Most of us, at one point or another, have tried to A) lower stress or B) get a better night’s sleep. By the transitive property, this means that many of us have likely considered getting a weighted blanket, or a blanket lined with glass beads or made with heavy fabric to provide light pressure on the body.
Although the jury’s still out on weighted blankets’ health benefits—including whether they help with muscle recovery—plenty of people have come to love them. We spent 40 hours testing five different brands to find the best weighted blanket for muscle recovery. Luna came out on top thanks to its comfortable fabric, fair price point, breathability, and the fact that we actually felt a little less sore after sleeping under it.
Here’s the TL;DR on how the best weighted blankets stack up:
A Weighted Blanket We Loved
- 10-25 pound weight range
- Full, queen, and king size options
- 17 color options
- Cotton and polyester material with glass bead weights
- Comfy and durable fabric
- OEKO-TEX certified (passed testing for harmful textile chemicals)
- Good weight range
- A little on the warm side
- 30-day return policy, customer handles shipping charges
Of all the blankets on this list, Luna came out on top because it felt durable, was nice to look at, and rings in at a more affordable price point than most others. It was also the only blanket that actually reduced muscle soreness after a night’s sleep. (Although whether the credit for that goes to the blanket or a big, post-bike ride plate of chicken teriyaki is up for debate.)
The Luna we tested is 20 pounds and made of cotton and polyester, lined with glass beads, and comes in a zippered, square plastic bag. The blanket itself is white with dark blue polka dots. It also comes in a few other colors and patterns, like plain white or pale blue stripes. The fabric was also comfortable on the skin—it felt like a standard hotel sheet, maybe a little softer.
The weight felt good within the blanket, and the beads felt adequately secure—no concerns about them leaking out in the middle of the night. It doesn’t come with any care instructions, but the blanket’s tag says it’s OK to machine wash the blanket cold and on gentle or dry clean, but not to tumble dry it. Considering how sparkly-white the blanket is, regular washing will likely be necessary.
I tested the Luna after a weekend overnight bike trip of 40 miles, for which I was dreadfully undertrained. Normally this would cause quad and hamstring soreness, but after sleeping under the Luna, I didn’t end up with any soreness at all.
The blanket says it’s designed to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Testing occurred during a particularly chilly PNW spring (ambient temperature of the bedroom was in the high 50s), and for this warm sleeper, the blanket was just slightly too warm—but only so much that I stuck a foot out in the middle of the night. That said, I’m not sure I’d pull this blanket out for nightly summer use. But in the winter after a long workout? Absolutely.
What Are Weighted Blankets Good For?
Weighted blankets are therapeutic blankets lined with heavy materials (usually plastic or glass beads) or made with heavy material. They often weigh between 5 and 40 pounds, and all the ones we tested are between 15 and 20 pounds. Proponents of weighted blankets say they are comforting, improve sleep quality, soothe anxiety, and calm the nervous system. In other words, they’re sort of like a hug you can sleep under. And there are a few small studies to suggest there’s weight (ha) to some of these claims.
A 2020 systematic review found that there wasn’t enough evidence to say that weighted blankets improve insomnia American Journal of Occupational Therapy “Weighted Blanket Use: A Systematic Review” View Source , but found some limited evidence that they help anxiety. They might even help people stay calm in high-stress situations like getting their wisdom teeth removed Journal of the Formosan Medical Association “Effect of deep pressure input on parasympathetic system in patients with wisdom tooth surgery” View Source . And another study found that children with autism preferred weighted blankets, even though the blankets didn’t measurably improve their sleep habits Pediatrics “Weighted Blankets and Sleep in Autistic Children—a Randomized Controlled Trial” View Source .
Do Weighted Blankets Help With Muscle Recovery or Muscle Soreness?
Some claim that weighted blankets might be helpful for muscle recovery (or how fast your muscles are able to repair and rebuild themselves after exertion) by providing a compressive effect and possibly improving sleep. Many factors affect how recovered a person feels after an activity, and restful sleep, hydration, and adequate nutrition NASM “The Science of Recovery” View Source seem to be the biggest factors. But other tools may help, too.
