How to Use a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets can be beneficial for everyone – not just those with special needs.
Weighted blankets are designed to provide deep pressure stimulation, which has a calming and relaxing effect on the nervous system.
The problem is that some people do not use them correctly!
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about using a weighted blanket correctly for better sleep.
Table of Contents
How to use a weighted blanket
0. Why you need a weighted blanket?
First you should decide whther you need a weighted blanket or not. Why would you need a weighted blanket? Determine whether a weighted blanket is the right choice for you, consider if it could help with reducing anxiety, improving sleep, or providing a comforting sensation.
Weighted blankets are a great way to experience deep pressure stimulation which can
- help reduce anxiety and promote better sleep.
- the warmth and snugness of a weighted blanket can provide a soothing feeling, much like a gentle hug.
- help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and reduce tossing and turning.
- help you create a more relaxed state, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed.
- Weighted blankets are commonly used by occupational therapists to treat patients with sensory processing disorders and autism.
- Some manufacturers may claim that weighted blankets can benefit those with PTSD, anxiety, and depression, although there is not enough research to support this yet.
1. Testing a weighted blanket
If you are considering using a weighted blanket, it is important to understand how to know if it is working for you. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you determine if a weighted blanket is helping you get better sleep:
- Give it a try and make sure you are in a comfortable position before you go to bed. Begin by using the blanket for about 15 minutes and observe how your body reacts.
- Give your body enough time to adjust to the weight of the blanket. If you find that the weight feels too much at first, you can slowly increase the amount of time you are using it.
- Pay attention to how your body feels under the blanket and if it is pleasant.
- Try placing the blanket on specific parts of your body to see if it helps.
- Make sure that the weighted blanket is not impairing your movement or breathing and is giving you a pleasant feeling of being cuddled.
- Overall, if you find that you are getting better sleep and feeling more relaxed after using your weighted blanket, then you know it is working for you.
2. Buy a weighted blanket
What is needed to buy a weighted blanket?
- Choose the size and weight of the blanket: Make sure to buy a size that will comfortably cover your body from shoulder to toe and the weight should be 10% of your body weight for optimal results.
- Consider the size of your bed (for example, a twin blanket for a twin-size mattress).
- Consider the material: Weighted blankets can come in a variety of materials such as fabric, fleece, cotton, tencel and bamboo. Choose one that is comfortable and breathable to sleep under. Cotton weighted blankets are typically heavier and provide more warmth, while tencel and bamboo options are light and temperature-regulating.
- Consider the filling: The filling of a weighted blanket can be made up of plastic pellets, glass beads, or another type of material.
- A removable and washable cover can help your blanket last. While some blankets already come with a machine-washable cover, others may require you to purchase one separately.
- Some weighted blankets come with duvet covers that have loops on the corners for attaching the blanket.
3. Set up your sleeping environment
When using a weighted blanket, there are a few ways you can set up or redesign your bedroom to get the most out of it.
- Lay the blanket on top of your bed and, if needed, layer it with an extra blanket for added warmth
- Make sure to make your bedroom as dark as possible
- Reduce visual clutter
- Use a white noise machine or earplugs to drown out noise
- Keep your bedroom cool
- Decide if you want to replace your current bedding with the weighted blanket or use both
With these tips, you can make sure you’re getting the best out of your weighted blanket.
4. Start using the blanket slowly – Adjustment period
To get the most out of a weighted blanket and reap the benefits of improved sleep, it should be used consistently. As your body adjusts, you can build up over time and use the blanket for a more extended period.
The adjustment period for using a weighted blanket for better sleep is a gradual process that takes some time to get used to.
- It is recommended to use the blanket over half of your body for about a week as your body adjusts to the additional weight.
- After a week, slowly move the blanket up to cover the entire body until it reaches the chest. It generally takes a month for us to form a deep sleep routine and adjust to the weight of the weighted blanket.
- During the adjustment period, it is important to give your body time to get used to the weight, only using the blanket for about 15 minutes at a time to observe if you feel comfortable.
- Make sure to pay attention to how you feel under the blanket, and if you feel uncomfortable, this may be an indication that the blanket is too heavy.
- You can place the blanket on specific parts of your body when you need extra relaxation, or you can even use it all night long.
- Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide when to use it and how often.
