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Heard about the benefits of weighted blankets, but aren’t sure how to choose a blanket that’s likely to suit you best? This guide will help.
Recently, more & more people have turned to weighted blankets as a therapeutic aid, with growing research suggesting they may offer a host of benefits – from improving insomnia and anxiety to reducing pain.
But how easy is it to choose one that suits your own unique needs? Let’s take a look.
How To Choose A Weighted Blanket In 7 Steps
Actually nothing new, occupational therapists have been using weighted blankets for sensory related conditions for years. But more recently, they’ve hit the mainstream, with many people reporting remarkable improvements in conditions ranging from sleep disorders to symptoms of autism and PTSD.
But with all the different types and brands available, choosing a weighted blanket can sometimes seem a little daunting, if not downright confusing.
The good news is, choosing a weighted blanket isn’t hard.
What’s important, is that you know what to look out for.
So to help you choose a weighted blanket for you, or your child, here are 7 essential things to consider before you buy…
1 – Choose The Correct Weight
It’s really important though, that the pressure of a weighted blanket is in proportion to your size and weight.
For example, a 10 year old child weighing 60 pounds would require a weighted blanket that weighs less (and exerts less pressure) than an adult weighing 200 pounds.
Determining how much a weighted blanket should weigh for yourself, or your child, is easy to do by following the ‘rule of thumb’ recommended by occupational therapists and healthcare professionals. This is:
For children: 10% of a child’s body weight, plus 1 or 2 pounds
For adults: 10% of the ideal body weight.
So for a 40 lb child, this would mean choosing a blanket that’s around 5-6 lbs. Whereas for an adult weighing 200 lbs, a 20 lb weighted blanket would be a recommended fit.
Note: Never use a weighted blanket with a baby. They’re also not generally recommended for children under 3. If unsure, always consult an occupational therapist or doctor for advice.
2 – Choose The ‘Right’ Fabric
The most common fabrics used in the manufacture of weighted blankets are cotton and Minky polyester. You’ll also find blankets made from flannel, fleece or cooling bamboo based fabrics.
Which one work best for you, or your child, will depend on your own unique needs and makeup, but here are some general pointers to keep in mind about 3 popular weighted blanket fabrics.
Cooler Cotton Fabrics
Breathable and natural, 100% cotton tends to work well for people who prefer natural fibres or less stimulating fabrics. Try one of these.
Warmer Minky Fabrics
Generally made from manmade polyester, Minky fabrics retain heat well, so tend to work well for people who like to feel warm and cosy or prefer sensory, tactile fabrics. These are often a top choice for sensory seeking kids. Try one of these.
‘Oeko Tex’ Or Organic Fabrics
A good way to invest in a blanket that limits the use of chemicals or GMOs and uses more sustainable production processes, is to look out for blankets that use organic fabrics or are labelled ‘Oeko Tex Certified’. For Oeko Tex Certified try one of these. For an organic fabric try here.
Whatever fabric you choose, it’s also a good idea to check it’s fully washable.
3 – Choose Secure Stitching (Say No To Leaking Beads!)
One of the most common reasons weighted blankets get returned is leaking beads. So make sure you choose a blanket that is well made and durable, with secure stitching.
Reviews are often a good way to check how satisfied customers are with any given blanket.
Alternatively, email a manufacturer direct and ask how they ensure beads or poly pellets don’t leak. It’s also a good idea to check return policies, so you know you’re covered in the event of a fault.
The good news is that as weighted blankets have become more popular, many manufacturers have improved blanket durability.
But it’s still a good idea to do your own research.
4 – Choose A Blanket That Keeps You Cool (If You Overheat Easily)
Do you live in a warm, summer climate, suffer from night sweats or overheat easily? Or perhaps you have a sensory avoiding child who gets warm easily and has a habit of throwing the covers off at night?
Along with leaking beads, a second major reason weighted blankets get returned is that that they make people too hot.
So if this sounds like you, a Minky or polyester based blanket is very likely to feel overheating.
The good news is, there are now a range of weighted ‘cooling’ bamboo or COOLMAX weighted blankets on the market, specifically designed to cater for warmer sleepers.
The key benefit of bamboo and COOLMAX fabrics is that they work to wick moisture away from the skin, keeping you cooler and sweat free.
They also allow moisture to evaporate into the air quicker than cotton, which means they don’t tend to stick to skin so easily.
Popular ‘Cooling’ Weighted Blankets
5 – Know Your Weighted Fillings
Weighted blankets are basically blankets with a weighted filling stitched inside. It’s this extra weight that offers the gentle therapeutic ‘deep touch’ pressure.
Increasingly, weighted blankets contain micro glass beads, as the weighted filling. Plastic poly pellets are the other most common weighted filling. Whilst micro glass beads have a texture similar to sand, poly pellets, (which are slightly larger), resemble tiny pebbles.
Plastic pellets or glass beads both work effectively and generally suit most people, but here are a couple of things you might want to consider:
If you’re highly sensitive to touch or sound, plastic poly pellets may feel a little lumpy or sound rustly, when the blanket moves. Some poly pellets may also give off an initial odour (this usually goes with a good airing though).
Micro glass beads are denser than poly pellets, so make for a thinner blanket. If you want a slightly bulkier blanket (some people prefer the more tactile nature of slightly larger poly pellets), you might want to consider poly pellets.
A few blankets are also starting to use ‘nano’ ceramic beads, as the weighted filling.
6 – Choose A Blanket With Evenly Distributed Weight
The weighted beads, or pellets, in weighted blankets are stitched into ‘pockets’, or quilted squares, to help distribute the weight evenly across your body while you sleep.
Sometimes the beads (or pellets) may ‘clump’ together in pockets, which can lead to a bit of uneven weight distribution. So, again, check reviews to see what customers are saying about a particular weighted blanket.
Whilst there will always be some natural movement of the beads, as a general rule of thumb, blankets with more pockets tend to distribute the weight of the beads more evenly.
7 – Choose A Blanket Within Budget
Lastly, is the weighted blanket within your budget?
Whilst to some extent you get what you pay for, this doesn’t mean a weighted blanket has to break the bank.
Most weighted blankets used to be hand made, (often making them pricey), but as competition and demand has risen, you’ll find there are now some very affordable weighted blankets around, which are both well made and durable.
For an affordable best seller that’s hard to beat, YnM offer a wide choice of blankets for children and adults.
Zonli Weighted Blankets are another affordable, popular option.
Or for a more handmade feel, with quality that’s hard to beat, try Mosaic Weighted Blankets.
Weighted blankets are an increasingly popular therapeutic aid, used by both children and adults, to help with a range of conditions – from insomnia and anxiety to autism and ADHD.
But if you’re looking to try one and experience the therapeutic benefits yourself, knowing how to choose a weighted blanket can sometimes seem daunting.
Keeping the tips above in mind will make the task a lot easier and help ensure you choose a blanket that’s right for you, or your child.
Note: It’s always recommended you consult with your doctor, occupational therapist, or health care professional before purchasing a weighted blanket.