Weighted Blanket Dilemma: Who Should Opt for Alternatives?

Who Shouldn’t Use a Weighted Blanket? The Truth Behind the Controversy

It’s 2 am, then 3 am, then 4 am. You watch the time ticking by on the bedside clock, promising yourself you’re going to find something to help you sleep when the sun rises, and you do. 

You find a product with surprising and numerous benefits and it doesn’t involve taking medication or changing your night routine into something that resembles military training exercises.  You find a simple yet effective solution - a weighted blanket and you couldn’t be happier.

That is until you share the news of your wonderful new purchase with some friends and family at the Sunday afternoon lunch. Suddenly, your newfound sleep freedom has turned into a cause for concern as the people around you relay the rumours they’ve heard about weighted blankets. 

Nonsense, you think, it’s been fantastic. But then you start to wonder, “Are weighted blankets safe after all?

In this article, we explore who should be cautious about using a weighted blanket and dispel some of the rumours that have been circulating about Canada’s latest sleep sensation. 

If you suffer from the following ailments, then make a well-informed and considered decision before purchasing a weighted blanket. But don’t be put off completely. The vast majority of people who are interested in weighted blankets have a great experience with them and are excited to tell others about how it has improved their lives. 

Breathing or respiratory problems

Woman in nature doing breathing exercises

Weighted blankets work because they are filled with pellets or glass beads that give the blanket its weight and provide deep pressure therapy that greatly improves sleep quality.  

As far as innovation goes, it's a wonderful product and as far as insomnia sufferers are concerned, it's a lifesaver. But, there is a downside for people who suffer from respiratory disorders such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and asthma.

The feeling of extra pressure on your chest may be uncomfortable if your breathing is already restricted, so if you want to purchase a weighted blanket because you want to soothe the anxiety and sleeplessness associated with these disorders, ensure you choose the lightest blanket that only applies gentle pressure.

According to asthma.net, there isn’t scientific evidence that prohibits sufferers from using a weighted blanket. [1]

Sleep Apnea

Alongside people with COPD and asthma, those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea have been advised to use weighted blankets with caution. One reason for this claim is that OSA is usually associated with central abdominal obesity, which increases the physical work of breathing. Having extra weight on the central chest cavity makes the work of breathing even greater as the lungs have to expand against an increased weight on the chest. [1]

For people with sleep disorders such as OBS, a good night’s sleep is as elusive as the Loch Ness monster, and, understandably, they would turn to a weighted blanket to provide therapeutic benefits. 

Weighted blanket safety, in this case, depends on the total weight of the blanket. People with mild sleep apnea may find it extremely helpful for falling asleep faster and staying asleep. However, people with severe OSA may not get the same result. 


A reasonably healthy adult can improve restful sleep with a weighted blanket, and it stands to reason that people who are suffering from diabetic neuropathy would benefit from the deep pressure stimulation provided by a product like this. 

However, complications associated with diabetes often lead to impaired circulation, especially in the hands and feet. Larger weighted blankets can impede blood flow, which can cause complications such as skin ulcers, especially among older weighted blanket users.

Diabetic neuropathy

In the case of severe diabetic neuropathy, where sensations in the hands and feet are reduced, the ability of the person to feel that the blanket is causing circulation problems will be impaired and, therefore should be avoided. 

Muscle weakness or mobility issues

Man massaging his leg because of a cramp.

Muscle weakness and impaired mobility can significantly affect an individual’s daily life, making tasks that require physical effort more challenging. When considering the use of weighted blankets, these conditions can cause the following difficulties:

  1. Difficulty adjusting the blanket: For someone with muscle weakness, moving or adjusting a heavy blanket can be a challenge. This can lead to discomfort from overheating and constriction.
  2. Further restriction of movement:  By design, weighted blankets restrict movement to provide deep pressure stimulation and help people fall asleep. This can be problematic for those with limited mobility as this will aggravate their condition further. 
  3. Increased muscle strain: Individuals with muscle degeneration could experience further pain and muscle cramps from trying to move a blanket that is too heavy for them. 

Exercise caution using a weighted blanket if you are suffering from the following conditions:

  • Muscular dystrophy - This group of diseases causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. 
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS): Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS affects the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement. 
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS): MS can lead to muscle weakness and coordination problems. The added weight of a blanket could be challenging for someone with MS, especially during flare-ups of symptoms.
  • Myasthenia Gravis: This condition causes weakness in the skeletal muscles responsible for movements like breathing and moving parts of the body.
  • Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis: These inflammatory diseases cause muscle weakness, affecting the ability to move freely. 
  • Parkinson’s Disease: This neurodegenerative disorder can lead to tremors, stiffness, and bradykinesia (slowness of movement). 
  • Severe Osteoporosis: In cases of severe osteoporosis, bones become very fragile. The pressure from a heavy blanket could potentially increase the risk of fractures, especially in older adults.

Babies and small children

Young baby sleeping comfortably

Babies and small children do not possess the ability to throw off a heavy blanket and this increases the risk of overheating and suffocation

A weighted blanket may seem like a good idea for babies and small children since it was created to give the sleeper the sensation of being securely held or hugged. This is what makes it so effective for other sleep disorders, but the risks may outweigh the benefits for small children. 

