Weighted blankets have been creating quite a stir.
What are these blankets that allegedly can cure insomnia, help with depression, offer comfort and spread happiness? Do they also double up as a magic carpet and fly us over deserts and meadows of faraway mystical lands?
What is weighted blanket or anxiety blanket?
Alas, a weighted blanket is just, well, a blanket. They are slightly heavier, though, and filled with glass pellets, discs or beads. Not convinced yet?
The fact is that these blankets may have substance to them after all. Their extra weight gives the user a feeling of being hugged. Subsequently, they feel comforted and relaxed to a point that the body can then combat a number of health conditions.
Normally used only by adults – though you can find some for children too – weighted blankets should ideally be a tenth of your weight. For example, if you are a 150 lb (68 kg approx.) individual, your weighted blanket should weigh 15 lbs (7 kg approx.) or close to that weight.
Types of fillings
These blankets are typically filled with glass, glass sand and steel beads that are evenly distributed. The beads do not make noise so there is no chance of your sleep getting disturbed.
There is also padding between the beads and the body, which are made of cotton, polyester and fleece, among other materials. Some come with a cover while others are sewn together. While natural fibers are more expensive, synthetic ones tend to be warmer.
Health benefits of weight blankets
The blanket works on the premise that a certain amount of weight resting on top of you can induce relaxation.
Think of it as a giant, non-claustrophobic teddy bear. People feel better and that releases oxytocin, a hormone triggered during hugging that helps in alleviating blood pressure and controls heart rate. Weighted blankets can also improve gut health that help release serotonin, the “happy hormone.”
Plus, they are good for individuals who suffer from insomnia by bringing down the levels of cortisol. This hormone is not bad at all and is in fact our alarm system, released upon onset of stress.
However, cortisol produced during the night time negatively affects the production on melatonin, a hormone produced by sunlight that tires the human body enough for a good sleep at night and a sprightly morning after.
Weighted blankets are also known to have positive effects on people suffering from autism and anxiety disorders, who have less than adequate serotonin and melatonin levels. Plus, they can be used on Alzheimer’s patients to calm nerves and provide comfort.
That’s not all. Medical studies have also suggested that weighted blankets help with those suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder and restless legs syndrome.
Some possible side-effects and drawbacks
According to a Harvard Medical School article, people with sleep apnea or respiratory problems should ideally consult a medical professional before using a weighted blanket. Pregnant women, people with cardiovascular ailments or those who have high blood pressure may need to do the same.
Individuals with open wounds or fractured or weak bones should also exercise precaution.
Plus, weighted blankets can be a nuisance to move around due to its relatively heavy weight.
This weight can also be an issue if you have children or small pets in the home. Some of them come with a warning regarding this and for good reason; it can be difficult for a pet or a child to get out once under the blanket.
Another slight disadvantage is that the weighted blanket is quite warm compared to normal blankets, though some companies do have warm weather or all-weather blankets.
Finally, the price. It’s more than just a blanket so you may have to shell out extra to get a quality product.
Choosing a weighted blanket
Consider the budget first. Good ones, obviously, will cost more but will last longer and offer greater benefits.
You might want to look at the weight too. A tenth of the body weight is what is generally recommended but it’s best to test out different blankets before settling on one.
Also, the size can be tricky. Some blankets are wider than others and if you are one who prefers more coverage then you may have to compromise on the weight. Still, if you have to choose, lean towards the weight of the blanket.
Additionally, some of us have a higher body temperature than others when we sleep. For them, cotton and wool are far better options than synthetic blankets.
Other aspects to pay attention to are if the blanket comes with a cover or has a warranty.
Eco-friendly weighted blankets
Naysayers will say that these blankets are not the best for the environment, pointing out the synthetic materials used and the plastic pellets. Once they fulfill their purpose, don’t they make that sad inevitable journey to the landfill?
Valid points those. But manufacturers are switching to eco-friendly products. Brands like Baloo and Bearby make weighted blankets keeping in mind the environment and its sustainability. These products lose nothing in comparison and are, in many cases, better for slow living enthusiasts.
Here are a few you may want to check out.
1. Eco-friendly Reviv weighted blanket
Reviv weighted blankets are a pioneer of sorts as it is the first to be crafted with Lyocell Nanotechnology, which is a big bold check for green living enthusiasts. In other words, the fabric is made with tree wood pulp from sustainable farms.
The makers of this product have also worked hard to ensure that the product is as germ-free as possible. The thermoregulated blanket is hypoallergenic and antibacterial.
The filling is made of glass beads and you can remove the cover and wash it in a machine. Reviv blankets come in queen and king sizes and in a variety of colors.
2. truHugs weighted blanket
truHugs is another popular player in the market. Much like Reviv, their blankets are fashioned with the environment in mind.
The fabric is made of organic hemp and cotton and the fillings of glass beads.
The company offers the blanket in single and twin sizes and in varying weights that are ideal for people with different characteristics. There’s something for everyone – smoker, non-smoker, someone sensitive or not sensitive to pressure, or a person trying a weighted blanket for the first time.
3. Eco-friendly Baloo cool cotton weighted blanket
The eco-friendly Baloo weighted blanket comes in different sizes. You have the queen size blanket. Another is perfect for the sofa, fits the top of a twin bed and can be used by children who weigh more than 50 lbs.
The blankets are made of chemical-free, breathable cotton that can be used year-round and the double-quilted stitching keeps the lead-free glass beads in place. You can wash and dry them in a machine.
What’s more, these weighted blankets come with a lifetime guarantee for materials which is great for the environment.
4. Pine and River bamboo weighted blanket
This weighted blanket is ideal for warmer climes due to bamboo’s capacity to regulate body temperature.
For those seeking a sustainable option, the Pine and River bamboo weighted blanket is a dream. Bamboo is the quintessential sustainable plant that needs no replanting and saves on precious water and fertilizers.
The filling for this particular weighted blanket is made from silica blends. The blanket is easily washed and dried in a machine.
5. Eco-friendly KoaDream weighted blanket
KoaDream weighted blankets are made of 100% ultra-soft breathable cotton which, besides being eco-friendly, offers a great degree of comfort.
As with other top-quality products of its kind, the glass beads are equally distributed and you will not feel them moving inside. The cotton cover is removable and can be washed in a machine.
Do you have sleeping issues? Does the idea of weighted blanket appeal to you?