5. Cover your entire body but gradually
Generally, the weighted blanket should cover your whole body from the neck down, providing even pressure across your body which helps with relaxation and calming.
6. Track your sleep patterns
Tracking your sleep patterns can help you use a weighted blanket properly for better sleep by allowing you to compare your latest results with those before you started using the blanket. This can show you how your body has adapted to using the blanket and help you determine if it is working properly to improve your sleep.
By understanding your sleep patterns, you can adjust your bedtime habits and use the weighted blanket to its fullest potential.
7. Use the blanket for your comfort
How can you use a weighted blanket for your comfort?
- If the weight of the blanket is too heavy or light, consider getting a replacement or changing the weight accordingly.
- Before bedtime, give the blanket a try to ensure that you find a comfortable sleeping position.
- Consider getting a blanket with a removable and washable cover to make it last longer.
- Place the blanket on specific parts of your body and use it whenever you feel like it.
- Finally, ensure that your body has adjusted to the weight of the blanket before using it all night.
- If sleeping, lie on your back, as the blanket will stay more evenly distributed. If napping, lounging, or working, try draping it over your shoulders or across your lap.
- Try using the blanket for a range of activities, such as sleeping, lounging, or working.
8. Replace your current blanket or double up
Replacing your current comforter with a weighted blanket or doubling up a weighted blanket for added warmth for the winter months is a matter of personal preference.
Once you have chosen your blanket and placed it on the bed, you should slip under the covers, with the blanket covering your body and the neck area. You can keep your feet uncovered if they get too warm.
9. Layer a weighted blanket with other bedding
Step-by-step instructions on how to layer a weighted blanket with your other bedding:
- Place the weighted blanket on top of your top sheet.
- Put the comforter of your choice on top of the weighted blanket.
- Ensure the weighted blanket is following your body contours closely.
- Place the blanket on specific parts of your body if needed.
- Use the blanket whenever you feel like it, whether that’s every day or just for a limited time.
10. Find storage for your weighted blanket
A weighted blanket should be stored in a closet, under a bed, or somewhere else in the home where it will remain safe and accessible.
11. Use it to de-stress your mind
A weighted blanket can be used to de-stress the mind by creating a sense of calm and relaxation.
- Test it out for comfort: To ensure maximum comfort, try out different brands and different weights and find one that fits your body and sleep routine.
- Get the best sleep of your life: When you have the comforting touch of your weighted blanket to help you drift off faster, toss and turn less often, and stay asleep longer.
By following these steps and creating an environment that promotes relaxation, a weighted blanket can be used to de-stress the mind and improve sleep quality.
12. Use your weighted blanket in more ways than just sleep
Weighted blankets can also be used while meditating, watching television, or while reading.
Example: To help me relax after a long day, I often drape my weighted blanket over my shoulders while I sit on the couch and watch my favorite show. The blanket provides comforting pressure which helps my body to calm down and achieve the relaxation it needs.
What are the benefits of using a weighted blanket?
What are the benefits of using a weighted blanket? [Expanded list]
- Improved quality and duration of sleep.
- Reduced anxiety and stress levels.
- Regulation of moods and improved happiness.
- Relief from health conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, ADHD and autism.
- Calming and relaxing effect leading to a deeper, more restful sleep.
- Feeling of being hugged, stroked or held, providing comfort and warmth.
- Improved production of serotonin, melatonin and oxytocin, leading to a feeling of calmness and relaxation.
- Pressure from the blanket assists with falling asleep, sleeping deeper and longer.
- Snugness of a weighted blanket simulates a full-body hug, promoting relaxation.
- Extra warmth useful in cold climates.
How do I use a weighted blanket to help me sleep better?
A weighted blanket can help you get a better night’s sleep by providing deep pressure stimulation, similar to a gentle hug, that creates a calming effect that can reduce anxiety and help you toss and turn less.
This type of blanket can be used similarly to any other blanket and should be tailored to your sleep routine to ensure maximum comfort.
Are there any risks associated with using a weighted blanket?
While there are few risks, it is important to consider certain groups or exceptions before use. Weighted blankets can pose a safety hazard for
- small children under the age of three or that weigh less than 50 pounds, so always consult with your pediatrician for their recommendations and use adult supervision.
