A sense of calm. Less anxiety. Falling asleep faster. Relief for restless leg syndrome. Not to speak of all the parents who rave how a weighted blanket ease the symptoms of their child with autism. There are many more benefits that you can get by sleeping under a heavy blanket.
Weighted blankets are a valuable weapon in your quest to get good sleep. But they can be quite expensive. $50+ for a blanket? It’s normal.
So before you take the leap to buy one – please first try one of the following weighted blanket alternatives to mimic the feeling. It might already be enough for you to reap all the benefits.
My (short story) with weighted blankets
I’m immensely grateful I don’t have a serious (sleeping) disorder, such as clinical insomnia, autism or ADHD.
But I do notice the difference between winter and summer blankets. I love summer – but if there’s one thing that always troubles me is that it’s harder for me to fall asleep. Why? Because instead of my thick regular winter blanket I’m sleeping under a thin summer one. Sleeping under a thick heavy blanket has a special feeling to it and makes it easier to fall asleep.
What I’m doing now each summer, is take an old blanket that is pretty heavy – but still gives me enough airflow. So it’s heavier than a regular summer blanket, and still cool enough to sleep well.
I’ve also done the research and found 7 other low-cost alternatives for heavy blankets. I’ve organised them from super easy to more difficult to create. So you can keep things as easy and simple for you as you like.
Quick recap of the benefits of weighted blankets
Check below if there’s anything you may struggle with or lack in your life. If you tick the boxes of one or more, why not do a 7 night experiment with one of the following alternatives? The biggest risk is you’ll sleep better!
- Helps manage autism symptoms
- Manages OCD
- Panic disorder
- Eases pain without drugs
- Promotes calm
- Boosts sleep quality
- Helps with restless leg syndrome
- Improves ADHD
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Feels like a big warm hug!
Check the sources down the page for references!
7 Weighted Blanket Alternatives
#1 Pile of blankets
This is the easiest way to see if weighted blankets might work for you. It might go without saying: if you want to experience the feeling of a heavy blanket, why not try sleeping underneath several regular blankets? You probably have more than 1 blanket, right? So try putting them on top of each other and see if that helps.
For example, if your normal blanket weighs 1.5 pounds, and you want to try a weighted blanket from 15 pounds – then you need to put 10 blankets on top of each other.
If this sounds like a lot of effort, don’t worry. In many cases, just stacking 2 or 3 blankets on top of each other will already have its desired effects.
This is the easiest alternative to weighted blanket, so why not try it out tonight?
#2 Heavy or tight clothing
This is another cheap option to quickly try out. It’s accessible to everyone and who knows – it might just help you enough to sleep better.
If the main aspect of weighted blankets for you is that you feel as if you’re being tightly hugged, then you could try wearing heavy or tight clothing.
This can also be an option if your partner doesn’t want to sleep under several regular blankets (alternative #1).
If you regularly sleep in pyjamas, you can add a heavy winter sweater to it. Or some extra pants.
The only downside of this method is that you will sleep a lot warmer than if you were to try any of the other methods. You can offset this by sleeping with a light blanket, keeping the room temperature colder than normal or sleeping with the windows open. Or, my favorite, to sleep with your feet NOT under the blanket. You’d be surprised how much heat your feet can lose if you expose them to the air.
#3 Wool blankets
Wool is warm. It can be itchy. A blanket made from wool is also heavier than regular blankets. So it makes sense in this case to take the wool blanket and put it on top of your regular blanket.
This way you’ll feel the pressure better, without all the itchiness.
#4 Use dumbbells to pull your blanket down
Now, if you’re mainly looking for the pressure and tight feeling, then this method works great. All you do is take 2 dumbbells and put them on the side of your blanket. This works best if you’ve got a blanket that’s wider than your bed, as you can put the dumbbells on the floor.
If you don’t have dumbbells lying around at home, than other heavy things work just as fine. The reason why this method works, is the dumbbells stretch your blanket so that it adds pressure to you.
It might be a bit of a hassle in the beginning to get the stretch right, but you’ll quickly learn how it works best for you.
#5 Add weight to your blanket
If the previous options sound a too warm for you. And the 4th one isn’t heavy enough,then you can consider the 5th option. It’s simple. Just add something heavy to a regular blanket. Here are some ideas:
Anything that’s heavy, not sharp, and can stay there for a longer period of time. I even saw one site suggesting putting books into it. While that would certainly increase the weight, it wouldn’t be evenly distributed. Not to speak about the uncomfortable!
#6 Equestrian blanket
I personally wouldn’t pick this option, as you would need to wash it 20 times before the horse smell would get out of it. But if you manage to get a new one, that hasn’t been used, you can try sleeping underneath a horse blanket.
All you need to do is get an equestrian blanket and put it on top of your regular blanket. Otherwise it might be too uncomfortable. And be sure to wash it if you didn’t get it 100% new!
#7 DIY Weighted Blanket
If you’re into creating things yourself, then you can also decide to make your own. One quick look at Etsy, will show hundreds of creative people doing just that. I haven’t tried this myself yet myself, but I can imagine that if you take a normal blanket – and add marbles or beans to it (anything heavy and not sharp goes), it would make a great alternative to weighted blanket for a lot less money. Check this incredibly helpful video how to make your own DIY weighted blanket.
Seven night action plan
I’m always disappointed with those super informational posts you often find on Google that have absolutely no recommended actions in them. That’s why I strive to end every post with an action plan. So here’s my 7 day plan to sleep better without buying a weighted blanket 😉
- Check the 7 alternatives and give each one a check that you have the materials for at home.
- Do you want pressure and warmth? Pick 1, 2 3 or 5 (and fill with towels/clothes)
- Do you want just pressure without overheating? Pick 4 or 5 (and fill with marbles/beans)
- Try each available variant for you for just 5 minutes. Which one do you find the most comfortable?
- Choose that alternative and try it for 1 week. Does your sleep get better? Do you experience an improvement in your symptoms?
- If yes, congratulations! Enjoy your newfound better sleep.
- If not, don’t worry! Try one of the alternatives and do another test week.
There you have it. 7 weighted blanket alternatives and a 7 night action plan with exactly 7 steps. I wish you good luck with this experiment and sincerely hope it helps you improve your sleep.
Got experiences with weighted blankets? Found a mistake in my article? Just leave a little comment and I’ll get in touch with you!
Scientific literature & sources
For those of you who want more information, here’s some articles I used as sources:
- 20 benefits of weighted blanket therapy
- Weighted blankets and ADHD – what you need to know
- Do weighted blankets ease sleeplessness?
- I tried sleeping with a weighted blanket and here’s what happened
And here are some helpful scientific articles written about weighted blankets. I’d say the research is still in its infancy, but shows promising results: