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Weighted Blankets For Sleep Apnea? Here’s What You Should Know Before Sleeping With One

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If you’re currently treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) with a CPAP Machine and want to know whether adding a weighted blanket to your nightly routine can help improve your sleep and reduce stress, then this article is for you!

Before we start, it’s important to mention that if you have difficulty breathing at night and are NOT currently seeking treatment options through your doctor, adding a weighted blanket is not recommended because the added weight may make it more difficult for you to breathe at night.  

What Are Weighted Blankets?

Available in varying weight amounts, these blankets are typically filled with small glass or plastic beads to make them heavier than the quilts or blankets you already use to sleep at night. Weighted blankets work by helping your body to release happiness hormones like dopamine and serotonin, which can encourage the production of melatonin to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Unfortunately, while weighted blankets are great for reducing stress and anxiety, they aren’t recommended for those with untreated moderate to severe sleep apnea. 

That said, we recommend first consulting your doctor. If you’re treating your sleep apnea with a CPAP machine, you should be able to enjoy the numerous benefits that sleeping under a weighted blanket can have. Additionally, weighted blankets can help with insomnia, chronic pain, anxiety, and ADHD.

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the benefits of weighted blankets and recommending our favorite weighted blankets for those who are currently treating sleep apnea, so keep reading if you’re ready for a deeper and more comfortable sleep!

The Benefits of Weighted Blankets

Weighted blankets are a natural way to improve your sleep quality and lower your stress levels. Specifically, weighted blankets have been proven to help you sleep more soundly by doing the following:

  • Calming Your Nervous System. Weighted blankets help to relax your nervous system by producing oxytocin, which is the same hormone that’s released when you receive a hug. When oxytocin is produced and your nervous system is relaxed, weighted blankets have even been known to reduce the uncomfortable symptoms associated with restless leg syndrome.
  • Fighting Insomnia. Weighted blankets help the body produce melatonin, which is especially helpful for people who struggle with insomnia. Insomnia is linked with the lower production of melatonin. By increasing melatonin, you’re less likely to struggle with insomnia and can fall asleep naturally.
  • Lowering Stress. Weighted blankets lower your body’s production of cortisol—a hormone triggered by stress. While cortisol is a natural response to stress and can be helpful in a situation where fight or flight is necessary, it is not beneficial at night when you’re trying to sleep. Weighted blankets lower cortisol at night, removing the feelings associated with anxiety and enabling you to feel the important sense of calm that allows you to relax into rest.
  • Increasing Your Comfort. Due to your body’s natural temperature regulation and how cool or warm you typically prefer to sleep, you can choose between weighted blanket covers made from natural fibers like the Gravity Blanket (such as cotton or wool) to sleep cooler or synthetic fibers (such as polyester) to sleep warmer. Selecting a soft and comfortable weighted blanket will help you achieve the ultimate level of comfort and get the restful sleep you deserve.

How Do Weighted Blankets Work?

Weighted blankets range in weight from five to thirty pounds and are filled with tiny pellets, beads, or discs to add the perfect amount of weight to gently hug you to sleep. This “hug” provides moderate pressure known as “grounding,” which triggers the release of your happiness hormones—serotonin and dopamine. These happiness hormones are responsible for providing you with a calming sensation to control and improve your sleep cycle. Weighted blankets also encourage the production of melatonin, which is another sleepytime hormone that your body uses to help you wind down for bed.

A weighted blanket creates deep pressure stimulation to alleviate the stress and anxiety that can get in the way of a good night’s rest. They are far more effective at helping you sleep than standard blankets, comforters, or quilts due to the evenly distributed weighted glass pellets that create exactly the right amount of pressure at all times for your maximum comfort.

If you’ve ever wondered, “Do weighted blankets really work?” The answer is absolutely! In fact, doctors and dentists rely on weighted blankets to help calm their patients before, during, and after procedures.

The Best Weighted Blanket for Sleep Apnea

The Gravity Blanket

Available in 15 and 20 lb Weights Helpful for Those With Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, Chronic Pain, and Insomnia Evenly Distributed Weight for Maximum Relief Machine Washable Cover Separates from Inner Weighted Blanket for Easy Cleaning Doesn’t Use Latex—100% Cotton

The Gravity Weighted blanket is our favorite weighted blanket for sleep apnea. It’s available in either a 15 or 20 lb weight and is designed to mimic the feeling of a hug to relax your nervous system.

The Gravity Weighted Blanket is filled with glass pellets in a careful, gridded stitch pattern to allow for even weight distribution and to prevent the glass pellets from bunching up in one area. The cover is made of 100% cotton with no latex or synthetic fibers, helping to keep your allergies away and not irritate your sensitive skin. The fabric is soft and breathable to hopefully prevent you from waking up in a sweat.

To avoid annoying bunching, the Gravity Blanket comes equipped with two internal clasps, ties, and elastic-button connectors inside of the duvet cover to make sure the weighted insert remains in place. But, just as easily as you can secure it, you can also quickly detach it to toss the cover in the washing machine. You can hand-wash the weighted insert and allow it to air dry for a restful night’s sleep ahead.

