Things to Know About Weighted Blanket Guidebook
Weighted Blankets: An Ultimate Guide
Over the last few years, weighted blankets have become more and more popular due to the benefits they provide for people with sleep issues, as well as for stress and anxiety. Can a weighted blanket be too heavy Doctors and other medical professionals who have gotten behind the blankets say that the weight of the blankets gives people the feeling that they are being held securely and that leads to better sleep.
There’s been a good bit of research going on that has to do with weighted blankets and what they can be used to combat. There’s still a lot more for researchers to figure out, but everything is pointing to several good benefits that they can provide. Some findings show that the downward pressure can lower cortisol levels in the body. Scientists also think that the weight of the blanket causes serotonin and dopamine to be released in the brain. These neurotransmitters further reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
In this article, we’re going to look at everything you’ll need to know about weighted blankets so you can decide if one is right for you. You’ll know what to look for if you do find that you want one, what benefits they provide, how to clean them and more.
What Is a Weighted Blanket?
Let’s start at the beginning and discuss what a weighted blanket is. A basic explanation is that it’s a blanket that has extra weight to it. These blankets usually weigh between four and 30 lbs. Users of these kinds of covers will choose what weight they want based on their body size and weight. We’ll go over how to figure that out a little bit later.
Most weighted blankets get their weight from little plastic pellets that are contained inside the fabric. When you lay the blanket over your body, the weight of the pellets wraps around your body making you feel like you’re being held overnight. It helps people feel more secure and keeps them laying in one place for longer, reducing restlessness that keeps people awake.
What Are Weighted Blankets Made Of?
The outer material of a weighted blanket can be made of many kinds of fabrics, just like you’ll find with regular blankets. So, when you’re picking out your weighted blanket, you can look at what types of materials you prefer, as well as trying to match the materials used to your unique reasons for wanting a weighted blanket.
When you’re looking for which material will work best for you, you should decide what level of softness you want, how much breathability you need, and what kind of texture you might like. Some fabrics will even add weight to the blanket, so consider this, as well.
Typical fabrics you might find used for the outer shells of weighted blankets are polyester, fleece, cotton, cotton blends, flannel, rayon and mink. Obviously, some of these fabrics will be warmer than others, so depending on what kind of climate you live in, some fabrics will be better suited to your environment than others.
For the most part, weighted blankets will be quilted. That means that there will be layers of material sewn together so that the pellets inside the blanket will be better supported and stay put where they’ve been added to the blanket. Pellets shifting around cause the blanket to be very uncomfortable and very unbalanced, so the quilting helps keep this from happening.
The pellets will be put into pockets all over the blanket. It’s important that the weight gets distributed evenly so stuffing the pockets is something that takes precision and skill. There should be a uniform amount of weight added to each pocket to make the blanket have the most effectiveness. The pellets are typically small and made from a plastic material called polypropylene, which is hypoallergenic and non-toxic. There are some of these blankets that also contain glass beads, but that’s not as common. The pockets keep the pellets from moving all around the entire area of the blanket, which would cause extremely uneven weight and would not provide the same benefits.
Many people ask the question about which stuffing is better. One big difference between weighted blankets that have plastic pellets and weighted blankets that have glass pellets is how the blanket will appear and feel on the outside. The plastic pellets can be felt and seen a lot easier through the fabric. The reason for this is that they’re much bigger than the glass pellets. When we’re talking about glass pellets, think of them as little grains of sand. The blanket will not be lumpy at all. It will be much smoother and less grainy than those that are full of plastic pellets.
One thing to remember when you’re choosing your weighted blanket is that the material that is on the outside will help to determine how much you will be able to feel the stuffing material that weights the blanket. Some fabrics are thicker than others. Because of this, some fabrics are better at hiding the feeling of the pellets. If you want a smoother feel to your blanket, then choose a thicker fabric. A blanket that’s made of fleece or flannel will cover the feel of the pellets much more than one that’s made of cotton.
