How Heavy Should A Weighted Blanket Be?

Eurythmics released a song with the line, “sweet dreams are made of ‘this’” but what exactly is that ‘this’ that they were talking about? What is it really that sweet dreams are made out of?

Everybody loves a restful goodnight’s sleep but when you are stressed and anxious about school, work, family, personal issues, or the future in general, it gets immensely difficult to fall asleep. It’s hard to put yourself to sleep when you’re constantly battered by your thoughts and your anxiety levels are at an all-time high.

You can count all the sheep that you want, but only a weighted blanket is scientifically proven to lower your heart rate and induce an overall feeling of calmness that eventually helps you to doze off more quickly and more comfortably. If this isn’t what sweet dreams are made of, then we don’t know what is!

What is a weighted blanket? 

Weighted blankets also called “gravity blankets” are heavy blankets filled with plastic pellets or glass beads. They typically weigh between 5 pounds to 30 pounds. A weighted blanket releases a soothing effect that eases away stress and anxiety to help you sleep better at night. It comes in different sizes and varieties to perfectly suit the needs of each user.

How does a weighted blanket work? 

Studies from Harvard Medical School revealed that weighted blankets help people with sleep disorders, autism, and even individuals suffering from respiratory problems. Weighted blankets make use of what is called pressure therapy, a method long used by psychiatrists to treat kids with autism and behavioral disturbances.

By applying the deep pressure stimulation technique, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, thus slowing down your heart rate and your muscles making you feel less tense, more relaxed, and at ease all while wrapping you in soft sheets of tranquility and comfort, and gradually lulling you to sleep.

What are the benefits of a weighted blanket? 

In general, a weighted blanket enhances the overall sleep quality by minimizing the sleep-wake cycle especially among the elderly. Additionally, it also helps individuals to fall asleep faster as it recreates the snuggly feeling of being hugged. But apart from providing warmth and comfort, there are other advantages to wrapping yourself in a weighted blanket and some of those are worth mentioning such as the following:

  • It alleviates stress.
  • It lowers anxiety.
  • It improves your focus and sensory processing.
  • It helps treat insomnia and other sleeping disorders.
  • It relieves chronic pain.

Are weighted blankets good for kids? 

A weighted blanket can be therapeutic for your kids as much as it is for you. As a matter of fact, weighted blankets are used for occupational therapy for children with autism, which experts claim that it helps kids with ADHD or behavioral disturbances to boost their ability to focus on their sensory experiences and regulate their emotions and behavior.

But whether you have a kid with special needs or not, this is a product that can help them rest and slow down after a tiring day at school or at the park. For the mothers out there struggling with dealing with their kid’s tantrums, this is a tool that you can use to pacify your little one when they’re throwing a fit because it will significantly help them to gather their composure and settle down.

Thanks to the deep touch pressure technology of weighted blankets, it soothes the nerves and triggers the brain to release “feel-good” hormones known as serotonindopamine, and oxytocin which are the neurotransmitters fundamentally responsible for calming down, and promoting feelings of love and positive well-being.

Are weighted blankets dangerous for kids? 

One of the primary concerns of parents about weighted blankets is whether it is safe to use for children or if there are possible risks with using this product. Actually, there are very few risks linked to weighted blankets and they’re generally safe for children four years and above; however, misuse of weighted blankets can pose risks to children under two years old.

That said, it’s critical that you consider the bodyweight of your child when choosing a weighted blanket for them. Ideally, you should get a blanket that is 10% of your child’s total body weight then add one or two pounds to it depending on your preference. For instance, if your child weighs 20 pounds, a 3 to 4-pound blanket would suffice and anything more than that can lead to discomfort or suffocation which is why doctors discourage the use of weighted blankets for babies.

The key to fully optimizing its health benefits is to ensure that you get your kid the size and weight that are suitable for their height and bodyweight. If your child can’t move around the blanket on their own, then that’s a clear sign that they’re not yet fit to use this product. Find the right weight for your child so they don’t find it restrictive and too heavy. If you’re not sure, always seek the advice of your family doctor.

How heavy should a weighted blanket be? 

The general rule of thumb for determining the right weighted blanket for adults like you is similar to how it is calculated for children. The ideal weight for you should be 10% of your bodyweight.  

For example, if you’re 150 pounds, then get a bedspread that is 15 pounds. However, if you find yourself in between sizes, say, 156 pounds, should you get one that is 15 pounds, or should you size up and go for a 16-pound blanket? The answer is really up to you.

Go after whichever makes you sleep more peacefully at night. You can take either of the two depending on your preference but it is strongly recommended to size up and take into account your bodyweight first before buying yourself a weighted blanket.

Final Reminders 

As a final tip, don’t forget to check the sizes too. Make sure that the size can cover your entire body, or better yet, simply match the size of your blanket to the size of your bed for maximum comfort and fit. And in case you experienced discomfort or distress while using the product, directly seek the advice of a healthcare professional.

Nonetheless, the majority of the people deem the use of weighted blankets as beneficial and rewarding to getting an uninterrupted goodnight’s sleep. For one, a weighted blanket certainly makes a great cuddle buddy! So, cozy up and rest well and rest easy. Sweet dreams!

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Christine Mitchell

Christine is the chief editor and writer here at SleepGuided. She spends a quarter of her time researching the latest scientific research papers on sleep and the rest on writing articles & reviewing products for SleepGuided.