Sleep is an important need for any human being. Perfect relaxation of our bodies comes with getting a sufficient night of sleep. However, most people find it hard to calm down at night. Those who suffer from sensory problems like autism also find it hard to fall asleep faster. Their nerves can be calmed down with a tight cuddle and embracing at night as they sleep. However, trouble comes when no one is around for that calming cuddle and snuggle. Thankfully, a weighted blanket has been designed to help with this problem. This post will give you comprehensive guidelines for weighted blankets that you have never heard anywhere else. 

Many people battle with sleep. It takes them hours before they can finally fall asleep. When they do so, they get limited time to sleep and relax their body. In fact, they wake up feeling more tired than when they went to bed. Since sleep is an important need for human beings, they are disadvantaged in their daily activities and end up committing a lot of errors in their daily engagements. 

The problem of failing to get sufficient sleep has been attributed to poor sleeping habits. Others could be as a result of sleep disorders. Autism is one of the causes. People with autism are restless and lack focus when they go to sleep. This costs them a lot of time trying to soothe themselves to sleep.

A weighted blanket hugs you back

A weighted blanket is said to be a blanket that hugs you back. We all love that snuggling and cuddling experience. Children and adults alike. This experience is hard to come by. It’s only those who are lucky to be sleeping with their partners. The first designers of the weighted blanket seem to have borrowed this idea from couples and decided to implement it for those who do not have an alternative to cuddling and snuggling.

But what exactly is a weighted blanket? Our comprehensive guidelines for weighted blankets will begin with knowing what a weighted blanket is. Read on to know more.

What is a weighted blanket?

weighted blanket

Weighted blankets are exactly what their name suggests. They are blankets just like normal blankets but have extra weights to make them exert pressure on our bodies as we sleep. This pressure brings about a calming effect on our body soothing us to sleep. This emulates the principles of Deep Touch Pressure (DTP). DTP, also known as Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) is a kind of pressure that is said to improve relaxation. The weighted blankets have been made in different weights and sizes depending on body size. The weighted blankets are used by both toddlers and adults to give them the much-needed sense of calmness that will relax their brain hence falling asleep faster and longer.

How is a weighted blanket made?

A weighted blanket resembles a normal blanket. Most manufacturers have tried to imitate the normal blanket in their design to avoid making weighted blankets appear as therapy blankets or medical equipment. 

However, in actual sense, weighted blankets are different from the normal blankets. The name almost suggests how a weighted blanket is made. The blanket is filled with weights poly pellets, glass, disc, or polypropylene plastic beads.

In some cases, the weighted blanket is made from a softer material like breathable cotton. In this case, it resembles the normal duvet.

The weighted blanket comes in different weights. The weight is normally based on the bodyweight to be used on. Children’s weighted blankets are completely different from those of the adults.

How then does a weighted blanket work?

Any person new to a weighted blanket will most probably ask how they work. This is common because a weighted blanket is not your usual blanket.

Chances are, you own a few blankets. Among those blankets is your favorite blanket that you find it soothing and comforting when you cover yourself with it. Often, you find yourself covered in this blanket when reading a book, watching TV or just relaxing on the couch.

Weighted blankets have been designed to take the soothing and calming effect to a whole new level. The weighted blankets achieve this by mimicking a therapy tool that is used on people with autism to apply firm but gentle pressure throughout the body. The firm but gentle pressure applied on the body is similar to a hug which is known to stimulate the release of oxytocin, the happiness hormone in the brain.

Weighted Blankets weight guidelines

An important factor to consider when buying a weighted blanket is its weight. A wrong weight will make it ineffective or lead to unpleasant results. Manufacturers of weighted blankets have tried to communicate this effectively by giving weight ranges whenever anyone is trying to choose the perfect weighted blanket for their needs. However, it is good to understand how to estimate the right weight before you even think of purchasing one. So, the pertinent question should always be: how heavy should a weighted blanket be? And what are the key factors that are put into consideration when getting perfect weight for your next weighted blanket?

The following guideline gives details on how heavy a weighted blanket should be for children, adults, and the elderly.

How heavy should a weighted blanket be for children

Babies

A weighted blanket is never recommended for babies under 2 years old. Their physical capacity is not able to support the weights exerted on them by a weighted blanket. Therefore, a weighted blanket should never be used to calm them down. Infants should be calmed down and rocked to sleep using other means but a weighted blanket shouldn’t be one of them.

