Weighted Blankets - Who can they benefit
Weighted Blankets – The 101
Weighted blankets have become an incredibly popular accessory during our bedtime routines, for both children and adults. In order to make them heavier, many weighted blanket manufacturers fill them with glass or plastic beads and because of this ability to fill them as desired, weighted blankets are often available in different weights. You may also find them padded with extra filling for added softness and comfort.
Buying Your Weighted Blanket
Buying a weighted blanket, while it won't represent the biggest decision you'll make in your lifetime, still requires a certain amount of consideration. There are various weights to choose from, with those at the latter end of the scale being much heavier than the usual duvets and quilts you may be used to. Weighted blankets such as these not only help to promote sleep by encouraging the production of melatonin but also help with a much wider range of issues too. Costs will obviously vary depending on the weight of the blanket you purchase, as will it’s effect it has on your sleep cycle therefore your sleep preferences will need to be taken into account before making your selection. Before we go into that however, we should first pay attention to the science behind the blanket…so just how do they work?
Weighted Blankets – How Do They Work?
Weighted blankets for adults and older children offer the wearer a sensation that’s known as grounding. This means it applies a moderate pressure to the person sleeping beneath it, pushing them deeper into their sleep surface, whether it’s a mattress, sofa or something else entirely. Grounding also triggers within the body the release of hormones that helps to calm the nerves, thus aiding in a much better sleep. For those seeking a better sleep quality too, a weighted blanket can be chosen based on their individual needs. As a general guide, adults tend to reach the best quality of sleep possible when using a blanket that weighs between 5% and 12% of their body weight. For children aged 8 and over, that guide changes to up to 10% of their body weight. Anyone under the age of 8 are advised to avoid using a weighted blanket unless prescribed by a doctor or qualified/licensed therapist.
As we previously mentioned, the vast majority of weighted blankets are filled with plastic or glass beads. Some however are filled with steel beads, all of which are evenly distributed throughout the blankets to ensure a correct weight distribution. Generally the micro glass beads are the best quality and also you’ll be pleased to know these remain silent during use to avoid disrupting you during sleep.
In order to ensure they’re just as soft and comfortable, you’ll find weighted blankets are also on the receiving end of some incredibly soft padding to provide that much needed cushioning too. The added padding can be made from polyester, cotton, fleece or even chenille depending on the blanket you choose. They can also be created to offer additional benefits such as water resistance or complete waterproof properties. You may even find some with moisture wicking material to boot, within the additional padding fabric.
In order to keep on top of hygiene (a must for all the family), you’ll find that the vast majority of weighted blankets come complete with a removable cover. This allows it to be removed with ease and subsequently put in the washing machine to be cleaned as and when needed. Either way, you can rest assured you’ll have the ability to keep your blanket as clean as possible at all times. The covers are usually made from natural fibres in order to ensure they’re more breathable, allowing the user to enjoy a cooler experience while sleeping, whatever the weather. If you’re looking for something a little warmer, then we suggest you look to covers made from synthetic materials such as polyester.
Design Characteristics Of Your Weighted Blanket
While the following information will be more slightly more on the general side, it’s worth a peek simply to gain a better idea of weighted blankets and what they have to offer.
• Weight & Distribution – usually between 2kg and 10kg. Generally speaking, adults and children should stick to blankets that weigh approx 10% or less of their body weight. Adults however can go as low as 5% and still see some sleep improvements amongst other things.
• Size – for the most part, heavier blankets tend to be wider and longer with lighter ones, you guessed it, being shorter and narrower. Most weighted blankets will come in sizes that correspond to the dimensions of your average mattress size, so think single, double, king etc and that will be same as the bed mattress size which is small than a duvet size as weighted blankets are made to not hang over.
• Clasps – in some cases, you may find your weighted blanket has internal clasps. This is simply to keep the inner blanket from bunching up and losing its shape. Some prefer their blankets with these, some without. The choice is yours and it’s advised to ask the manufacturer before purchasing as to whether the blanket you intend to buy has internal clasps.
