Is this weighted blanket thing just a fad?
A year ago, I had never seen or heard of a weighted blanket. I had never heard of a weighted blanket for anxiety or a weighted blanket for insomnia. Now it seems that I am seeing them nearly everywhere. You may have heard a friend or family member talk about them, or maybe you’ve seen a commercial or advertisement for one. Maybe you know someone who has given or received a weighted blanket as a holiday gift.
These blankets aren’t exactly new, they have been used for years to treat such problems as autism and anxiety. In 2017 a company called
Gravity introduced the weighted blanket to the public with its Gravity Blanket Kickstarter project that raised almost $5 million. Shortly after that, several other companies jumped into the market, and today you can even find these weighted blankets on the shelves of stores like Walmart and Target.
What is a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket is exactly what you would expect: a blanket filled with small weights that gently hugs the user. These small weights can be made out of any number of materials from plastic to glass to metal. They can even be filled with rice or sand. On the outside, the blanket looks just like a regular blanket that can come in many different materials and designs. The weight of the blanket all depends on the weight of the user. The recommended weight is roughly 10% of the body weight.
A weighted blanket is recommended to fit the size of the person as opposed to fitting the size of the bed. The aim is to apply gentle and even pressure across your body and this is best done with a blanket that is just big enough for the person using it. This also means that the blankets aren’t really designed to be shared, due to the differences in body weight. But weighted blankets do come in large sizes as well that will fit typical mattress sizes if that is what you want. Weighted blankets also come in child sizes, but it is not recommended to use with infants or young children who are unable to remove the blanket by themselves.
The design of a weighted blanket is also something that can vary. Some blankets are made as one complete unit. Others are made with an inner weighted piece and an outer cover. This could make the blanket easier to clean or even replace the outer cover completely if necessary.
What benefits do a weighted blanket provide?
The main selling point of a weighted blanket is to provide a calming effect through something called deep touch pressure therapy. This calming effect allows a user to relax and stave off insomnia.
Weighted blankets can benefit anyone looking for a more relaxing sleep, but they are especially helpful for restless sleepers or those who toss and turn. The weight of the blanket provides constant pressure that helps to keep them still throughout the night. This constant pressure lowers the human body’s production of cortisol, also known as our “stress hormone”, and also causes the body to release more serotonin, sometimes called our “happy hormone” because of its relation to happiness and well-being.
Weighted blankets have been shown to help individuals experiencing a number of different sleep issues. Some experts say you can use a weighted blanket for anxiety. Others say you can use a weighted blanket for insomnia, chronic pain or restless leg syndrome. Studies have shown that weighted blankets also have potential benefits for individuals with depression, autism, ADHD, along with several other diagnoses.
Deciding on which weighted blanket to choose?
When searching for your own weighted blanket, there are a few different things to think about. I would recommend deciding on a weight first. Pick a weight that is about 10 percent of your body weight. If you weigh around 150 pounds, choose a 15-pound blanket. If you weigh around 200 pounds, go with a 20-pound blanket. If you find yourself in the middle of two different blanket weights, round up to the heavier one. For children, you can use the same 10% estimate, but as mentioned earlier, make sure the child is strong enough to move the blanket off of them without help.
Just like regular blankets, weighted blankets come in all different types of materials so choose one that you like. Avoid types of material that might irritate you or bother you. There are also different fillings to decide on. Some weighted blankets use a softer filling that uses cotton mixed with beads while others use only beads.
So are weighted blankets just a fad?
I don’t think they are a fad. I use one and I find it very relaxing and I know many other people do as well. Not only does it help people sleep, but it has also been shown to help with different issues that affect sleep like anxiety, autism, ADHD and many others. I feel like these blankets are here to stay and I’m glad they are. Will you be trying one out?