From Sarah Jessica Parker’s monogrammed Burberry poncho to Norma Kamali’s Sleeping Bag Coat, fashion has long embraced blanket-inspired styles. During a time when most socializing takes place outdoors, would you wear one outside the house?
A weighted blanket is exactly what it sounds like - it’s a blanket with extra weight in it. Weighted blankets are unique as instead of being filled with cotton or down, it contains materials like glass beads to make them heavier. This weight is evenly distributed across the body for a feeling of being gently hugged. The deep touch pressure offered by the weighted blanket is supposed to make you feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable.
Blankets, a symbol of coziness and warmth usually relegated to the indoors, can also be a great piece to layer for fall and winter outfits. Though temperatures are just starting to drop in New York City, WSJ. staffers have spotted a few in the wild—mostly while outdoor dining, which New York City recently extended permanently. (It was originally set to expire ahead of the winter months, on October 31.) For the first time in recent history, the preferred environment for socializing has become “anywhere outside.” And during a pandemic and period of worldwide unrest, most people are seeking comfort more than ever. As a replacement for the timeworn going-out top—obviously better suited to the indoors—the going-out blanket suddenly makes sense.
Over the years, blankets have inspired fashion, from the upscale double layers blanket poncho that Sarah Jessica Parker wore in 2014, personalized with her initials, to Norma Kamali’s famous blanket-adjacent Sleeping Bag Coat, which she first designed in 1973. In 2012, Lenny Kravitz went viral after being photographed by paparazzi while ensconced in an enormous scarf on his way to buy groceries. Six years later, he defended the accessory on an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “But Lenny,” Fallon said, “this is not a scarf. This is a blanket.”
After my sister gave me a weighted blanket for Christmas, it became the gift that I didn't know I needed. It's one of the best things ever to happen to me.
As someone with anxiety, I've struggled with restful sleep: Falling asleep can take up to two hours, or I wake up at least twice during the night.
The first night I started sleeping underneath a 15-pound flannel blanket, I slept straight through the night for the first time in months and felt more rested during the day. After a few days of good sleep, I learned that my sister had done her gift research — she had read that people with anxiety tended to feel more grounded when using the blankets.
In the follow-up phase of the study, which lasted one year, people who used fleece blanket continued to benefit. People who switched from lightweight control blankets to weighted blankets experienced similar effects. And those who used weighted blankets also reported better sleep maintenance, a higher daytime activity level, remission from insomnia symptoms and alleviated symptoms of anxiety, depression and fatigue.
Children should be assessed by occupational therapists or pediatricians before they try sherpa blanket, as many weighted blankets haven't been tested for the effectiveness and safety for children.
"Weighted blankets shouldn't be used for toddlers under 2 years old, as it may increase the risk of suffocation," Abbasi-Feinberg said. "It's important for parents to always consult their pediatrician before trying a weighted blanket."