I had noticed some Youtubers talking about weighted blankets recently, a product that if you’ve never heard of before, you will be forgiven, as neither had I before 2019. So when Xalm reached out to me to ask would I like to test drive their weighted blanket, I was very keen to say yes!
Back in early 2018, brothers Eddy & David Barrett had seen how weighted blankets in the US were changing peoples’ lives for the better, and wanted to bring the UK’s first high-quality weighted blanket on the market, complete with removable cover, and so Xalm Blanket was born.
But hold on, you may still be asking yourself, and me, what the heck is a weighted blanket? Well, it’s just that, it’s a heavy blanket. They are carefully made with weighted pellets throughout, to equally distribute weight through the blanket, and it’s recommended that when picking a blanket you choose one that weighs 10% of your body weight, plus a little more (Xalm is available in three weight choices & uses micro-bead technology for its weight system).
But… why the heck would you want a weighted blanket? Weighted blankets have actually been around for years in the therapeutic community, and are just now crossing over as more and more people find out the benefits of using them. Traditionally they were more commonly used for adults, and children with sensory issues, as being wrapped in a heavier blanket can be more calming for someone with ADHD or autism.
Why would I want a weighted blanket though? When Xalm Blanket contacted me my initial excitement about receiving the product was just to feel what the experience was like. It’s very much one of those feelings you can’t understand until you’ve tried, because duvets and regular throws are traditionally made to be light and airy, and this is made to be the polar opposite. So I was curious just to feel what it would be like under a weighted blanket. (My brother even had a go when he came round to visit on my birthday, so be sure everyone will want a turn!) There are a wealth of issues a weighted blanket can help with, so I was happy to try it out.
The Xalm Blanket is available on Amazon, in one size 150cm x 200cm. This fits as a throw on a double bed, which is how I am using it currently. You will have to decide on which of the three weights of blanket will suit you, either 4.5kg, 6.8kg or 9kg. The Amazon page will tell you how to work out which one is right for you, by your body weight, as I said before. Your Xalm Blanket comes with a free ‘minky’ washable, removable cover, which is like a super soft, faux fur ‘duvet’ cover. Currently there is only the Xalm in one size and one colour, the stylish grey, but with the ability to change covers I hope they will expand the range as I will be using mine as my bed covering from here on in and would like to be able to change colours once in a while.
The Minky cover which comes with your Xalm Blanket is probably more suited to winter, and is quite warm (I’ve been sleeping in vest & shorts pjs under it), however there is a summer cover you can purchase from them for a cooler night’s sleep. The covers fit more snugly to the blanket than a regular duvet, as they are secured with ties to the blanket on the inside. This stops the heavy blanket moving away from the light fabric cover, keeping it feeling like one whole piece. I hate when your duvet cover comes loose at the side and there is a tonne of empty fabric, so I’m sure this is probably also a choice to limit sensory problems like that for people who would find that irritating.
My initial thoughts. I received the blanket last Thursday on my birthday, and that very afternoon my son and I couldn’t wait to try it out (things get wild when you turn 39 and have chronic fatigue). I set it up in my bedroom on my double bed, and got under it to see what it felt like. It felt good. It’s going to be frustrating trying to explain to you as it’s really one of those things you have to experience, because heavy blankets are just so new, and the beneficial tactile advantages of the science behind them is what clicked for me.
Weighted blankets for anxiety? I was a little sceptical about how advantageous it could be to one’s mental health to ‘just have a heavy blanket’, but that was me a week ago. Now I’m sneaking upstairs early to chill out under my Xalm Blanket, closing my eyes and listening to a podcast and just drifting away. Bliss.
How does it work? The science behind it makes sense once you read about why a weighted blanket makes you feel so good. Humans love hugs, we love being held and contact. The underlying science behind why your anxiety is lessened under a weighted blanket is down to deep touch pressure (DTP). The gentle pressure of the blanket over the body is like a full body hug. The DTP releases serotonin in the body, which promotes relaxation and makes you feel good. From using the Xalm Blanket for the past seven nights, I can concur, it works for me. When I get under the blanket I just feel calmer, and relaxed. 63% of people who used Xalm Blankets reported feeling calmer too.
