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7 Common Questions About Weighted Blankets Answered

Weighted blankets are fast becoming a very popular sleeping aid praised by thousands of people online for helping them solve or ease their sleeping problems. They credit weighted blankets for generally decreasing their bedtime anxiety and creating a sense of calm and relaxation. But not everyone is convinced. People who experience sleeping issues and don’t have any prior experience with weighted blankets may be hesitant to purchase one. There are concerns regarding the price, quality, benefits, and possible risks.

Concerns for first-time shoppers of weighted blankets are certainly valid. It is not the cheapest item, with the most expensive one running into hundreds of dollars apiece. Many consumers are also skeptical about the purported benefits that a weighted blanket can provide them with. Others question whether pressure therapy is safe for them. Following is a look at the top seven questions to help consumers decide if purchasing a weighted blanket is the right solution for their sleeping problems.

What is a weighted blanket?

A weighted blanket is a blanket that is a lot heavier than regular blankets because it is filled with fillings that add weight. In commercially-produced weighted blankets, the filling can be made with a number of materials, such as plastic poly pellets, micro glass beads, steel beads, or sand. The filling is distributed across the surface of the blanket, covered with additional fabric, and stitched through by small squares. Stitching the squares is important because, without proper stitching, the filling material can move around inside of the blanket, cluster, and the weight will not stay evenly distributed in place.

How does a weighted blanket function?

A weighted blanket, as a sleeping aid, is based on using deep touch pressure created by added weight. Because a weighted blanket is quite heavy, the pressure created by the weight essentially forces the body to calm down and relax. The pressure therapy functions almost like a massage aiding dopamine and serotonin production. Increasing serotonin and dopamine makes us feel good, and creates a sense of calm and relaxation, easing the sleeping process.

Who can benefit from using a weighted blanket?

Studies on the benefits of weighted blankets are ongoing, but so far, positive results have been shown with a number of conditions. The research found positive benefits of pressure therapy for people with autism, ADHD, anxiety, depression, insomnia and other sleep disorders, restless leg syndrome, osteoarthritis, chronic pain, as well as for use during certain medical procedures to calm the patient.

Weighted blankets mimic deep pressure touch, and this therapeutic technique is used for many ailments. The blanket hugs your body, pushing it downward and grounding it, helping the body to relax. Grounding treatments have been shown to increase serotonin production in the brain and lower the level of cortisol. Increased serotonin and melatonin production can help with feeling happier, relaxed, calm, and sleepy. Lowering cortisol helps improve blood pressure, heart rate, and glucose levels, creating more balance in the body.

Are there any risks to using a weighted blanket?

Weighted blankets are generally safe to use by healthy adults, teenagers, and even older children. But there are specific groups of people that should avoid using a weighted blanket when sleeping. Moreover, people who tend to feel claustrophobic may experience the pressure as feelings of suffocation, increasing their anxiety in the process.

Firstly, infants and small children should not be covered by weighted blankets. There is a risk of suffocation because they are tiny and not completely in control of their bodies yet. Struggling with the blanket may prove dangerous for infants and children under two years of age. Reports of suffocations are extremely rare but have happened. As a general rule, a pediatrician should always be consulted if parents wish to treat their child with a weighted blanket. This rule should also apply to physically or mentally disabled children, who may have a disability that puts them at a greater risk of suffocation. A pediatrician can also advise on the size and the weight that should be purchased for a specific child, based on their size, age, and their general health condition.

Secondly, people with chronic respiratory conditions should avoid using weighted blankets. Deep pressure therapy can be dangerous for people with asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The extra pressure can make breathing for people with chronic respiratory conditions even more difficult.

Do size and weight matter when choosing a weighted blanket?

When purchasing a weighted blanket, size and weight are very important to consider. There are different sizes and weights available, based on individual requirements and preferences. Every person is different and the product needs to be chosen with the user in mind. Most companies that sell weighted blankets provide their customers with weight and size recommendations. The size may vary a little bit from generalized sizes of regular blankets. Because the blankets are bulkier, the size appears to be smaller, and customers may find that a larger size suits them better. Children and adults of small stature would likely prefer the smaller sizes. Doing appropriate research and considering individual characteristics are absolutely necessary to pick the appropriate size and weight.

Can you get overheated using a weighted blanket?

Yes, some people report feeling overheated, especially if they live in hot environments and don’t own air conditioning. Some people like to sleep hot, and some cold. For those who like hot sleeping, a weighted blanket should not pose any significant issues. For cold sleepers who wish to use a weighted blanket, a lighter weight is recommended, or it is possible to purchase specialized covers for the blanket, made from materials that are cooling to the body. Some weighted blanket brands include such covers along with the product.

Read more at Do Weighted Blankets Make You Hot?

Can a weighted blanket be kept clean and hygienic enough for sleeping?

Proper hygiene and cleanliness are very important for sleep improvement and sleep quality in general. Weighted blankets are usually way too large to be washed in a washing machine and washing them could become quite a headache. Even if machine washing is possible, it is not the best thing to do regularly because constant washing can loosen the stitching and the inside filling will not stay in its proper place. To keep the blanket clean and functional it is best to get the blanket dry cleaned every couple of months. Additionally, use a bedding cover with the blanket, just as it is used with a regular blanket. Some weighted blankets even come with their own cover that can be removed and washed when needed. Some even come with a multi-purpose cover, with one side used for cold sleeping and the other for hot sleeping.

Read more at How To Wash a Weighted Blanket