Weighted Blankets vs. Regular Blankets
The most glaring difference between weighted and regular blankets is that weighted blankets weigh more. There are some regular blankets that are heavier, like down blankets, but they aren’t the same as weighted blankets. These blankets really do feel weighted, especially if you choose one with more stuffing.
Since weighted blankets have more heft, they stay in place better. The blanket tends to stay just lying over the top of a person rather than getting tangled all around them or slipping off them to the side.
The stuffing in a weighted blanket makes them denser than typical blankets. They’re not the most breathable blankets, so they can get hot. This is something that people who already get hot at night should consider before deciding on one of these heavy blankets. That being said, the materials used to make the blanket can reduce some of the hotness effect so don’t be too quick to decide you can’t use one.
Weighted blankets are being shown to have benefits for people who suffer from anxiety, depression, insomnia and other conditions. Because of this and the materials used to make the blankets, they can be quite a bit more expensive than most of your regular blankets. If you shop around though, you can find some pretty good deals on weighted blankets sometimes.
There are some research results that are showing these blankets can be good for people who are suffering from PTSD. Also, those who have been diagnosed with ADHD may get some benefit from using weighted blankets, also. We’ll go over the use of these blankets for these conditions a little later in this article. So, keep reading for more information about these issues.
How Do You Choose the Right Weight?
There’s not a chart anywhere that just says, if you weigh this much then you should buy this weight of blanket. But a good rule of thumb is to buy a blanket that is 10% of your body weight. So, using this basic rule, if you weigh 160 lbs., then you’ll want to find a weighted blanket that weighs 16 lbs.
The rule we just mentioned is what is recommended for adults. If you’re looking to buy a weighted blanket for a child, the recommendation is only slightly different. Parents and anyone else purchasing a weighted blanket for a child should find a weight that is 10% of his or her body weight but with another one or two lbs. added to it.
It’s important to note here that when you’re using a child weighted blanket, you need to make sure that the child can move the blanket around ok, that they can place it and tuck themselves in ok with it. If the weight of the blanket is too much for the child to easily move it around, then you need to find a lighter blanket or do not use one at all. It is dangerous to use a weighted blanket with a child that is too heavy for them to move.
One other note like this for adults is for those who snore or have sleep apnea. These conditions are associated with breathing problems while sleeping. People who do have sleep apnea or snore should not use weighted blankets because of the added pressure that it puts on the chest and lungs.
The Benefits of Using Weighted Blankets
There has been a lot of research in recent years looking into the benefits of weighted blankets. What’s being found is that the added pressure that these blankets put on the body actually helps to improve sleep quality and amount, and also reduce levels of stress and anxiety. Research is still ongoing but so far, the findings are very positive. So, let’s look at some of the sleeping problems that weighted blankets are helping to improve upon.
- Better and Quicker Sleep
The deep pressure that the weighted blanket puts on your body helps all the parts of your body to relax. When your body relaxes, your mind tends to follow. Many of us are familiar with the racing thoughts that start as soon as you lay down in bed to go to sleep for the night. It is thought that weighted blankets can help to ward off those racing thoughts by putting you into a relaxed state fast enough that there isn’t time for them to get going.
How would this work? The downward push from the blanket ignites a process known as “grounding” or “earthing”. Grounding calms your mind and body down so that you can fall asleep fast and get better sleep since you were relaxed when you initially fell into sleep. Even if you manage to fall asleep while you’re lying there thinking of everything you have to do the next day, or everything that just happened in the day past, your brain was up and running right before you fell asleep. It’s likely then that your thoughts will end up waking you up through the night ensuring that you have a terrible night of sleep.
Broken sleep can lead to some of the other things that are further down this list. Things like anxiety, depression, insomnia and more. Your focus will suffer, your patience will fade, and your productivity for the day will decrease. Your energy levels will certainly be negatively affected.
Users of these blankets are reporting getting much better sleep and being able to fall asleep faster. Where many other kinds of sleep treatments typically are designed for helping people either fall asleep faster or stay asleep longer, only one symptom, weighted blankets can actually help with both of these issues.
