How to Choose a Weighted Blanket That's Equally Effective and Comfortable

Crushing anxiety can hit me at any time: in the drive-thru, while working a major deadline, at the grocery store. But the worst is when my anxiety ticks up just as I'm trying to unwind in the evening or lay down to go to sleep. Enter: the weighted blanket! You probably already know how amazing these things can be — they're thought to help ease anxiety by holding you like a strong hug — but you may not know that there are buying guidelines you should follow in order to ensure you reap the benefits.

Weighted blankets look just like any other blanket, but they're filled with plastic beads or pellets to make them feel heavier. They generally come in sizes from 5 to 30 pounds, and how much you weigh matters when choosing which blanket is right for you. Your weighted blanket should be about 10 percent of your body weight. (That means you should get a 15-pound blanket if you weigh 150 pounds.) You also want to make sure that your blanket is the same size or larger than you are, although it should not hang over the side of your bed.

Keep in mind: this isn't a perfect formula. When I used a weighted blanket that was technically the right weight for me, I started feeling claustrophobic, like I was trapped. It definitely didn't lower my anxiety at all. If you struggle to roll over under your weighted blanket or start to feel like it's too heavy, it's OK to go lighter — it just might not offer quite the same benefits. (Note that it's particularly important for kids to be able to move, especially while sleeping. In fact, weighted blankets are not recommended for young children.)

Choosing a weighted blanket is a very personal decision. If it feels right for you, then go for it! You're sure to enjoy the cozy benefits, no matter what.