A few years ago, the average person had never heard of a weighted blanket. Today weighted blankets are a hot commodity, especially for people who can’t get a good night’s sleep.
What most people find once they decide they’d like to try one of these innovative blankets is a confusing selection of sizes, weights, and features.
Don’t let any of that overwhelm you, after all, you’re shopping for a blanket that’s supposed to help you feel calm and relaxed, right? Take a deep calming breath and let’s travel this journey of choosing a weighted blanket together.
How Can a Weighted Blanket Help Me?
Initially doctors and therapists suggested these blankets for patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Patients with either disorder often suffer from sleep issues and anxiety. People with sensory processing disorders also benefit from using weighted blankets.
Recently the blankets are enjoying popularity with people who aren’t diagnosed with any particular disorder. Most of us could use a few more nights of restful sleep. And many of us deal with anxiety on some level.
If this is you, a weighted blanket can help you sleep better and curb your anxiety. Doctors also suggest trying a weighted blanket for restless leg syndrome.
It’s the design of the blanket that makes it work so well for these two common ailments.
Designed with the Filling in Mind
The reason weighted blankets feel heavier than regular blankets is the filling. When you buy one of these special blankets in a store or online, you’ll notice two types of fillings.
Plastic Poly Pellets
Considered the traditional filling for weighted blankets, plastic poly pellets feel like tiny pebbles. Commonly made from polypropylene, manufacturers sometimes surround the pellets with either a cotton or polyester filling.
Micro Glass Beads
Micro-glass beads resemble grains of sugar or sand and they’re smaller than plastic poly pellets. Their smaller size means they have higher density inside the blanket. As a result of the higher density, using glass microbeads means the blanket is thinner than one filled with pellets.
You may also find micro-glass bead fillings supplemented with filling or stuffing.
Be careful when buying or accepting as a gift a homemade weighted blanket. People sometimes use rice, dried corn, or dried beans as filling. There are several problems associated with using organic products, like food, for blanket fillings. The blanket won’t launder well, and the dried grains or beans eventually decompose. They may also attract certain insects.
All commercially manufactured weighted blankets use either pellets or beads. Both work well as filling, and you should feel free to choose whichever one feels most comfortable to you.
Which Weighted Blanket Should I Buy?
The Size of Your Blanket Matters
Before we talk about weight, we need to look at how to choose a weighted blanket based on its dimensions.
When buying regular blankets your options are twin, full, queen size, and king size. Regular blankets aren’t designed to cover you from chin to toe like weighted blankets. Instead of choosing your blanket based on bed size, you’ll select it based on your body size and blanket weight.
That said, manufacturers label blankets as twin, queen, or king size. Don’t let it confuse you: these are the measurements you’ll find based on those size labels.
Twin – 48” x 72” or 48” x 78”
Queen – 60” x 80”
King – 80” x 84” or 80” x 86”
Some manufacturers also make a teen-size blanket, which measures 42” x 72” and also works well for younger children.
If you’re buying your blanket to fit on a queen or king-size bed, buy that size. The concern is buying the bigger size blankets and using them on twin or toddler beds. If the blanket is too big, it gets pulled towards the floor and essentially defeats the purpose of using a weighted blanket.
A Few Other Size Considerations
When determining the size, think about the reason you’re buying a weighted blanket.
If you’re hoping for help with insomnia or other sleep issues, buy a size that will cover you from chin to toe. For relief from restless leg syndrome, you’ll want the blanket to cover your lower body, but not necessarily your entire body. Choose a smaller-sized blanket.
These blankets help reduce restlessness, but you don’t want your movement restricted. You also don’t want the blanket to cover your face, because a weighted blanket is heavier than a regular blanket and may cause you to have trouble breathing.
Consider the way you sleep too. If you toss and turn, throwing your blanket on the floor during the night, go with the queen or king. That way you can toss and turn and still wake up with the blanket snugly on top of you.
How Heavy Should A Weighted Blanket Be?
The reason weighted blankets are so therapeutic is that they apply the principle of deep touch pressure, which is a form of tactile sensory input. This pressure results in a calming effect on your body.
The only way you’ll fully experience the effect of deep touch pressure is by choosing the correct weight. You’ll find blankets weighing anywhere from five pounds up to 30 pounds.
To get the right size, calculate 10 percent of your body weight, and either add or subtract two or three pounds. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., you would choose a 15 lb. blanket.
When you start using your blanket, pay attention to any discomfort you feel, including difficulty breathing or feeling anxious. You should then adjust the weight to something you’re more comfortable with. Some weighted blanket manufacturers offer a trial period to help users find the best fit.
At the end of the night, choose the blanket weight based on your preference. It’s perfectly safe for a lighter-weight adult to use a 30 lb. blanket.
Can I Share My Blanket with a Partner?
Since you select your blanket based on your body size, rather than the size of your bed, sharing the blanket with a partner poses several challenges.
Giving up a portion of your blanket to your partner takes away from the deep touch pressure effect. Also, unless your partner identically matches your weight, the weight you choose may not fit them.
A weighted blanket is a therapeutic tool purchased with the needs of each individual user in mind. Why not buy two? This allows both partners to enjoy the benefits of the blanket.
I Am Worried About Feeling Too Hot
Wondering about temperature under a weighted blanket is understandable. The whole point of using one is sleeping better, not waking up in a sweat.
You’ll feel relieved to know weighted blankets work well in any season. Even if you’re dealing with hot flashes or your body normally feels warmer than most people’s, you can still enjoy a comfortable sleep.
It’s all about the fabric covering the blanket.
Some manufacturers use flannel or fleece. Those fabrics feel soft but sleeping under them can generate too much heat. Fleece is not made of natural fiber, so it may not breath well and can trap your body heat.
That may be alright during the colder months, but won’t do well in the summer or for the person who is naturally warm-blooded.
You can buy a blanket with a removable cover, which allows you to sleep cooler or warmer as needed. If you can’t find one of those styles, you can still purchase a cooling cover separately.
Make sure you buy a blanket with an inner section made from 100 percent cotton. Cotton breathes well, is durable, and is easily washable.
The Traveling Blanket
Whether you travel for your job or simply enjoy vacations, you don’t need to give up your weighted blanket.
Of course, you won’t be able to take your queen or king-size blanket unless you plan to take a separate suitcase. Instead, buy a twin — it’s perfect for travel and can fit in your carry-on or your checked luggage.
You can also travel with a teen-size blanket for either you or the kids. It’s small enough to roll up and stow in a carry-on. The smaller size won’t take up much room in the car either if you’re taking a road trip.
Ready to Experience the Calming Effect of a Blanket?
Hopefully we’ve given you enough information so that you feel ready to pick out your new blanket. Picking the perfect weighted blanket for you shouldn’t be too hard or stressful. You consider your weight, the reason you’re buying it, and the bed you’ll use it in.
If you’re ready to experience the benefits of a weighted blanket, including better sleep, less anxiety, and relief from certain other health conditions, contact us today. We’re happy to help you choose the blanket that best fits your unique needs.