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    Updated on Apr 10, 2020. Posted on Apr 10, 2020

    Everything To Consider Before Buying A Weighted Blanket

    Sleep tight, but not too tight.

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    From practically every angle, weighted blankets sound like magic. Not only do they have the potential to reduce anxiety and thwart insomnia, but they do so by feeling like a big ol’ hug (aww).

    Ryan Pattie / BuzzFeed

    And contrary to what their recent rise in popularity might suggest, heavy, anxiety-quelling blankets are nothing new. Such coverings have actually been around for decades, proven many times over as an effective therapeutic aid for sensory conditions like autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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    So, what was formerly a “tiny cottage industry of weighted-blanket makers,” as the Atlantic once described it, has turned into a crowded field of brands vying for your attention. And if you’re looking to treat yourself to some calm-inducing bedding, you might feel overwhelmed by the variety of choices and prices, not to mention the inability to test them out. After all, using a weighted blanket is a very personal experience. 

    In order to reap the optimal benefits, you need to find the right weight, size, and fabric to suit your individual comfort needs. Here’s everything you need to know to make your search a little more chill. 

    Weight and Size Matter

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    Weighted blankets are sold in 5-pound increments and range from 5 pounds all the way up to 25 pounds. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but the recommended heaviness of a weighted blanket is around 10% of your body weight. Anything too light or too hefty likely won’t have the desired effects, but at this proportion, you should be in that sweet spot of feeling gently but firmly hugged. The right dimensions depend on your height and bed size and whether you want the blanket to cover your entire body or just a portion of it, like your chest or legs. 

    With a few exceptions, weighted blankets are made for solo use. If you’re intent on sharing with a partner, keep in mind that effectiveness is usually specific to an individual, so two separate blankets might be a better option. If you’re certain you’ll both want one to share, choose a blanket that’s big enough for mutual comfort and around 7.5% of your combined body weight.

    Pay Attention to the Materials

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    Because weighted blankets are filled with tiny glass or plastic pellets, expect them to be bulkier — those made with plastic beads more so, since more of this filler material is needed to get to the right weight — than your average blanket. Thickness doesn’t always correspond to temperature, however, so this aspect generally comes down to personal preference. All in all, you’re looking at a blanket that’ll be somewhere between a ½ inch and 1 inch thick.

    In terms of fabric, blankets mostly come in cotton or minky, a fabric that has a soft, fleecelike feel. Cotton is often cooler and more breathable than minky, so that right there can help you narrow down your choices depending on whether you’re a hot or a cold sleeper. 

    If you’re not ready to commit to one style, many models are designed to be slipped into a cover. This also helps immensely with cleaning because you can remove the outer fabric to launder instead of lugging the whole thing to your washing machine or laundromat.

    Don’t Forget to Check the Weight Distribution

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    As you’re considering these various options, also make a point to look at weight distribution, which has much to do with how the blanket is actually stitched together. If the filler is compartmentalized into smaller pockets, the blanket will be even. Some — often the cheaper models — have fewer pockets, meaning there’s more room for the filler to shift around and concentrate at the edges, creating a tarplike feel that might not give you the therapeutic benefits you want. 

    Know That Weighted Blankets Aren’t for Everyone

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    Simply put: Use common sense. While weighted blankets are often used by autistic children, coverings of certain heft should never be near toddlers. The same goes for any adults with injuries or infirmities, such as elderly people with conditions like osteoarthritis, since the user should be able to easily lift the blanket on and off of their own volition. 

    If you have a pet that sleeps in your bed and likes getting under the covers, a heavy blanket can be hard on their joints and restrict their ability to breathe. Also, if you have a dog that’s prone to tearing things apart, remember that these blankets are weighted with glass beads, plastic pellets, and other items that can be harmful if swallowed by an animal. 

    A Trial Period Is a Definite Plus

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    The last thing you want is to be stuck with a 20-pound blanket that doesn’t work for you. Since weighted blankets are such a personal experience, it’s best to look for blankets that have a lengthy trial period (30 days should do the trick) or a generous return policy. 

    Remember That It’s an Adjustment

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    Once you’ve picked out a blanket, keep in mind that the weight might take a little getting used to. Some manufacturers recommend that you sleep with it covering only half of your body, usually your legs, for the first few nights as you adjust to the feeling. Others suggest that it might take a few weeks for you to really notice the difference in your sleep or anxiety levels. If it doesn’t work out, that’s where the generous return policy comes into play. Otherwise, sweet dreams!