Toddlers (2 to 3 years old)

A weighted blanket can be used on toddlers following doctor’s or occupational therapist’s recommendations. The doctor should recommend the exact weight of the weighted blanket to be used on the toddler. If the weight is not recommended, you can always calculate the most probable weight by using 10% of the child’s weight. For example, if the child measures 50 pounds, the weight of the weighted blanket should be 5 pounds. You can add or subtract 1 pound depending on the child’s preference. The size of the weighted blanket should also be perfect for the toddlers.

Weighted blankets should be used on toddlers with adult supervision. Always observe the reaction of the toddler towards the weighted blanket. If the child doesn’t respond positively towards the blanket, you should withdraw it immediately.

Children above 3 years

The general rule of 10 percent of the child’s weight also applies to children above 3 years old. To determine the weight of their weighted blanket, take 10 percent of the child’s weight and add or subtract up to 2 pounds. You should be keen on the child’s reaction and the preference as you select the right weight for them. Also, give them time to adjust to the new weight since the first few days might not be comfortable.

As with toddlers, talk first to the doctor about the child’s condition. The weighted blanket should come in as one of the tools for calming them to sleep. Also, be keen on how the child responds in terms of breathing and sweating. If you notice difficulty in breathing or profusely sweating, change the weight of the weighted blanket. Or better still, withdraw it completely.

How heavy should a weighted blanket be for Adults

The same principle applies to teens and adults while selecting the right weight for a weighted blanket. Simply take 10 percent of their weight and add or subtract two to three pounds. It is okay to add even more weight depending on how the comfort of the person sleeping under the weighted blanket. Some people prefer more weight than others. 

While using the weighted blanket, observe the reaction of the user and adjust accordingly. The reactions include breathing difficulty, sweating, asthma, or allergies. However, the weighted blanket should be tested for some time before drawing conclusions, unless it results in immediate sweating or breathing difficulty.

How heavy should a weighted blanket be for Elderly

The elderly have frail bodies just like children. They lack the physical capacity to withstand additional weight, especially at night. Just like children, you should consult a doctor before getting a weighted blanket for the elderly. 

Determining the weight of the weighted blanket for the elderly isn’t different either. Just like that of the weighted blanket children and weighted blanket adult, weighted blanket elderly requires 10 percent of the body weight. 2 pounds can be added or subtracted depending on the preference of the person using it.

General Guidelines for determining the weight of a weighted blanket

  • Always keep your weighted blanket at 10 percent of your weight. An extra one or two pounds can be added or subtracted from the weight depending on the individual’s preference. 
  • The 10 percent general rule can be exceeded for as long as the user of the weighted blanket is comfortable.
  • The best way to determine whether the weight of the weighted blanket is right for you is to try it for at least a week while observing any response. The response of the body could be in the form of sweating, difficulty in breathing, restless night, difficulty in moving under the blanket, or the effect of feeling trapped under pressure. Should these changes be evident even after a week, the safest thing is to discontinue usage of the weighted blanket.
  • A weighted blanket is heavy. However, this weight shouldn’t cause discomfort, but should rather alleviate restlessness at night. If this isn’t the case for you, you should stop usage until when you get a lighter weighted blanket. 
  • When choosing a weighted blanket as a couple, you should be mindful of each other’s preferences. The weighted blanket shouldn’t be too heavy or too light.
  • Do not resort to using a weighted blanket for a medical or psychological condition before consulting a doctor or a therapist. Conditions such as claustrophobia, respiratory, or circulatory problems might need medical attention.
  • Finding the perfect weighted blanket for you in most cases is a matter of trial and error. Some manufacturers offer a trial period. You can take advantage of this before you buy a weighted blanket.
  • Children are vulnerable and do not know how to communicate their problems. As a parent, always consult a doctor or an occupational therapist before resorting to a weighted blanket for children below 8 years.

How to know if you’ve got a perfect weighted blanket

No discomfort at night while sleeping

Do determine whether the weighted blanket is the right fit for the user, the user should get a genuine night of calmness and a night of restful sleep. Sleeping with a weighted blanket is meant to be a comforting experience, but not causing the user a restless night. The signs of discomfort that result from uncomfortable weighted blankets include breathing problems, claustrophobia, restless night, and restricted movement.

These feelings of discomfort can be reduced by going for a lighter blanket until you get the perfect fit.

Sleep improves and symptoms of clinical disorders reduce

Weighted blankets are therapy blankets that are meant to alleviate sleep-related disorders. The users should feel improved changes after using the weighted blanket for some time. This should include reduced insomnia, stress, restless sleeping, or anxiety. 