So are weighted blankets a possible tool for muscle recovery? We didn’t see any research studies directly addressing that question. Instead, there are conjectures based on other muscle recovery tools. One argument suggests that because quality sleep is good for recovery, weighted blankets would help you recover faster if they make you sleep better. It’s true that getting enough sleep helps muscles recover and even improves athletic performance Sleep and Athletic Performance “Current Sports Medicine Reports” View Source . But as noted above, weighted blankets don’t consistently improve sleep quality.
Another argument for weighted blankets and muscle recovery is that the blankets create “compression,” which constricts blood vessels and forces more blood to your heart. This can be useful if you’re experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness Sports Medicine “Delayed onset muscle soreness: treatment strategies and performance factors” View Source (DOMS), or muscle soreness that appears a day or two after working out. High-intensity exercise can cause tiny, microscopic tears in muscle fibers. The body responds by creating inflammation in the muscles. This inflammation can be uncomfortable, and the weight from the blanket may help soothe it.
Still, weighted blankets alone may not be enough. While there is evidence that compression garments can help speed up recovery British Journal of Sports Medicine “Compression garments and recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage: a meta-analysis” View Source , weighted blankets aren’t likely to be heavy or tight enough to have a compression effect. Besides, compression only helps with the initial soreness of the muscle, which involves inflammation. There are many other reasons—including strain, cramps, or trigger points—that may explain why a muscle isn’t recovering, and compression may only help with that first layer of soreness.
On the other hand, stress seems to negatively impact muscle recovery Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise “Psychological stress impairs short-term muscular recovery from resistance exercise” View Source —so if a weighted blanket helps calm you down, it could mayyyybe help your muscles, too.
Bottom line: Weighted blankets might help some people with anxiety to feel calmer, but there’s not much quality evidence to suggest they regularly improve sleep or hasten muscle recovery. If you’re just looking for a way to relieve muscle soreness, there are better options out there. (An acupressure mat or a good massage come to mind.) But if you’re in search of a way to feel calmer during the night, or just want to take part in the many, many jokes about weighted blankets, you might want to give one a try.
How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this. Recommendations range from 5% of your total body weight to 12% of your total body weight Sleep Foundation “How Heavy Should Your Weighted Blanket Be?” View Source . So, if you weigh about 150 pounds, look for a blanket in the 7.5- to 18-pound range. You can also check with the blanket manufacturer for more specific information. Each brand may provide different recommendations based on its materials and the size go you for.
Either way, the blanket should provide a sensation akin to that of a gentle hug—not a bear-like squeeze. If you find that your blanket is making you uncomfortable or causing you pain, banish it from your bed.
How We Got Here
Meet Your Guinea Pig
I’m Colleen Stinchcombe, a health writer and avid exerciser. I’ve backpacked 1,000 miles in a single summer, completed a 100-mile overnight bike trip, a 5k, and a half-marathon run, and enjoy workouts that include a little bit of suffering. I’m forever seeking ways to be less sore.
Our Testing Process
After researching the most popular weighted blankets, The Nessie purchased five of the top options to test for muscle recovery. I tested each one after a butt-kicking workout. Usually, these were weight lifting days, but one test was after a long (and woefully undertrained) bike ride. Counting every hour of sleep, testing added up to a total of 40 hours, give or take a few. I wore shorts and T-shirts to sleep to get up close and personal with the blanket fabric and see how hot or cold the blankets became during a chilly PNW spring. I also rubbed the blanket’s boundaries to see how close beads or other weighted materials were to the surface.
For more on how we chose the best weighted blankets for muscle recovery, read the test notes.
Who Should Buy Weighted Blankets?
If you already know that having something heavy laid on you makes you feel calmer or less stressed, a weighted blanket is a convenient way to get that sensation. And being less stressed can only benefit your workout quality.
What’s in a Weighted Blanket?
It depends on the blanket. Many blankets use glass, plastic, or steel beads; others use pebbles or grains. Others (such as Bearaby) use the natural weight of fabric like cotton.