Insomnia is a disorder that causes sufferers to not be able to sleep. This condition is a cycle of no sleep or broken sleep that continues nightly or for long periods of time. It can mean you either can’t fall asleep or you can’t stay asleep. Those who experience insomnia complain of difficulty with focus, fatigue, lack of energy, irritability, uneven moods and decreased productivity.
It can be brought on by high levels of cortisol that lead to feeling stressed and anxious or depressed. There are different kinds of insomnia. Acute insomnia is the kind where something upcoming makes you anxious, so you have trouble sleeping. You feel stressed so cortisol is released in your brain and that just adds to the problem. Chronic insomnia is when someone has problems sleeping three or more nights out of the week. Life circumstances, work schedules, medications and unhealthy routines regarding sleep are to blame for this kind of problem.
The relaxation that the weighted blanket promotes in people can help to break the insomnia cycle so you can get back to normal sleep patterns. When our brains won’t relax, neither can the rest of us, so it becomes very hard to get to sleep. Then just because you get to sleep, it doesn’t mean that your brain just stops altogether. Your brain and your body need to be relaxed when you fall asleep so that you can stay asleep all night and get the rest that it takes to refresh and be ready for a brand-new day. Research is pointing toward the compression that the weighted blanket puts on your body being able to give you the level of relaxation you need to get a good night’s sleep.
If you’re uncomfortable at night, it’s hard to get good sleep. When we say uncomfortable, we mean both physically uncomfortable and mentally uncomfortable. Physical discomfort in bed causes you to wake up and roll around trying to find that comfortable spot. Weighted blankets can make you feel more comfortable at night because you are essentially being “hugged” all night long. These blankets often make it where people don’t move around so much in their sleep, so they stay asleep longer and wake feeling much more rested.
Feeling mentally uncomfortable can cause you to lose sleep as well, though. As we’ve been discussing already, racing thoughts about your day, thinking about things you have coming up, or stressing about major news you received can cause you a lot of mental anguish, and that is uncomfortable. You won’t be able to get yourself to relax so you can sleep well. A weighted blanket makes you get relaxed and comfortable quickly instead of lying there trying to think yourself down from the tense thoughts you’re having. You’ll be able to relax your body and your brain so that you can fall asleep and stay asleep until morning.
Some of the research is showing that there are huge benefits for people who have high anxiety or anxiety disorders. Again, the benefits go back to getting your body and mind into a relaxed state.
One thing that is thought to induce relaxation in those who use a weighted blanket is how it is similar to deep pressure touch, or DPT. DPT consists of massage therapists applying deep pressure with their hands to release anxiety and chronic stress from people who suffer with these conditions. The weighted blanket applies that same kind of pressure to a person’s body, so the benefits are thought to be similar.
The DPT effect causes grounding, as stated above, that is thought to cause your cortisol levels to decrease. Cortisol is the hormone that is released in the body whenever something causes you to feel stress. It’s what brings on the fight or flight mode that we hear so much about. High anxiety can lead to the release of cortisol.
The weighted blanket will create the pressure that leads to the grounding that triggers dopamine and serotonin to be released so that your body can defend itself against the stress, depression and anxiety you feel. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study they conducted that found that grounding at night allows the body to regulate cortisol in a natural way by promoting the natural circadian rhythms.
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Naturally, since weighted blankets have been found to have benefits for people who have high levels of stress or anxiety, they’ve been considered for those who suffer from PTSD. People with PTSD typically have low levels of serotonin. Research is showing that weighted blankets help with increasing levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
When someone has PTSD, their symptoms can include flashbacks of fear-inducing situations that cause great stress, anxiety and depression. When these symptoms hit, a weighted blanket can help to calm them down and bring the sufferer back to a better state of mind. The pressure that the blanket puts on the person simulates that deep pressure touch we talked about earlier and can reduce muscle tension, release dopamine and serotonin, and level out the cortisol that’s in the body.
PTSD sufferers often suffer from sleep problems. The added serotonin that the weighted blanket helps to release will convert over to melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone in your body that helps you to feel sleepy. The more rest a person gets, the less stress they will tend to feel.
