What is a Weighted Blanket?

What is a Weighted Blanket?

Written by Dreamcloud Editorial Team

Last Updated on May 10, 2022

In this article:

    A weighted blanket known to be invented in 1998 by Keith Zivalich in California. The inspiration for the weighted blanket was his daughter's small stuffed toy that she kept on his shoulder to give him company for their long road trip.

    Keith realized that the beanie baby hugged his shoulders and thought about whether the same idea could be implemented for the whole body.

    This idea led to the invention of what we today know as the Weighted Blanket.

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    What is a Weighted Blanket?

    A weighted blanket is a throw-size blanket filled with moderately weighted materials like plastic pellets. It is known as a gravity blanket or anxiety blanket. They are designed to be heavy (weighing about 5 – 30 pounds) and made from 6 x 6-inch stitched squares, each filled with micro glass beads, plastic poly pellets, steel shot beads, sand, or smooth pebbles to give a blanket the heaviness it requires.

    According to research published in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, weighted blankets effectively reduce insomnia severity and reduce fatigue, depression, and anxiety symptoms.

    A weighted blanket comes in different weights and sizes and can even be used by adults and kids to enhance a sense of calmness in their day-to-day lives.

    Pros and Cons of a Weighted Blanket

    Pros : 

    • It is excellent for those with psychological or sleep disorders.
    • Releases dopamine and serotonin via the Deep Pressure Stimulation, leading to a calm state of mind.
    • One-time purchase and long-lasting, provided it is well-cared for.
    • It is helpful for children with autism ADHD – to be used under the supervision of a certified therapist.

    Cons :

    • They are not ideal for carrying around or traveling.
    • A removable cover is required to keep it clean and protected.
    • A lot is based on trial and error since not every weighted blanket is ideal for everyone.

    How Do Weighted Blankets Work?

    Weighted blankets have been a part of a particular type of occupational therapy known as sensory integration therapy for many years now.

    A weighted blanket 'hugs' the user or, rather scientifically phrased, applies Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) or DPS (Deep Pressure Stimulation) to boost relaxation. The deep-touch therapy creates a similar comfort when you swaddle a baby. This, in turn, makes deeper and better restful sleep, easing stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

    The principle behind DTP is the release of serotonin and dopamine. These two important neurotransmitters are key to helping a person relax.Moreover, touch therapy is also known to help calm down the patients who are hypersensitive to touch.

    Interestingly, weighted blankets have gone mainstream. More and more people are now ready to explore them and implement them in their daily lives. It makes sense as many Americans today are ridden with insomnia, depression, and other psychological disorders.

    Weighted Blanket Benefits

    Weighted blankets have a long list of benefits that can be helpful for people of all ages. weighted blankets can:

    - help to improve sleep quality

    - promote relaxation and reduce anxiety

    - ease pain and discomfort

    - improve focus and concentration

    - boost mood and well-being

    Weighted blankets are a versatile tool that can offer many benefits. If you're looking for a way to improve your sleep, ease anxiety or pain, or simply boost your mood, a weighted blanket may be worth considering.

    Read our detailed article on - Weighted Blanket Benefits to know how it can help in alleviating various health issues in adults and kids.

    How to Choose the Perfect Weighted Blanket?

    One of the first questions you should ask yourself before buying a weighted blanket is how heavy should a weighted blanket be? The answer is – the 10% rule.

    An ideal weighted blanket for a person should be around 10% of their body weight. Though it is not ideal to use weighted blankets for children, their blankets can be [10% of body weight + (1 or 2) pounds] under a therapist's guidance. It is ideal for bearing in mind that the 10% rule is not a rule per se but rather a recommendation.

    A heavy blanket works under gravity and should bear some weight on the user. However, one should not tolerate bulky weight as it may lead to suffocation and uneasiness.

    The following table gives you an overview of the weight of your blanket based on the average user weight.

    Body Weight (lbs)Blanket Weight (lbs)
    100 – 12010-12
    120-14012-14
    140-16014-16
    160-18016-18
    180-20018-20

    What if my ideal weighted blanket is not on this list of standard sizes? Again, go for the 10% recommendation, and based on that, you can customize your weighted blanket.

    How to Tell if a Weighted Blanket is Too Heavy?

    A weighted blanket is too heavy if you do not buy the correct size. For example, a weighted blanket that weighs 35 pounds+ should be avoided.

    A weighted blanket is too heavy if:

    • You feel you can't move underneath the blanket
    • You feel suffocated in it
    • You feel as if you're trapped (claustrophobia)
    • You feel restless being covered in it
    • You have difficulties in breathing
    • You have a hard time sleeping in it
    • You feel that the pressure is more than needed

    If you observe any of the above signs, know that the weighted blanket is too heavy, and it's time to replace it with a lighter one.

    Other Factors to Consider When Buying a Weighted Blanket

    • Height

    While weight is essential, the height of the blanket also plays a vital role in deciding the ideal dimensions for yourself. The best way to go about it is to buy a blanket that is at least a size larger than your body frame. If you are an extra tall weighted blanket seeker, you can go for a customized product covering your body frame.

    • Size

    A longer and broader weighted blanket weighs more than a small-sized one. While deciding on the dimensions of a weighted blanket, ensure that it fits your body size or your bed size. Purchasing a queen-size weighted blanket for a twin or single bed will have the blanket weighed down on the floor.

    • Cover

    A few weighted blankets might not come in removable covers. So check when you buy one. When you purchase a removable cover, it helps keep your weighted blanket clean always.

    Pay attention to the removable cover's weight because it can easily add another 1 – 2 pounds of weight to the blanket. Make sure to choose one that won’t make the weighted blanket too heavy.

    If possible, get a removable cover from the same brand because they offer covers compatible with the weighted blanket.

    • Tears or holes in the blanket

    Since a weighted blanket is filled with plastic poly pellets or tiny beads to weigh, even slight damage can cause the filler to leak. This filler leaking can result in the blanket losing all its weight eventually. So when you buy one, check if there are any damages.

    • Washable

    Look for the label to check if the weighted blanket is easily washable or machine washable. After days of use, your weighted blanket will get dirty and smelly.

    • Clumped fillers

    Fillers in the weighted blanket like rice, sand, beans, or any organic fillers can clump when they are wet. This results in an uneven or irregular weight distribution throughout the blanket. Therefore, such weighted blankets need to be handled with care, mainly while washing and drying, to prevent the fillers clumping.

    In Conclusion

    While looking for a weighted blanket, it is essential to determine the reason behind the purchase, the materials, and the ideal weight to help you to get a deep sleep. We hope this article helps you make informed decisions and get that quality sleep you deserve!