Perfect For:

  • Anyone Struggling With Stress, Anxiety, Insomnia, or Chronic Pain
  • Those With ADHD or Autism
  • Anyone Who Gets Hot at Night Thanks to the Breathable Fabric

How to Shop for a Weighted Blanket for Sleep Apnea

Weighted blankets are soaring in popularity thanks to their ability to lower stress and improve sleep. Weighted blankets have become nearly synonymous with reducing anxiety and helping to promote a better night’s rest.

What Size Weighted Blanket Do You Need?

One thing you’ll want to consider is what size weighted blanket is best based on your body weight. Adults are most comfortable with a weighted blanket that is approximately 10% of their body weight. However, if you weigh 170 pounds, for example, and are unable to find a blanket that weighs 17 pounds exactly, experts suggest you go heavier—not lighter—for the best results, meaning a 20-pound blanket would be perfectly acceptable.

Weighted blankets come in ranging weight sizes, so one option is to buy a larger blanket and then adjust the weight by folding the blanket to reach your desired pressure.

Body WeightBlanket Weight
100 – 120 pounds10 to 12 pounds
120 – 140 pounds12 to 14 pounds
140 – 160 pounds14 to 16 pounds
160 – 180 pounds16 to 18 pounds
180 – 200 pounds18 to 20 pounds
200 – 220 pounds20 to 22 pounds
220+22 to 30 pounds

Common Design Features of Weighted Blankets

Here are some additional design features to consider:

  • Cleaning: How do you wash a weighted blanket? Some weighted blankets are machine washable, while others come with a removable cover that can easily be thrown in the washing machine. Keep in mind that most machine-washable blankets still come with a recommendation to dry clean, and blankets weighing 10-pounds or more need to be handwashed because they will damage your washing machine. So when looking for the right blanket, think about what cleaning routine would be best for you. The Gravity Weighted Blanket has a detachable cover similar to a duvet cover that makes machine washing the cover a breeze. You can hand wash and air dry the weighted insert to easily clean your new-found sleep best friend.
  • Padding: Weighted blankets come in all shapes and sizes, and most have a unique form of fabric padding to create a cushion between the beads and your body, providing you with additional comfort. The Gravity Weighted Blanket has a 100% cotton cover to create a comfortable sleeping environment without irritating your skin or causing your allergies to flare up.

Pros and Cons of Weighted Blankets

While the pros of using a weighted blanket outweigh the cons, it’s worth considering both.

Boosts the production of hormones—such as serotonin and dopamine—that aid in relaxation and sleepChildren eight years and younger should only use after consulting with a doctor
Fights insomnia by aiding in the production of melatonin, which encourages sleepIf you struggle with claustrophobia, you may discover that the extra weight creates stress
Provides a calming sensation by encouraging the production of oxytocin, which lowers anxiety and stressWeight provided by the blanket can make it difficult to take when traveling

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use a Weighted Blanket if You Have Sleep Apnea?

Weighted blankets are not ideal for those living with untreated sleep apnea since the added weight can further restrict breathing. If you’re treating your sleep apnea with a CPAP machine, a weighted blanket can have numerous benefits, such as increased oxytocin production and reduced cortisol levels, which can reduce stress and tightness for easier and less restricted breathing.

Who Should Not Use a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets are not ideal or recommended for those who experience respiratory problems such as COPD or severe asthma, chronic circulation issues, type 2 diabetes, or low blood pressure. Those with untreated obstructive sleep apnea should also avoid the use of weighted blankets, but they’re considered safe for those that are treating their OSA with a CPAP machine.

Can Weighted Blankets Cause Breathing Problems?

A weighted blanket will not cause a breathing problem in and of itself, but it could worsen an existing or untreated breathing difficulty. 

Would a Weighted Blanket Help With Snoring?

A weighted blanket may be able to promote muscle relaxation in light snorers, but those who experience heavy snoring and untreated moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea should not use weighted blankets because they can worsen the condition. 

Should You Sleep With a Weighted Blanket Every Night?

It’s perfectly safe to use your weighted blanket every night if you enjoy the sensation and notice yourself sleeping more easily or waking up less frequently, but some people do experience bruising and soreness from repeated use and may even experience flare-ups of chronic pain. If you’re being bruised by your weighted blanket or wake up in pain after sleeping with it, use it only as needed or consider a lighter blanket.

Final Thoughts

Weighted blankets are an excellent tool for bringing deeper and higher quality sleep to your life. Using a weighted blanket with sleep apnea is safe so long as you’re treating your sleep apnea with a CPAP machine and consult with your doctor first.

Weighted blankets can also help with other conditions that affect sleep, such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Cleaning them can be difficult at times, depending on the design, which is why we love the Gravity Blanket’s removable weighted insert.

To ease everyday anxiety and stress, give the Gravity Weighted Blanket a try. The deep touch pressure stimulation of the blanket encourages the production of serotonin and melatonin, and the 100% cotton construction is plush and soft while not triggering your allergies to keep your sleep dreamy and comfortable.

What could be better than falling asleep with the feeling of a hug? Grab your Gravity Blanket, tuck yourself in, and drift off to dreamland.

  • Eric Ott

    Eric has been writing for the CPAP.com blog since 2021, where he combines his passion for understanding the nuances of complicated topics with a commitment to educating individuals diagnosed with sleep apnea. With thorough research, empathy, and product knowledge, he empowers readers to confidently navigate the world of CPAP therapy and reclaim the restful sleep they need to protect their health and live their lives to the fullest.

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