What Size Weighted Blanket Should I Get?
It depends on the size of your bed! Most weighted blankets come in full, queen, and king sizes. Some also come in twin and throw variations. One thing to be aware of, however, is that all weighted blankets are a little smaller than other blankets or comforters of the same stated size. This is because they’re just meant to cover you—not the whole bed.
Which Features Matter Most When Buying Weighted Blankets?
Mostly, you’re looking for a comfortable fabric you can sleep under that won’t make you too hot or too cold. Durability is nice, too, because if you use it regularly you’ll want to wash it at some point.
Other Weighted Blankets Worth Considering
Best for Summer Naps
Bearaby Tree Napper
- 15-25 pound weight range
- Twin, full, queen, and king size options
- Eight color options
- Cotton and tencel material
- Weight built into fabric
- Most stylish blanket tested
- Weight comes from material, not beads
- OK to tumble dry
- Provides weight but not warmth
- Net-style fabric isn’t cozy
- 30-day return policy with a processing fee
The Bearaby Tree Napper was the most unique blanket that we tested. Instead of beads, it provides weight with a thick tencel and cotton woven fabric. The 15-pound one I tested came in a nice neutral blue color that could easily be an accent blanket on a couch, chair, or bed. The fabric was a little scratchy on bare skin, but felt like after a few washes it would be much softer. It also seemed like it could withstand several washes. The Bearaby can also go through the dryer. In fact, this is required after washing, as hanging the blanket can stretch the woven loops.
That said, because the blanket uses thick, loosely-woven fabric, it’s less of a blanket and more of just… weight. The holes make it so breathable that it doesn’t trap heat, and trying to cuddle with it felt a little bit like wrestling with a fishing net. I gave up sleeping directly beneath it and instead laid it over my comforter, which was better, if a little claustrophobic. I didn’t notice any soreness relief.
Because the blanket doesn’t add heat, it could make a nice weighted option for warm to hot summer evenings where you want the sensation of weight without the sweat.
- 15-25 pound weight range
- Size depends on weight
- One color option
- Microfiber material with glass beads for weight
- 120-day return policy if you don’t love the blanket
- Machine washable and dryable
- 5-year warranty
- Cold despite the fleece
The Layla we tested weighs in at 15 pounds and is a nice neutral grey and black. (No other colors are available, at least if you get it on Amazon.) One side of the blanket is 100% cotton, and the other side is fleece—the cotton is technically the bottom side but both sides are comfy. The blanket’s glass beads are kind of free-flowing within the blanket’s hexagon baffles. But once you’re settled underneath the blanket, they seem to stay in place. This one is also OK to machine wash cool and tumble dry, though it says to avoid bleach and irons.
It’s a super solid blanket that feels like it will last for a long time, and comes with a 5-year warranty to boot. But it fell short of the top pick because, despite the fleece, it was actually one of the least-warm blankets we tested. It was also narrower than other options, which meant that turning underneath the blanket often let in a quick blast of cold air.
- 12-25 pound weight range
- Throw, mini, full, queen, and king size options
- Three color options
- Cotton material with glass microbeads for weight
- Chemical-free, carbon-neutral, and “ocean positive” (they replant mangroves and kelp forests in partnership with Sea-Trees.org)
- Comes with an informative booklet on how to use
- Machine washable and OK to tumble dry (for certain blankets)
- 30-day return policy, free shipping on exchanges or for store credit
- Too light
The Baloo has a lot of good qualities: Its breathable, pristine-white 100% cotton fabric felt nice against the skin and its cleverly designed baffles hold its glass microbeads snugly, which should help with durability. Even better, the blanket managed to hit the Goldilocks temperature range of not too hot, not too cold. It also comes with a booklet suggesting you start with the Baloo just on your lower extremities before having it cover your whole body, so you have time to adjust to weighted blankets. This is a nice way to provide some education to customers.