A weighted blanket is a great way to help with PTSD that is completely natural. Many treatments for PTSD involve medications. This is a more natural way of combating the symptoms caused by PTSD. It can be used on its own or hand-in-hand with any other type of treatment for this disorder.
- ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)
ADHD is a disorder that affects the brain and causes people to have trouble paying attention or holding any kind of focus on anything. There is also hyperactivity that causes the person to be overly talkative and fidgety, and sometimes impulsive.
Weighted blankets are being used a lot with children who have been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD. Many of the same things that help with the other conditions we’ve been talking about are thought to help with these disorders, also. Deep touch pressure promotes the release of hormones in the body and brain that help to combat so many mental disorders that are affected by the neurotransmitters that your brain is able to produce. Weighted blankets help to ease the restlessness that children with ADHD and ADD often feel so that they can relax and sleep. The blankets can be used during waking hours, too, when there is strong evidence of symptoms presenting themselves. Just laying the blanket over the child will help to calm them down and allow them to focus.
- RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome)
RLS can cause people and their partners or spouses to not be able to sleep. Typically, RLS is worse as the night wears on. When people with RLS lie down in bed, they often can’t stop themselves from moving their legs around. There is an urge that makes them move around. It ends up keeping them awake and anyone else who is trying to sleep in the same bed. Causes are often unknown.
There has been some research that links RLS to low levels of dopamine though. And as we’ve been saying, the simulated DTP that the weighted blankets give you may trigger the release of dopamine from the brain. The added dopamine production could help stop or at lease decrease the RLS that is felt, allowing you to get more sleep that restful and refreshing. It will make your partner happier too, as an added bonus.
What Does the Pressure From the Weighted Blanket Feel Like?
Many people who are thinking about getting a weighted blanket for their own use wonder what it feels like to lie under one. Think about what it feels like when the dentist lays that weighted open-backed vest on top of you before they take x-rays of your teeth. Those who already use one of these blankets describe it as feeling like that. The difference is that you get to have that feeling all over your body, not just on your torso area.
The feeling people get from the blanket is that they’re safe and secure. All hormone production aside, just the feel of the weight helps people feel more relaxed and comfortable, especially children. Children who have sensory processing disorders or those on the autism spectrum are good candidates for weighted blankets.
They will work in the same way that weighted vests do. This is another type of DTP simulating device that is used with the same intention. The blankets help the body produce the hormones and chemicals it needs to feel better all while the blanket just gives a sense of security.
Where Can You Find Weighted Blankets?
There are several places you can find weighted blankets for sale. Most of the popular online marketplaces have them, like Amazon and Etsy. There are also big box stores that are selling them, as well as some specialty shops.
Remember that they can get kind of pricey. Consider your budget before deciding on the one that will work for you. It helps to comparison shop because there are different outlets for purchasing them so you might be able to find a better price with a different vendor.
You should also check with your health insurance provider before you buy a weighted blanket. If you suffer from any of the conditions we’ve mentioned or another that might benefit from the use of a weighted blanket, there’s a possibility that you could get a prescription written for the blanket. In that case, some insurance policies will cover the cost for you. We’ll touch on this subject a little further into this article again to give you more information about this topic.
One last option is to make your own weighted blanket. There are some good tutorial videos online you can reference to find out how to go about doing this. If you’re pretty good with sewing and you like to do that sort of thing anyway, making your own weighted blanket will likely turn out to be much less expensive than buying one pre-made by someone else.
Who Shouldn’t Use Weighted Blankets?
There are some people who should not use weighted blankets at all. These blankets can be quite heavy and they are warmer than many other kinds of blankets so they’re not a good fit for everyone. If you’re on the fence about whether you should use one or not, you should talk it over with your doctor before deciding to purchase one.
Here are some of the reasons for not using weighted blankets. This is just a preliminary list to be used as a guideline. This is not meant to be the end-all-be-all.
