Written By: Clayton Davis
What Are Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets have become a global phenomenon over the last few years, and for good reason. Their design, which help users relax due to something scientists have named deep pressure therapy (DPT). Pioneered by Temple Grandin, DPT uses pressure, similar to that of a big hug, to stimulate the brain into releasing a hormone called Oxytocin. Oxytocin is involved in social cognition behaviors. Studies like this one have shown that DPT can help ease symptoms of several mental health disorders. It can help with anxiety, depression, autism, and even physical pain. For more information on DPT, check out our blog on the topic here.
Weighted Blankets vs. Heavy Blankets
While we are on the topic of DPT, we should take a minute to differentiate between weighted blankets and heavy blankets, separate terms which are often used interchangeably. You might wonder what the difference is. After all, weighted and heavy seem pretty similar, in terms of effects. However, it is the how weighted blankets are weighted that is important. Whereas heavy blankets are simply blankets sewn with a thicker weave to create a bit of extra weight and warmth, weighted blankets are weighted with a pocketed inner liner. The inner liner can be filled with a few different materials, which we’ll discuss in greater detail below. The pockets are the most important aspect of the liner though. They keep the weighted material from moving around too much. Without the pockets, the material inside the blanket would all end up pooling in one corner as you move around under the blanket. Instead, the pocketed inner liner evenly distributes the weight around the user’s body, mimicking the feeling of a hug.
Weighted Blanket Size Guide
If you’re interested in buying a weighted blanket, one obvious – but important – thing to consider is the weight. The weight of your weighted blanket should be based off of your own bodyweight. Let’s go over the size guides for adults and children, to give you an idea of what you’ll likely want for yourself or your child.
Weighted Blankets for Adults
Adults should generally choose a weighted blanket that is about 10% of their weight. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, then a 15-pound weighted blanket would be your best bet. Of course, some people like a little more weight than others, so you may end up going a bit over or under this estimate. Check out our size guide to see how we recommend our various weights based on your height, rather than your weight.
Weighted Blankets for Kids
Weighted blankets are safe for children over the age of two, except for children with health conditions like sleep apnea and moderate to severe asthma. Consult with your child’s physician if you are unsure whether a weighted blanket would be safe for them. When choosing the right size for your child, the general rule is 10% of their bodyweight plus one to two pounds. This ensures that your child has room to grow a bit before they need a new weighted blanket.
Weighted Blanket Fabrics
Weighted blankets get their name from the weighted inner liner discussed above, but the fabric you choose can be nearly as important as the weight, at least in terms of comfort. Weighted blankets can be made in various fabrics, which differ in feel, warmth, and durability. Here at the Magic Weighted Blanket, we use chenille, cotton, minky, flannel, and fleece fabrics. Check out our product page for information on each fabric, and check out our blog to learn about our luxurious chenille fabric – it’s a customer-favorite.
Weighted Blanket Fillings
The filling inside of a weighted blanket’s inner liner is important, as it creates the deep pressure therapy that helps users to ease their anxiety, depression, and processing disorder symptoms. Most weighted blankets use either plastic poly pellets, glass beads, or sand for weight. While micro glass beads have started gaining popularity recently, we shy away from them. While this may not happen often, if the seams in a weighted blankets inner liner come loose at all, the tiny glass beads can escape and become a choking hazard for pets and children. Sand faces a similar problem with leaking, although it is likely to be more of a mess than a choking hazard. Plastic poly pellets (which are used by the Magic Weighted Blanket), although they can still be a choking hazard, are larger in size than glass beads and sand, and are therefore less likely to leak out of your blanket, unless there is a large tear through the blanket.
Domestic vs. Imported Weighted Blankets
Long has the debate between outsourced products and those made in America raged in the culture war, but it is actually worth considering when it comes to a product like a weighted blanket. A weighted blanket isn’t just some knick-knack that gets thrown on a shelf or in a drawer somewhere, they’re likely something that you and/or your child will use quite frequently, and for an important reason – helping with stress, anxiety, and depression. For that reason, and the fact that weighted blankets can be rather pricey, you want to make sure that your weighted blanket is going to last a long time. It’s also worth considering who is making your weighted blanket. There is a reason that outsourced weighted blankets can be so cheap, and it’s usually because they are made in countries with incredibly low wages and poor worker protections.
Many outsourced weighted blankets are of a lower quality than what you will find with blankets made in the USA. One thing to consider, in terms of quality, is in the cover that surrounds your blanket’s inner liner. Some outsourced models use a detachable duvet cover. This is a cover that is tied around the inner liner. While this option does let you remove the cover for washing, rather than having to lug around the entire weighted blanket when doing laundry, it often results in the ties fraying over time, and eventually falling apart altogether. This leaves you with a weighted liner that isn’t really useable anymore. Weighted blankets with an integrated duvet cover, however, tend to last longer because the inner liner and the cover end up as one piece, sewn together rather than held in place with flimsy ties.
And, on the note of washing your weighted blanket, you want to make sure that your blanket is machine washable (and dryable too, if possible). Cheaper blankets may not be machine washable, which can be a real pain. While weighted blankets don’t need to be washed all that often, you’re not going to want to take it to a professional dry cleaner when the time for cleaning does come. Check out our FAQ for more info on washing a Magic Weighted Blanket.
We won’t preach too much here, but keep in mind that not every country has labor laws similar to those in the USA (which, themselves, could use some improvements). China, for instance, has a minimum wage of only $2.06 (in US dollars) per hour. Compare that to the USA, which has a federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour (and several states with higher minimum wage, including California – where the Magic Weighted Blanket is made – which has a minimum wage of $15 per hour) and you start to see why some outsourced weighted blankets are so cheap. The United States also has better worker protections (including safety regulations, overtime pay, etc.) than many of the other countries where weighted blankets are produced. If you want to feel good about your purchase of a weighted blanket, consider buying American.
A weighted blanket can be an incredible tool for helping with anxiety, depression, autism, and processing disorders. They can also be a bit pricey, especially those made in America, so you want to make sure that you choose the right blanket for you. Consider things like size, fabric, filling, and whether or not your blanket is machine washable before making your purchase. And feel free to check out our FAQ, size guide, blog, and product pages for more information on these various topics.