You are exercising, watching your coffee intake and doing relaxation exercises… but your anxiety and stress linger after bedtime?
Maybe it's time to try weighted blankets. Also known as "heavy blankets", they are known for their calming properties.
In this article, Polysleep, the memory foam mattress specialist, tells you all about these famous weighted blankets and their benefits as well as helping you to choose and maintain your own.
What is a weighted blanket?
A "weighted blanket" is exactly what it sounds like: they are heavier-than-normal blankets. An occupational therapist had the idea to create this type of blanket in 1999 for patients with physical and psychological traumas.
The weighted blankets use a special padding that incorporates glass beads evenly distributed over the surface of the blanket to increase its weight in a uniform manner.
The benefits of these very special blankets soon grew beyond the field of medicine, and they became very popular with the general public.
Weighted Blankets: The Benefits
They make you feel safe
With their added weight, these blankets weigh you down. However, if you choose yours properly, it will still allow enough freedom of movement.
The extra weight surrounding you results in a feeling of protection. The blanket can feel like a layer that hugs your body.
In addition, this type of cover is usually made of very soft outer materials, which further amplifies this feeling of comfort. These blankets will limit your movements with their added weight, so you feel like you're being held in a big comforting hug!
Weighted blankets improve sleep and reduce anxiety/stress
The benefit of these blankets goes beyond the subjective feelings of safety and comfort. They employ "Deep Pressure Touch" (DPT) via their increased weight.
This scientifically-proven method causes your body to secrete serotonin, endorphins and melatonin, all of which are involved in the regulation of sleep.
Deep pressure stimulation also reduces cortisol levels, which control how we react to stress while promoting the production of oxytocin. Oxytocin, in turn, reduces blood pressure and heart rate and acts as a relaxant.
As a result, weighted blankets, also known as "anxiety blankets" or "heavy blankets", improve sleep while reducing your stress and anxiety levels!
Weighted blankets help relieve major medical conditions.
But the benefits of these blankets go much further. In fact, they can have a major positive impact on medical conditions, some of which are incurable, like autism.
According to Harvard, one of the methods that have accumulated the most data on their positive impact on patients with autism is massage, and more broadly, therapies involving touch.
These therapies, which include DTP, have been shown to decrease cortisol and increase serotonin and dopamine levels in neurotransmitters. As these neurotransmitters have a major influence in the regulation of mood, it is clear that weighted blankets allow for better management of the symptoms of this condition in people with autism.
Weighted blankets are also very effective in calming irritated or overly sensitive nerves, as well as unpleasant sensations.
They are therefore particularly suited for people affected by restless legs syndrome, as well as for individuals suffering from fibromyalgia. In the latter case, they help prevent the daily bouts of pain that this condition causes. They do so by soothing their nerve fibres which can be extremely sensitive.
Who can enjoy the benefits of a weighted blanket?
Given the benefits of weighted blankets outlined above, they can help:
Individuals with temporary sleep disorders.
Individuals with a specific nervous condition, curable or not (generalized anxiety syndrome, restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia).
People with a condition related to the autism spectrum.
More broadly, anyone wishing to improve the quality of their sleep.
Are there any precautions to take into account when using them?
Weighted blankets should be used with full knowledge of the facts.
For example, even if they can be used with a child, the child must be at least 3 years old. If they are younger, the child runs the risk of choking because of the weight of the blanket.
The child must also weigh 20 kg or more. Even in this case, it is strongly suggested that they are only used under parental supervision. Parents should also make sure that the child can move easily under the weighted blanket.
More generally, whether for a child or an adult, it is best to consult a doctor before using this product in case of:
Respiratory or blood circulation problems.
Body-temperature regulation problems.
How to choose a heavy blanket?
Weighted blankets: choosing a weight according to your body weight
Currently, the weighted-blanket market has more than enough options for everyone. 7 pounds, 10 pounds, 12 pounds, 15 pounds or even 20 pounds: the choices available are almost limitless! So how can you make the right choice?
It’s easy! Simply follow the rule below:
"The weight of your weighted blanket should be between 5 and 10% of your own bodyweight".
As you can see, it’s not too complicated!
How to match your weight to the ideal weighted blanket
You want to follow the rule but aren’t the best at math? We got you covered! Here are some weight ranges to help you choose the ideal weight for your future heavy blanket.
Ideal weight of the heavy blanket (lbs)
Sleeper’s Weight (lbs)
How to choose the size of your weighted blanket?
In addition to its weight, you will also need to choose the right size for your blanket.
The first factor to take into account is the size of your bed. Is it a Twin bed? Queen? King? Another size?
The second factor will be the number of sleepers in the bed. Depending on whether you sleep alone in your bed or as a couple, the ideal dimensions will change. If you sleep with someone, you will have to choose one size larger than you would if you were sleeping alone.
Your preferences are important too
With all these rules, you may feel like you don’t get to choose for yourself. But don’t worry, your personal preferences are just as important!
For example, if you really like to be hugged tightly, a heavier blanket may be better for you. The opposite is also true: if you want to be weighted down just a little but still have freedom of movement, a lighter blanket may be more appropriate.
The most important thing is that you don't feel like you're trapped by the weight of your heavy blanket!
What is the composition of the ideal weighted blanket?
We’ve gone over their size and weight, but what are these special heavy blankets actually made of? Good question!
First of all, let’s talk about the filling. The answer here is quite simple: it is often composed of glass beads, which are hermetically compartmentalized along the entire surface of the blanket, resulting in a balanced weight distribution.
As for the outer layer, there are two main types of fabric: cotton or minky fabric, which is entirely synthetic (100% polyester).
Some comforters also use jerseys. Note that some are outfitted with a removable layer for unparalleled comfort.
Maintaining your weighted blanket
If you've decided to buy a weighted blanket and want to know how to wash it before using it, or if you've just bought one and are thinking about long-term maintenance, there's only one thing to say: you need to clean it properly if you want to maintain its benefits.
The best way to do this is to refer to the manufacturer's instructions and follow them carefully. That way, you can rest assured that your blanket will always be in good shape.
However, as a general rule, washing it at low temperature (cold water) with a mild detergent will normally allow you to maintain its properties without any problems.
Learn more: Blanket vs Duvet vs Comforter
Conclusion: choose a weighted blanket to experience better nights!
In short, weighted blankets are an ideal tool for improving the quality of your sleep, which will allow you to better recover and reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
We recommend choosing its weight depending on your own weight. However, be sure to take your preferences into consideration as well.
Once you've made your decision, you won't regret the investment! However, if you want to make sure that its benefits will persist over time, you will have to maintain it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
If, on the contrary, you find that your new blanket does not improve the quality of your sleep, your mattress may be the problem. If it no longer supports you properly, it may need to be changed.
Don’t worry, nothing could be easier: simply browse our memory foam mattress inventory and choose the product that suits your needs. All you have to do is order your foam mattress online and we will deliver it directly to your home!
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