Here at SensaCalm, one of the most common questions we receive is 'how heavy should a weighted blanket be?' The answer depends on your size, needs and the recommendations of your occupational therapist or other health professional. Here is a comprehensive guide to choosing the most effective weight for your needs, along with answers to some of the top questions about weighted blankets and weighted blanket therapy.
How Heavy Should Your Weighted Blanket Be?
When choosing a weighted blanket, it’s important to remember that everyone has unique needs and preferences. Whereas one person may prefer a heavier weight, another individual may do better with a lighter blanket. There are no hard and fast rules for determining how heavy your weighted blanket should be. The short answer is that you should choose the right weight for you.
However, we have put together basic guidelines to give you an idea of which weights tend to work well based on our experience, as well as feedback we’ve received from our weighted blanket users.
As a general rule, weighted blankets should be sized to the body — not a bed.
Weighted Blankets for Toddlers - First, keep in mind that you should not use a weighted blanket for any child under one year of age. It’s also important to speak to your doctor, occupational therapist or other health professional before using a weighted blanket. For children between the ages 1 and 6, we recommend a size Small weighted blanket. To calculate the correct weight, use 10 percent of the child’s body weight plus one pound.
Weighted Blankets for Elementary Age Children - For children between the ages of 6 and 12, we recommend a size Medium weighted blanket. To calculate the appropriate weight, use 10 percent of the child’s body weight plus two pounds.
Weighted Blankets for Teens and Adults - For individuals age 13 and up, we recommend the Large size weighted blanket. You calculate the weight for the blanket by using 10 percent of the person’s body weight plus three pounds.
Full and Queen Size Weighted Blankets - If you are a large person, or you’re a couple who would like to share the blanket, you can purchase a Full or Queen size. Our Full size weighted blankets measure 56 inches by 72 inches. Our Queen size blankets measure 64 inches by 72 inches.
Please note that Full and Queen sizes are designed to lay on top of a bedspread rather than hang off the sides like a standard bedspread or comforter. This design is intentional, as a weighted blanket with any overhang will naturally succumb to the forces of gravity and constantly pull down toward the floor.
Additionally, if you tend to toss and turn at night, a Full or Queen size may be ideal for you. Some restless sleepers find that a larger size weighted blanket gives them a little more “wiggle room” as they shift around.
One of the things that sets SensaCalm apart from other weighted blanket companies is our commitment to personalized service. If you’re unsure of which weight to choose, we will work with you to determine the best weight and size blanket for your needs. We have weighted blankets that are ready to ship today, and we also offer a large catalog of custom weighted blankets made-to-order specifically for you, your child or a loved one.
For more information about choosing the right weight, please check out our sizing page.
What Is the Right Size Weighted Blanket for You?
At SensaCalm, our weighted blankets are made to fit the user’s body. We find that parents, caregivers and individual users see the most benefits when their weighted blanket is sized to accommodate them and not necessarily their bed.
This is because weighted blankets may be an effective tool in managing the symptoms of sensory processing disorder and related conditions. According to WebMD, “Sensory processing disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses.” Sensory processing disorder can affect both children and adults, and symptoms can range from very mild to severe.
Every human being on the planet experiences life through his or her senses. From smelling different aromas as you walk through a mall food court to hearing a mix of sounds in a movie theater, we all rely on our senses to inform us about the world. For people with sensory processing disorder, however, something in the brain throws up a roadblock that either jams sensory input or prevents the brain from interpreting it correctly. According to the STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder, “A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks.”
One of the most common symptoms of sensory processing disorder is insomnia or restless sleep. In children, sensory processing disorder can lead to tantrums and other behavioral issues. Weighted blankets apply deep, even pressure — sort of like a gentle, comforting hug. This soothing pressure has been scientifically shown to ease anxiety and promote peaceful sleep. By sizing the blanket to the body rather than the bed, we ensure that this therapeutic pressure gets applied to as much of the body as possible.
What Is Weighted Blanket Therapy?
Weighted blanket therapy may be an effective tool for sensory processing disorder, but it has also been shown to potentially help a variety of other conditions in children, adults and the elderly. From insomnia and anxiety to fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome, there are a host of health conditions that may respond well to weighted blanket therapy.
The science behind weighted blanket therapy is that “deep pressure touch” reduces cortisol levels and boosts the production of serotonin in the brain. Cortisol, which is also known as the “stress hormone,” has been linked to numerous diseases and conditions, including headaches, heart disease, weight gain and digestive difficulties. When the brain perceives a stressful situation, it naturally signals a “fight or flight” response. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it spurs the individual to deal with the stress in the safest, most productive way possible.
The problem arises when the brain produces too much cortisol. This can happen when a person encounters too many stressful situations. For many people, even everyday stressors at work and home can create a constant state of anxiety. When the brain is always in a “fight or flight” state, cortisol levels can skyrocket. In individuals with sensory processing disorder and related conditions, triggering noises, sounds and environments can create ongoing stress. This has a negative impact on a person’s overall health.
The Science Behind Weighted Blanket Therapy
There are many ways to deal with stress and hopefully lower cortisol levels. Healthy, natural ways to manage stress include getting plenty of exercise, eating a balanced diet and making sure you get the right amount of sleep for your age. Research has also shown that massage, such as deep pressure touch therapy, can also help reduce the stress hormone and promote the production of hormones that give a sense of well-being.
For example, a study published in the Journal of the Formosan Medical Association found that dental patients undergoing wisdom tooth extraction felt less stress while lying under a weighted blanket compared to patients who did not. The study used weighted blankets that were 10 percent of the patient’s body weight. As the researchers noted, “Deep pressure input is a type of tactile pressure stimulation exerted by firm touching, holding, stroking, hugging, swaddling, and squeezing, and it is carried by the dorsal column-medial lemniscal system to the somatosensory cortex.”
The results revealed that the patient group who used weighted blankets had lower heart rates and more regular heartbeats throughout the procedure. Researchers stated, “Our results further suggest that deep pressure input may be an appropriate therapeutic modality for use in people with special needs with arousal regulation during or in preparation for stress conditions…”
Most people aren’t surprised to learn that a weighted blanket may offer a therapeutic effect. If you have ever felt comforted by wrapping up in a down comforter, or you’ve enjoyed the gentle pressure of a protective lead vest at the dentist’s office, you’ve experienced the benefits of a weighted blanket. With a SensaCalm blanket, you or a loved one can enjoy these benefits at home, during sleep or even on the go. Many of our customers tell us their child uses their weighted blanket in the car, at daycare or during rest periods at school.
Order Your SensaCalm Weighted Blanket Today
Weighted blanket therapy may help reduce anxiety and other symptoms of sensory processing disorder. SensaCalm has been the industry leader in weighted blankets since 2008. Order a custom weighted blanket that is sized and weighted just for you today by calling us at 855-736-7222. You can also reach us online through our contact form.
Disclaimer: The content on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before undertaking any type of therapy or treatment.