• Cleaning - as previously mentioned, keeping your blanket clean won’t be an issue. For more information click here Cosy Care
• Consult Your Doctor - as with anything that can offer assistance in a health related matter i.e. in this case sleep quality etc you should always consult your doctor first and foremost. Choosing an exceptionally heavy weighted blanket when you suffer from respiratory problems could cause complications. Instead, speaking with your doctor will mean you receive the necessary advice regarding a more suited weight of blanket for you.How Weighted Blankets Can Help You
Weighted blankets offer so many benefits, many of which aren’t limited to our nightly habit of sleeping. From Autism to Aspergers, there are so many conditions that weighted blankets can provide positive contributions towards. Let’s dig a little deeper and find about each and every one.
• ADHD - Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is linked to poor academic performances. In fact, this is a hugely common issue among children with ADHD. This can be linked to not only a lack of sleep but a restless and somewhat over stimulated mind. Weighted blankets offer benefits for those with ADHD in two ways. First and foremost, it helps by correcting the child’s sleep pattern, offering them the ability to gain a much deeper, much more improved sleep. It can also translate into a much easier time concentrating as it calms an over stimulated mind, allowing the child in question to concentrate much easier on the task in hand, whether that’s a current project, studying or even learning to switch off from work/school projects and remaining calm and comfortably detached while away from their desk as opposed to battling with the ever-marching band inside of their heads.
• Autism - Autism is another condition that sees children struggling to enjoy a full nights sleep and as a result is likely one of the most common reasons parents of children with Autism seek help in the form of a weight blanket. That’s not the only reason however as weighted blankets also help by improving transition times. Children with autism can often struggle transitioning from one activity to another. Weighted blankets however have offered such improvements that many now use them in the classroom when children come in from the playground. Children at these times can often come into the house extremely excited and as a result, struggle to transition into the calm state they need to be. Weight blankets offer them the ability to calm in as little as 5 to 10 minutes, aiding their ability to transition into class time. Of course, this is just one example. Weighted blankets have also been used for their sensory input as the added weight aids in developing body awareness while also providing the benefit of the different fabrics to enjoy. As with children with ADHD, children with Autism can struggle just as much focusing within a classroom environment. This is where a weighted blanket can once again aid in their ability to transition between classrooms or study periods with ease. Whether used as a weighted blanket over the shoulders or simply placed across the lap; a weighted blanket can provide a calming experience in a new or unexpected environment.
• Aspergers - much like those diagnosed with Autism or ADHD, those with Aspergers will also enjoy a variety of benefits, all very much along a similar range with sensory and a sense of calm being the most prominent. Just as squeezing a squishy stress ball may help those with anxiety begin to deal with the stress, those with Aspergers would see the same benefits simply by pressing the weighted blanket between their fingers. A weighted blanket will provide similar sensations, offering an experience for the senses known to offer comfort and distraction for a noisy environment. You may also find some companies able to provide extra padding upon the blanket for an additional sensory effect. Once again, if excitement or anxiety prevails and a calm attitude is needed in a certain environment, the comfort of the weighted blanket can aid with this, whether it’s placed on their lap or gently over them while they calm themselves within a dimly lit room.
• Dementia - Alzheimer’s is one of the most common types of Dementia and it’s far from kind. Believe it or not, weighted blankets offer incredible benefits to sufferings as long as the right weight is chosen. Due to the age of the sufferer, it’s important not to choose a weight that could be too heavy for the individual using it. Weighted blankets help much like deep pressure therapy, helping patients feel calmer and fall asleep much faster too. There are even numerous patients who claim weighted blankets to be responsible for their ability to take a quality afternoon nap. Patients have also been known to use the blankets to help reduce their mood swings and even curb panic attacks and in some cases, out right prevent them.
• Tourettes - would you believe that weighted blankets have even been shown to help those suffering from Tourettes? When it comes to Tourette’s syndrome, a weighted blanket works in very much the same way as it does for those diagnosed with ADHD, Aspergers, Autism and even Dementia. Very much like a baby being swaddled, the weighted blanket applies weight and gentle press to comfort and in a sense relieve and calm the user. This encourages the production of serotonin which in turn gives the mood a much needed uplift. This calming affect will decrease the heart rate, reduce the blood pressure and more importantly calm the mind. Although a weighted blanket won’t cure Tourettes, it will encourage the necessary relaxation, in turn calming the brain and allowing the user to be more present and in turn more cohesive and less inhibited by unwanted movements and sounds.
