Weighted blankets have become famous for their anxiety-reducing, sleep-promoting abilities. But did you know you can make your weighted pillow to get those same calming benefits?
With a few simple supplies and easy sewing skills, you can create a custom weighted pillow to help relax your body for more restful sleep.
How do Weighted Pillows Work?
Weighted pillows weigh between 2 to 8 pounds, applying gentle, even pressure across your head, neck, and shoulders. This “deep touch pressure” has been found to stimulate the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals reduce anxiety and create feelings of calm.
The additional weight also somewhat restricts movement, providing a cocooning sensation that makes falling and staying asleep easier.
Choosing Your Pillow Fill Material
The key to make your weighted pillow is selecting the right filling material and weight. Popular options include:
- Poly pellets - These smooth plastic pellets flow easily to mold to your head and neck. They have some noise potential. Use about 2 pounds for lightweight or up to 5 pounds for maximum effect.
- Glass beads - Wonderful glass beads shift silently to provide even weight distribution. Use 2 to 3 pounds for lightness or 5 to 6 pounds for extra pressure.
- Organic grains - Materials like rice, millet, buckwheat hulls, or flax seeds also work well for fill. The texture is a little less smooth than the beads. Use 4 to 6 pounds for best results.
Calculating Fill Amounts
Determine the pillow dimensions and your desired total weight. Then divide the weight by the fill density per cubic inch to get the fill amount needed. For example, for a 12x16 inch pillow with a 4 pound target weight filled with 0.067 pound/cubic inch glass beads:
- Pillow volume = 12 x 16 x 3 (inch thickness) = 576 cubic inches
- Target weight (4 lbs) divided by density (0.067 lbs/cubic inch) = 60 cubic inches of beads
Step-by-Step Sewing Process
Follow these steps to create your weighted pillow:
- Cut your pillow cover fabric to your desired dimensions plus 1 inch on all sides for sewing allowance. Quilting cotton or linen work well.
- Stack your cut fabric with the right sides facing and sew around the edges, leaving an opening for turning and filling.
- Trim seam corners, turn the right side out and press with an iron.
- Measure and pour your chosen fill material through the opening, distributing evenly.
- Hand stitch the opening closed.
- Insert your finished cover into a removable pillow case for use.
Voila - you now have your own custom weighted pillow ready to help lull you into a peaceful slumber!
Caring for Your Weighted Pillow
Follow any special washing instructions for your pillow cover fabric. Remove the cover and wash it regularly. To clean the filler, you can spot it with a damp cloth or place it in a lingerie bag on a gentle cycle in the washing machine. Air dry the filler completely before placing it back in the cover.
With some basic sewing skills and supplies, you can create a weighted pillow tailored to your needs for improving sleep quality. Experiment with different fill options and weights until you find your ideal mix.
Making your weighted pillow is an easy DIY project using simple sewing steps and your choice of filler material. Selecting the right fill weight and material provides gentle pressure to relax the body for less stressed, fuller sleep. Follow basic sewing steps to create a custom cover, fill it with poly pellets, glass beads or organic grains, then enjoy this soothing sleep aid. With proper care, your homemade weighted pillow can help improve sleep night after night.
FAQs About Weighted Pillows
What are the benefits of a weighted pillow?
The gentle pressure helps relax the nervous system, reduces anxiety and promotes deeper, more restful sleep. It also minimizes tossing and turning.
How heavy should a weighted pillow be?
Aim for around 10% of your body weight. But adjust up or down based on your comfort - anywhere from 2 to 8 pounds.
When should you use a weighted pillow?
Use nightly while sleeping to get the full effects. You can also use it for short periods during the day for calming benefits.
Who shouldn't use a weighted pillow?
Avoid weighted pillows if you have respiratory issues, claustrophobia, certain medical conditions or injuries that would be aggravated.
How long does it take to adjust to a weighted pillow?
It may take a few nights for your body to adapt to the weight. But you should notice improved sleep within the first week.