Touch, like getting a hug, releases oxytocin in your brain. This hormone contributes to our overall well-being and ability to handle stress. It’s one of the reasons why we swaddle newborns. But we don’t always have someone to squeeze us, especially nowadays, and that’s where weighted blankets come in.
Weighted blankets use deep pressure to simulate the feeling of being gently held. Pressure has been touted as a way to help with insomnia and anxiety—the Hug Box, for example, invented by Temple Grandin, uses pressure to calm those on the autism spectrum. There isn’t a lot of science-backed research on this, so you should discuss using one with your doctor. A weighted blanket isn’t a cure for anything, but it could make you feel better. My colleague Jess Grey and I both suffer from anxiety disorders, and these blankets have been rewarding, helping us manage our anxiety. We’ve tested several—here are the best.
Updated October 2020: We’ve added the Gravity Weighted Robe.