- Children who can’t move the blanket themselves
- Women going through menopause
- Anyone who snores or has sleep apnea
- People with a chronic health condition
- Those with respiratory conditions
- People whose bodies don’t regulate temperature very well
Weighted blankets may be able to do a lot for many people suffering from disorders and other conditions. But they are not right for all kinds of ailments or people. You need to be careful about using this kind of blanket if you have ongoing health conditions that could be worsened by the added weight. Using a weighted blanket when certain conditions are present could be extremely dangerous. This is even more serious when we talk about small children. For children who have trouble positioning the blanket, either don’t use it, or do not use it without someone supervising every time it is being used.
What Are Some Negatives Associated with Using Weighted Blankets?
There are some things to be aware of when you’re using weighted blankets either for yourself or for your children. They can be amazing for helping with getting more and better sleep and easing the symptoms of some serious conditions and disorders. But it’s imperative that they’re used the right way and for the right groups of people.
While weighted blankets can be used to help some small children sleep, they are not recommended for infants. They’re especially dangerous for babies that have started rolling over on their own. There have been cases reported of infant deaths when a weighted blanket was used to try to help them sleep. Babies don’t have the ability to position the blanket correctly so that is safe for them to sleep with so do not use these with infants.
There are some of these blankets that are being filled with organic materials. Some alternative materials that are being used as fillers are seeds, rice, sand and beans. This might sound like a great idea but it’s not. Not if you plan on cleaning your blanket. You won’t be able to wash a blanket stuffed with any of these kinds of materials. Also, in the case of beans and seeds, you may have plants sprouting inside the blanket. Not an ideal situation. Stick to the blankets that have the plastic or glass pellets for an easily washable weighted blanket.
These blankets aren’t exactly easy to travel with. Especially if you’ve chosen one that weighs quite a bit, when it’s all folded up, it’s one compact heavy mass. It’s not fun to transport it up stairs, in and out of the car, or in your already heavy luggage. Not to mention, the shipping cost of one of these is ridiculous because of the weight. The blanket itself is already expensive so adding a hefty shipping fee on top of that isn’t ideal either.
People who have been using weighted blankets report that become almost addicting. Once you start using one, then it’s hard to go back to using a regular blanket. So, then it becomes important to take it with you when you do travel to somewhere else or you can pretty much know that you’re not going to get much sleep. This is something to think about when you’re considering a weighted blanket for your child. Once they start using one, they probably will need it to sleep all the time.
Don’t forget about your pets. You just need to be careful about leaving your blanket just laying around where your pets can snuggle up in it. If you have cats or small dogs that could have access to the blanket, think about what would happen if they got caught up underneath the it. They very possibly would not be able to get back out from under it. That could result in a terrible outcome. Just be vigilant about where you leave the weighted blankets in your house.
Studies Supporting the Benefits of Weighted Blankets
There is still a lot of research taking place right now that is focusing on the benefits that weighted blankets have for people with sleep problems and other mental conditions and disorders. However, the research that has already been completed shows a lot of positive results for how beneficial these blankets can be for some people. Below are some of the studies that have found some good links between the weighted blankets and their perceived benefits.
- “Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure in Patients with Autistic Disorder, College Students, and Animals”
This is one of the earliest studies that included the benefits of DTP. It was performed in 1992 by an animal scientist named Temple Grandin. She was on the autism spectrum and wanted to look into how DTP could help calm kids with autism or other disorders like ADHD. The study resulted in the invention of a device they called the “hug box” or the “squeeze box” that used compression to simulate the effects of DTP. Temple’s findings from this study with regards to weighted blankets were that the heaviness of the blankets would help to calm down the muscles in her body and allow her to sleep.
- “Physiological Effects of Deep Touch Pressure on Anxiety Alleviation: The Weighted Blanket Approach”
This study looked into how weighted blankets affected people’s anxiety when it came to having dental procedures and visits. Subjects involved in the study were tracked physiologically to see what happened in their bodies when they were exposed to the stressor, the dental environment, and how the weighted blanket worked to counteract the stress. The weighted blanket was found to simulate deep touch pressure and provide positive results for the reduction of anxiety in the stressful situation.
