Weighted blankets have become a popular new trend to help promote good sleep and wellbeing.
A weighted blanket weighs between 3kg to 9kg and is filled with an inner lining of tiny weighted balls, similar to a beanbag.
With a range of weighted products available, you should typically choose a weight that is 10 per cent to 15 per cent of your body weight.
With a heavy feel and a soft and cushy outside, the weighted blanket has become something of a trending product. They are currently available from Amazon and a select number of businesses, starting from around £100.
Based on a product review from Calming Blankets, we discuss the different advantages of weighted blankets.
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The Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 study found that 74 per cent of people felt so stressed at some point throughout the year that they were overwhelmed and unable to cope.
With so many people suffering from debilitating stress and anxiety, people are always looking for new products to assist, whether it is through apps, meditation, yoga or medication.
Interest in weighted blankets sparked after therapists found that their core principle of deep pressure stimulation was potentially beneficial for those with sensory disorders.
Although they have technically been around a while, the word ‘weighted blanket’ really emerged during the start of 2018.
An increasing amount of research into weighted blankets has been conducted over the past few years and there will no doubt be more studies into their potential benefits for things like sleep, stress and anxiety in the future.
Stress and Anxiety
Weighted blankets are thought to help alleviate stress and anxiety, as they provide what is known as proprioceptive input.
Proprioceptive input is the need our brains have to place our bodies in a certain space.
The brain is constantly firing signals around the body to find out where, and how, we are positioned within our environment. When feedback from these signals is insufficient, this confuses the brain, which can result in feelings of unease and stress.
A weighted blanket is thought to help provide this proprioceptive input, as it applies a certain pressure to the body, and therefore may help the brain to get information about the body’s position quicker.
All of this may help to prevent us from feeling uneasy and stressed, further helping us to relax.
There are some studies that relate the use of weighted blankets to help promote a better quality, and quantity, of sleep.
Some people report benefits from using a weighted blanket when it comes to sleep quality, but there needs to be more scientific research in this area before drawing any concrete conclusions.
The anecdotal reports appear to be backed up by an ADHD study, which found that the use of a weighted ball blanket appeared to reduce the amount of time it took for participants to fall asleep.
Whether treating poor sleep quality or insomnia, good sleep can help to boost energy levels throughout the day, increasing productivity and quality of life by making you feel more energised – ultimately encouraging a calmer, yet more energised, way of life.
Children with Autism
There are some anecdotal claims that weighted blankets may help calm children with autism.
However, one study in 2014 found that weighted blankets made no difference to the sleep of children with autism.
That being said, the same study found that during the course of the research, weighted blankets were favoured by both children and parents, and the blankets were well-tolerated.
There are a number of children-friendly weighted blankets available – and they are designed to be smaller and lighter so that the child can move and breathe easily.
You can also purchase accessories including weighted pillows and cuddly toys to go with the blanket too.
People with ADHD
There are very few studies that examine the use of weighted blankets for ADHD, but a similar study was performed using weighted vests by the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.
In this study, researchers explain that weighted vests have been used in ADHD therapy to improve attention and reduce hyperactive movements.
The study found promising results for participants who used the weighted vest during a continuous performance test. These participants experienced reductions in falling off task, leaving their seat, and fidgeting.
In addition, some research suggests that a weighted ball blanket also has benefits for sleep issues related to ADHD.
How Much Do Weighted Blankets Cost?
A weighted blanket from Calming Blankets costs £149.00 for an adult weighted blanket and £129.00 for a children’s weighted blanket.
From Gravity Blankets, the pricing ranges from £149.00 to £199.99 and Snuzi offers weighted blankets from £122.00.
The pricing does not differ if you purchase heavier blankets.
Where Can You Buy Them?
Weighted blankets are currently only available online from a select number of bespoke brands and you can also purchase them through Amazon.
The market in Australia is a lot more developed and products are available from stores and retailers, however, in the US and UK, it is only available online.
Are They Machine Washable?
Yes, both the cover and the inner blanket are machine-washable. You should separate the cover and blanket for washing on a gentle cycle in tepid or warm water.
Use only mild detergents and avoid using using fabric softeners.
Are Weighted Blankets Safe for Children?
Weighted blankets can be very beneficial for children. However, you should always speak to your doctor or a certified medical professional first before giving any child a weighted blanket.
Children should also use a lighter weighted blanket and not an adult blanket. There are plenty of children’s blankets available which are lighter in weight.
Weighted blankets are not recommended for babies because they could be too heavy for the children to breathe in.