Weighted blankets are steadily gaining in popularity, as many people find their extra weight calming. An effective weighted blanket must weigh enough to impart feelings of relaxation. However, it’s important not to choose a weighted blanket that is too heavy, because this can stifle movement. We’ll discuss safety, effectiveness, and personal factors to help you decide how heavy your weighted blanket should be.
What Is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket typically contains an exterior fabric, such as cotton or fleece, and an interior pocket with glass beads or other heavy objects. Occasionally, weighted blankets may consist of a heavier-than-average fabric woven together, avoiding the use of beads. The extra weight of a weighted blanket is designed to induce relaxation. People often find these blankets reduce stress and help them sleep.
What Are the Benefits of a Weighted Blanket?
While little research currently exists on weighted blankets, preliminary evidence suggests they may help reduce anxiety and chronic pain. Weighted blankets can also improve sleep quality, and they may help ease insomnia symptoms for people with mental health conditions. Weighted blankets are sometimes used to relieve anxiety before medical procedures, during psychiatric hospitalizations, or for people with conditions such as autism.
Although researchers are still studying how weighted blankets work, some suggest they may help calm the nervous system via deep touch pressure, similar to the feeling of being hugged or swaddled.
Are Weighted Blankets Safe?
Weighted blankets are considered safe for most people, but they should be used with caution and should never be placed over the head or neck. Weighted blankets are not appropriate for people with certain respiratory or circulatory conditions, or those who are not able to throw the blanket off by themselves.
Similarly, children should not use a weighted blanket made for adults. Most manufacturers offer weighted blankets with a lower weight and smaller size specifically designed for children.
How Much Should a Weighted Blanket Weigh?
Weighted blankets typically range from 5 to 35 pounds. As a rule of thumb, the blanket should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight. Most people find this ratio offers calming properties without overly restricting movement, although the ideal weight may vary depending on your personal preference.
Manufacturers often tailor weighted blankets to fit standard mattress sizes. Bear in mind that for two blankets that weigh the same, the larger blanket will feel less heavy when the weight is spread out across a larger surface. In this case, a higher overall weight may be appropriate.
Weighted Blanket Weights for Children
For safety reasons, weighted blankets made for children weigh less. Children do not have as much strength, so the blanket may need to weigh less than 10% of their body weight to prevent the feeling of being trapped. Additionally, small parts such as glass beads may pose a choking hazard for young children, so parents should take care to choose a model with a sturdy construction.
Before giving a weighted blanket to your child, talk to your pediatrician and read the care tag to determine the recommended age and weight for the model. Avoid using weighted blankets for children under 3 years of age or 50 pounds.