A weighted blanket is a thick, heavy blanket that is used to soothe, help relieve stress and anxiety, and improve sleep quality. The pressure of the blanket produces a calming effect and simulates the feeling of being held or hugged. In the past it was used for therapeutic reasons only and wasn't mass-produced and available in most stores like it is now. Weighted blankets are available in various different styles, colors and materials, generally weigh between five and 30-pounds, and range in price and quality. If you've been thinking about purchasing one but aren't sure what type to buy, this comprehensive guide outlines what to consider when buying a weighted blanket and how to choose the right one.
What Is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket is a thick, heavy blanket that is used to soothe, help relieve stress and anxiety, and improve sleep quality by creating pressure that helps release mood-boosting hormones and increases serotonin levels.
Before You Buy a Weighted Blanket
If you find yourself feeling restless and unable to sleep or need help relieving stress, a weighted blanket is an excellent tool. Besides being a cozy and comfy blanket to snuggle under, it's an investment into your wellbeing as it produces mood-boosting hormones and increases serotonin levels. Unlike a regular plaid blanket you may buy during the holidays or a faux fur throw you use as a decorative accent on your bed, there's a little more to consider when purchasing a weighted blanket.
Buying Considerations for a Weighted Blanket
When it comes to buying considerations for a weighted blanket, as the name would suggest, its weight is a key factor. The blankets weigh between five and 30-pounds and the general rule of thumb is to choose one that's 10% of your body weight, or the option closest to that percentage. If the blanket will be for more occasional use while lounging on the sofa, a lighter option will suffice, but if you're planning on sleeping under it every night, go with a heavier one so you can experience its full benefits. A 15-pound blanket is a middle-of-the-road choice on the market that would be suitable to many.
Weighted blankets come in sizes that correspond with mattress size and they are available in Twin, Full, Queen, and King sizes. Choose the blanket that corresponds with your bed size, don't size up as you don't want it to drape over your bed excessively.
Most weighted blankets are made from soft materials such as cotton, microfiber, fleece, chenille or tencel yarn to enhance comfort. The coziness of the weight and softness of the material produce a soothing effect and are what gives a weighted blanket that characteristic hug-like feel. If you're a hot sleeper, however, and are wondering how you'll ever sleep without sweating profusely, fear not — there are cooling weighted blankets available.
What gives it a cooling feel is the fabric that it's made from. For example, if you are a hot sleeper, a fleece or cotton blanket is not the best choice for you. Go with a breathable and moisture-wicking fabric such as tencel yarn that allows for more air flow and therefore is more cooling.
Types of Weighted Blankets
Glass Bead-Filled Weighted Blanket
If you've been wondering what it is that gives a weighted blanket its weight, it's the filler that's used. One of the most popular fillers are glass beads that are heavier than the more standard plastic pellets, but blankets filled with them also tend to be slightly more expensive. The glass beads are hypoallergenic and because they weigh a little more, a smaller quantity of them is needed and therefore the weighted blankets are thinner and not as bulky.
Chunky Knit Woven Weighted Blanket
Not only does this type of weighted blanket add great texture and a nice decorative accent to your bed or sofa, it's usually the most cooling, breathable option as well. The chunky weave allows for better air flow and good weight distribution which every hot sleeper will appreciate.
Weighted Blanket with a Removable Cover
Some weighted blankets come with a removable cover that is washer and dryer-safe for easy maintenance. While there are some weighted blankets that are machine washable (even with the filler inside them), simply stripping the cover and throwing it in the washer and dryer is a quick and easy option.
When it comes to cost, weighted blankets are available at different price points, ranging from around $100 for a standard one to $300 for a more high-end blanket. There are more affordable versions available around the $50 mark, but the blanket will be smaller, weigh less and not feature as high-quality materials and fillers.
How to Choose a Weighted Blanket
How Will You Use It?
Whether you're planning on using the blanket for sleeping or for a little additional comfort while sitting on the sofa will help you choose the right type. For frequent use to improve sleep quality and promote stress relief, choose a slightly heavier blanket. It is the pressure of the weight that produces a calming effect and simulates the feeling of being held.
Are You a Hot or a Cold Sleeper?
If you are a hot sleeper, opt for a weighted blanket that has a cooling effect, which means that it's made from a more breathable fabric and perhaps has a chunky weave texture. If you're a cold sleeper on the other hand, a fleece or flannel weighted blanket will keep you warm and cozy while you sleep or snuggle up while reading a book.
Where to Shop
With a rise in their popularity, weighted blankets are available in many more stores than they used to be in the past. From various shopping websites online to department stores, home goods and bedding stores, there is a wide range of blankets available in an equally wide price range. If shopping online, make sure to read reviews carefully and look for specific comments regarding what's important to you. For example, if you're looking for a cooling blanket, look through the customer reviews and see whether people have reviewed that particular factor.
Shopping for a weighted blanket in person can be an advantage as you can feel the material and weight. Especially if you've never used one before, this can be highly beneficial as it'll allow you to get a feel for how the blanket works, what type of filler you prefer and how heavy you'd like it to be.
Does it matter whether you're a back or a side sleeper?
You can use and feel the benefits of a weighted blanket whether you're a back or a side sleeper.
How long does it take for you to feel the effects of a weighted blanket?
It may take a couple of days to get used to sleeping under the weight of the blanket but its benefits can be felt almost immediately.
Is there any instance where a weighted blanket should not be used?
A weighted blanket is not recommended for children under the age of three. If you have any concerns about using the blanket yourself, check with a health professional.
4 Ways Weighted Blankets Can Actually Help You. University of Pennsylvania Medicine.
Do The Benefits of Weighted Blankets Live Up To the Hype? New York Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
What Are The General Requirements For Bedrooms. Washington Administrative Code, Washington State Legislature.