Calm and relaxed: How to choose your weighted blanket

10 March 2024

Some days are just tough. You’re restless and frazzled, and the world is too much. For some of us, that’s now and then. For others, this is the usual. We can’t avoid stress and anxiety has become the most commonly experienced mental health issue. Finding solace in everyday comforts has become essential.

Weighted blankets, a therapeutic marvel that has gained immense popularity in recent years, offer a cocoon of tranquility and relaxation. So, how do you know if you need one, and then, how do you pick the best one?

Join us for a comprehensive look at weighted blankets, delving into their history, and factors to consider when purchasing one, and shedding light on the diverse group of individuals who may benefit from these cozy companions.

History

The concept of weighted blankets emerged in the late 1990s when occupational therapists introduced them as part of the sensory integration therapy toolkit. This therapy is based on the idea that gentle pressure on the body can trigger the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, promoting a feeling of well-being.

From their original use with individuals with sensory processing disorders, autism, other neurodiverse conditions, and anxiety, weighted blankets have become a mainstream solution for anyone seeking relaxation and better sleep.

It is now common to find weighted blankets in all sorts of environments from bedrooms to classrooms and aged care facilities.

Benefits

Often described as the feeling of a great, big hug, people find that weighted blankets help with:

  • Sleep: getting to sleep, staying asleep, and feeling rested after sleep make the blankets worth their weight in gold.
  • Calmness: reducing the busyness or chaos and calming to mind and body, weighted blankets help to ease anxiety and allow you to relax.
  • Sensory integration: the deep pressure helps your mind organise input and provides the input craved.

Which blanket is for you?

Equip yourself to select the blanket that suits your needs by getting familiar with the different features of weighted blankets. Most retailers will provide all the information that you need to make the perfect choice easy.

Here are the make-or-break features that you need to be aware of.

Weight

Ranging from 3lb (1.5kg) up to 30lb (14kg), most manufacturers recommend that you select a blanket that is ~10% of your body weight. If buying for a couple, 7% of combined body weight is the rule of thumb.

Most retailers will have a guide.

Size

Size does count, and bigger is not always better. A blanket that fits nearly across the top of the bed without hanging over the sides is recommended. An overhanging blanket is going to keep sliding off the bed!

Be aware of this as an expectation of a duvet size blanket is one of the more common complaints that retailers deal with.

Materials

From luxe to functional – the choice is yours! How snuggly do you like to feel? Are synthetics a problem? Is regular washing a priority?

Blankets are typically made up of 5 – 7 layers and these create the weight and the feel of your blanket.

Consider the outer fabric based on your personal preferences and any potential allergies. Cotton is a breathable and hypoallergenic option, while fleece provides a soft and cozy feel. Minky fabrics continue to be super-popular. Bamboo is cool to touch and, like cotton, feels more breathable.

Usually, the weight of the blanket is down to a layer of beads, glass, ceramic, or wheat are common. They’re held in place between layers of padding and then stitched into compartments to prevent bunching. Knitted blankets are the exception and are made of one layer!

Care and cleaning

This is the big one for me. Unlike a lot of bedding, weighted blanket care comes down to a combination of materials, weight, and construction.

Blankets are either spot clean, hand wash, or machine wash. Heavier machine-wash blankets usually need to be washed in commercial machines. Some can be tumble-dried.

Many blankets have a cover (supplied or optional) and this can be the perfect solution. Light, machine washable, and usually okay to tumble dry, this can make life easy.

Conclusion

In the quest for enhanced well-being and relaxation, weighted blankets have emerged as a comforting ally. Whether you seek relief from anxiety, better sleep, or simply a cozy escape from the stresses of daily life, a well-chosen weighted blanket can be a transformative addition to your routine.

Relax into the soothing embrace of a weighted blanket and unlock a world of comfort and tranquility. Just like a big hug ……

Calm a Calm
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