When it comes to home decor items that have a lot of hype, I tend to be skeptical. (Two words: millennial pink.) However things often go viral for good reason: Pierre Jeanneret’s Easy Chair is gorgeous and let’s be honest, terrazzo is just plain cool. So when it seemed like everyone and their mom was talking about weighted blankets — which are said to help reduce anxiety and help you sleep — I was intrigued.

It wasn’t until I discovered Bearaby that the weighted blanket trend and my love of design collided. The chunky weave has the look of a Scandi-style knitted blanket and it comes in a lot of colors. I decided to give it a try, and will admit I was shocked at the weight as I pulled it out of the box. (It really doesn’t look like it could be very heavy.) I tested it out on the sofa, and true story: didn’t get up for an hour. I felt a sense of calm and comfort, and immediately understood why these blankets have become so popular. I wanted to chat with the founder, Kathrin Hamm, about how she got into this niche industry and what makes Bearaby different from the rest:

Hi Kathrin! I’m curious: when did you first discover weighted blankets? What was your initial impression?
I was working as an Economist for the World Bank and had just moved to India, I was constantly on the road, and it was impossible for me to sleep at night. During the day, I couldn’t focus and was constantly tired. At that stage, I had probably tried everything from expensive mattresses, pillows, sleep trackers and white noise machines. When I heard about the simple concept of a heavy blanket that helps people sleep better, I thought why not give it a try and after napping for 4 hours on a Saturday afternoon (which never happened to me before), I felt amazing.

Sounds similar to my experience! So what was your “lightbulb” moment, when you realized you wanted to create a weighted blanket of your own?
After being initially impressed with weighted blankets and the larger concept of putting weight on the body to improve sleep naturally — the following night I woke up covered in sweat and incredibly hot. After doing a little more research, I learned all weighted blankets were made with small plastic beads to make the blankets heavy, and extremely hot. If a better option would have been available at that stage I would have just bought it and moved on with my life – but because there wasn’t – I decided to come up with a better product.

What are some of the known benefits of weighted blankets, and what additional benefits does Bearaby have compared to other options?
Weighted blankets have been around for more than 60 years now and studies have found that feeling weight or “deep touch pressure” on the body reduces stress, deepens sleep cycles, and reduces anxiety levels. However, most of these weighted blankets aren’t good for the environment, as they are primarily made from synthetic materials and filled with plastic pellets that weigh the blanket down. At the end of their lifecycle, they will sit in landfills forever, never decomposing. At Bearaby we want to educate a broader audience about the benefits of sleeping under weight, help people sleep better naturally and champion a new approach for a better and more sustainable weighted blanket.

You also have a commitment to sustainability. I know our audience would love to know a bit more about that!
Our products, packaging and supply chain is plastic free and through innovative design, Bearaby shows that sustainability is not only better for the environment but leads to better products. Instead of using artificial filling materials such as plastic beads or pellets, Bearaby’s offerings are simply made from layers of organic fabrics, like the Tree Napper which is made from Tencel, sourced from raw wood pulp in a closed loop process and knitted together in a chunky weave. Bearaby’s Napper is not only eco-friendly, but the thick loops of the patent-pending layered yarn allow air to pass through, which also solves the common problem of overheating under plastic-filled blankets.

Bearaby’s products can be found here, and through their collaboration with West Elm.