How does a weighted blanket really feel? The best way I can describe the evenly distributed pressure of the blanket, and how being under a weighted blanket feels like is by likening it to an almost nostalgic feeling, and maybe that’s the calming aspect coming into play too giving me that ‘all is well’ sensation. When I get into bed and underneath my Xalm Blanket, the weightiness all over gives me the throwback feeling you had as a kid, when you had been out in the garden all day long playing and you were going to bed absolutely dog-tired, but content. That’s probably why weighted blankets can help with insomnia and getting you to doze off my quickly. Whilst I’m struggling to pin down a good way to relate the experience of the Xalm Blanket to you, don’t mistake my report of the tired-feeling as a negative, you don’t actually feel more tired, just more ready to rest. I suffer from chronic fatigue and the last thing I want is something making me more exhausted, but actually a weighted blanket could help those with fibromyalgia and similar issues.
Weighted blankets for chronic fatigue? My main health issue concerns chronic fatigue and pain, so I already have to sleep year round with a maternity pillow for my hip pain. The Xalm Blanket can help people with fibromyalgia as it helps you fall asleep quicker, and the DTP encourages a more restful sleep with less tossing and turning. So you may benefit from a better night’s sleep and more energy in the long run. I can’t tell that from just a week’s trial, but I am so pleased with the reduced anxiety that I am a weighted blanket convert already. I was concerned about the weight of the blanket maybe hurting my joints, as I’ve a cat who tries to perch on me when I’m asleep and if she ever manages it, I wake up in pain from her sitting on me. I’m pleased to report however due to the micro-bead technology and how evenly the weight is spread through the Xalm Blanket, there is no pocket of weight that would cause such an issue.
Do weighted blankets work for restless leg syndrome? I’ve suffered from RLS since my early twenties, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It presents as an irresistible urge to have to move your legs, or arms, and shake out what feels like electricity inside the muscles. It’s not as many people assume, your legs just moving by themselves, however some people with RLS can have disturbed sleep as their body will continue to keep trying to fidget when they are asleep. My RLS comes and goes, and I have medication which I take when I have a bout of it to stop it happening. I currently am not experiencing RLS, so I can’t test out the weighted blanket for this medical issue, but apparently the DTP can help prevent it happening, so I’d be interested to see if it could stop my crazy arms when they get started. The weight can also stop your body moving when you are asleep and suffer from it then.
So would I recommend a Xalm Blanket? Yes, yes, yes. It’s been a game changer for me and I’ve only had it a week. It works best for my anxiety issues, but I love the DTP effect so much that I am using it as my bedspread from here on in. One thing to think about though that I wasn’t dealing with, was if you were using it as a bedspread how it would work if two people were sharing the bed. I’d also love to see a smaller size Xalm that I could use on my sofa, maybe a half size, although most people can use the large size for on the sofa too, it’s not just for bedtime. Also when it comes to any weighted blankets and very young kids, they don’t recommend using them for all night sleeping. Maybe use them for falling asleep, then swap out for a lighter duvet that the child can easily remove if they get tangled in it.
The Xalm Blanket has a 100 day risk free trial if you buy on Amazon now. They are pretty confident you’ll love your Xalm (I am too) but any returned blankets they donate to charity, which is very cool. The blanket costs £99, and comes with the free, machine washable cover. Expect to pay between this and £200 for genuine, quality weighted blankets. Those who know me well know I am queen of a bargain, but when it comes to weighted blankets there are several reasons you won’t want to risk a purchase from a unverified seller. The product itself is quite specific in nature and the weight of the micro-beads must be evenly distributed for the blanket to work, so the craftsmanship of the interior piece must be appropriate. Also unofficial weighted blankets may not even weigh the correct amount to have a benefit! You’ll also want to make sure your blanket is made from a fully breathable fabric. If you are under a 6.8kg blanket with a cover and it’s made from nylon you’ll be waking up in a pool of sweat! You just can’t cut corners when it comes to weighted blankets, if you want the full rewards of the product for your medical issues, but the Xalm 100 day risk free trial is an ideal way to find out if, like me, weighted blankets could work for you. If you go ahead and start your new Xalm sleep journey, let me know on Instagram how you get on.