Electric blanket

Does an aggravation blanket help you sleep better?

7 Oct, 2023
Jürgen Swinnen

A good night’s sleep is essential for good health. Are you a poor sleeper? Then in your search for possible solutions, you must have heard about an aggravation blanket.

The fact is that these weighted blankets are becoming increasingly popular. But is it true that it really does make you sleep better and your sleep problems are a thing of the past for good? We list the most important questions for you.

What is an aggravation or weighted blanket?

The name says it all: an aggravation blanket is a weighted blanket that you use instead of or on top of your regular duvet. On average, they weigh between 4 and 10 kilograms. How heavy the blanket may weigh depends on your body weight.

An aggravation blanket can consist of different fillings and materials, and is said to help difficult sleepers relax so they fall asleep faster and also sleep better and deeper.

How does a weighted blanket work?

The principle of an aggravation blanket relies on Deep Pressure Stimulation or deep pressure stimulation. This therapeutic technique uses gentle, evenly distributed pressure to release stress, anxiety, pain or excess stimuli.

Thanks to this pressure on the body, the nervous system calms down , making stress give way to rest and relaxation. Moreover, this natural technique would stimulate the production of serotonin (happiness hormone) and melatonin (sleep hormone), as well as reduce the production of cortisol (stress hormone).

An aggravation blanket creates a sense of comfort, security and safety. Just like getting a really big hug so. But then for a whole night.

aggravation blanket

Who is an aggravation blanket suitable for?

More and more people are facing stress, anxiety or depression. As a result, they often find it difficult to fall asleep. Their sleep quality deteriorates with it, and lack of sleep can even make symptoms worse. In short, they enter a downward spiral.

An aggravation blanket can help you unwind before bed and provide a secure, safe feeling. An aggravation blanket is also recommended for individuals with autism, ADHD, PTSD or hypersensitivity. They have in common that they are hypersensitive to stimuli.

A weighted blanket stimulates the sense of touch. When they sleep under a blanket with weighted elements, they start to focus more on the deep pressure on their body rather than other sensory stimuli. The blanket provides a form of comfort and relaxation.

You can use an aggravation blanket when:

  • You have difficulty sleeping because of anxiety or stress
  • You have autism, ADHD, PTSD, or hypersensitivity.
  • You have difficulty relaxing

Who better not sleep under an aggravation blanket?

You would think everyone would benefit from a thick hug of such a heavier blanket, yet doctors discourage its use for certain individuals.

Do you suffer from asthma, low blood pressure or diabetes? In this case, always consult a doctor first if you want to sleep under an aggravation blanket.

Those who suffer from sleep apnea or snore heavily are also best not to be seduced by this attractive bed partner. In fact, the weight of the blanket can restrict airflow and worsen symptoms.

This is immediately why an aggravation blanket is not recommended for babies or toddlers, although there are special weighted blankets for children. There is always a risk of small children getting stuck underneath because they are not yet sufficiently developed motorically. This can lead to dangerous situations because they get too hot and or risk suffocation.

The heavier the blanket, the better you sleep?

How much should an aggravation blanket weigh? For this, use the guideline of about 10% of your body weight. Do you weigh 65 kg? Then a 6.5 kg blanket is ideal for you.

If you have this choice of a 6 or 8 kg weighted blanket, in that case always choose the heaviest weight to experience sufficient pressure on your body. Be careful with a blanket that is too heavy, as this can make you feel oppressive and actually make you sleep worse.

aggravation blanket with tea

It is important to note that a weighted blanket is only suitable for one person. Snuggling under it with your partner is thus out of the question.

To feel the beneficial effects, purchase a separate aggravation blanket each, taking into account each person’s weight and height. Always lie completely – from neck to toes – under the blanket so that the pressure can spread over your entire body.

The table below provides some examples:

Body WeightWeight of aggravation blanket
70 kg7 kg
85 kg8.5 kg
90 kg9 kg
105 kg10.5 kg

What (filler) material do you choose best?

There are two types of materials in an aggravation blanket: the fabric and the padding of aggravating materials. Those aggravating materials are usually made of glass, steel, or plastic. All three of these materials generally wash well.

Sometimes the aggravating materials are made of sand, or dried beans or rice. These are inexpensive materials and provide a short life for the blanket. A blanket with sand, beans, or rice, is not washable and will quickly give way.

In addition, you can choose from a variety of blanket materials such as cotton and polyester, such as fleece. Polyester is cheaper according to the finish, but causes excessive sweating in some people. Cotton provides good ventilation, while fleece is nice and warm to the touch.

Before any purchase, always check what materials your aggravation blanket consists of.

Has the positive effect of an aggravation blanket been proven?

Many have very positive experiences with an aggravation blanket: it is the solution to their sleep problems. Yet it appears that not much large-scale research has yet been conducted in this area in which concrete results have also been scientifically documented.

A 2020* Swedish study of 120 patients with psychiatric disorders found that the group who slept with an aggravation blanket reported through a questionnaire that they slept better and also had fewer complaints or symptoms during the day. However, measurements indicated that these patients tossed as much during sleep as the group with a regular light down blanket.

In short, the feeling of sleeping better is rather subjective. There is no comprehensive scientific evidence (yet) that a weighted blanket provides real relief for sleep complaints. But as is often the case with sleep: Placebo or not, better sleep is always a good result.

Conclusion

Weighted blankets are on the rise. There seems to be no doubt about its relaxing effect. And after all, relaxation is the key to a good night’s sleep. Perhaps the psychological aspect weighs in?

Just the thought that you will sleep better has a calming effect on some people. Doesn’t it help, doesn’t it hurt? To know if a weighted blanket really works for you, there’s only one thing to do: test it yourself! Many brands offer a trial period that can be as long as 100 days. What are you waiting for?

* Study by Ekholm, Spulber and Adler of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm

Does an aggravation blanket help? Most Frequently Asked Questions

Very small children should not use aggravation blankets due to health concerns. Pregnant women are also advised against using an aggravation blanket.

You won’t see an immediate improvement in your sleep pattern, because you always have to get used to such a heavy blanket. The period of habituation usually lasts from one to several weeks.

The rule of thumb is to stick to 10% of body weight when choosing your aggravation blanket. For example, do you weigh 70kg? Then it is recommended to purchase an aggravation blanket of 7 kilograms.