- “Pilot Study of a Sensory Room in an Acute Inpatient Psychiatric Unit”
This study had participants put into a sensory room. The room included items that would help to calm those in the room down, including weighted blankets. The outcome of the this research showed that there were positive effects on stress when people were put in the sensory rooms. The specific findings for the weighted blankets was that they did have a significant impact on stress and anxiety. Those who used the blankets reported that they felt much less stress and that weighted blankets were very useful for them.
- “Positive Effects of Weighted Blankets on Insomnia”
This study was completed in 2015. There were 31 subjects with insomnia that were included in the research. Of those, 21 of them were able to fall asleep much faster than they normally would. The study concluded that weighted blankets may very well help to reduce insomnia for some people and allow them to get a much higher quality level of rest through the night. The blankets were described to be a good, natural alternative treatment for insomnia rather than medication driven treatment plans. Or, in some cases an additional tool for combatting sleeplessness.
A Little About Caring For Your Weighted Blanket
Once you’ve gotten your weighted blanket, you’ll want to take very good care of it so it will last you for as long as possible. After all, it wasn’t cheap. You’ll want to make sure you clean it regularly and maintain it in good shape so you can keep it for a very long time and continue to reap the benefits of it.
One thing you should know, just in case you don’t, is that the weighted blanket you buy is meant to be a cover for your body. And although there are some of them that can cover two people at the same time, they aren’t supposed to be bed covers. If you’re looking for a king-sized weighted blanket to use as a bedspread, you’re not going to find one. In the morning when you’re making your bed up, you should just fold your weighted blanket up and store it somewhere. It’s good for maintaining the blanket in good shape and it’s safer if you have kids and animals in the house anyway.
Leaving the blanket out somewhere just opens it up for bad things to happen to it. If you have children, there’s a good chance of stains or tears. If you have pets, there’s animal hair and dirty paws to worry about. Even you, yourself, can be hard on your weighted blanket when you’re not paying enough attention. Putting the blanket away every day when you’re not using it will keep it protected from any mishaps that can take place.
Using a cover on your blanket will help extend its useful life. You can look for these separately or sometimes they’ll be sold with the blanket itself. They may be an optional accessory. It’s a good idea to purchase covers when they’re optional because they’re easy to just throw into the washing machine without risking any damage to your weighted blanket. Most of the blankets are machine washable too but we all know that washing clothing and other items does put them through some wear and tear. If you can avoid having to wash the entire blanket some of the time by using a cover, then you’ll be doing yourself a favor.
Drying the blanket can cause it to deteriorate also. The reason for this is that as the dry cycle progresses, tiny little bits of the fabric breaks off throughout the cycle. That means that every drying cycle is slowly eating away at your blanket. Using a cover keeps you from having to dry your weighted blanket also. You’ll just be drying the cover instead.
If you have to find your own cover for you blanket, as in the case where the two aren’t sold together, then just make sure to find the right size cover for your blanket. You’ll also want to think about how the blanket is going to stay in place underneath the cover. Many of the pre-made covers have strings that can tie the cover into place so the blanket can’t become bunched up inside the cover. If there isn’t anything for securing the two piece together, just know that this could turn out to be a nuisance for you to deal with at home.
If you have to look for a cover for you weighted blanket, you’ll be looking for a duvet cover. People buy them for regular comforters a lot of the time. Those who are pretty crafty or good at sewing can even make their own cover. It can be as easy as just sewing together two sheets. You’ll leave one end open and maybe add some ribbons for tying it closed. Choosing to make your own cover allows you to pick the fabric and customize what your weighted blanket looks like.
When you wash your cover, you’ll likely just put it in the washing machine and then into the dryer or line dry it. And if your cover doesn’t fair very well in the washing cycle, it won’t be that big of a deal because getting another one won’t cost you the amount it would to replace the weighted blanket.
