5 considerations when choosing a weighted blanket

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There is a lot of talk about weighted blankets. Chances are, if you've ever looked up ways to improve your sleep quality or chatted with friends or family about certain sleep disorders, somewhere in that process someone has recommended using weighted blankets. So, what exactly is a weighted blanket?

What are weighted blankets?

Weighted blankets are blankets lined with evenly distributed weights that provide gentle pressure to your body to mimic the feeling of being held or hugged. The weight varies depending on who the intended user is and the size of the blanket. Because of the positive effects on people's moods, and as a drug-free alternative to combating anxiety disorders, weighted blankets have gained in popularity. But, with so many different types of weighted blankets on the market, how do you know which one to choose?

What to look for in a weighted blanket:

Material used for the weights

Many different materials can be used to make the blanket heavy. This can determine the size and feel of the blankets as well as how easy it is to wash. The two most popular are plastic poly-pellets and glass beads.  Poly-pellets are more bulky than glass beads and make the blankets bigger and more difficult to manage. Given that there is also a polyester or cotton layer or two to increase the softness of the blankets, blankets made with plastic poly-pellets are more difficult to maneuver.  Glass beads however are the better choice as they are less bulky and the beads do not move as much. This also make them easier to move around and also easier to wash, if you so desire.

How heavy should the blanket be?

Weighted blankets usually range from 5 lbs to 25 lbs. You should choose a weighted blanket that is between 7% and 12% of your body weight. So for a child that weighs 50 lbs, choose a 5 lb blanket (or lighter, if available) as there are safety risks if the blanket is too heavy.

However, choosing the right weight tends to be a personal preference as some people may prefer a heavier weight.  When in doubt, go with a lighter weight.

Table: Blanket weight recommendations - 7-12% of body weight

 

What size blanket should you choose?

This depends on the size of the bed that you are on and if the blanket would be used by an individual or a couple. For a child, you would get a smaller blanket so that it covers the body comfortably.  If you have a twin bed for example and you are buying the blanket for yourself, you can go with the 48x72 size.  You can consider a bigger size if you have a queen size bed, or if you are sharing with another person. Note: the blankets do not drape fully over the sides of the bed.  Recommended sizes are as follows:

 

Weighted blanket bed and weight refernce

Is it a one-piece or two-piece blanket?

Some weighted blankets are designed as one-piece, where the outer layer is also the weighted layer. Others are made of I two separate pieces - the inner weighted blanket and the duvet-style cover.  the two-piece blanket is now more popular. This is because the heavier inner blanket will take longer to dry because of the padding and it cannot be put in a dryer - especially if the weights are made of plastic poly-pellets. Having the duvet cover over the blanket reduces how often the inner blanket needs to be washed - only the duvet cover would need to be washed most times.

 

What materials should the blanket (and it's cover) be made of?

Because these fabrics can be against your skin for extended periods of time, it's important to choose the right fabrics for you. Natural fibres like cotton and bamboo tend to be hypoallergenic and also tend to be cooler than warmer minky or chenille. So in the spring and summer months, cotton or bamboo are usually preferred as they will keep you cooler and also help wick moisture away.  In the fall and winter, minky or chenille will be the fabrics of choice for their warmth. For more sensory stimulation, minky dot fabric is also available.

 

Every person is unique. One person may choose a heavier blanket while another person of the same weight may opt for a lighter one. Considering all of the factors available, make sure you choose the right blanket for you. 

Keep this chart handy when looking to choose your blanket. 

 

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