Like most blankets on this list, it didn’t make any noticeable difference to soreness or muscle recovery. But the reason it didn’t get our top spot is because, considering it’s a weighted blanket, it actually felt too light. We tried the 12-pound throw (Baloo’s most popular option), which didn’t feel much heavier than a standard comforter. But if you’re sensitive to weight, or if you plan to pair it with your comforter, the Baloo might be a good option to start with. The blanket also comes in 15-, 20-, and 25-pound weights, which will likely provide more of a punch.
Weighted Blankets You Can Skip
- 4-25 pound weight range
- Size depends on weight
- One color option
- Glass beads for weight
- Comfortable fabric
- Nice weight range
- The flimsiest feeling material of all we tested
- Beads were easily palpable—and rough-feeling—through the fabric
With this 15-pound Waowoo, the fabric felt fine, and it managed to be breathable and only a little too warm. But although the Waowoo certainly wins out on price, the beads inside were easily palpable and seemed to only have a thin layer of fabric between them and the outside—a recipe for a bed full of beads.
While I didn’t experience any leakage during the test, I did have an ever-present fear of an errant sharp toenail bringing the whole operation down. The manufacturer recommends hand washing or using a delicates bag in the washing machine, which also makes it one of the more difficult to clean options on the list. For those reasons, we’d give it a pass.
- A 2020 systematic review found that there wasn’t enough evidence to say that weighted blankets improve insomnia, but found some limited evidence that they help anxiety: “Weighted Blanket Use: A Systematic Review.” American Journal of Occupational Therapy (2020).
- They might even help people stay calm in high-stress situations like getting their wisdom teeth removed: “Effect of deep pressure input on parasympathetic system in patients with wisdom tooth surgery.” Journal of the Formosan Medical Association (October 2016).
- And another study found that children with autism preferred weighted blankets, even though the blankets didn’t measurably improve their sleep habits: “Weighted blankets and sleep in autistic children–a randomized controlled trial.” Pediatrics (August 2014).
- Many factors affect how recovered a person feels after an activity, and restful sleep, hydration, and adequate nutrition seem to be the biggest factors: “The Science of Recovery.” NASM.
- It’s true that getting enough sleep helps muscles recover and even improves athletic performance: “Current Sports Medicine Reports.” Sleep and Athletic Performance (2017).
- Another argument for weighted blankets and muscle recovery is that the blankets create “compression,” which constricts blood vessels and forces more blood to your heart. This can be useful if you’re experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), or muscle soreness that appears a day or two after working out: “Delayed onset muscle soreness: treatment strategies and performance factors.” Sports Medicine (2003).
- While there is evidence that compression garments can help speed up recovery, weighted blankets aren’t likely to be heavy or tight enough to have a compression effect: “Compression garments and recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage: a meta-analysis.” British Journal of Sports Medicine (2014).
- On the other hand, stress seems to negatively impact muscle recovery—so if a weighted blanket helps calm you down, it could mayyyybe help your muscles, too: “Psychological stress impairs short-term muscular recovery from resistance exercise.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2012).
- How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be? There’s no right or wrong answer to this. Recommendations range from 5% of your total body weight to 12% of your total body weight: “How Heavy Should Your Weighted Blanket Be?” Sleep Foundation (2023).
- “4 Ways Weighted Blankets Can Actually Help You.” Penn Medicine (March 2022).
- “A randomized controlled study of weighted chain blankets for insomnia in psychiatric disorders.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (2020).
- “Widespread Pressure Delivered by a Weighted Blanket Reduces Chronic Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” J Pain (2022).
Our research and review process is intended for informational purposes only—never as a substitute for medical treatment, diagnosis, or advice. Recommendations or information found on this site do not infer a doctor-patient relationship. Always consult a healthcare provider if you have questions about how a product, service, or intervention may impact your individual physical or mental health. Our evaluations of products, services, and interventions have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. Information and research about health changes frequently. Therefore, some details or advice on this site may not be up-to-date with current recommendations. The Nessie is an independent publication and is not in any way affiliated with the production or creation of products, providers, services, or interventions featured in reviews or articles on the site.