Washing the inner part of the blanket is something you’ll want to really make sure you’re reading the instructions for before you do it. Different weighted blanket makers will have different care instructions that depend on what the blanket is made of. Some say to dry clean the blanket, but that might not be the best idea. There are a lot of chemicals used for dry cleaning that can be very hard on the materials that your blanket is made of. If your chosen blanket recommends this method of cleaning, then it would be wise of you to use a cover with your blanket so that you don’t have to subject the expensive weighted blanket to the cleaning process very often.
For the times that you do have to wash the inner portion of your weighted blanket, you can do that on the gentle cycle or the hand wash cycle on your washing machine. You can also hand wash the whole thing yourself and then let it air dry. If you are going to air dry the blanket then you need to put it on a spin cycle in the washing machine so that as much of the water gets out of it as possible before you hang it to dry. It will make the drying time less and the blanket won’t be as heavy. If you have a large and quite heavy weighted blanket, you may want to take it to a laundromat for cleaning so you can use an industrial sized washer. Putting a bigger and heavier one of these into your washer that may be too small and too weak to handle it could result in damage to your machine, as well as to your blanket.
If you are going to hand wash the blanket, start by finding somewhere to wash it that is big enough to handle the size of it. Many times the bathtub will turn out to be the best place for this. Put in some kind of soap or detergent. Even shampoo can be used for this if you would like. Then turn on the water to cold or room temperature and add enough in the tub to just cover up the blanket.
Next, you’ll want to start stirring the blanket around in the soapy water. You can swish it back and forth, push it up and down or twirl it around in the water. Let the blanket stay and soak in the water for up to half an hour. Then let the water drain out. Try to remove as much water from the blanket as possible. Cover the blanket again with just fresh water. Go through the same steps without the soap. You can keep doing this cycle as many times as it takes until you think all of the soap has been removed from the weighted blanket.
You can dry the blanket in the dryer in some cases but it’s not really recommended. You’re better of air drying it because of the reasons mentioned above about deterioration of the fabric. Before you hang it somewhere though, you really need to get as much water out of the blanket as you can. So, even if you’ve just hand washed the blanket, if it fits in your washer, put it in for a spin cycle so you can remove most of the water.
Once you’ve gotten the water out, then either hang the blanket outside on a clothesline, drape it over your shower curtain rod or lay it on a flat surface with a waterproof liner laid out underneath it. If you do have to lay the blanket on a flat surface, make sure you go back and turn it over so the other side can dry as well. Drying the blanket outside usually works the fastest. If you are drying it in the house, place a fan or two in front of it to speed up the process.
FAQs and Other Side Notes
- Can weighted blankets be used with animals?
If you remember earlier in this article, we went over a few studies that have been conducted linking the benefits of weighted blankets to some commonly found disorders and conditions that people suffer from. One of the earliest studies was done with animals instead of people. Temple Grandin is an animal scientist who found that there were positive results for those with certain conditions when pressure was applied to the body. Her initial testing was done using cattle. She designed contraptions that applied pressure to the cows’ bodies to calm them down during vet procedures.
Many of our pets suffer from anxiety of their own. It can be triggered by noise, weather, separation or travel. Weighted blankets may be a good option for you to use with your animals that will help to calm them down. An example would be if you have a dog who has high anxiety when there is a thunderstorm—as many of our furry friends do—then you could drape a weighted blanket over your pup while the storm is in progress to help him feel better. The only thing to remember here is that you should not leave small animals alone with these blankets because if they can’t get out from under it, they could get stuck without any air. This could result in death. It’s best to use the blankets with animals that are large enough to maneuver out from under the blanket on their own.
- Are there weighted blankets that are better for “hot sleepers”?
Some of the weighted blanket manufacturers have started making blankets that are better suited to people who are considered to be “hot sleeper” or have heat-sensitivity issues. They are making options for these blankets that have light materials that are more breathable and in lighter colors. These things all affect how hot or cold the blanket is.
When you’re looking for the right blanket for your situation, choose a lighter, natural fabric like cotton. Synthetic fabrics tend to not breathe as well. Cotton is light and airy. Then make sure to choose a color that is as light as can be. Darker colors will retain more heat from the daytime sun and carry that with them into the night.
