Weighted blankets are comforters designed to put pressure on the body in order to alleviate anxiety and improve sleep. Subsequently, the most important part of buying a blanket is its weight. Selecting the incorrect weight may cause the comforter to be ineffective in bringing about therapeutic benefits or cause it to be uncomfortable.
So, how do you know what weight to choose?
What is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket differs from a regular duvet in that it’s heavy. Their weight comes from either micro glass beads, steel shot beads, or plastic poly pellets. As a result of this weight, you feel a sensation known as deep touch pressure.
Deep touch pressure is the feeling you get from firm holding, cuddling, hugging, and squeezing that results in a calming effect. Weighted duvets employ deep touch pressure to put your body’s autonomic nervous system into “rest” mode. This reduces the symptoms of anxiety, such as quickening heart rate and breathing, providing an overall sense of calm. As a result of this deep pressure, people find that they sleep better, have less anxiety, and feel happier. Additionally, studies have shown that weighted blankets alleviate symptoms related to ADHD and autism.
How to Choose a Weight?
In order for deep pressure to take effect, you need to select the right weight. Unfortunately, finding the right weight is not as easy as it sounds and may require some trial and error. Currently, the market offers weights from 5 pounds to 35 pounds. Most manufacturers recommend that you should choose a weight that is 10 percent of your body weight. Therefore if you weigh 150 pounds, you should select a comforter that weighs 15 pounds. However, this is merely a suggestion, and other factors need to be considered when choosing the weight for your blanket.
Selecting a Weight for a Child
You should not use a weighted blanket on a child who is under a year old. Babies are unable to support the weight of a heavy duvet, and it’s, therefore, unsafe to give them one. After one year, you should consult your occupational therapist or doctor before using a weighted comforter on your child.
To determine what weight you should choose for a toddler (1 to 3 years old), calculate 10 percent of their body weight, then add or subtract one pound depending on what your child prefers. However, most weighted duvets are not available in anything less than 5 pounds; therefore, you should not use a blanket on a child who is less than 50 pounds. Furthermore, it’s crucial that you make sure that your child can easily get the comforter off of them. If your child isn’t strong enough to lift the blanket on their own, then you shouldn’t give them a weighted blanket.
When shopping for a blanket for a preschooler (3 to 5 years old), and children six years and older, the rule of 10 percent still applies. You then add or subtract up to two pounds depending on the strength and desired weight of the child. For instance, if your child weighs 70 pounds but isn’t very strong, then you should select a comforter that weighs 5 pounds.
Trial and error are key here, so make sure whatever manufacturer you buy from has a return or exchange policy. You should also be vigilant while the blanket is in use. Observe your child carefully to make sure they don’t experience any discomfort or breathing difficulties. It may take several blankets to find the right weight. Additionally, duvets come with different fabrics, and you’ll want to find the one that is most comfortable for your child. Weighted comforters only work if you use them regularly, so you’ll want to find one that your child likes to use.
Selecting a Weight for a Teen or Adult
When selecting a weight for a teen or adult, you use the ten percent rule and then add or subtract between two and three pounds. As teens and adults tend to be stronger than children, it’s safe to add more weight as there’s less danger that a person will become trapped. Choosing the final weight is a matter of preference. Try out a heavier versus a lighter blanket and take note of any discomfort, adjusting the weight or size accordingly.
Selecting a Weight for An Elderly Person
Elderly persons tend to have frailer bodies and may have physical conditions that could make a weighted blanket challenging to use. Therefore it’s important to consult an occupational therapist or doctor before giving this type of blanket to a senior.
Select a duvet that weighs 10 percent of their body weight and then add or subtract two pounds. Keep in mind that they need to be able to lift the blanket off themselves easily. Additionally, they should be able to breathe comfortably and be completely comfortable while using the comforter.
How Can You Tell If You Have the Right Weight
- A weighted blanket should provide a sense of calm and offer a restful night’s sleep. It should not be uncomfortable in any way. You should be able to breathe normally and not feel trapped or restricted.
- After using a weighted duvet for several weeks, you should notice an improvement in your sleep, stress, and anxiety.
Summary: General Guidelines for Selecting the Ideal Weight
- Select a blanket that weighs 10 percent of your body weight plus one to three pounds, depending on your strength and preference.
- Read a manufacturer’s return and exchange policies to make sure you can try out different weights if necessary.
- Test it out for at least a week. While testing it, take note of any unpleasantness such as difficulty moving under it, trouble breathing, restless sleep, or feeling trapped. If the blanket is uncomfortable in any way, try a lighter weight.
- If you’re going to share the blanket with a partner, make sure that its size and weight are sufficient and comfortable for both of you.
- If you’re buying a blanket for a child or older adult, or if you have medical or psychological issues, it’s essential to consult a therapist or doctor before using a weighted blanket.