I am a weighted blanket fun and an advocate. However, over the years of reviewing this wonderful product, I couldn’t help but notice the challenges that consumers go through while trying to acquire a weighted blanket. This has motivated me to come up with a list of weighted blanket alternatives to try and help them combat their sleep-related disorders.
Most of the customer reviews show that a weighted blanket is damn expensive! And it is expensive to maintain! For those whose budget can’t allow them to own a weighted blanket, they end up putting up with the problems they are going through.
However, this shouldn’t be the case because you can still get a cheap and affordable alternative to a weighted blanket.
What Are Weighted Blankets?
A weighted blanket is like a normal blanket but has additional weights stuffed in between its fabric to give it the therapeutic function.
It is these extra weights that bring the differences between the weighted blanket and a normal blanket. The name weighted blanket is derived from the extra weight. This has given weighted blankets the popularity that it has.
The extra weight on the weighted blankets is a result of filler materials such as glass beads and plastic poly pellets. The weighted blanket has pockets sewn into its fabric that is used to hold the filler materials together giving the weighted blanket an evenly distributed weight.
Another difference between a normal weighted blanket and a weighted blanket comes from their sizes. The weighted blanket has a smaller and fitter size than the normal blanket.
The smaller size design is intended to fit the body without any loose hangings from the side of the bed. This allows the body to get maximum pressure from the weighted blanket hence optimizing functionality.
The weighted blankets have become mainstream and popular because of their calm-inducing capability that soothes users to sleep. Initially, the weighted blankets were only used by Occupational Therapists to calm down their patients and enable them to relax.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Weighted blankets recreate the touch and a firm hug that makes our bodies calm. The weighted blanket uses the principle of Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) stimulation to achieve its function.
DTP stimulation stimulates the body to release oxytocin and serotonin, the hormones responsible for the feel-good mood.
Serotonin hormone stimulates the body further to produce melatonin in large quantities. Melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone, is responsible for calming the body and soothing the body to sleep.
The use of weighted blankets such as gravity blankets increases the production of melatonin in the body. These weighted blankets have been used for hot flashes on most occasions.
The weighted blanket also ‘grounds’ or ‘earth’ the body making it to remain still at night. The grounding effect inhibits the production of cortisol hormone that is responsible for increasing stress. The resultant effect is deeper and restful sleep.
What are the Benefits of Weighted Blankets?
It’s a fact that weighted blankets are beneficial to their users. Therefore, disregarding it will be like accepting to continue with your struggle. Some of the benefits of the weighted blanket include:
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Eases insomnia
- Manages autism symptoms
- Improves focus for patients with ADHD
- Eases symptoms of restless leg syndrome
- Eases symptoms of depression
- Addresses symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Eases fibromyalgia pain
- Helps manage obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Helps the elderly
- Soothes symptoms of panic disorder
Read more: The Health Benefits of Weighted Blankets
If you happen to struggle with any of the above disorders or difficulties, you need a weighted blanket. However, if you can’t afford one, relax, we have 7 alternatives to a weighted blanket that will come in handy for your problem.
Simply read on.
7 Weighted Blanket Alternatives to Try Out
Not being able to afford a weighted blanket doesn’t mean the end of the world. Of course, there is something you can still do about your problem.
In this section, I will present 7 alternatives to a weighted blanket from the easiest to do to the hardest. Try them out in that order until you find the most suitable alternative that works for you.
1. Pile of blankets
The first way to know if a weighted blanket is right for you is stacking a pile of normal blankets. If you are comfortable within a pile of normal blankets, it means that you will feel comfortable with a heavy weighted blanket.
You do not necessarily need the exact weight of a weighted blanket for you to feel comfortable. If a normal blanket weighs 1.5 pounds, you won’t need ten of them for a 15-pound weighted blanket, however, you will be surprised that two or three will always do the job.
With time, your troubles at night will melt away and you will start enjoying that ever-elusive quality sleep. It’s then that you realize that you have been having the best alternative to a weighted blanket with you all along.
You don’t have to buy new blankets to use them as a pile. In most cases, old blankets come in handy. This is because the cost of buying 2 – 3 normal blankets will be expensive and comparable to buying a nice and cheap weighted blanket.
Using a pile of normal blankets is the easiest alternative to a weighted blanket. You can try it tonight.