- Pregnant women should check with their doctor for any risk factors specific to their pregnancy beforehand, as the heavy weight may cause unwanted heat.
- Additionally, people who suffer from epilepsy, heart or breathing issues, skin allergies, sleep apnea, asthma, or claustrophobia must refrain from using weighted blankets to avoid any risk.
- Seniors with any health conditions should check with their doctor before using a weighted blanket.
Weighted blankets have some pros and cons but when used properly, weighted blankets are safe for most adults and kids.
Are weighted blankets safe for children?
Weighted blankets can be helpful for children, especially those with disorders like autism and ADHD, as they can provide a deep pressure that can improve focus and reduce fidgeting.
Generally, weighted blankets are safe for children over the age of 3 who weigh at least 50 pounds, as long as the weight is about 10% of their body weight and the child is able to manage the blanket independently.
However, weighted blankets should be avoided for very young children and babies, since they may increase the risk of suffocation. It is also important to check with your family doctor about what is appropriate for your child.
How Long to Use a Weighted Blanket
Many people have been known to sleep with their weighted blankets throughout the night. However, it is important to ensure that the weighted blanket is evenly distributed across your body and your feet are comfortable.
How long to use a weighted blanket for better sleep?
- The amount of time you use your weighted blanket is up to you; however, some sleep consultants recommend using it for 20 to 30 minutes at a time during the day.
- As you test it out, decide based on your preferences and what you find is most comfortable.
- Some people only use them for short periods during the day, while others sleep with them all night long.
- The light pressure will help you feel instantly more relaxed, so there’s no specific time frame on how long to use a weighted blanket.
- For long-term benefits, it depends on how often you use it.
- Get your body used to the weight slowly. If it seems too much for you, increase the time you use it gradually.
- If you feel comfortable from the start, you can use it for a more extended period.
What’s it like to sleep under a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket truly is the perfect nighttime companion. Sleeping under a weighted blanket is like hugging yourself:
- Being wrapped in a cocoon of serenity; the comforting embrace of a weighted blanket can be both calming and reassuring
- When you lie beneath its heavy, evenly distributed warmth, it feels like gentle hands are wrapping you up in a hug
- You can feel the deep touch pressure on your body, lowering your heart rate and slowing your breathing
- It helps you relax and drift off, so you can enjoy a more restful sleep
- The sensation is like being encased in a gentle, comforting embrace
- There’s no tossing and turning, no anxiety or stress keeping you awake, just a peaceful slumber that allows you to wake up feeling refreshed and relaxed.
Can you sleep with a weighted blanket every night?
Yes, you can sleep with a weighted blanket every night. Using a weighted blanket consistently every night can help you achieve a deeper and better quality of sleep. It can also help your body to become more accustomed to the weight and pressure of the blanket, so you can relax and fall asleep faster.
Should a weighted blanket be directly on you?
Yes, a weighted blanket should be placed directly on you for optimal results. It is important to distribute the weight evenly across your whole body from the neck down, ensuring that both your chest and legs are fully covered.
This will also help to maintain your body temperature, reduce the feeling of anxiety, and improve your sleep quality.
Weighted blanket above or below comforter?
When it comes to using a weighted blanket, there is a choice between replacing your current comforter or using both. A weighted blanket itself is heavy and warm, making it suitable for the winter months, but some people may prefer the additional warmth of a comforter. On top of that, the breathability of a weighted blanket and its ability to stay cool can help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
For the ideal comfort, place your weighted blanket on top of your top sheet and under your comforter. This allows your weighted blanket to follow your body contours closely and helps the weight become evenly distributed for those who prefer sleeping on their backs.
Weighted blanket under or over duvet?
Weighted blankets look similar to a typical comforter, duvet insert, or blanket that you would place on your bed or couch. They are filled with plastic or glass beads to add weight, and have individual quilted squares so the beads don’t move when you move around in your sleep.
Whether you will replace your current bedding with your weighted blanket or use both is a personal preference, but if you choose to do both, the weighted blanket should be placed under your duvet. You can also keep your feet uncovered if they get too warm.
How long does it take to get used to a weighted blanket?
It can take up to a month for your body to fully adjust to the added weight of a weighted blanket. We recommend using the blanket for shorter periods of time while your body adjusts, and using it over half of your body for about a week, then slowly moving it up each day until it covers you completely.