What is a Weighted Blanket: A Complete Guide For Users and Buyers
Posted By Syju John on Dec 10, 2020
Much has been said about the weighted blanket, a bedding element that is known to calm people with issues like ADHD, insomnia, depression, anxiety, etc., and soothe children with autism so that their fitful periods of sleep can turn into a night-long siesta of quality and much-needed rest.
Known to be invented in 1998 by Keith Zivalich in California, the inspiration for this blanket was his daughter’s small stuffed toy or a Beanie Baby, Pugsly 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 whether the same idea could be implemented for the whole body.
This led to the invention of what we today know as the Weighted Blanket.
Did You Know? Keith coined ‘beanie blanket’ for the weighted blanket since he used beanies (often found in soft toys) as the filler material while developing the prototype.
What is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket is exactly what it sounds like, a heavy set blanket with extra weight that does more than just keeps you warm as you sleep. Users with troubled sleep patterns often find it better to switch from their regular blankets to these weighted ones.
However, there are multiple factors that go into making and purchasing a weighted blanket and we will look at them as we read along.
What is in a Weighted Blanket?
In addition to the double fabric layer, a weighted blanket’s weight is mainly added by the ‘fillers’ that are sewn in the inner layer in the form of square pockets and evenly distributed across the surface for uniform pressure distribution. These fillers are usually non-toxic plastic pellets, metal pellets, or organic materials like grains and beans.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Weighted blankets, also known as gravity blankets, have been a part of a particular type of occupational therapy known as sensory integration therapy for many years now.
Weighing around 15lbs, a weighted blanket ‘hugs’ the user back or more scientifically phrased, applies Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) which is known to help those with sensory processing disorders, autism, anxiety, depression, etc., regulate their emotions.
The principle behind DTP is the release of serotonin and dopamine, the two important neurotransmitters that are key to helping a person relax. Moreover, touch therapy is also known to help those who are hypersensitive to touch and desensitizes them, thus calming them down.
Interestingly, weighted blankets have gone mainstream and 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 a number of other psychological disorders.
Looking to buy a weighted blanket? Discover Dreamcloud’s BlanQuil™ Quilted Weighted Blanket.
What are Weighted Blanket Fillers? How Do We Choose the Right One?
When we talk about fillers, we are talking about the essential weights that we use to fill these special blankets, thus, giving the name weighted blankets. These fillers are accommodated in equal dimension square pockets that distribute them all across the surface for an overall effect.
There are a few categories for you to choose from while selecting the relevant weighted blanket filler.
Micro Glass Beads
These fillers are usually deployed for the high-end weighted blankets. These are little glass beads resembling salt crystals or white sands. They are smooth with no cut edges, which may make them the perfect choice to fit into the pockets and offer weighted comfort for users with sensory disorders.
These glass beads are also non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and great for those looking for hypoallergenic options. Due to their glass structure, they are heavier than their contemporaries which reduces their quantity while making weighted blankets. Few micro beads mean less bulk. These glass beads are cool to touch, making the weighted blanket less likely to retain heat. However, they are considerably expensive than other options.
Plastic Poly Pellets
One of the most commonly used weighted blanket filler, the plastic poly pellets are commonly used in stuffed toys (revisit beanie babies and blankets). These pellets are made from 100% polypropylene and are safe to use, not necessarily an ecological option.
However, these pellets are easy to fill and sewn into the blanket’s fabric and allows it to contour as per the shape of the user’s body while offering the calming effect of the weight.
These pellets are usually inexpensive and are easily available in nearby stores. They are great for a cost-efficient blanket but not an ideal choice for those with auditory and sensory problems. The pellets may feel a bit abrasive to many and might end up clumping together with rough use. But, you can reduce the noise by stuffing in the patches with cotton and make the blanket softer and fluffier.
Steel Shot Beads
Yet another common option, these steel shot beads are even more durable and heavier than the glass beads, not to mention, smoother as well. Its ideal round surface is great for those looking for a calming effect on their body as they sleep.
Since they are heavier than most, they are not deployed in bulk. As a result, few units of these steel shots is all it takes to fill up a weighted blanket. Most importantly, they are hardy and their durability comes to play when tossed in the washing machine. These fillers’ sheer size avoids spillage and its shiny surface remains clean through.
However, they are still metal and have the tendency to make noise which can be hard for those with auditory sensitivities. But the problem can be resolved by incorporating cotton here as well to muffle the clang. A weighted blanket with steel shot filler beads ticks all the boxes indeed.
In many blankets, you also have the option of having organic options like grains, rice, pasta, and other similar materials as your fillers. An inexpensive option, these fillers can also achieve the goal of adding weight to your blanket.
