There are good points and bad points to weighted blanket use, but with the right information, you can decide if it is the best purchase for you/your family. Blankets ceased being a one size fits all product a long time ago.
They are now a whole product category with variations designed to cater to any need and want. This ranges from the simple layer in between bedsheets, to couch warmers, to our picnic companions that are laid on the ground.
However here comes new version which can help reduce your levels of anxiety and stress and thus promise a better night’s sleep.
The Weighted Blanket Movement
I think that as human beings develop through time, we look for ways to solve problems that we create for ourselves. We are almost done beating nature and are now looking inwards. Stress, anxiety, and even insomnia are problems that man has faced from the beginning, but since we had bigger fish to fry we just found coping mechanisms to get us through.
Now that we can focus on these truly human problems, avenues for innovation are opening up. One of these brilliant innovations to combat chronic human problems is the weighted blanket.
Who is Buying these and Why?
The surge in popularity has mainly been due to the calming effects of weighted blankets on people diagnosed with anxiety, ADHD, autism, restless leg syndrome, depression, and insomnia.
Many have reported that these blankets have helped them fall asleep faster, stay asleep for longer, and feel a lot more rested in the morning.
Do not be discouraged however, anyone looking to get higher quality sleep and wake up more refreshed should look into weighted blankets.
What are they Made of?
Many people who first encounter weighted blankets ask the same question, what sets this apart from a heavy duvet? There is a huge difference actually, and mainly that’s because weighted blankets have a bit of weight to them. And what brings this extra weight you ask?
Let’s look at some of the materials that can be in a weighted blanket:
A lot of weighted blankets contain small beads or pellets in them that resemble grains of sand. Glass pellets are usually the most common. Poly beads are a bit bigger and look a lot like little pebbles which makes them a bit noisier than glass beads.
Metal beads on the other hand are the heaviest of the three. To make the weight evenly distributed the pellets are sewn strategically in between layers of fabric.
Another option is usually metal chains sewn throughout the blanket which can provide equally distributed weight.
How do Weighted Blankets Work?
Weighted blankets use a technique that we as human beings have been using for a very long time. This technique called Deep Touch Pressure therapy is the reason why Firm hugs, Squeezing, Stroking all create this feeling of calmness.
What is happening in scientific terms is that pressure is being applied to the entire body, or its essential parts trigger the release of serotonin and oxytocin. These neurotransmitters create a feeling of calm, happiness, and in most cases well-being.
These special blankets aim to find the perfect balance between helping the body find its natural relaxation response to pressure without making you feel claustrophobic. The benefits of the body’s natural relaxation response have been well documented nowadays which means the quality and utility of these blankets can only go up from here.
What weight should you get?
Adults – Variety is the spice of life they say, and weighted blankets emulate that perfectly. The rule of thumb is usually the standard weight of your blanket should be roughly 10% of your body weight. This means that if you weigh 150 pounds then your blanket should weigh 15 pounds.
This however is not set in stone, and people might benefit from trying out lighter or heavier blankets to see what works for you. Always start light, preferably at 10% of your body weight, and adjust depending on whether it feels heavy or light.
Children – For children, experts advise that the blanket should be about 10 percent of their body weight plus one or two pounds. This extra weight guarantees a bit of flexibility since most blankets come in fixed sizes.
Pros of Weighted Blankets
- Improves sleep which further translates to a much better feeling of wellbeing.
- Provides extra warmth and comfort.
- Significantly boost our levels of concentration and have been known to improve mood
- Helps with various disorders that are related to the brain and the nervous system
- Significantly with symptoms associated with pain
- Deep touch pressure from weighted blankets promotes the natural production of melatonin by the body.
- Pregnant report significantly better days sleeping with weighted blankets
- Helps reduce movement (tossing and turning) while we are asleep translating to much peaceful sleep.
- They are a natural solution meaning that nothing from the outside of the body is used, the blankets only trigger a natural body response to ensure you get better sleep.
- There are choices for anyone from children to adults opening up the range of people that can be helped.
Cons of Weighted Blankets
- Due to their weight, blankets are not the easiest products to carry when traveling
- As compared to normal blankets, you’d want to look for one with a removable cover for you to be able to maintain a healthy and hygienic sleeping environment.
- With weighted blankets, chances are you won’t land a perfect fit on the first buy. This means that you will have to go through a couple of options for you to get the blanket of your dreams.
- Research shows that gravity blankets pose a suffocation risk to toddlers under the age of 2.
- People diagnosed with Chronic respiratory conditions such as Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and obstructive sleep apnea are advised to stay away from gravity blankets.
- Weighted blankets have been known to cause anxiety to claustrophobic people.
How Much does One Cost?
The average weighted blanket will cost anywhere between 100 euros and 300 euros. This varies depending on the brand that you decide to buy. Some brands offer different price ranges for different weights and some at a flat rate no matter what size you choose. All this is exclusive of shipping costs.
Where to Purchase
In terms of online retailers, here are a few places on the web for those of you that are tech-savvy shoppers:
In regards to physical stores, there are a couple who stock a nice range of these products. For those that prefer feeling the texture and the weight of the blankets, you can visit:
Who Invented Blankets with Weights?
Keith Zivalich was inspired to make a weighted blanket when his daughter offered him a beanie baby to keep him warm one day as he was driving his family home.
He immediately noticed how calming it was as it wrapped around his shoulders. This inspired him to further pursue the idea and in 1997, he sold his first weighted blanket.
Which Health Conditions may Benefit from this Product?
Although more research is needed, studies on the following conditions and whether weighted blankets can be helpful have brought out positive results:
- Insomnia In Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Sleep Problems in Children with ADHD
- General Anxiety
When is the Best Time to Use One?
Researchers advise users to use the weighted blanket whenever they go to sleep. It is most effective when the user lies flat on their back and covers themselves with it. This ensures that its weight is distributed evenly over the body.