To say weighted blankets have become a popular item to own would be an understatement.
Weighted blankets have become as ubiquitous as traditional blankets. Most of us have seen an online ad for weighted blankets at some point. Your favorite celebrity might have endorsed a brand in the segment. In a nutshell, it is hard to have missed the craze of weighted blankets.
While some use weighted blankets to follow a pop-culture/wellness trend, many seniors and older adults use them to better their health and ultimately improve their lives.
Weighted Blankets Overview
Weighted blankets are blankets filled with a weighty material such as plastic pellets, glass beads, or even ball bearings. The filling materials are distributed across the blanket and held in place to avoid inadvertent shifts while you cover yourself.
Initially, therapists used weighted blankets as a treatment tool for children suffering from anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, and Sensory Processing Disorder. Occupational therapists such as Tina Champagne have used weighted blankets as early as the late 1990s as a treatment tool.
This type of blanket was mainly used to supplement pharmaceutical drugs. In some instances, they were used as a med-free treatment option for children suffering the mental ailments mentioned above.
In recent years, however, weighted blankets have permeated the mass market. Many people use weighted blankets to enhance their sleep quality, relax better while asleep, and crucially combat anxiety. Many users have reported enjoying deeper sleep, which can reduce anxiety levels.
Using Weighted Blankets For Anxiety – Why And How They Help
It is essential to note in-depth systematic scientific studies into the use and benefits of weighted blankets for adults with anxiety are somewhat lacking. Occupational therapists have prescribed the use of gravity blankets for decades now based on anecdotal evidence they work. However, we are yet to attain an intricate understanding of how these blankets work.
The limited studies that have been done indicate there are benefits to using weighted blankets. For instance, a 32-person study published in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health showed that 63% of participants experienced decreased anxiety when they started to use gravity blankets.
Additionally, the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorder published a study that indicated that using weighted blankets make it easier to fall asleep, increased users sleep time and decreased nighttime movement.
It is thought that weighted blankets work due to two effects it produces – grounding effect and Deep Pressure Touch (DPT). Grounding (also known as earthing) reduces cortisol production, the hormone responsible for the occurrence of stress. It is also closely associated with the occurrence of anxiety.
On the other hand, DPT is believed to yield tactile and proprioceptive input in the user’s body. Consequently, they are better placed to modulate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and parasympathetic nervous systems (PSNS). The application of DPT balances the system, which, in turn, calms you (Holtz-Yotz 1991 & Grandin 1992, McClure).
It is common knowledge that light touch tends to alert and arouse someone while deep squeezes or presses tend to calm you. Weighted blankets use proprioceptive feedback to induce a sense of calm and help elders overcome anxiety.
The Benefits Of A Weighted Blanket
Combining the grounding/earthing effect and the deep pressure touch of weighted blankets can help relieve anxiety. As such, it is one of the best ways of assisting anxiety-stricken seniors in dealing with anxiety. Weighted blankets can help users avoid reliance on pharmaceutical drugs.
Aside from helping elders deal with and overcome anxiety, weighted blankets are also used to help users deal with a wide variety of other conditions. For instance, a considerable number of elders use gravity blankets to help ease their joint pain. As such, not only do you benefit from anxiety relief, but you also experience a wide variety of complimentary benefits.
Weighted Blanket Safety
The most important safety consideration is to ensure the weighted blanket users can move and breathe freely. To this end, ensure you purchase a blanket of an appropriate weight. Additionally, the user should not have any underlying health conditions such as asthma or obstructive sleep apnea.
Caregivers should also ensure weighted blanket users are not claustrophobic. There is a risk of exacerbating the anxiety rather than treating it when a claustrophobic patient uses a weighted blanket.
How To Choose The Best Weighted Blankets
Aside from considering the obvious factors (such as the reviews a product gets and its price tag), there are various must-consider factors for choosing a weighted blanket.
The essential features to look out for include:
Understand The Perfect Weight Of The Blanket To Choose
Manufacturers usually recommend keeping the weighted blanket’s weight at about 10% of the user’s weight. With this in mind, if you weigh 150 lbs., the blanket’s ideal weight is about 15 lbs. However, you do have lee-way when deciding the weight of the blanket. You can choose a blanket that is 7% to 12% of the user’s body weight.
There are exceptions to the above recommendations. Seniors with mobility issues will be best served by choosing a lighter blanket. Alternatively, if you cannot move freely beneath the blanket, consider using a smaller blanket.
Finally, if you suffer from any chronic health conditions, poor blood circulation, poor respiration, or you have temperature regulation issues, do not use a weighted blanket without your doctor’s input.
Select The Size Of The Blanket
Aside from the blanket’s weight, you should also be aware that the blanket’s size will significantly influence your user experience. An oversized blanket that results in a sizable part of the blanket hanging off the bed will most likely cause it to fall off as you sleep.
Additionally, the larger surface area of a large blanket reduces the overall pressure exacted on your body. Ideally, you should choose a blanket that fits your bed or an individual-sized blanket.
Consider The Fiber Composition Of The Fabric
The choice of fabric fiber depends on your particular preference. Some older adults love the warmth of synthetic fabrics such as polyester. In fact, most seniors prefer a warm blanket that will keep the cold away.
On the other hand, some seniors love to keep cool. For this category of weighted blanket users, natural fibers with excellent breathability properties are the right choice. For instance, bamboo fabric and 100% cotton fabric are breathable, keeping the user warm. You can learn more about cooling weighted blankets for seniors here.
Recommended Weighted Blankets For Anxiety
While the market is awash with different makes and models of weighted blankets, not all will suit seniors. Below is the list of the best offerings for older adults. Choose the most suitable cloak for your specific needs.