If the weighted blanket fails to deliver the above results, it means that the user is not feeling the weight that they are using. This can be improved by going for a heavier weighted blanket. This could be adding one or two pounds as long as the user still feels comfortable.

Factors that could affect the weight of your weighted blanket

The weight of a weighted blanket is determined by several factors. It’s worth mentioning a few of them.

Cover

Some weighted blankets come with a cover while others do not come with one. At some point, it could be necessary to get a cover for your weighted blanket. This could be to help keep it clean and to increase warmth, especially during winter. However, a weighted blanket cover can increase the weight of the weighted blanket drastically making it uncomfortable for the user. The weighted blanket cover could add an extra one or two pounds.

Always ensure that you buy the weighted blanket cover from the same manufacturer as your weighted blanket. This is because they normally design compatible covers that hardly affect the initial weight of the weighted blanket.

Size

The weight of a weighted blanket is directly proportional to the size of the weighted blanket. While buying a weighted blanket, get the one that fits your body well or is the size of your bed. Getting a bigger weighted blanket will have the extra weight hanging on the floor hence having a negative impact on your sleep.

Tears in the blanket

Weighted blankets are made by filling the inside with small glass beads and plastic microfills. When the blanket gets a tear, these beads leak out. The leakage reduces the weight of the blanket drastically. Make it a routine of confirming that your blanket has no tear on its fabric to preserve its weight.

The microfills in the blanket are fastened in smaller pockets that help distribute its weight evenly. When these pockets have leaks between them, or they seem is weak, the beads will leak to other pockets. This results in an uneven distribution of weight. Check if your weighted blanket is heavy on one side. Chances are, the pockets are leaking or the seem is worn out.

Clumped fillers

Weighted blankets that have organic fillers like sand, rice, and beans are easily clumped when wet. This has a resultant effect of uneven weight distribution on the weighted blanket. Such weighted blankets should be washed thoroughly and dried for the fillers not to clump.

Wear and tear

Weighted blankets have a lifespan of 15 years. However, due to continuous use, they are prone to tear and wear. After continuous usage and washing, the fabric becomes thin and the pellets used to fill it become deteriorated. The material shrinks and it develops an odor that can’t be removed. The fabric will develop holes in it. This will make it less weighted as before. This makes it ineffective and it is time to replace it with a new one.

Benefits of a weighted blanket

Stress and anxiety can prevent one from getting a good night’s sleep. Most of those affected normally opt for sleep medicine. However, others prefer using natural methods of calming their nerves and finally falling asleep. If you are those who prefer natural methods, a weighted blanket must have come up as an option at some point in time. The weighted blanket has a few benefits that are worth mentioning.

Combat stress

Stress has a negative impact on the wellbeing of an individual. It can affect our mental, emotional, and physical state. With stress levels, our productivity drops significantly, or prolonged loss of sleep. Being a victim of both low productivity and loss of sleep can be a disaster. However, a weighted blanket may come in as a stress reliever enabling you to fall asleep fast and deeply. This is due to its deep touch pressure, which emulates a deep hug or cuddling.

Alleviate Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome patients often complain of a tingling effect on their feet that worsens when they are in bed. Having such an uncomfortable feeling can lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia. The RLS condition can be evident when traveling by plane or car. One solution to this problem is the use of compression socks. However, a weighted blanket has the same effect because of the comforting feeling of the weight that it applies to the legs.

Aids in Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition in which the brain has a challenge in receiving and processing information from the nerves. It was formerly referred to as sensory integration dysfunction. However, it is not currently recognized as a distinct medical diagnosis. People who suffer from this condition experience behavioral and emotional turmoil. Using a weighted blanket to cover people with this condition can help them calm down. 

Helps ADHD patients to focus

ADHD is attention-deficit hyperactivity syndrome. Patients with this condition are known to be generally restless, impulsive and lack focus. The use of weighted blankets on these patients has been known to bring about a calming effect that minimizes anxiety. This is due to the deep pressure stimulation which is known to enable the body to release serotonin and melatonin.

May improve sleep

Not all people fall asleep faster at night. Children are the most victims. A weighted blanket may be a perfect solution for such people who find falling asleep faster a nightmare. With the deep pressure stimulation effect that is brought about by the weighted blanket, the body releases serotonin and melatonin which helps the body relax and lead to a restful sleep. 

Supports the elderly

Weighted blankets are not only for children and teens but can come in handy for the elderly. Old people experience a drastic change in their sleep-wake cycle. In most cases, this condition is worsened by stress, anxiety and chronic pain. These causes episodes of insomnia and disturbed sleep. Weighted blankets have the exact remedy to soothe them back to sleep.

