Weighted Blankets Vs Heated Blankets – Which One Is Best For A Great Night’s Sleep?

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Want to start sleeping better and looking closely at your bedding choices? This guide compares weighted blankets and heated blankets to help you make a smart decision.

senior woman sleeping peacefully under her blankets
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Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

Celebrated actress of the 1930s, Tallulah Bankhead once said that nobody could be exactly like her. Now, a quote on individualism attributed to a star of the Silver Screen may be an odd way of starting off a discussion of which is best for a good night’s sleep – heated or weighted blankets, but it actually gets the heart of the matter.

Your needs as far as the correct type of blanket depend entirely on your individual sleep requirements. It’s a deeply personal choice. If you are tossing and turning during the course of the night and struggling to keep warm then a heated blanket might be the ideal solution.

A weighted blanket provides feelings of reassurance and relaxation and helps those who need to find that perfect haven of comfort and feeling of safety during the course of the night. These blankets have also shown to help autism, ADHD, and even allow Alzheimer’s patients to sleep better and awake feeling refreshed.

In order to help you make the right decision when it comes to the bedtime covering that is right for you let’s take a closer look at these two types of blankets.

best electric blanket throws
Electric blankets should be soft, comfortable, easy to care for, and have safety functions like temperature controls and automatic shut off.

What Should You Be Looking For in a Heated Blanket?

There is of course the always popular electric blanket. However, these have become even more popular in recent years because of advances in technology, control, and the quality of the fabrics being used in their manufacture.

Outer Fabric. Polyester is still the most popular of the fabrics used in heated blankets. It is highly flame resistant – and is fully washable. For those who want to experience the ultimate in comfort when using a heated blanket, there are high-quality cotton options now available.

Thickness and Fill. Thickness is also a matter of personal preference – and will affect the cost of the blanket. The thicker the blanket the less likely it is that the sleeper will feel the electric coils that are hidden within the fabric (and which can cause discomfort).

Wash and Care. A washable electric blanket is preferable in order to avoid odor buildup. Users should make sure that the control unit (often a remote in newer models) is detachable. Always check to see if the cord will reach an electrical outlet easily – it’ll make life a lot simpler.

RELATED: What is the Best Sleep Temperature for Seniors?

Temperature Controls. The control unit is one of the keys to a warm, replacing night’s sleep. Most of the high-quality blankets will have controls that allow fine-tuning between the temperatures of 80°F to 108°F. For those who share the bed dual controls are absolutely essential in order to ensure that both partners enjoy the perfect night’s sleep. The control should also feature an easy to read, illuminated readout that allows for simple adjustments to be made in the dark.

senior woman sleeping with weighted blanket for her anxiety
Weighted blankets should be soft, comfortable, easy to care for, and be the correct weight for the user.

What Should You Be Looking For in a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets can be tremendously beneficial to many sleepers who struggle to get a good night’s rest. A 2006 study in the journal ‘Occupational Therapy in Mental Health’ found that around 63% of sleepers experienced lower anxiety during their rest when using weighted blankets.

Outer Fabrics. Weighted blankets offer a huge variety of fabrics and fillings – as well as sizes and weights. The combination of these will influence how comfortable they are – and the price that the consumer is going to pay for the privilege of that perfect, relaxing night’s rest.

Weight Distribution. Quality weighted blankets need to distribute the weight evenly across the body – and the fill (often glass, sand or plastic beads) should be quilted into the fabric in order to ensure that it does not shift or clump during the course of the night – a grid of pockets is the usual solution.

Fill Materials. As far as the fill is concerned, glass beads offer a quieter sleeping experience and distribute weight extremely efficiently – they also contribute to a lighter blanket (less is more where glass beads are concerned) – but glass beaded blankets can be expensive.

Plastic beads are lighter and the blankets are cheaper than those with glass beads – but the blankets can be noisier to sleep with. Make sure that the beads are made from ABS virgin plastic – this has not been exposed to toxic chemicals during manufacture.

Sand is cheaper – but it’s more difficult to wash the blanket – and because of the fine nature of the sand these blankets tend to develop leaks over time.

Correct Weight. Choosing which weight is right for you might initially seem to be challenging. Weighted blankets are available in weights that range from 5 to 30 pounds. As a general ‘rule of thumb,’ the ideal weighted blanket should weigh in at around 5% to 10% of body weight. This is especially true when buying weighted blankets for seniors.

Wash and Care. The outer covering of the weighted blanket should be washable and breathable (as well as absorbent). A great choice as far as fabric is concerned is cotton. Polyester fleece or a plush outer can feel great, but they are usually less breathable.

RELATED: Electric Blankets Vs Weighted Blankets – Which One Is Better?

Heated Blankets or Weighted Blankets: Which Do You Prefer?

Whatever your challenges are when it comes to a great night’s sleep your choice of blanket is going to make the world of difference. Try and balance the budget with quality.

A good night’s sleep is essential to your peace of mind and relaxation – and the ability to face each new day with the energy and positive attitude that it demands. Doing some research is the key to selecting a blanket that provides a revitalizing rest – do yours and the rewards can be life-changing.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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