I don't know when weighted blankets came into my consciousness, just like I don't know when every woman in New York started wearing the same leopard-print midi skirt as a neutral, only that one day both things had become ubiquitous in my social media feeds. And I never met a bandwagon I didn’t want to jump on.
Although I wasn't entirely sure I could pull off a print that prompts people to say "Me-ow," I was sure I could wear the heck out of a weighted blanket. You don't want it to wear you, you know?
Friends said glowing things about their purchases. "It's the only blanket I would spend $200 of my hard-earned money on." "It's like when you're sitting on a sofa and you hug a pillow into your chest, but all over, and much better."
Reader, I wanted in! And so did my fiancé! Alex can be a bit fidgety, by which I mean lying or even sitting next to him is to feel faint reverberations from his leg jiggling or his fingers drumming, like being in a constant low-level earthquake. A weighted blanket sounded rather soothing, for us both.
Further research indicated these blankets are indeed calming by design. Weighted blanket companies, of which there are many, say they can help with sleeplessness and anxiety. Show me someone who doesn't wrestle with either of those things in 2019 and I'll show you ... well, someone I am very jealous of!
Two companies in particular caught my eye because they each had an interesting charitable component. Weighting Comforts partners with Sew for Hope, a nonprofit organization that teaches refugees to sew. And Magic Weighted Blanket, which has the distinction of being the first weighted blanket on the market, donates blankets to veterans with PTSD. Self-care for a cause?! Sign me up!
Weighting Comforts Weighted Blanket, $269, Amazon
For myself, I chose Weighting Comforts' athletic recovery blanket, which puts its pellets in individual pockets for even weight distribution and is supposed to help rejuvenate sore muscles. I'm no Olympian, but daily classes at my local Equinox have me hobbling around more often than not, so it sounded like it couldn’t hurt.
Magic Weighted Blanket, $134, Magic Weighted Blanket
Alex went the standard route with a Magic Weighted Blanket, "the blanket that hugs you," in navy blue cotton. Based on your own body weight, you use a size guide to pick the right weight for your blanket. I won’t tell you what mine was, because I am a lady, but his was 20 pounds.
The day they both arrived felt like Christmas. Except, it feels important to note, it was summer in New York, and thus not typically the kind of weather that makes you want to swaddle yourself in something thick. I turned on the air conditioner protectively, already worrying this experiment was headed in a sweaty direction. Alex lay down and I flung his blanket over him, trying not to smack him with it. It was incredibly heavy. I was panting.
"This is quite nice," he said approvingly. "I feel safe."
"Safe from what?" I asked, struggling to lug my own blanket over my body.
He didn't answer. He was already sleeping.
Blanket arrangements over the succeeding nights took a little practice. Problems arise when my blanket overlaps with his blanket (extreme heaviness ensues), so we set up a proverbial Mason-Dixon line down the center of the bed. But they are blessedly not hot, and in fact can even be cooling.
If you’re using one to help you sleep at night, it makes tossing and turning difficult, which Alex didn’t like at first. But he got used to it quickly and started sleeping soundly. As for me, I took to mine immediately. I can’t say I noticed that it made my muscles less sore after a workout, but if you like the feeling of being tucked in, picture that and dial it up to 11. To pull one of these things over yourself is to surrender completely to the feeling of being lightly and evenly smushed.
Apparently the inventor of the Magic Weighted Blanket was inspired when his daughter put her Beanie Baby on his shoulder during a road trip and he realized the weight had a calming effect. This was in 1998, when I too was collecting Beanie Babies, certain it was a lucrative business that would ultimately pay for college. I kept their tags on and tried to keep them in pristine condition, making me a very unpopular playmate and not, by the way, one who ended up paying for my education with collectible toys.
But the Great Beanie Baby Bust is a story for another time. It is 2019, and now I have a blanket that feels pleasantly like being sat on by a giant Patti the Platypus, who is, incidentally, worth tens of thousands of dollars, unlike my absolutely useless Doodle the Rooster.
These days whoever comes home from work last is likely to find the other swaddled on the couch pretending to read the New Yorker but really watching Netflix. If you're using one in the presence of friends, it's also an excellent excuse to have people fetch you things, like when a pet falls asleep on your lap and all you have to do is gesture at it to convey that you couldn't possibly move, even if you wanted to.
On lazy weekend afternoons you'll find us side by side on the sofa, vaguely entertaining the notion of joining the leopard-print-wearing Brooklynites outside ... but most likely choosing not to, snug as two bugs in individually weighted rugs.
For more sleep recommendations, check out:
- 25 gadgets for a better night's sleep
- 12 innovative products to help you get your best sleep ever
- This $14 weighted eye mask actually helps me relax after a long day