However, these materials are edible materials that attract the pest and cannot be washed since they will end up decaying and rendering the blanket dysfunctional.
An inexpensive and accessible commodity, sand is often used by many as a filler for their weighted blankets. But this is as good as it gets because sand tends to clump and disturb the distributed weight, especially after a wash. You can go for dry cleaning but you have to ensure that it is well-maintained and spread out to maintain its structure and usability.
Smooth pebbles or river stones are easily available in nature. They are budget as well as environmental friendly choice for a filler but may not be as comfortable as you would like them to be.
You also have to pick the most perfect pebbles – small & lightweight and ensure they are almost identical to keep the weight uniform. This can be a laborious task and you might not be entirely successful in the mission either.
Before you fill them in, ensure that these pebbles are completely dry as moisture will lead to mould inside the lining. You can also even out their distribution using cotton stuffing and add a soft layer wall between the hard pebbles and your body. Such fillers are not a good option for those with sensory problems.
How to Pick the Perfect Weighted Blanket?
One of the first questions you should ask yourself before buying a weighted blanket is how heavy should your weighted blanket be? The answer is – the 10% rule.
An ideal weighted blanket for a person should be around 10% of his/her body weight. Though it is not ideal to use weighted blankets for children, under a therapist’s guidance, their blankets can be [10% of body weight + (1 or 2) pounds] pounds. It is ideal to bear in mind that the 10% rule is not a rule per se, rather a recommendation.
A heavy blanket works under the influence of gravity and should bear some weight on the user. However, unmanageable weight should not be tolerated 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 – 120||10-12|
What if my idea weighted blanket is not in this list of standard sizes? Again, go for the 10% recommendation, and based on that, you can customise your weighted blanket.
Good to Know: Dreamcloud’s BlanQuil is 8%-15% of your body weight which promotes the simulation where the user feels hugged or held.
The Height Factor
While weight is important, 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, then you can go for a customised product that will cover your body frame.
Pros and Cons of a Weighted Blanket
|It is great for those with psychological or sleep disorders.||They are not ideal for carrying around or traveling.|
|Releases dopamine and serotonin via the Deep Pressure Stimulation leading to a calm state of mind.||A removable cover is required to keep it clean and protected at all times.|
|One-time purchase and long-lasting provided it is well-cared for.||A lot is based on trial and error since not every weighted blanket is ideal for everyone.|
|Is great for children with autism ADHD – to be used under the supervision of a certified therapist.|
BlanQuil Weighted Blankets
Dreamcloud’s BlanQuil weighted blankets rely heavily on the Deep Pressure Therapy semantics. It has been designed to give the user a feeling of being hugged or held and responsible for the following positive effects:
- Reduced cortisol levels
- Increased melatonin and serotonin levels
- Calming effect on mind and body
Dreamcloud’s BlanQuil is a soft weighted blanket, complete with a removable cover that has been made to help you relax and get a good night’s sleep. These 20lbs mattresses are made from eco-friendly glass beads and plush microfiber. Materials used in the manufacturing of this mattress are:
Dreamcloud’s BlanQuil comes with a removable cover that makes it easier to maintain and clean. It is a soft-weighted mattress made from micro-fiber and filled with eco-friendly glass beads that work for all users, including those with sensory problems.
The Quilted Cover is made of the following:
- Outer: 100% Polyester Velvet
- Lining: 100% Polyester
- Fill: 100% Polyester Batting
The Inner Blanket comprises of:
- Cover: 100% Cotton
- Filling: Silicon Dioxide Beads
Note: There is no assembling required
Features of BlanQuil Weighted Blankets
Here are some of BlanQuil’s noteworthy features that have made them so popular among users:
- Deploys Deep Pressure Therapy: BlanQuil’s weighted blankets work on the principles of Deep Pressure Therapy in which the weighted structure is known to lead to the secretion of melatonin and serotonin for a relaxed mind.
- Improves sleep quality: The weighted blanket simulates the body’s pressure points, leading to deep sleep.
- Keeps you cool: The breathable material of the blanket, along with its removable cover keeps you cool and allows you to sleep comfortably.
Specifications of a BlanQuil Weighted Blanket?
Dreamcloud’s BlanQuil is designed as a result of expert advice and customer feedback with the sole aim to help people sleep better and feel better.
Here are the specifications of BlanQuil’s weighted blankets:
- Weight options: 20 lbs
- Dimensions: 48 x 74 x 1 inches
- Cover: Made of Micro-plush and removable
- Filler: Eco-Friendly micro glass beads
- Machine washable: Yes
And It’s a Wrap!
If you are looking for a weighted blanket, it is important to determine the reason behind the purchase, the materials, and the ideal weight that will help you float into a deep slumber. Hope this helps you make informed decisions and get that quality sleep that you deserve!