• Stress And Anxiety - stress and anxiety can be crippling for many but with the calming affect of a weighted blanket, many have found that symptoms can often be reduced greatly. The idea of using weight as a calming strategy isn’t a new way of thinking either, with past and current medical practices very much leaning toward it. Dr Cristina Cusin, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School explained, “Weighted blankets have been around for a long time, especially for kids with autism or behavioural disturbances. Weighted blankets are a sensory tool commonly used in psychiatric units. Patients who are in distress may choose different types of sensory activities - holding an object, smelling particular aromas, manipulating dough, building objects - to try to calm down.” The blankets are intended to work in much the same way, providing a calming affect the same way a swaddled child would feel comforted and snug. Think of the blanket as a hug, in theory helping to settle the nervous system and calm the wearer.
• PTSD - otherwise known as Post-Traumatic stress disorder, PTSD is a condition whereby your body reduces the serotonin production levels. When serotonin levels are reduced, your stress levels are heightened. Weighted blankets however have been shown to boost your levels of serotonin, thus alleviating stress, a common side effect of PTSD. Add in their ability to help improve sleep, something PTSD sufferers often struggle with.
Considerations For Weighted Blanket Shoppers
From a reduction in sleepwalking activities to a reduction in cortisol levels and of course an increase in the production of melatonin; weighted blankets offer a plethora of benefits that could offer positive outcomes for everyone from children to adults and even the elderly. Before you purchase yours however, here are a few considerations you need to think about.
• How Much Do You Weigh? - Remember that you need to know your body weight in order to find your best weight of blanket. Regardless of whether you want to purchase a blanket that weighs 7 or 12% of your body weight, you’ll need to know exactly how much you weigh in order to purchase one that’s the right size and fit for you. You should also keep weight loss and weight gain in mind too. Do you tend to fluctuate a lot? This could mean you needing to purchase two different sizes to ensure you have the right weight blanket at every opportunity.
• Is This For You Or Your Child? - Are you purchasing a blanket for your child or for yourself. If purchasing for an adult you have a wider variety of weights to choose from, with adults benefiting from weighted blankets ranging in weight.. Children however benefit from weighted blankets at up to 10% of their body weight. It’s also worth remembering that weighted blankets are not advised for young children under 8.
• Do You Have A Medical Or Psychological Condition? - As previously mentioned, if you suffer from a medical or psychological condition which you’re hoping will benefit from a weighted blanket, then we advise you speak with your doctor first. Without seeking the correct advice first, you could find yourself making matters worse by choosing a blanket that’s too high or even too low in weight. From menopause to circulatory issues, simply speaking with your doctor will ensure you start on the right track from the offset.
• What Size Blanket Do You Want? - When you sleep do you enjoy being totally cocooned in your blanket? Perhaps you prefer simply having a blanket resting over your hips? Or are you simply looking for a lap blanket, big enough to cover your knees while your reclining in your armchair? Do keep in mind however that weighted blanket size will correlate with weight. The smaller you go, the lower the weight and vice versa. There are some however that can be folded to increase weight etc.
• Are You Warm Blooded? - Have you ever had your partner tell you that feel like a furnace during the night? Do you throw the covers off, even during the coldest months? Many people sleep excessively hot. This can either be down to their own body temperature regulation or simply down the composition of the mattress being slept on. Choosing blankets made from natural fibre materials will offer a much cooler experience for those who can’t afford to heat themselves up during the night further.
• Do You Want A Detachable Cover? - Are you looking for easy cleaning? Then you may want to look for a blanket that offers a detachable cover. While there are of course blankets that can be washed whole, do bear in mind these can take longer to dry. Having said that, it does avoid the added effort of having to remove and subsequently replace the cover once you’ve cleaned it. This is simply down to personal preference and what would be a better option for your particular lifestyle.
Weight Blankets - Beneficial For Just About Everyone
It’s clear to see that weighted blankets offer benefits for everyone. From people diagnosed with chronic conditions such as dementia and anxiety to those who simply struggle to enjoy a quality night’s sleep; our luxury weighted blankets could provide the comfort you’ve been looking for. From young to old, there really is no end to the amount of people who could enjoy a simulated hug from one of the world’s most comfy blankets. Whether you’re looking at this as an addition to the classroom, a care home or your own home, a weighted blanket is an investment you won’t want to miss out on.
For more information on our weighted blankets uk site, simply contact us today. Our team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the blankets we offer as well as how they can be of benefit to you as an individual, taking into consideration your wants, needs and current symptoms should you be experiencing any. As always, we advise you speak with a medical professional at all times.
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