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Weighted blankets have become hugely popular lately, as a therapeutic sleep and anxiety aid for children and adults with sleeping or anxiety issues.
But what should you look for in a weighted blanket, to make sure you get a blanket that’s right for you?
Choosing a weighted blanket isn’t difficult, but let’s look at 7 essential things to look out for…
1 – Is It The Right Weight?
It’s important the gentle pressure of a weighted blanket is in proportion to your size though. The ‘rule of thumb’ guide recommended by most occupational therapists and healthcare professionals is as follows:
- For children: 10% of a child’s body weight, plus 1 or 2 pounds
- For adults: 10% of the ideal body weight.
So for a 40 lb child, this would mean choosing a blanket that’s around 5-6 lbs.
Note: Never use a weighted blanket with a baby. They’re also not generally recommended for children under 3. If unsure, always consult an occupational therapist or doctor for advice.
2 – What Fabric Is It Made From?
The most common fabrics used in the manufacture of weighted blankets are cotton and Minky polyester. You’ll also find blankets made from flannel or cooling bamboo based fabrics.
Which one work best for you, or your child, will depend largely on your own individual needs. Whilst there’s never a definitive rule, here are some general pointers to keep in mind:
Cotton fabrics – breathable and natural, 100% cotton tends to work well for people who prefer natural fibres or less stimulating fabrics. Try one of these (use without Minky cover).
Minky fabrics – generally made from manmade polyester, Minky fabrics retain heat well, so tend to work well for people who like to feel warm and cosy or prefer sensory, tactile fabrics. These are often a top choice for sensory seeking kids. Try one of these.
Organic fabrics – a good way to limit the use of chemicals or GMOs and use production processes that seek to sustain health of soils, ecosystems and workers. Try one of these.
Whatever fabric you choose, it’s also a good idea to check it’s fully washable.
3 – Is The Stitching Secure (Say no to leaking beads!)
One of the most common reasons weighted blankets get returned is leaking beads. So make sure you choose a blanket that is well made and durable, with secure stitching. Reviews are a good way to check how happy customers are with any given blanket.
Alternatively, email a manufacturer direct and ask how they ensure beads or poly pellets don’t leak. It’s also a good idea to check return policies, so you know you’re covered in the event of a fault.
The good news is that as weighted blankets have become more popular, many manufacturers have improved blanket durability. But it’s best to do your research.
4 – Is It Going To Make You Hot?
Do you live in a warm, summer climate, suffer from night sweats or overheat easily when you sleep? Or perhaps you have a sensory avoiding child who gets warm easily and tends to throw covers off at night?
If so, a ‘cooling’ bamboo or COOLMAX weighted blanket could be the answer.
The key benefit of bamboo and COOLMAX fabrics is that they work to wick moisture away from the skin. They also allow moisture to evaporate into the air quicker than cotton, which means they don’t tend to stick to skin so easily.
Recommended blankets for hot sleepers:
5 – Does It Contain Glass Beads or Plastic Pellets?
Weighted blankets increasingly contain micro glass beads, as the weighted filling. Plastic poly pellets are the other most common filling. Micro glass beads have a texture similar to sand and poly pellets, (which are slightly larger), resemble tiny pebbles.
Plastic pellets or glass beads both work effectively and generally suit most people, but here are a couple of things you might want to consider:
- If you’re highly sensitive to touch or sound, plastic poly pellets may feel a little lumpy or sound rustly, when the blanket moves. Some poly pellets may also give off an initial odour (this usually goes with a good airing though).
- Micro glass beads are denser than poly pellets, so make for a thinner blanket. If you want a slightly bulkier blanket (some people prefer the more tactile nature of slightly larger poly pellets), you might want to consider poly pellets.
If you think you want to opt for plastic poly pellets, at the time of writing, Mosaic Weighted Blankets are a popular, reputable brand who use pellets in their blankets.
A few blankets are starting to use ‘nano’ ceramic beads, as the weighted filling.
6 – Is The Weight Evenly Distributed?
The weighted beads, or pellets, in weighted blankets are stitched into ‘pockets’ or quilted squares to help distribute the weight evenly across your body whilst you sleep.
Again check reviews to see what customers are saying about a particular weighted blanket. Uneven distribution of beads or ‘clumping’ beads is another common issue people raise with some weighted blankets.
Whilst beads or pellets are always going to happen to ‘some’ extent, due to natural movement, as a general rule of thumb, blankets with more pockets tend to distribute the weight of the beads more evenly.
7 – Is It Within Budget?
Lastly, is the weighted blanket within your budget? To some extent you get what you pay for. But this doesn’t mean you have to spend the earth.
For an affordable best seller that’s hard to beat, YnM offer a wide choice of blankets for children and adults.
For a more independent, handmade feel, try Mosaic Weighted Blankets. All Mosaic blankets are handmade in Texas and they’re hard to top for choice, craftmanship and quality.
Alternatively, these ‘Top Picks’ offer a choice of kid’s and adult blankets across a variety of budgets.
What To Look For In A Weighted Blanket: A Final Word
If you plan to try one and experience the therapeutic benefits yourself, loom to keep the tips above in mind so you know what to look for in a weighted blanket.
This will help ensure you get the blanket that’s right for you or you child.
It’s recommended you consult with your doctor, occupational therapist, or health care professional before purchasing a weighted blanket.