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How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?

best weighted blanket for anxiety

When it comes to deciding how heavy your weighted blanket should be, the process can go something like the Goldilocks and Three Bears story where a little girl wanders into a bear family’s house while they are away and tries out their beds.

The first bed she tries is too hard.  The second is way too soft.  But the third bed she climbs into is comfy, cozy, and has just the right combination of firmness and softness…and she blissfully drifts off into dreamland.

Which means, some amount of personal preference does come into play when deciding whether to purchase a 10 lb weighted blanket, a 15 lb weighted blanket, or a 20 lb weighted blanket for yourself, a friend, or family member.   But that’s not to say you have to try out dozens of weighted blankets to figure out which one is right for you. 

The good news is there are just a few things to consider and a good rule of thumb to follow in order to select the best heaviness for an adult weighted blanket or a weighted blanket for kids to help ease anxiety, autism issues, or difficulty sleeping.

 

Who will be using this heavy weighted blanket?

The blanket weight you choose depends on who will be using it. Will it be an adult, a teenager, or an older pre-teen?  The general rule of thumb for determining how heavy a weighted blanket should be is to multiply the body weight of the intended user by 0.10 or 10%  -- give or take 5 lbs of blanket weight, depending on preference.

heavy blanket

As mentioned above, age also factors into the equation.   So, considering both weight and age, here’s a ballpark guide: 

  • Best Weighted Blankets for Kids – Ages 11 to 13
    Talk to your child’s pediatrician, occupational therapist, psychologist/psychiatrist or physician and get their approval for using a weighted blanket for kids.  Don’t use them on infants, babies and toddlers and keep your own weighted blanket out of their reach.  If your medical/mental health providers say it’s okay to get a weighted blanket for your child, the amount of weight that is recommended depends on how much they weigh.

    If your child’s weight is around 70 to 90 lbs, the recommended heaviness would be a 5 lb to 10 lb weighted blanket.   Lighter weights are also available and some children prefer slightly heavier weighted blankets, again only if approved by a physician. 
  • Best Weighted Blankets for Teens – Ages 14 to 20
    Even in the best situations, teenage years are often filled with stress and anxiety that can be eased with a cool adult weighted blanket or a weighted blanket for kids.   Recommendation for teens and adults who weigh around 100 to 160 pounds is to use either a 10 lb weighted blanket or a 15 lb weighted blanket
  • Best Weighted Blankets for Adults – Ages 21 and Up
    Adults who want to enjoy the benefits of a weighted blanket and who weigh 160 lbs or less could also use either a 10 lb weighted blanket or a 15 lb weighted blanket.  If you have a slight build or a small frame, you should gravitate toward the lighter end of the spectrum.  If you work out or are on the stout side, you may choose a heavier adult weighted blanket.

    If you or the person you’re buying it for are tipping the scales at between 165 to 200 lbs, you could choose either a 15 lb or a 20 lb weighted blanket.   Adults who weigh more than 200 lbs might want to go with a 20 lb or 25 lb+ adult weighted blanket to get the calming effects that deep pressure touch can bring.

 

Don’t go too heavy – or too light.

weighted blanket for anxiety

Regardless of how much you weigh, if you get a weighted blanket that makes it difficult to move around when you’re under it or it makes you feel uncomfortable or trapped, lighten things up by replacing it with blanket that weighs 5 lbs less than the recommended weight.  But be careful and don’t go too light. 

According to some research, a heavy weighted blanket that weighs less than 7% of a person’s body weight may not deliver the same calming, deep-pressure benefits as one that does for conditions like:

  • Anxiety – If you’re interested in finding the best weighted blanket for anxiety, you’ll want one that provides enough deep pressure touch to put your autonomic nervous system - the one that controls bodily functions that prepare you for fight or flight – into “rest” mode. You’ll know if the weight is right if your breathing slows, your mind stops racing, and your heart rate calms down.
  • Sleep Disorders – The right amount of pressure from the best adult weighted blanket brings a sense of mental calm and slows your heart and breathing rate while at the same time tamps down fidgeting and restless movements you may not even have been consciously aware of.
  • Autism – An autism weighted blanket can help an adult or child with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and improve their focus by relieving the intense sensory stimulations around them including touch.  The feeling of comfort is calming and can make them feel as if they are being rewarded with the gentle hug that the best heavy weighted blanket provide.
  • ADHD - Many children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) have a difficult time calming down and self-regulating.  A weighted blanket for kids can be used to help them unwind and self soothe at night before they go to sleep or after an outburst or an episode of over excitement

 

A Few More Things to Consider When Choosing a Weighted Blanket

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While weight is the driving factor when it comes to selecting a blanket there are a few other benefits you might consider when you’re reading weighted blankets reviews that you might want to take into account

  • Washability – Anything you love as much as most people love their heavy weighted blankets is going to get dirty from a lot of use.  Whether you use your queen size weighted blanket on your bed or to relax under it on your couch, chances are at some point something’s going to happen to it.  

    You’re going to spill a drink, drop a snack, or have an “oopsie” experience with an infant or a new puppy.   So, you’ll want to make sure your weighted blanket is easy to wash and is protected by a duvet cover.  Washable weighted blankets filled with hypo-allergenic glass beads are the best when it comes to making sure your sleeping experience is clean and fresh as well as calming 
  • Temperature – Even if you keep your bedroom on the chilly side, you may find yourself feeling warmer than you’d like thanks to body heat or the type of mattress you’re sleeping on.   Choosing a cotton weighted blanket that whisks away moisture is a good way to make sure you enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep snuggled down in your deep pressure touch cover and waking up refreshed.
  • Size – While many adult-weighted blankets are smaller and designed for single users, they also come in larger sizes for couples who want to enjoy the sleep enhancing effects of a grounding bed cover. If that sounds like you, choose a queen size weighted blanket that will cover both you and your partner.

  

Weighted Blanket Benefits may not be Beneficial for Everybody

Even if you are in good health there are certain things you should do and consider before purchasing a weighted blanket for adults & children.  First consult with your physician to get their approval for using a weighted blanket.   If they say it’s okay, ask for their recommendation on the weight and size of the best weighted blanket for adults & kids they think would be right for you.   Also check whether they say you can use a blanket all the time or need to limit how much or how long you should use it.

Aside from that basic guidance about getting physician approval before purchasing a weighted blanket for yourself or anyone else, here are a few more cautions to follow:

DO NOT buy a weighted blanket, if you or the person you’re planning to buy it for is suffering from any of the following health or physical conditions (This by no means is an all-inclusive list):

  • Unable to move without help or independently
  • Confused or cognitively impaired
  • Physically disabled
  • Frail or might have a risk of bone fracture (i.e., osteoporosis)
  • Limited upper body strength
  • Mentally disabled

Although older children may experience benefits of a weighted blanket, again ask their doctor, occupational therapist, psychologist/psychiatrist for their approval before buying one.  

DO NOT use a weighted blanket on infants, babies and toddlers and always keep your weighted blanket away from them.

Finally, even though you might feel like snuggling all the way under your cool weighted blanket, be careful not to cover your face or head with it.   Following these precautions will help make sure you enjoy the added measure of serenity, peacefulness, and deep restorative sleep that your weighted blanket can bring as well as stay healthy and safe.

So, if you love the snug calming feeling of burrowing under a heavy pile of covers – and your doctor approves – a 10lb, 15lb, or 20lb weighted blanket may provide you with the deep sense of comfort you seek.