- Can weighted blankets help with pain?
Weighted blankets have been known to help decrease pain in the back. If you suffer with pain anywhere in your back, including soreness in your muscles, a weighted blanket is a good natural way of helping to reduce the pain you feel.
The same things that help with reducing stress and anxiety also help to reduce the pain you feel in your back. The DPT effect that weighted blankets provide help to ease the pain. It also triggers the release of “feel good” hormones in your body, dopamine and serotonin. These also help to relieve back pain. The relaxing feeling the weighted blankets elicit for people who use them helps muscles relax and release stress that’s knotted up in them causing pain.
All of these things together will do a lot for sufferers of back pain. And the best part is that using a weighted blanket is all-natural so no drugs involved. It’s a good alternative to other methods of treatment that require narcotics or invasive procedures.
- Can you use a weighted blanket if you’re pregnant?
The initial answer to this question is that you need to consult your OB before deciding to use a weighted blanket while you’re pregnant. Your doctor can give you guidance for how to use it and how heavy of a blanket is ok.
However, the rest of the answer is yes. Weighted blankets are being proven to release good chemicals in the body, reduce pain in your back, help you get better and more sleep, and reduce the amount of stress and anxiety you feel. These are all things that pregnant women could certainly benefit from. The weighted blanket is a natural method for dealing with things that ail women in pregnancy. Other methods aren’t even available to them most of the time because they are with child.
- Could a weighted blanket help me sleep right away?
Obviously, we’re all different people. One very cool thing about weighted blankets though is that they do work right away. You’ll know in just one night the difference the blanket makes for you. It’s not the same as using a prescription sleep drug or other sleep aid that might have to build up in your system or that your body has to get used to. The weight of the blanket does what it’s supposed to do as soon as you lay under it.
- Are the blankets sold in all different weights?
Generally you’ll find that the weighted blankets come in weights that go up 5 lbs. at a time. You can find companies that will custom make your weighted blanket with the weight that you request, but remember, the blankets aren’t cheap to begin with so if you go adding customization into the price it’s likely going to go up even more.
- What if I don’t like the weighted blanket?
When you decide on a blanket to try, it’s best if this is your first time using one, to choose to purchase from a company that has a trial period or a good refund and exchange policy. You’re not going to know if you like using a weighted blanket until you try it. It’s not something that everyone will like since we’re all individuals. You don’t want to be stuck with a blanket that is useless to you, especially when they typically cost quite a bit.
- Are weighted blankets good for teenagers to use?
Your teenage years can be some of the most stressful and anxiety-riddled years of your life. It’s not that you have the stresses of caring for a family or providing for them like in your adult years, but you are dealing with figuring out who you are, what you’re going to do with your life, how to establish your independence, trying to find your confidence and many more things.
Weighted blankets are a great tool for helping teens get the rest they need at night and for finding some calm, restful times when they need to. These blankets make great gifts for birthdays, of if you have a teenager who’s graduating from high school and going off to college, they’re really great gifts for that occasion. College is full of stress and anxiety. Plus there’s often many sleepless nights up studying (or partying), so if the sleep your college kid gets is good restful sleep under a weighted blanket then you’ve sent them off to school with a gift that will keep giving all throughout their college years.
Wrap Up in a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are being used in many different ways to help people get better sleep, deal with stress, reduce back pain, comfort children, calm down those with ADHD and help people cope with PTSD. Medical professionals like therapists and rehabilitation specialists are starting to use these blankets in their practices to help patients with different things that ail them.
As research continues, the links are becoming more and more clear as to what benefits weighted blankets have to offer to us and how those benefits are provided. If you are looking for a way to feel less stress day-to-day or a way to get more and better quality sleep, a weighted blanket just might be the answer to your problems.
Make sure that you look for the right blanket for your needs. We talked a lot about how heavy it should be, what materials you can choose from and more. Remember that there are different prices that you’ll find too, but that many options for weighted blankets are pretty expensive. Sleep and less stress could certainly be worth the price though, so go have a look at what’s available and see what a weighted blanket can do for you.