2. Heavy or tight clothing
This is another cheap and accessible method that you can try tonight. You never know, it might be the solution to the problems that you’ve entertained for long!
We mentioned earlier that weighted blankets recreate a hug. If that’s the main thing you are looking for, then going to bed with heavy or tight clothing could be your best alternative.
This also provides an option if you are sharing a bed and your partner is against piling old blankets as mentioned in the first alternative.
Start small and adjust according to how comfortable your body is and how it responds to the extra clothing. Don’t wear you all wardrobe to bed but start with heavy pajamas, a heavy winter sweater, or an extra pant.
With this alternative, however, prepare for hot nights ahead. This alternative will be a lot warmer than the rest of the alternatives to a weighted blanket.
This shouldn’t worry you so much because you can use a lighter blanket. You can also keep the temperatures of the room cooler than normal by keeping your bedroom windows open.
Try one of the proven methods of keeping the body cool by not covering your legs. You will be surprised how much heat your feet can lose within a short time.
3. Get the woolen blankets
Woolen fabric is warmer than the other fabrics. A woolen blanket will also be heavier than normal. Using a woolen blanket will therefore mean that you get extra weight on top of your body.
A woolen material can however be itchy to the skin. But you can sort this out by using your woolen blanket over a normal blanket. That way, you get two blankets on top of you for more weight without feeling itchy.
4. Use dumbbells to pull your blanket against your body
Are you only interested in the pressure and tight feeling from a weighted blanket?
Then this method is for you.
Take two dumbbells and place them on either side of the blanket to hold it down tightly on your body. A wider blanket will even work best for this case so that you have your dumbbells on the floor.
This method doesn’t necessarily require the use of dumbbells only. You can use any other heavy materials lying around in your home.
The reason why this method works best is that the dumbbells pull the blanket on the sides applying pressure on your body.
It will even be better if you’ve got a roommate who will help you get a perfect stretch. However, with time, you will quickly know how best to achieve your objective.
5. Add weight to your blanket
Another of the best weighted blanket alternatives is adding weight to your blanket. This gives you a chance to customize your weight and provides a heavier alternative to the methods mentioned before.
What you do is just adding weights to your normal blanket. The weights can come from:
The goal is to use anything that has weight but not sharp to piece your blanket. Ensure that the weight can also stay on top of your body for a long time.
I have heard people saying that they use books. The founder of Mosaic Weighted Blankets Laura LeMonde admits that she would use a pile of her college textbooks to try and calm her to sleep during her college days.
I can only stop to image the real struggle that LeMonde went through given the uneven weight distribution of the books, and of course the discomfort that comes with it!
But, Alas! It must be that discomfort that led her to the discovery of the now famous weighted blankets.
6. Equestrian blanket
This applies to horse owners. An equestrian would have an equestrian blanket. But then, why don’t you try it as a source of weight for your craved quality sleep?
I bet it is that horse smell that would make you have more sleepless nights than the condition that you are going through. You would have to wash that equestrian blanket more than 20 times to get rid of the horse smell.
Even though I don’t recommend this method so much, I believe that if you get a new horse blanket, you will be good to go.
You will have to put the horse blanket n top of your regular blanket to make you comfortable, otherwise, the discomfort alone can make you lose the valuable sleep.
7. DIY Weighted Blanket
This is for the hand-craft lovers. If you like doing things on your own, this is the right alternative for you.
Etsy is a good source of DIY tutorials and a quick look at the website will give a lot of inspiration.
I must admit that I am not a hand-craft myself, but looking at the number of people who have done so inspires me that it is possible.
It is as simple as taking a normal blanket and adding marbles or beans (anything that is heavy enough and doesn’t pierce the fabric will be good) which are then sewn into pockets.
This DIY video tutorial will help you complete this craft.
What if these weighted blanket alternatives don’t work?
So, you have tried all the seven alternatives to a weighted blanket. And there is still bad news. They simply don’t work!
The question lingering in your mind is, what then? Does that mean that my problems will persist?
Hold on, there is still something that you can check out.
Calming sensory clothing products.
Yes, you heard me right, calming sensory clothing as a weighted blanket alternative.
Calming Sensory Clothing as an Alternative to Weighted Blanket
Calming Sensory Clothing can be one of the best alternatives to a weighted blanket and comes with bonus benefits.
