When you are looking for sleep aids, you probably have seen that weighted blankets are popular now. They look similar to comforters, but they are way heavier, hence the name ‘weighted’. This idea may seem outlandish, indeed. And you may be asking yourself, “What is the purpose of stuffing a blanket with fillers? Will it really improve your sleep?” and, more importantly, “Is it worth the money?”
It is good to have questions like those because the market for sleep aids is actually flooded with products that don’t work. Therefore, before you spend a hundred bucks on a weighted blanket, read this article first.
The Studies Behind Weighted Blankets
According to Healthline.com, ADHD, autism, anxiety, insomnia, osteoarthritis, and chronic pain are the conditions that can be treated and improved with weighted blankets. Even though there have not been any clear explanations of how the weighted blankets help to calm a person, the effect is there.
As for you, you don’t need to have a severe medical condition to have sleeping difficulties these days. The point here is that the use of weighted blankets to improve sleep has been verified by science.
The Filling Materials Are Various
There are six filling materials available for weighted blankets, but we’re going to discuss only the most common three
Plastic pellets are the most popular filler you’ll find out there. Not only are they practical for adding weight to the blanket, but they are wash-machine friendly. The drawbacks are that plastic is not environmentally-friendly, and it can create uneven bumps while you’re using it, which can be inconvenient to you.
Glass beads have a consistency similar to sand, which makes a blanket filled with it extremely comfortable. However, you can’t wash it with a regular machine, and it can be way pricier than the one with plastic pellets. Therefore, if you want to spend your money on this filling, make sure that you buy only the best glass beads for a weighted blanket.
Both of the materials above are artificial and relatively expensive. With mere sand, you can get the same exact feeling you can have with glass beads. However, it will be difficult to wash. You can either dry clean the blanket or just vacuum it.
The other filling materials that are not discussed here are organic fillers (rice, grain, beans, and corn), pebbles, and steel beads.
Weighted Blankets Have Hazards
Without a careful though, a weighted blanket has the risk of suffocating the person who uses it, especially if he/she has disabilities. If you plan to get a blanket for a relative in need, make sure that it won’t be dangerous to them.
Moreover, in 2008, there was a case of an autistic 9-year old boy dying from suffocation by a weighted blanket. In 2014, a baby met the same faith at daycare. If you want to use a weighted blanket for kids, make sure that they don’t go unsupervised.
How Heavy the Blanket Should Be
Remember that the goal of buying a weighted blanket is to improve sleep. Therefore, it must be neither too heavy nor too light. Usually, the blanket weighs 5 to 30 pounds, but some brands allow you to customize it as you wish. For maximum comfort and safety, the weight must not surpass 10% of the body’s weight. And this same rule applies to weighted blankets for children as well.
How Long Does the Blanket Last?
With a price range of $130 to $500, you surely expect the blanket to last for at least three years. Unfortunately, it depends heavily on the care. The more you wash it, the more likely for the fabrics to tear. Therefore, it is way better to get a decent vacuum and use it to clean the blanket than to wash it with a machine.