon of way too vivid bad dreams, and my husband says I’m moaning and talking ALL night. I’m in therapy and getting visceral manipulation now for childhood trauma and I’m grieving some major losses too. I thought this would help! Has anyone had this effect, and does it go away? I’m not sure about my kids using this since they currently sleep fine.

  4. Rachel Avatar

    Not only children but also adults like weighted blankets. I am 29 and I recently bought such a blanket. I used to suffer from insomnia, but now I sleep enough and that’s all thanks to my wonderful blanket.

  5. Jamie Avatar

    I also bought one weighted blanket for my 7 yo daughter and it really improved her sleeping patterns and managed to calm her when going to sleep.
    I got the one also with a sensory minky cover, these add to the sensation and make it even better.
    Few things to look for – I checked a lot of reviews before ordering:
    1- make sure you machine wash only the cover and not the weighted blanket – this might ruin the pockets and the beads
    2 – check that you get one with roughly 10% of the child body weight
    3 – check the size of the blanket vs the size of your child. The blanket should cover the CHILDREN NOT THE BED
    4 – make sure you get a good one, low quality ones can be a waste of money. I got one from amazon from Hazli and love it but check which one is best for you

  6. Cheryl Avatar

    Hello Team,
    I purchased a Xalm blanket a few weeks ago through your post but I didn’t receive email confirmation of my order and still haven’t received the blanket.
    Has anyone else ordered a blanket? Has anyone else had issues with their order?

  7. Karen Avatar

    I have to put in my two cents worth about weighted blankets. First let me preface that I am 60 and I have to use a cpap at night. My sister swears by her weighted blanket, I had been on the fence about one but after her glowing review I bought one. Mine weighs 15 pounds, now granted I am on the heavy side myself but I knew I didn’t want something really heavy so 15 pounds sounded doable. The first night I felt really comfy, the second night I woke up gasping for air, the third night same thing. The only thing that had changed was I was wearing this blanket. I have given mine away and I feel I much caution parents, if your child has any breathing issues do not buy these or monitor the child closely to make sure they are able to breath with these on. I wish it worked for me as I do love heavier sheets and blankets on me even in the summer but it is just too heavy.

  8. Natalie Avatar

    I love the idea of this but my child is a “kick the blanket off” kind of kid, so i womder if it would be a total waste of money for us? Or if maybe she would sleep more soundly with one so not kick them off at all?

  9. Leticia Avatar

    My understanding is that when you use weighted blankets on people especially if they have ADHD or sensory issues. There has to be a prescription given by a certified OT. You cant just put one on.

  10. Laurie Avatar

    I have been using solaron blankets. It’s heavy about 16lbs. It kept me warm in winter with one sheet underneath. I have 9 lbs for summer blanket. I always buy solid colors. I learned about this blankets when I visited Pakistan. The people use this kind of blankets during winter. It’s fantastic. I bought 4 king blankets for my queen size bed. It fits perfectly. They do have children’s sizes and twin to king sizes. Hope that helps.

  11. Karen V Avatar

    I personally use a weighted blanket. I’ve never slept better!!!! I crave the pressure when I’m especially tired or worn down. (Notice it the most when I have a headache, I like squeezing my head between pillows.). I won’t give up my weighted blanket. On the days that I don’t have the need, I use a regular blanket. But my body tells me which one it needs. I swear by my weighted blanket!

  12. Caitlin Avatar

    Hi Katie, the link to the weighted blanket you recommend doesn’t work. Would you mind posting it again, please?

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