How To Use Weighted Pillows and Blankets for Anxiety Relief?

In the quest for natural remedies for anxiety and stress relief, weighted pillows and blankets have gained popularity. These therapeutic items provide a sensation known as deep pressure stimulation, which can mimic the feeling of being hugged or held.

Weighted blankets and pillows work on the principle of applying gentle, steady pressure across the body, a form of sensory therapy that can have a profound calming effect.

This pressure stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation, and melatonin, which assists in regulating sleep.

Concurrently, it helps in decreasing cortisol levels, a hormone commonly associated with stress. This trio of neurochemical changes can create a more conducive state for relaxation and sleep, making weighted items a beneficial tool for those struggling with anxiety, stress, and related sleep issues.

This sensation has been reported to have a calming effect, particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing anxiety, stress, or sleep disorders. This article explores how weighted pillows and blankets can be used effectively for anxiety relief.

Understanding Weighted Blankets and Pillows

Quiet Mind’s huggable pillow and weighted blankets are filled with materials like plastic pellets, glass beads, or similar substances to add weight. This weight applies gentle, even pressure across the body, which can help in reducing anxiety.

Benefits for Anxiety Relief

Weighted blankets and pillows offer several benefits for anxiety relief, making them an increasingly popular choice for individuals seeking a natural and non-pharmacological approach to managing stress and anxiety. Here’s a closer look at how these items can help:

  • Promotes the Release of Serotonin and Melatonin: The deep pressure stimulation provided by weighted blankets and pillows can increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes a feeling of well-being and happiness. Additionally, this stimulation can also increase levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, thereby improving sleep quality.
  • Reduces Cortisol Levels: The gentle, sustained pressure helps reduce cortisol, a stress hormone. High levels of cortisol are associated with stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders. By lowering cortisol levels, weighted items can create a more relaxed and stress-free state.
  • Mimics Deep Pressure Touch: The sensation of deep pressure touch has a grounding effect, which can be incredibly soothing for individuals with anxiety. It can mimic the feeling of hugging or holding, providing comfort and security.
  • Improves Sleep Quality: Many individuals with anxiety experience disrupted sleep patterns. The use of weighted blankets and pillows can help enhance the quality of sleep by providing a calming effect, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.
  • Enhances Overall Sense of Calm: The use of these weighted items can create an overall sense of calm and relaxation, which is particularly beneficial for people who experience general anxiety, panic attacks, or high levels of daily stress.
  • Helps with Sensory Processing Disorder: For those with sensory processing disorders, such as in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the weighted items can provide a grounding experience, which can be incredibly beneficial in managing sensory overload and anxiety.
  • Non-Invasive and Safe: As a non-pharmacological approach, weighted blankets and pillows don’t have the side effects that some medications might have, making them a safer choice for many people.

Choosing the Right Weight and Size

Choosing the right weight and size for your weighted blanket or pillow is crucial to ensure maximum comfort and effectiveness.

The effectiveness of a weighted blanket or pillow largely depends on its ability to distribute an appropriate amount of pressure evenly across your body.

Here are some guidelines to help you make the best choice:

  • Weight Guidelines: The general recommendation for weighted blankets is that they should be approximately 10% of your body weight. However, personal preference plays a significant role. Some people may prefer a slightly heavier or lighter touch. It’s important to choose a weight that feels comfortable and soothing, without feeling overly restrictive or heavy.
  • Adjustments for Personal Comfort: If you’re new to using weighted blankets or pillows, you might want to start with a lighter option and gradually move to a heavier weight as you become accustomed to the sensation.
  • Size Considerations: The size of the weighted blanket should be based on the size of the person using it, not the bed size. It should be large enough to cover you completely for optimal effect, but not so large that it hangs over the sides of the bed, as this can cause the blanket to slide off.
  • Pillow Specifics: For weighted pillows, consider both the size and the shape. It should comfortably support your head and neck, aligning with your sleeping position. A pillow that is too heavy or too large might cause discomfort rather than relaxation.
  • Age and Physical Strength Considerations: For elderly users or those with physical limitations, lighter blankets are advisable. The same applies to children, for whom a lighter blanket is safer and more appropriate.
  • Consultation for Special Circumstances: If you have respiratory problems, chronic health issues, or mobility limitations, consult with a healthcare professional before choosing a weighted blanket or pillow.
  • Trial Periods and Return Policies: Many manufacturers offer a trial period or a return policy. If you’re unsure about the right weight and size, look for brands that offer these options, so you can try the blanket or pillow and return it if it doesn’t suit your needs.

Safety and Care

  • Consult a Professional: Before using a weighted blanket or pillow, especially for children or elderly individuals, consult a healthcare provider.
  • Maintenance: Follow the care instructions carefully. Some weighted items are machine washable, while others may require hand washing or special care.


Weighted pillows and blankets can be a valuable tool in managing anxiety. They provide a simple, non-pharmacological approach to enhancing relaxation and improving sleep.

As with any therapeutic tool, individual experiences may vary, and it’s important to use them as part of a broader anxiety management strategy, which could include therapy, relaxation techniques, and lifestyle changes.

Remember to choose the right weight and size for your needs and consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.