The popularity of weighted blankets has shot up in recent years, to say the least. With celebrity endowments left, right, and center, it’s hard to miss weighted blankets marketing, especially on social media. Time Magazine named weighted blankets as one of the “Best Inventions” in 2018. It’s a surprise to many folks when they hear that what they know to be a ‘recent’ invention has been around for decades.
Weighted blankets were first brought to market by Tina Champagne, who used them to treat patients suffering from physical trauma and mental illnesses. The use of this type of blanket has expanded to other areas, including helping manage and relieve pain, especially joint pain.
While the excitement for weighted blankets is only bubbling to mainstream culture now, they have been a mainstay in the occupational therapy realm for treating children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
And given that the CDC reports that approximately 1 in every 5 Americans suffers from chronic pain, such as headaches, back pain, and arthritis, the popularity of weighted blankets will only soar higher.
How Weighted Blankets Work
It is important to note that no studies have been conducted to investigate the efficacy of managing joint pains with weighted blankets, as pointed out by Healthline. However, other related studies indicate that weighted blankets can help relieve pain. For instance, an investigation between light pressure and deep pressure massages found that deep pressure massage can help relieve knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.
The underpinning concept of weight blankets is to replicate deep pressure therapy while the seniors use the blanket. The vast majority of weighted blankets are filled with weighting materials (glass beads, metal chains, poly pellets) to an overall weight of 10 to 25 pounds. The weight of the blanket provides a Deep Pressure Touch (DPT).
Similar to how bear hugs are relaxing, the weight of the blanket relaxes its user. It is thought DPT uses proprioceptive input to facilitate the release of serotonin (the happy hormone), which in turn stimulates the release of beneficial hormones such as melatonin (sleeping hormone) and oxytocin (a hormone reduces pain perception).
As such, weighted blankets work by rebalancing your hormone to a more natural and relaxed state, reducing joint pain among seniors.
Are There Any Noteworthy Cons?
For most people, the biggest concern they face is feeling discomfort when using weighted blankets. Moving from regular blankets to weighted blankets is not easy. The weight difference is a lot and takes some time to get used to.
There is also a tendency to get too hot and feel suffocated, especially during the summer nights. A weighted blanket will get hot much faster and retain a lot of the heat at night.
How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?
Experts advise any senior looking to purchase a weighted blanket should ensure that the weight of the blanket they buy has a maximum of 10% of their body weight. If they have serious medical conditions, they might want one even lighter.
The Best Weighted Blankets For Joint Pain
Bearaby Napsicle Weighted Blanket
This line of weighted blankets is best suited for seniors looking for a striking look. Not only are the weighted blankets cool looking, but they are also easy to spot with their bright colors. After all, the blankets are created as a collaboration between an ice-pop company – The Hyppo – and Bearaby.
Napsicle Weighted Blankets have come in 3 choices, each with a fruity theme. You can choose between:
- Watermelon Dreams,
- Mango Siesta, and
- Blueberry Nights.
Choose your flavor!
A notable feature of the Napsicle Weighted Blanket is the numerous air channels that dot the entire blanket. Every other inch has an air-channel that improves air circulation within the blanket as you use it. However, this makes for a poor warming blanket for the elderly in the middle of winter. Napsicle Weighted Blankets are, therefore, exclusively designed and optimized for summer use.
Minky Weighted Blankets by Mosaic
A Mosaic Weighted Blanket is made up of FDA-compliant, hypoallergenic, and BPA-free plastic microbeads neatly tucked inside a plush minky shell or pure cotton shell made of 100% polyester. The hand-quilted squares on the blanket keep the microbeads in place so that the blanket can distribute its weight evenly.
Mosaic Weighted Blankets are ideal for those who have health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), leg and joint pain, and restless leg syndrome. They work to keep your mind and body calm as you prepare to sleep.
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.
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.
Gravity Blankets are a line of weighted blankets that occupy the premium segment. They are designed and made to exude premium comfort and feel while allowing users to accrue all the benefits expected of a weighted blanket. For utmost comfort, the blanket has a luxurious micro-fleece duvet cover. Additionally, the machine-washable cover is easy to remove and clean.
The Gravity line of weighted blankets comes in a selection of 3 neutral colors – Navy, White, and Grey. As such, the blankets can suit and complement any design décor you might have in your bedroom or living (when you sleep on your couch). Precise gridded stitching is used to ensure the beads remain uniformly distributed in the blanket.
Unlike many other weighted blankets on the market, you do not have to deal with the stress of the glass beads bunching up or pooling in one corner or section of the blanket.
SensaCalm Custom Weighted Blankets
Made from 100% cotton, SensaCalm Custom Weighted Blankets ensure three things: breathability, comfort, and durability. It’s up to you to decide the weight of the blanket and its size. This makes sure that you sleep comfortably in your bed for hours.
Those who have anxiety or twist and turn frequently during their sleep should get this blanket. Apart from customized versions, you also get five sizes, including mini, medium, large, full, and queen.
The blankets consist of polypropylene pellets that provide the weight. Sewn in small squares, these pellets distribute the weight evenly. Polypropylene is not only hypoallergenic but also dries quickly when you machine-wash your blanket.
Casper Weighted Blankets are designed with flexibility in mind. They are manufactured in throw-size, allowing users to use them in their bed or couch with utmost comfort.
Crucially, Casper produces weighted blankets that have ample airflow and a unique hugging design. The enhanced airflow ensures users benefit from all the strengths of using a weighted blanket while keeping them cool, especially in those hot summer months.
Casper weighted blankets have quilted channels that support the microbead fill well distributed. This design choice improves the user experience that users accrue from the blankets.
Finally, consumers have a choice between three weight chooses. You can choose between 10lb, 15lb, and 20lb. As such, trying to get a blanket whose weight is as close to 10% of your body weight is relatively straightforward.
This blanket is notable for having a functional and straightforward design. It is made of 100% cotton weighted blanket, ensuring every corner of it is breathable while keeping users warm.
Notably, the duvet cover has a zippered nylon cover with exceptional cooling properties. This duvet cover characteristic, in turn, helps to release excess heat from the blanket. Seniors can, therefore, use the blanket in the middle of summer just as they would use the blankets the whole duration of the winter season.
The weighted fill is evenly distributed across the blanket. To achieve an even weight distribution, the blanket has small pockets filled with fine glass beads. Crucially, the glass bead-filled pockets allow the blanket to contour to your body for a more relaxing night’s sleep.
And with 7-layers of durable materials and Duralast fiber stitching, you can rest assured your blanket will last long.
Another weighted blanket made of 100% cotton, the AN Cooling Weighted Blankets, is a 15lbs weighted blanket perfect for seniors weighing between 140 and 160 lbs.
It is manufactured from Oeko-Tex certified cotton, ensuring the blanket is quality hypo allergic cotton. Additionally, it uses non-toxic glass beads. Everything is held together within 7 layers, reducing the chances of glass beads leaking out of the blanket.
The blanket’s soft and breathable structure has ample air channels to exhaust excess hot air while still keeping you appropriately warm. Consequently, seniors can comfortably use this blanket to enjoy the superb comfort it offers.
This list is comprehensive and meets the needs of any senior. Whether you want a premium weighted blanket, a conspicuous blanket that will brighten up your day, or you need a comfortable nondescript blanket, we have you covered. Just pick a make and model from the above list to suit your needs, style, and décor.