Bearaby Napper Weighted Blanket
Undoubtedly, weighted blankets are more functional than lookers. However, this does not mean manufacturers should not try to balance between aesthetics functionality. Luckily, Bearaby strives to make weighted blankets that do not look bland. Their line of Napper Blankets is the perfect example of striking a balance between looks and functionality.
The open-netting knit design of the blankets is interesting. Furthermore, the design combines with eye-catching color hues, creating an aesthetically pleasing weighted blanket. The design and the use of high-quality breathable cotton also promote excellent airflow, helping users stay cool while sleeping.
Another interesting design choice that Bearaby is the lack of weight fillers. Unlike other weighted blankets that use artificial fillers to add weight to the structure, Napper Blankets use the fabric materials (which is 100% organic cotton) to pressure users. Consequently, the Bearaby Napper Blankets can boast of superior weight distribution.
Bearaby Napper Blankets are a good choice for individuals looking for a premium weight blanket for alleviating anxiety. The ultra-soft cotton and impeccable craftsmanship that goes into knitting the blankets yield a luxurious feel.
SensaCalm Custom Weighted Blankets
If you are struggling to find the perfect weighted blanket, why not get a custom one made?
Thanks to SensaCalm, you get to choose all the small details. For example, you pick the fabric, the size, and even if you want polyfil to be used, which influences how thick the weighted blanket is going to be. You can even personalize the blanket via monogramming and you can add pillowcases to your order if you want everything on the bed to match.
The best part is how easy SensaCalm makes the process of designing a custom weighted blanket. And to make things super-easy, they have a buying guide that provides very useful tips before you make any final decisions.
Minky Weighted Blankets by Mosaic
The Mosaic Weighted Blanket provides a body-hugging feeling as soon as you go under it. According to the manufacturers, the technology is meant to offer a soothing feeling, almost as if someone is cradling you gently and trying to put you to sleep.
People with anxiety often need to calm their minds down and this blanket does just that. It can elevate anxiety by making you fall asleep faster than you normally do. Those who have already tried and tested this blanket say that you can expect to fall asleep within minutes.
Your body starts relaxing simultaneously with your mind once you start using this blanket.
Weighted Idea’s Cool Weighted Blanket is designed for use by all age groups, including older adults and the elderly. Designed and manufactured with comfort in mind, it features super soft and cozy fabric with ample breathability.
Consequently, you can use the blanket all-year-round without compromises in comfort levels. On the styling front, it comes in a variety of colors and styles that match and complement your bedroom décor. That makes it one of the best cooling weighted blankets for anxiety.
The Cool Weighted Blanket is perfect for the adults looking for an affordable yet effective weighted blanket to help them fall asleep faster.
As its name suggests, the WONAP Weighted Blanket’s fabric is made using 100% breathable natural bamboo fabric, soft to the touch and cooling when you cover yourself. The breathable fabric allows seniors to cover themselves with the blanket all year round, whether during summer or winter. The anxiety-combating blanket has hypo-allergic, odorless, and non-toxic glass beads that even distrusted around the blanket for cooling and for inducing pressure.
The weighting material is held in place by small compartments made using ultra-soft cotton material. Additionally, the chambers evenly distribute pressure over their body. Compartmenting the glass beads also has the benefit of preventing movement, which can cause disturbing noise. WONAP has manufactured this machine-washable blanket to be durable.
This is one of the best weighted blankets for individuals looking to choose a precise weight. With an expansive weight range, you can easily find the best weighted blanket for seniors who need a specific blanket weight.
With weighted blankets being popular in the wellness improvement niche’s sleeping gear category, there are many makes and models to choose from. As such, when a weighted blanket model accrues tens of thousands in sales, it indicates that the blanket is doing something right. YnM Weighted Blanket is one of the most popular weighted blankets on Amazon.
The multilayered blanket features 7 unique layers that combine to achieve exceptional performance. The structure of the blanket is capable of getting rid of excess heat while keeping you comfortable. Additionally, its glass beads are held in place by small pockets, ensuring the blanket has an even weight distribution.
Finally, you can customize the blanket with a cover that suits your style and preference. YnM Weighted Blanket buyers have the choice between cooling bamboo fabric, cotton duvet cover, and cozy Minky duvet cover. All covers are machine washable.
If it is luxury you are after, look no further than the Layla Weighted blanket. The double-sized blanket features a luxurious feel and high-quality manufacturing. One side of the blanket features plush, soft faux mink fur fabric. The other side is manufactured using ultra soft 100% cotton. These materials combine to form a blanket that is not only washable but incredibly functional.
Another notable feature is the hexagonal stitched patterns that hold the glass bead fill in place. The hexagonal patterns ensure the weight fillings are evenly distributed across the entire blanket surface. Finally, the glass beads are sewn between 2 layers of poly-fill batting that keeps the blanket quiet.
The only gremlin we have about this line of blankets is the limited size available. That being said, if you can make do with a Twin, Queen, and King sized blanket, The Layla blankets are well worth a try.
Comfort and quality are the underpinning characteristics of this weighted blanket. The Rocabi Luxury Weighted Blanket is made using quality materials that include 100% organic cotton in the Inner Quilt. The inner quilt is breathable, and it is filled with ample glass beads that help the elderly relax and combat anxiety. Its removable cover has textured dots that provide sensory feedback.
The glass beads are held in place by double-stitched 4.7″ pockets that evenly distribute weight while preventing the beads from clumping or leaking. It is only available in Queen and King Sizes.
With an increasing number of weighted blanket users acknowledging the benefits of this type of blanket, it might time for you to invest in one. We have listed some of the best weighted blankets for adults on the market.
Whether you are looking for a premium blanket to gift an elderly loved one, or you want to purchase a practical weighted blanket for your personal use, any one of the listed items will be an excellent purchase.