The stress of the coronavirus pandemic has made self-care more important than ever. A weighted blanket can provide you with a comfortable way to relax and get the sleep your body needs. But if you haven’t invested in a weighted blanket yet, you might wonder, “Are weighted blankets safe?” The short answer is yes. Read on to find out how to use them safely and when a weighted blanket may not be the best choice for you.
What Are Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets started in the pediatric occupational therapy world. Occupational therapists who offered weighted vests or lap pads to their clients so they could experience deep pressure stimulation also began using weighted blankets. The weight surrounds you like a cozy hug to soothe the system and increase feel-good chemicals.
If you suffer from other conditions, like restless leg syndrome or processing disorders, weighted blankets can help you regulate those systems and find relief. The weight desensitizes your nerves to stimulation and helps your body relax.
How Deep Pressure Therapy Works
Extra weight on your body can stimulate deep pressure therapy, which slows your breathing and heart rate. These two physical responses start to calm you down. Your nervous system and brain release the feel-good chemical serotonin, and you relax deeply. Deep pressure therapy can be used to help with several situations, including:
- Relaxing after work or other social events
- Decreasing anxiety
- Increasing wellbeing and communicativeness
- Improving focus
- Lowering sensitivity to touch
- Getting better sleep
So, are weighted blankets safe? Yes, and they can help you improve your daily self-care routines. Weighted blankets provide both coziness and deep pressure therapy in the comfort of your own home.
Are Weighted Blankets Safe for All Adults?
Most healthy adults can safely say “Yes!” to the question “Are weighted blankets safe?”
The most important consideration is to keep the blanket around 10% of your body weight. If you go above that percentage, you could find that the blanket is too heavy, making it uncomfortable to use. A too-heavy heavy blanket will also make it more difficult to move around under or to take off. If the weighted blanket is too hard to take off, you run the risk of several negative side effects.
Some of those side effects include:
- Low blood pressure
- Slow circulation
- Poor breathing
If you have health conditions like asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), talk to your doctor before purchasing a weighted blanket.
Are Weighted Blankets Safe for Kids?
Weighted blankets can be safe for certain kids if they meet certain criteria. You should consider the blanket's weight and the age and health of the child.
Avoid purchasing a weighted blanket for a child who fits into one of the below categories:
- Less than 50 pounds: Blankets that are above five pounds could be too heavy for young children to use safely. A child may not be able to easily move the blanket, and if it gets pulled above their head, it poses a suffocation risk. Newborns should never use a weighted blanket. Instead, try swaddling for a deep pressure touch effect.
- Older than two: Children who are younger than two years do not have the strength, muscle control, or dexterity to shift the weighted blanket. It would be unsafe for them to use it.
- Has a breathing condition: Children who have asthma or other breathing conditions should not use weighted blankets. While no direct connection has been made, there is an increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Children who are older than two years, weigh more than 50 pounds, and do not have breathing conditions can safely use weighted blankets. Doing so can help them fall asleep and stay asleep, which helps their parents get a little more rest as well. In fact, according to a study in The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, weighted blankets help children on the autism spectrum and sleep disorders fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer.
If you're not sure whether weighted blankets are safe for your child, make sure you talk to their pediatrician.
Are Weighted Blankets Safe for People With ADHD and Autism?
Weighted blankets are a great option for people who want to reduce their symptoms of certain disorders, like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Autism Spectrum Disorders, without sleep medicine.
Many adults and children who have ADHD or autism suffer from sleep issues too. They can be too stimulated to fall asleep quickly or well.
The Sleep Foundation says people with ADHD can have sleep problems such as:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Racing thoughts and trouble calming down
- Nighttime hyperfocus
- Sleep deprivation
- Delayed Circadian Rhythm
Weighted blankets offer deep pressure touch that can help “quiet” the overstimulated senses.
Here are other ways heavy blankets can support people with ADHD:
- Improve focus
- Less restlessness
- Soothe overstimulation
- Better ability to complete tasks
- Lower anxiety, leading to better mental health
People who have autism can be uncomfortable with physical touch, but they benefit from the physiological responses to deep pressure therapy. Weighted blankets are safe ways for them to experience deep pressure stimulation while still respecting their personal boundaries.
How to Choose the Best Weighted Blanket for You
To choose a weighted blanket, you need to first choose the blanket's weight. The recommendation is that the blanket should be 10% of your body weight, so a 150-pound person would likely feel comfortable under a 15-pound blanket. While the 10% rule is a general guideline, a blanket that's too heavy could risk your comfort and your health.
Another important consideration for your blanket is the inner weight. Common inner weights are glass microbeads or plastic pellets. The inner weights give the blanket its heaviness and ability to conform to your body. Glass beads are better at distributing body heat than plastic beads, so if you're a hot sleeper, look for those.
Once you choose your blanket weight and inner weight, choose the fabric of your blanket. Common fabrics are super-soft Minky or quilted cotton. You can also consider a cooling weighted blanket in breathable, moisture-wicking bamboo viscose. The fibers pull your sweat and body heat away from you, letting you sleep more comfortably.
You can also choose one with a removable duvet cover or a 2-in-1 bundle for more options and usability.
Relax and Sleep Well With Weighted Blankets
So, “are weighted blankets safe?” For most people, weighted blankets provide deep, calming relaxation and increase your overall wellness. Keep in mind that if you suffer from any breathing or heart conditions, you want to check with your doctor before using a weighted blanket. In some cases, these conditions mean a weighted blanket would be unsafe for you.
Weighted blankets are great additions to any after-work or nighttime wind-down routine. They are cuddle invitations and make your couch or bed even more inviting.
Improve your own relaxation routine with a Hush Blanket. They come with a 100-night guarantee, so you can sleep well knowing Hush Blankets has your back.