How Weighted Blankets Went from Special-Needs Tool to Mainstream Fad

The comforting spreads were once only known to those with anxiety-inducing conditions.

weighted blanket
Gravity blankets were seen at Z100's Jingle Ball 2018 Gift Lounge at Madison Square Garden on December 7, 2018 in New York City. (Brian Ach/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Weighted blankets, once just a major comfort to the special-needs community, are being commoditized by the Internet shopping masses.

At the beginning, some time around 2008, the market for the heavy, anxiety-reducing blankets was small — mostly fulfilled by made-to-order retailers. “A tiny cottage industry,” as The Atlantic described it. These companies also sold products like weighted vests, shoulder wraps, and lap pads because research suggested that deep pressure on the body can calm the nervous system.

But now, these smaller companies are seeing slowing sales rates and declines in year-end totals.

Why? Because “You couldn’t go on the internet or turn on the TV without seeing those beautiful ads (for weighted blankets),” Annie Peters, owner of the comfort blanket business, Salt of the Earth, told the magazine.

Last year, the best-selling Gravity Blanket launched off a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. It sold for $249 a pop and grossed about $15 million in sales by May of 2018. Last month, Time named “blankets that ease anxiety” one of the Best Inventions of 2018.

“Frankly, it’s a little bit infuriating,” admitted Donna Chambers, owner of weighted-blanket company, SensaCalm, which has been around for the better part of a decade.

But more alarming is the fact that so many non-special-needs people are ordering them now that those with an actual medical need for the blankets are stuck on long, custom waitlists.

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