This sensory clothing provides the perfect dose of sensory input to help soothe, calm, and support self-regulation.
They also provide proprioceptive input which organizes and regulates the nervous system.
The use of calming sensory clothing also aids in filtering sensory information to improve the ability to listen and learn.
With the calming sensory clothing, you can wear them everyday unlike the weighted blankets that are only used intermittently.
Most of the manufacturers use Calmtex, high quality, lightweight, breathable, and moisture-absorbent sensory fabrics. These ensure that the wearer remains cool, dry, and comfortable throughout.
A range of calming sensory clothing products is available including singlets/vests, shorts, shirts, suits, leggings, and socks.
One of the notable manufactures of calming sensory clothing is Jettproof.
There is still another alternative option to expensive weighted blankets. A cheaper one.
That’s right, there are cheaper weighted blankets that you can try out.
Best Low-Cost Weighted Blanket Alternatives
I know that the term ‘low-cost’ is relative. However, if you have tried to get a weighted blanket, you know how pricey it can be. However, these alternatives are ‘cheaper’ than the normal cost of a weighted blanket, hence offering a viable alternative to those who can’t afford it.
Zonli Weighted Stress Blanket
Zonli weighted blanket provides a touch of glass. From as low as $55, you can get yourself a Zonli weighted blanket that is easy to wash and it’s highly breathable.
Its breathability is enhanced by the use of two layers of microfiber that prevents glass beads from leaking.
The weighted blanket is available from 12 to 25 pounds.
CuteKing Weighted Blanket
CuteKing is a weighted blanket that is available in weights between 15 and 25 pounds. Its price on Amazon starts at $60.
The cotton fabric makes CuteKing a whole season weighted blanket.
To crown it all, the weighted blanket has a return period of 30-days with no-questions-asked. You also get a refund if you don’t like it.
Luna Weighted Blanket
Another of the cheapest weighted blanket alternatives is the Luna weighted blanket. Its prices start from as low as $60 on Amazon.
Luna’s weighted blanket comes in a light but a strong cotton fabric that weighs between 5 and 25 pounds. The weighted blanket is available in two color options: white and light grey.
Luna weighted blanket has been designed to be highly breathable making it relatively cool and comfortable as you use it.
Dr. Hart’s Weighted Blanket Deluxe Set
This is a weighted blanket designed by a neurologist and uses a “ContourWave” to mold to the shape of the body.
Dr. Hart’s weighted blanket comes with a comforter, hence you can place it inside.
Its weight ranges from 15 to 25 lbs. The prices at Amazon starts from $63.
YnM Cooling Weighted Blanket
This is one of the YnM’s weighted blankets that are good at keeping your body cool at night. It works best with hot sleepers.
What makes this heavy blanket surprisingly ‘cool’ at night is that it’s made from bamboo fabric.
The blanket either weighs 15 or 20 pounds. Its prices on Amazon starts from $70.
Good Knight Weighted Blanket
Good Knight weighted blanket provides a good night’s sleep. Available in 15, 17, or 20 pounds, this weighted blanket is made using a cotton fabric.
The Good knight weighted blanket uses poly-pellets as opposed to micro-glass beads as its filler materials.
The blanket is available from $87 on Amazon.
Quility Weighted Blanket
Quility weighted blanket gives you a soft and comforting touch. The weighted blanket is available from 5 to 25 pounds.
The Quility weighted blanket uses micro glass beads that are held in place by small polyester pockets.
The cost of the Quility weighted blanket at Amazon is $130.
Weighted blankets have numerous health benefits for people with sensory-related disorders. However, they come at a cost limiting those people with smaller budgets.
But they still have to do something for them to get quality sleep like the rest. Their lack of enough money shouldn’t act as a punishment for them.
In this article, several alternatives to a weighted blanket have been discussed. The seven alternatives are accessible and anyone can try them out without incurring any cost.
However, on rare occasions, these techniques fail to work, in that case, there is still a solution.
The use of calming sensory clothing comes in. The calming sensory clothes are available in singlets/vests, shorts, shirts, suits, leggings, and socks. Anyone can buy them at a fraction of the cost of a weighted blanket.
The article has also listed several low-cost weighted blankets as alternatives to the expensive weighted blankets. These can be purchased at Amazon and it guarantees the quality sleep that you crave for.