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There are few purchases in my adult life that I would say have been truly life-changing — and most of them have incidentally wound up being sleep-related. I have two fantastic pillows and a mattress pad that inspires me to actually rush to bed, and one new addition is weighted blankets.
I truly didn’t know how much better my quality of sleep could get until I started sleeping under a 15-pound weighted blanket. And an improvement to sleep impacts pretty much every area of your life; with deeper, more restful shut-eye, I was finding I had more energy during the day and actively looked forward to getting to bed earlier at night.
If you’re in the early stages of research to find the right one for yourself, you’ve probably already run into the name Gravity Blankets. It’s a Kickstarter-alum that now sells one of the most popular — and luxurious — options on the market.
The original Gravity Blanket is one of the best weighted blankets you can buy. However, sleeping under an inherently dense, adult-sized weight isn’t always appealing for those who sleep hot, or who hate the idea of blasting the AC and running up the energy bill over the summer.
For those sleepers, Gravity has the Cooling Blanket.
To see if it could actually hold up on a swampy summer night, I tried it in my small NYC apartment that suffers from a greenhouse effect with its heat.
Weighted blankets work through deep pressure touch stimulation therapy (or DPTS) that’s similar to the effect achieved by swaddling babies or putting dogs in “thunder jackets.” While light touches can alert the nervous system, deep pressure (such as a good massage or tight and heavy blanket) has a relaxing, calming effect on the body. That’s essentially why weighted blankets are used for the therapeutic treatment of sensory disorders, anxiety, depression, autism, insomnia, and more. They’re a relatively inexpensive, effective, and medication-free way to encourage calmness and relaxation. According to a Mayo Clinic Minute interview with Dr. Adam Perlman, it’s kind of like what happens in the body when you get a hug.
More specifically for sleep, deep pressure can help relax the nervous system, reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and encourage serotonin and dopamine production, which promotes relaxation and regulates our moods. Then, serotonin converts to melatonin, and that makes you sleepy. The tangential feelings of calm, safety, relief, and comfort only aid in your body’s natural processes. There are also studies that demonstrate how grounding the human body during sleep measurably reduces or eliminates pain and stress.
If you’re looking into giving one a shot, aim for a weight that’s about 10% of your own body weight. My 15-pound blanket is a little more than 10% of my body weight, but it still feels perfect. If you feel like something heavier might make it harder to roll over or give you a feeling of being trapped, err on the lighter side.
The Cooling Blanket is the company’s cooler, more breathable version of its original, the Gravity Blanket. It still uses glass beads instead of plastic poly pellets for a better experience (glass beads are smaller, denser, and make the blanket noticeably less bulky), but the duvet cover is made with a “faux Tencel” material that encourages airflow and keeps you from overheating. Like its predecessors, it too has Gravity’s gridded stitching to keep the internal glass beads from dispersing unevenly during sleep.
You can find it in understated white, gray, and navy colors.
The Cooling Blanket is still a weighted blanket, so I was skeptical of how much an updated duvet cover could do. In-person, though, it did seem to keep me unnaturally well-regulated throughout the night. If you’re imagining it feeling like the cold side of the pillow all the time, that’s not quite the case. But it does feel cool, silky, and breathable at first touch and when readjusting — it’s just not a persistent phenomenon. The cooling is more subtle, though nonetheless effective, than that. In this, it reminded me of workout gear: Good performance materials let me get through a yoga class without cursing whoever makes my leggings, but rarely do I notice the work being done to wick away moisture and dissipate heat while it’s happening.
I slept with the Cooling Blanket as my main blanket with temperatures in the mid-80s with 75% humidity without AC or a breeze and never woke up uncomfortable. I was impressed with how well it managed to regulate my temperature. It won’t be as airy as a linen top sheet, but it would be unrealistic to expect it to be. If you’re looking for a way to make a heavy, 15-pound blanket more breathable, this may be your best option, though my personal experiences might differ from yours.
Another thing worth mentioning if you’re going to drop $100+ on a blanket is that it’s by far the most aesthetically pleasing weighted blanket I’ve ever used. If you care about the overall aesthetic of your room, and the rest of it sounds justifiable to you, this is the one that will be the most undetectable. It looks fresh and crisp — like any other quilt.
The Gravity Cooling Blanket is worth it if you want to experience the benefits of a weighted blanket but don’t want to risk overheating or having to blast your AC all night.
If that doesn’t describe you, it’s worth looking into some alternatives before giving up the dream of owning a weighted blanket. There are under-$100 options on Amazon — like this one I also own and love — though you’ll probably need to throw on the AC in the summer if you plan to use it then (and once you start it’s hard to stop, so I’d plan for that).
Your budget and needs will determine what’s the best value deal for you, but, regardless of which one you ultimately choose, I couldn’t recommend trying a weighted blanket highly enough.