A blanket that’s too heavy can decrease your child’s circulation and affect their heart rate and blood flow. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns parents and caregivers to avoid weighted infant sleep products because they could impair arousal (the ability for the child to move position when experiencing a lack of oxygen) and, therefore, increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). [2]

According to an NBC News report, Dr. Michael Goodstein, a neonatologist, warned that putting additional pressure on the rib cage of an infant whose rib cages are still elastic would potentially compress their chest and affect their breathing. [2]

Weighted blanket manufacturers, however, are fighting back against these claims, suggesting that there have been very few complaints from customers about the blankets impeding infant movement. Two well-known companies that manufacture infant-weighted products say their products are safe and that their confidence is backed by research and testing. [2]

Exercise caution when using a weighted blanket for babies and small children and if you are going to use this kind of product, make sure it is specifically manufactured for babies and small children and has undergone rigorous testing. 

What about children with ADHD and ASD?

Occupational therapists have long recommended deep-pressure stimulation for children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder, but using a weighted blanket safely at a young age is of utmost importance.

The sensation of being hugged, squeezed, stroked, or held is achieved by using a weighted blanket, which is very beneficial for reducing the symptoms of stress and anxiety experienced by ADHD and ASD sufferers. To get the benefit from a weighted product and ensure the safety of young children, the focus should be on the type of product.  Get recommendations from your pediatrician or general doctor about the weighted blanket you want to try. 


Woman sitting in a box trying to get out

Claustrophobia is a fear of being in closed or small spaces, and it can trigger anxiety and panic when one feels trapped or confined.

Even a small weighted blanket can cause a person with claustrophobia to have a panic attack due to the constriction of the blanket. One person who has anxiety may get significant relief from the sensation of being in a secure ‘hug,’ but another person who cannot cope with being confined will not experience the same benefits. 

Potential effects of weighted blankets on individuals with claustrophobia are:

  • Increased anxiety - in severe cases, the heavy, enveloping nature of a weighted blanket may give the person a feeling of being trapped, provoking a panic attack.
  • Difficulty falling asleep - if the heaviness of the blanket causes anxiety, then a weighted blanket will cause sleeplessness in a person with claustrophobia. 

It’s important to know that what one person might find anxiety-provoking may soothe another person. As we discuss these general precautions, every reader should exercise their own discernment and personal preferences when it comes to choosing a weighted blanket. 


Generally, you would not use a weighted blanket for your pets. However, there are pet owners who do allow their dogs and cats to sleep on their beds and may want to know whether their pet would be safe under the weighted blanket. 

According to an article by BeChewy, titled "Are Weighted Blankets Safe for Dogs and Cats?"

The same weight restrictions apply to dogs and cats as they do to humans.  The blanket should not exceed 10% of the pet’s body weight.  Therefore, a 10-pound cat can only sleep under a 1-pound weighted blanket.

If your weighted blanket is 15 pounds, then it may not be the best blanket for your dog or cat!  If you really cannot sleep without your furry friend, then the best option is for them to sleep on top of the blanket. 

Respiratory dangers

Weighted blankets can be too heavy for small pets, causing respiratory or cardiac issues. If the pet likes to chew on a blanket, the glass or plastic pellets may become a choking hazard.

Common misconceptions about weighted blankets

How did weighted blankets become the topic of rumors and controversy? Our answer lies with the 3 M’s:

  • Misinformation
  • Misguided concern
  • Misrepresented research

The only way to dispel the 3 M’s is to give you as consumers the correct information so that you can empower yourself, and not let the 3 M’s make your buying decisions for you. 

Misconception: Weighted Blankets are Only for People with Diagnosed Conditions

Truth: While they are often recommended for individuals with specific conditions like autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, or anxiety, weighted blankets can be beneficial for anyone seeking a deeper, more restful sleep or a calming effect.

Misconception: Weighted Blankets are Too Hot

Truth: Many assume that the added weight necessarily means added warmth. However, many weighted blankets are designed with breathable materials to prevent overheating. There are also options available specifically designed for cooler sleep.

Misconception: Weighted Blankets Can’t Be Washed

Truth: Concerns about washing weighted blankets due to their heft are common. However, many are machine washable, and others have removable covers that can be easily washed. It's important to check the care instructions for each specific blanket.

Misconception: Weighted Blankets are Uncomfortable and Restrictive

Truth: Some people may worry that a weighted blanket will feel restrictive. However, when chosen correctly for the individual's size and preferences, these blankets are meant to provide gentle, even pressure that many find comforting.

Knowledge is power

The truth is the vast majority of customers who buy weighted blankets get real benefits for their stress, sleeplessness, anxiety, restless legs, PTSD recovery, and nervous system conditions. 

Armed with a wealth of information and satisfied that they do not have any conditions that would prohibit the use of a weighted blanket, our happy customer settles down to a good night’s rest under their Gravid weighted blanket and promptly starts counting sheep.

We hope that this has given you the same confidence. However, if you do suffer from any of these conditions, we invite you to do your research and get a professional opinion if you’re concerned about the effects that a weighted blanket might have on your condition.

We are so confident that you can find a weighted blanket that will suit you that we’re offering $100 dollars off our weighted blankets for a limited time. 


  1. www.asthma.net
  2. www.nbcnews.com