Weighted blankets are a pretty big deal right now in the wellness world. They began life as specialised medical aids for those with anxiety and sensory issues, before shifting towards the mainstream when people realised that they could also help with sleep issues or insomnia, as well as being generally soothing for those who are feeling stressed.
At the risk of stating the obvious, a weighted blanket is just a blanket that's been made purposefully heavy. Today's best weighted blankets can get pricey, but there's one standout budget option on the UK market: the Silentnight Wellbeing Weighted Blanket. The RRP is £70 / AU$130, but you can currently get hold of it for much less – right now it's 36% off at Amazon, for example (perhaps an early Amazon Black Friday deal).
I'm not an especially anxious person, but I do struggle with my sleep, and dropping off at night in particular. My reasons for wanting to try out the Silentnight Weighted Blanket were twofold. Firstly, I wanted to know if, with that low price, it could compete with other options clocking in at two, three, or even four times the price. And second, I wanted to see if a weighted blanket really was the game-changing stress-remover and sleep aid that so many rave reviews suggest.
- Buy the Silentnight weighted blanket, now £44.99 at Amazon
- What is a weighted blanket and how do they work?
Quality-wise, I was very pleasantly surprised. This doesn't look like a rubbish cheapo blanket. It's well made – with a 12 month manufacturer's guarantee to back that up – the fabric feels good quality and is pleasant to touch. It's a soft grey, with a stitched grid pattern that creates the pockets that house the tiny glass beads that provide the weight. They're distributed well enough that while there is of course some slight shifting around within pockets, the overall impression is of a gentle, even pressure all over your body.
There are now two weight options to choose from: 6.8kg and 9kg. I tried the former. If you shop around other brands, you can get both heavier and lighter blankets than this – officially, you're looking for something that's approximately 10% of your bodyweight, but in reality, personal preference comes into it too. My own, highly scientific view is that its about right for an adult of what I would consider to be roughly normal size, who wants a blanket that is noticeably weighty without being too dramatic about it all.
The design could be described as 'classic' or 'boring', depending on your style sensibilities. But the fact remains that it looks an awful lot like both the Simba Orbit weighted blanket and the John Lewis Specialist Synthetic weighted blanket, both of which are pricier (if you do want something more interesting looking, our favourite is the Eve Weighted Blanket).
One potential downside is that the cover isn't removable, although you can put it in the washing machine. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but how much damage can 9kg of glass beads really do? If you want to use it as a quilt, you'll perhaps want to stick a sheet underneath to avoid testing that theory too far.
In terms of how I got on with the blanket from an experience point of view, I'm split. To sit under whilst watching TV or reading, I'm a fan. People liken the feeling to a full-body hug, and while that's a slightly romanticised view, the gentle pressure is indeed reassuring and soothing. The Silentnight blanket does a clever trick of delivering pressure without creating too much heat, which means it's comfortable enough to use on mild-ish evenings without overheating. The weight means it naturally settles around you without getting twisted up or creating drafts. (You can also, I should say, get snuggly, fluffy weighted blankets that will keep you cosy like a traditional blanket, if that's what you want).
I tried sleeping under it but that was, for me, a step too far. While the weight was pleasant on the sofa, it immediately felt oppressive when I tried to fall asleep under it. This seems to be a highly personal thing, because I've spoken to several people who absolutely love dozing under their weighted blanket, and have found it noticeably improves their sleep quality. So it's probably a case of needing to try one to see if it'll suit you (sorry not to be more helpful there).