Weighted Blankets Review - do they actually work?

Australian sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo kindly tests our knitted weighted blankets...

Ahh… anxiety. There you are, my old friend. Coming back to haunt me, day after day, night after night. That racing mind, the restlessness, the myriad of thoughts which all seem to conflict each other.

Underneath all my sleep tips, my features on The Today Show and my partnerships with Ikea and Tempur, I’m actually just a human being who experiences I’m-full-of-anxiety-that-i-can’t-sit-still days. The only difference between my experience and yours is that I have a wealth of science based strategies to call upon when I become riddled with anxiety. 

And one of the best tools is a weighted blanket - and after my experience with Koala Comforts, I can happily direct you to their range. 

So what is the science behind weighted blankets?

First, of particular relevance to my anxious friends, a study in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health found 63% of participants felt less anxious and 78% felt more relaxed with a weighted blanket, compared to no blanket. 

Specifically, research indicates the weight creates a deep tissue pressure, which is the key to engaging the calming nervous system; the parasympathetic. And this is the key to reducing anxiety.

Weighted blankets for anxiety? Tick.

And for those struggling to get a good nights rest - good news for you too.

Using a weighted blanket has been found in clinical trials to reduce the time taken to fall asleep by from 70 to 30 minutes - a considerable 40 minutes. Further, these results were maintained for a year after use - demonstrating reliability over time. 

Similarly, Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders found weighted blankets allowed individuals to sleep deeper and longer compared to those without a weighted blanket. 

Weighted blankets for sleep? Tick.

Finally - if you’re restless - look forward to less agitation and a better quality of sleep with thanks to your weighted blankets - reflecting findings found in a third clinical trial.

Weighted blankets for restlessness? Tick. 

And if you’re wondering exactly how they work to calm you down and improve sleep?

As mentioned, tactile pressure activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). When there is greater dominance of this nervous system, we feel at ease, our thoughts are streamlined and our bodies are relaxed.

Think of how you feel after you’ve had a dose of magnesium or finished a meditation - both of these actions also activate the PNS, so even if you haven’t had a direct experience with weighted blankets, you can know what to expect should you choose to invest.

Now that we’ve gone through the science, I am going to share with you something that I usually don’t share - my personal experience.  

Olivia Arezzolo reviews our weighted blanket

My week with Koala Comforts:

Day 1 - Aesthetics wise, Koala Comforts gets my seal of approval. The velvety grey works perfectly on my art deco slash boho chic decor. Feeling wise - lush. Happy to wrap myself in the doona and stay in my couch all day kind of lush. But for the purpose of my trial, I add it to my bed so I can enjoy its anti-anxiety benefits that evening. Noticed it’s very warm, so used my fan. Enjoyed the white noise of said fan. Also enjoyed the heavy feeling of Koala Comforts. My puppy Jackie also enjoyed snuggling within. Results wise, I felt fresh in the morning and didn’t wake up through the night - which despite being a sleep expert, can happen. 

Day 2 - woke up considerably fresh. Used the fan again to cool me down. Enjoying the extra weight - and so is Jackie.

Day 3 - feeling quite energised jumping into bed so hoping that my signature bedtime routine is effective - I’m wearing my blue light glasses, have disconnected from tech, have showered, added lavender to my pillow, taken my sleep supplement and popped on my fan. Now to practice deep breathing and listen to a meditation track. Appreciating the weight of the blanket. Feels comforting. 

Day 4 - feeling great. Same routine as the previous nights.

Day 5 - anxiety creeping back in so wondering if I’ll feel great tomorrow. I follow protocol in my signature bedtime routine (mentioned in day 3) and keeping the blanket on. Extra deep breathing tonight.

Day 6 - didn’t wake up through the night despite thinking I may have. Wonderful.

Day 7 - all systems go. Signature bedtime routine with my Koala Comforts blanket - here to stay.

You can get your own here

Olivia Arezzolo hugs weighted blanket