Wondering what exactly is a weighted blanket and what are its benefits? Before buying one, we recommend that you read this first as it’ll tell you what you need to know about weighted blankets.
What is a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets are blankets filled with weighted materials inside that give them their heaviness. They come in different weights and sizes that can be used by adults and kids.
What are weighted blankets made of?
These blankets are usually filled with plastic pellets or glass beads that give them their heavy weight. Within the blanket are several layers of additional fabric to further increase the heaviness and help evenly distribute the materials in each pocket.
Most weighted blankets that you see have outer fabrics made out of polyester, cotton, fleece, bamboo, minky, and microfiber. You might think it’s the inside of the blanket that affects the weight but the outer fabric also can, too. If you want a lightweight blanket, cotton is the way to go, while linen tends to be a medium weight.
What is the purpose of a weighted blanket?
Originally, occupational therapists used weighted blankets to help kids with sensory problems, ADHD, and even anxiety to alleviate their discomfort and calm their senses.
In recent years, they’ve become popular outside of therapy. Now, people commonly use it to help them have deeper and longer sleep.
The effectiveness of weighted blankets have been continually studied, some findings include:
- From a study involving 32 adult volunteers, 63% said their anxiety lowered after using a weighted blanket for just 5 minutes.
- Another study involved 30 adult participants hospitalized because of a mental health crisis. They found that 60% had a significant reduction in anxiety.
So what does a weighted blanket do?
Weighted blankets provide deep pressure therapy (DPT) that can relieve stress and induce a sense of calm by providing heavy pressure on your body, releasing more serotonin in your brain. Often called the “happy” chemical, serotonin can create a sense of well-being and zen.
What are weighted blankets good for?
Aside from providing relief from stress, weighted blankets are good for:
People who struggle to sleep may find comfort in using a weighted blanket, as the deep touch pressure they give can increase your melatonin and serotonin levels if you’re having trouble relaxing.
Easing Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Patients with RLS frequently complain about tingling sensations in their legs, especially when in bed, leading to sleep disorders like insomnia. Although compression socks are commonly used to alleviate RLS, weighted blankets get the job done just as well because of its comforting pressure on legs.
Helping people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD patients often display symptoms such as restlessness, impulsiveness, and a general lack of focus. Studies have found that using weighted blankets on people with ADHD helped calm them down and reduce anxiety.
Managing Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
SPD is a condition that affects the brain, making it difficult to process sensory information like vision, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have SPD, though there are individuals without autism that also experience sensory issues.
The calming effect of weighted blankets, as well as the increased release of serotonin, help regulate sensory signals going in and out of the nervous system.
What weighted blanket should I get?
When choosing a weighted blanket, a common tip is to pick one that’s 10% of your body weight. For example, if you’re 68 kg (150 lbs), you’d benefit from a 6.8 kg (15 lbs) weighted blanket.
There are lighter weighted blankets specially made for kids, but as a safety precaution it’s not recommended for kids aged 3 and below.