I remember when I first heard of weighted blankets.
The first time was in some mental health groups I was in.
They were raving about the relief they found. Every time someone asked what to do when they were all touched out for the day, this was the answer.
You know the feeling when everything is too loud, the world is too bright, and every single thing happening around you hurts you. The sound of your child crying, the smell of the eggs burning on the stove. They all make you physically hurt. That's touched out.
Enter: Weighted Blankets. They felt like a hug, while also centering you. They truly do feel like magic.
Then there were the mom groups.
They were all over. A lot of parents found success with these blankets when their child would suffer from anxiety, overwhelm, or really anything else. It seems like weighted blankets were the new essential oil.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not insulting either. I LOVE essential oils, and more importantly for this conversation . . . I LOVE weighted blankets.
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What is a Weighted Blanket Used For?
The first one in our family to get one was my then four-year-old son.
I thought it would help him with all of the stress from being a military kid, and the sensory overload of being one of three.
The groups I was part of on Facebook always gave glowing reviews, so I decided to try it out.
It's supposed to be like a big hug, which can be exactly what some kids need, my child included.
We have since purchased one for my now three-year-old, and myself.
The main success we have seen with these is our children stay in bed longer in the morning, and they can calm down easier. My older son even calls it his “calm down blanket”, and will crawl underneath it when he's having an especially hard day, or when he wants to be alone.
How Does it Work?
Why should we aim for a big hug? It releases the love hormone oxytocin, which is the best for feeling warm and fuzzy and loved.
Our bodies release it when we are hugged, feel loved, or pet a dog.
It's the same reason we swaddle babies.
Here is a study about the effects of deep touch pressure (which is what a weighted blanket is) on anxiety. It's expressed that these blankets can offer the user feelings of safety, relaxation, and comfort.
Can a Weighted Blanket Be Too Heavy?
The weight you want to get or your weighted blanket depends on how much you weigh. You don't want one too heavy or too light, you want just right.
No, your blanket weight has nothing to do with how much you can bench at the gym.
Follow the 10% rule to get the best blanket for you (an adult):
|Body Weight (lbs)||Blanket Weight (lbs)|
This table will help you get an idea of what to buy, but keep in mind you might find you want a lighter blanket.
You know your body best, so if it doesn't feel right, return it and get a different size.
Sleep Apnea and weighted blankets don't mix. Do not buy or use a weighted blanket with sleep apnea, you don't want anything else to impede on your breathing.
Weighted Blankets for Children
These wonderous blankets are not recommended for children under 2. So if you're looking for something like this before age two, I recommend a swaddling blanket.
My kid is too old for a swaddling blanket, right? Well, if they're under two, they might not be. See my trick for getting my 18-month-old to swaddle every night.
Our first experience with weighted blankets was for my then four-year-old son.
I wanted him to sleep better and have a way to calm himself down.
We have had great success, and I think if you're struggling and getting overwhelmed every morning when your kid comes in at 4 am, you're ready to try anything, this is worth trying. Without a doubt.
Why Would a Child Use a Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets have been a staple in occupational therapists' recommendations for years, but it's only recently we have seen them go more mainstream for the neuro-typical child.
Some parents give one to their child for better sleep, others try it for better focus in the classroom, but the more popular they become, the more they're used for winding down after the normal day to day stress.
Do They Help?
It depends on the child.
Each of my three children has seen success with calming down with our weighted blankets, and I've seen countless posts on Facebook touting their successes.
Interestingly, I haven't seen many parents who don't find success. Normally with a product like this, you'll see people lining up to say why this doesn't work for them, but I just haven't seen that in my studies.
There are things you should take into consideration when you're ready to buy.
Things to Consider When Buying a Weighted Blanket for a Child
Children are so picky. There are a few things you'll want to take into account for them.
There are a few different types:
- Pocket – The inside of the blanket is divided into squares with each square having a set amount of weight in it. Usually filled with beads.
- Infused – There is a separate layer of weight between two sheets of cloth. The weight is the most even in these blankets, but they're more expensive.
- Do It Yourself– More power to you if you want to or are able to do this. I left a link for you to check one out.
Of course, something else to think about with children is the feel. Do they like soft, Minky blankets? Or cotton? And what print! My youngest has dinosaurs, and my older son has a space print.
This is why I love Amazon, you can find anything! Here are a few:
How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be For a Toddler?
Similar to the adult blankets, you'll want to get one about ten percent of their weight.
3-6-year-olds average about 30-50 pounds, so something up to five pounds would be great or them.
Remember the 10% rule. If you're in between sizes, I always go smaller for children.
What Age is Appropriate?
Children should not use a weighted blanket unless they are over the age of two.
Why Do Adults Use Weighted Blankets?
Have you ever been overwhelmed? Needed relief from the stress? This is the answer you're looking for.
I'm currently sitting under my nice weighted blanket right now. We have it downstairs in the living room, so anyone who needs it can use it.
On those especially hard days when you just need a hug, this is what you need.
Why Do They Help With Anxiety?
Deep Pressure Therapy. It's why we swaddle babies, pay for massages, and love cuddles.
It's not always going to work for everyone, but it is a tool you can put in your anxiety toolbox.
How Do I Choose a Weighted Blanket
This is my favorite part. Shopping!
What Weight Should I Get?
Of course, you'll have to get the weight that's right for you. There is a handy table higher up in this post with the answer for you. Ideally, it's 10% or your body weight.
Glass Beads vs. Plastic Pellets
Most blankets are weighted by one of the two. It's really about personal preference.
Glass beads are much smaller, about the size and grit of sand, so you won't have shards of glass coming through your blanket or anything. The beads are a bit heavier than the plastic pellets, so if a smaller blanket it was you want to go for glass.
Plastic pellets are cheaper to manufacture, so you'll be able to afford one even if you're financially strapped.
Is It Washable?
When your blanket is over ten pounds you can't easily wash it in your household washing machine.
Like an oversized comforter, you'll want to get a cover to be able to wash it easier. There are lots available with Minky covers.
How Big Should It Be?
If you plan to sleep under it, you will want it to be smaller than your bed. If you have a queen-sized bed and get a queen-sized weighted blanket, it will likely fall off the side of the bed and not be useful to you.
Have a queen-sized bed? Get a twin-sized blanket.