Recreates a hug

Everyone loves hugs. Children in particular love being swaddled, cuddled and being rocked. This feeling goes with them to old age and the response remains the same. Weighted blankets also emulate this sensational feeling with its weights by weighing your body down and making you feel ‘loved’!

Types of weighted blankets

Once you decide that a weighted blanket is what you need for your condition, what follows is to get the right choice that will fulfill your needs. Comprehensive guidelines for weighted blankets would be useless if they don’t give recommendations for a weighted blanket. At first, it can be a daunting experience selecting the right choice of a weighted blanket. This is because there are so many of them, including the option to Do It Yourself at home. If your doctor doesn’t recommend one for you, this post will. However, if your doctor did recommend one for you, chances are, it will be in one of these categories since all the weighted blankets currently in the market fall under these distinct categories.

Infused weighted blanket

Infused weighted blanket

This is one of the best-weighted blankets categories in the market. This is because the weights are infused between pieces of fabric. The design makes it easy to fold and the weights are distributed evenly. However, it comes as the most expensive option.

Pocket weighted blanket

Pocket weighted blanket with 24 pockets

The majority of the weighted blankets are made with a series of squares each holding weights. These weighted blankets often come in a variety of textures and colors. They are the most common and affordable. Some varieties come with a duvet cover for easy cleaning and extra warmth during cold seasons.

Wearable weighted blanket

wearable weighted blanket

These weighted blankets come in a wearable design just like a sleeping bag. Children can slip inside the weighted blanket and walk around like a penguin or sleep inside them. The most common one is the wearable penguin weighted blanket.

DIY weighted blanket

DIY weighted blanket for your 3 year old

If you aren’t yet settled with the listed options above, then maybe a custom made weighted blanket is what you need. Simply grab the materials used to make the weighted blanket from Amazon and head over to YouTube for a tutorial. In no time, you will be having a custom made weighted material that meets all your needs.

Caring for your weighted blanket

Weighted blankets have a lifespan of 15 years but this depends on the care that you give it. To make it last longer, here are some guidelines for caring for the weighted blankets. 

  1. Buy a quality weighted blanket. The first step to a long-lasting weighted blanket is getting the best quality for your use. Some weighted blankets are sewn with weak threads and fastened with a limited number of layers. Before committing to a weighted blanket, do your due diligence first.
  2. Washing your weighted blanket is not similar to washing the normal blanket types. It is reliant on so many factors. First, you should know the filler type used. Plastic pellets tend to melt in high temperatures, hence cannot be washed in hot temperatures. Glass beads can be washed in high temperatures since they cannot melt. Also, observe the material type since some materials are not the best to dry in a dryer. Always be keen with the washing instructions since washing a weighted blanket wrongly repeatedly will result in unpleasant effects.
  3. Frequent washing of a weighted blanket can damage your blanket. One way to salvage this is by using a removable cover. The removable cover can be removed and washed once it has gathered dirt without having to wash the weighted blanket.
  4. Another way of keeping your weighted blanket from wear and tear is by folding it neatly and keeping it safe after every use. Exposing it to daily activities and using it to spread the bed can increase its wear and tear hence reducing its lifespan.
  5. Avoid carrying your weighted blanket around and only use it in bed. Using it to cover yourself while watching TV or in the office can expose it to dirt and chances are, you might spill a liquid on it. If you need to, get a wearable weighted blanket or a smaller one that you can carry around easily.
  6. To reduce odor, dust and bacteria build-up, always air your weighted blanket regularly or open your bedroom windows to expose it to fresh air.

Conclusion

Weighted blankets have been around for some time now. However, most people still find their effect a myth and hardly believe that it is the missing link in their sleeping puzzle. This blog has tried to cover guidelines for weighted blankets in detail so as to enable you as a consumer to make informed decisions. 

There is the widespread availability of weighted blankets in the market. Both for adults and toddlers. However, when purchasing a weighted blanket, you should choose the right weight according to your body weight.

Weighted blankets shouldn’t only be used while going to bed. You can use them on many occasions such as curling up on a couch, playing a board game, covering your body as you do house chores, or during bedtime stories just before bed. Never limit the possibilities that can help you to calm down with a weighted blanket.

As you continue to use the weighted blanket, take note of your sleep routine and record for your purpose. Observe the trend and let the collected data help you decide if the weighted blanket is the right option for you. Hopefully, as you do so, you will finally be able to get enough sleep.

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