I never used to trust a weighted blanket. I think it's because I've suffered from sleep paralysis, that awful inability to move or speak as you pass between wakefulness and sleep. In those moments, I tend to feel like I'm struggling under a heavy burden. I guess I worried that a weighted blanket would only exacerbate the issue.
Yet these days, I'm a total weighted blanket convert. As a sleep writer, I've been lucky enough to sample some of the world's best weighted blankets, which are optimized to offer the ideal weight per square foot of material.
Weighted blankets are supposed to hit a sweet spot between comfort and pressure. If you've never slept under a weighted blanket, or held weighted fabric in your hands, you might struggle to conceptualize where that sweet spot would be. That's why I asked the experts. After speaking with sleep scientists and the best bed sheet designers, I can tell you exactly how to calculate the optimal weight for your weighted blanket.
What is a weighted blanket?
Before we begin, it always helps to define our terms. The words themselves are self-explanatory: it should be pretty clear what a 'weighted blanket' is, but how and why it works might be less obvious. I asked Luxome's Head of Product Development, Tandy Avery, to give us a quick overview.
Tandy likes to think of a weighted blanket as 'a cocoon of comfort, specifically designed to provide extra comfort and reduce stress'. Weighted blankets are filled with thousands of tiny glass beads or plastic pellets, which are evenly distributed throughout the fabric. Each of these tiny beads exerts a gentle pressure on your body, which should soothe your mind and alleviate aches and pains.
Tandy explains it more scientifically: 'a weighted blanket is known to provide Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) that relaxes the nervous system by decreasing cortisol levels and increasing serotonin and melatonin. These are your feel-good hormones that help to boost your mood and enhance sleep quality'.
Tandy heads up the product development team at Luxome, the premium bedding brand. She has designed and developed Luxome's best-selling collections of bed sheets, loungewear, and, of course, weighted blankets.
What is the ideal weight for a weighted blanket?
You might have heard that your weighted blanket should measure approximately 10% of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 150lbs, you should look for a blanket that weighs about 15lbs.
According to Tandy, this logic is flawed. Together with her team at Luxome, she has 'heavily researched and tested this 10% rule and found that selecting a weight for your blanket based on your body weight has little scientific merit'. Tandy is less interested in the weight of a blanket, and more in the measurement of weight per square foot of fabric. The best weighted blankets are optimized to balance the weight of the blanket against the length of the fabric, so that you don't feel swamped by larger throws.
The maximum weight for a weighted blanket will differ from person to person. Taller, stronger sleepers might be able to bear heavier burdens than smaller sleepers. Your average weighted blanket will weigh something between 10lbs and 20lbs. Larger options are available for couples, though I'd recommend staying below the 30lbs line. Much heavier, and that gentle pressure might start to feel oppressive.
If you're reading this article, the chances are that you're in the market for a weighted blanket. To save you a little time and money, I've rounded up a few of my favorites at the fairest prices you'll find online. There are chunky knits and plush throws to suit every style of bedroom and size of budget.
I was a weighted blanket skeptic until this one converted me. Luxome's throws feature thousands of tiny glass beads, evenly distributed throughout the blanket to prevent lumps, bumps, and thin bits.
If you like the feel of a weighted blanket, but not the look, you might be more interested in this chunky weighted knit. It comes in a range of cool neutrals, from asteroid gray to evening rose, to complement any bedroom color palette.
Is it ever dangerous to sleep under a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets can reduce stress and alleviate aches and pains, but they aren't for everyone. In fact, for some, a weighted blanket could be a detriment to a good night's sleep. I asked Dr. Sandeep Gupta, a pulmonologist with the Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, Texas, to tell us more.
Dr Gupta warns that 'it can be dangerous for some people to sleep under weighted blankets if they suffer from certain health conditions, such as asthma or chronic respiratory conditions, sleep apnea, low blood pressure, and claustrophobia'. If you feel you need some space to breathe, you might not appreciate the constrictive qualities of a weighted blanket.
If you were considering buying a weighted blanket for your child, think again: 'weighted blankets should not be used by kids and young children for fear of entrapment and asphyxia,' says Dr Gupta. I'd recommend withholding the weighted blanket until your kids are in their tweens or teens and better able to control their body and their breathing.
As for my fear of sleep paralysis, Dr Gupta thinks it's unfounded: 'there is no data that weighted blankets can cause or worsen sleep paralysis. The general idea is that the weighted blanket should provide gentle deep stimulation and decrease the urge of the body to move, kick, and roll'. Good news for anxious sleepers everywhere.
Dr. Gupta works in the Pulmonary Disease Critical Care department with the Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, Texas. He specializes in sleep medicine and agreed to lend his insights to this article.
Just in case you're still looking, I've rounded up a few more of the best weighted blankets. These cozy throws would look just as good spread across the end of your bed as draped over an armchair or sofa seat.
Each Layla Weighted Blanket comes with a canvas carry bag, complete with zippers and handles. It's practical and pretty, and should help to transport your weighted blanket as you move house or gift it to a friend.
I love the look of this chunky knit. It feels less sleep science, more cozy comfort. There's no option to change your weight, but 12 pounds should be sufficient for adult sleepers.
Weighted blanket FAQs
Which weighted blanket is best for me?
The Luxome Weighted Blanket is the best I've ever tested. Made from breathable bamboo lyocell and topped with a layer of minky microfiber, this Luxome throw feels premium in a way that most weighted blankets just don't. Each blanket is optimized to offer the ideal weight per square foot of fabric, so that you can stay cool and comfortable, no matter the size of your throw.
If you're looking for something cozier, I'd recommend the Bearaby Cotton Weighted Blanket. It looks like a chunky knit, the sort of thing you could weave yourself, but it's expertly laden with thousands of glass beads. It comes in all sorts of cool colors, from midnight blue to moonstone gray, to better blend with your bedroom decor.
Are weighted blankets hot?
Yes. That's the unfortunate side effect of such thick fabric and so many beads: weighted blankets tend to trap heat. Cool sleepers should appreciate the extra warmth, especially during the winter months, but it might prove too much for hot sleepers and warmer weather.
If you're looking for a weighted blanket you could use all year round, I recommend the Nest Bedding Luxury Breathable Blanket. Woven from cooling cotton and breathable bamboo, this weighted blanket should keep you comfortable, whatever the weather.
There isn't one ideal weight for a weighted blanket, but a range: your average weighted blanket weighs somewhere between 10lbs and 20lbs. That's about enough to exert a gentle pressure without burdening your body. Much less than 10lbs, and you won't feel the benefit: any more than 30lbs, and you'll start to struggle under the weight. If you can afford it, I'd recommend shopping at a specialist sleep store to find an optimized weighted blanket. These cozy throws are expertly calibrated to reach the ideal ratio of weight per square foot of fabric.
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Before she joined Homes & Gardens, Emilia studied English at the University of Oxford, where she sharpened her critical writing skills. She also worked on the other side of the aisle writing press releases for regional newspapers and crafting copy for Sky. Emilia combines her business savvy with her creative flair as our eCommerce Editor, connecting you with the products you’ll love. When she’s not in the office, Emilia is happiest when entertaining friends al fresco or out in the country.
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