Weighted blankets are cah-rayzee popular these days. Many rave about them and no doubt the bedding industry is all too happy to piggyback on the wellness and self-care crazes that everybody’s obsessed with. After all, weighted blankets are said to allow you to sleep better, and can help with conditions ranging from anxiety to autism. But all that said: Why are weighted blankets so expensive? Alongside Candace Osmond, a product tester and blogger at The Sleep Judge, we’re cosying up to some answers.
Why are weighted blankets so expensive? Come to think of it, what’s even inside a weighted blanket?
Honestly, nothing terribly special. There are lots of fillings that allow the blanket to conform to you, yet remain breathable. Osmond says it could be poly pellets, weighted discs, sand, even glass beads (which sound potentially deadly but are harmless, even if you roll over on them).
The idea, as you’ve probably gathered, is that a bunch of small bits all add up to a significant amount of weight that literally covers you. As long as it’s safe and hypoallergenic, lots of materials will do — but yet, Osmond says, the fill is also the most important part. Lots of brands use a lousy fill that doesn’t end up doing what it’s supposed to do: feel heavily pleasant and envelop you, kind of like that lead jacket they put on you at the dentist’s office, which, when they put it on, is still oddly calming even though your mouth is about to get blasted by X-rays.
But the filling can’t be why weighted blankets are so expensive, surely?
Correct! Though it’s due to the weight, at least in an indirect way. “[Weighted blankets] require thicker materials of better quality than regular blankets,” Osmond says. “They also need double stitching to help keep everything together. The extra time, high-quality materials and special equipment needed to make them drives up the price.”
So, kind of like in those old ads for trash bags, where some unfortunate person’s trash literally bursts out of a cheap, thin bag, weighted blankets are necessarily built burly precisely in order to hold all that weight, whether it’s thousands of pellets, grains or beads.
As you can imagine, they also tend to have nice, soft, warm, sometimes luxurious materials on the outside as well.
But weighted blankets are also expensive because of their alleged health benefits, right?
Of course! But that’s partly a function of demand. Any brand can charge whatever it wants for a product as long as the customer is willing to pay that amount. So it goes with weighted blankets: People want to sleep better! If they believe it will help, they’ll pay a lot for a novel item that promises to make them feel better at night and in the morning.
And, uh, do they actually work?
Lots of people claim they do — including Osmond. “They truly are amazing for aiding in so many ways,” she says. “Personally, I began testing them to see if they’d help with my anxiety. And they absolutely do.”
Penn Medicine agrees, and there’s lots of medical literature out there about these blankets. The idea is something called “pressure therapy.” Similar to a hug or an embrace, the sensation of being gently pressed upon by a very heavy blanket tends to calm a person and, crucially, lower their heart rate. And it follows that a lower heart rate and a more restful sleep help alleviate anxiety, sleep disorders and autism.
Are the more expensive ones actually nicer?
Not necessarily, Osmond says. She’s found that some of the more expensive ones are all sizzle and no steak. Some brands put a lot into the quality and then use a cheap fill that just doesn’t work well and give you actual pressure therapy. She urges people to read reviews and find out what’s best for them.
So weighted blankets are… mostly expensive for a reason?
Yeah. There’s a lot of hype around them, and wherever there’s hype, there’s often high prices. They cost more to make than a regular blanket does and they also claim to offer things that a normal blanket doesn’t. And yet, for lots of people, weighted blankets do in fact offer a better night of sleep. Even though all it really does is weigh them down, people are always willing to part with their money for something that makes them feel rested. When you put it that way, it might even sound like money well spent.