I know–! Everyone is raving about weighted blankets–at least the trauma therapists I know–but I would like to add my voice to the discussion. Recently, I heard they are selling them at Costco and Target. But all weighted blankets are not equal, as I have found through trial and error.
Why use one at all?
Do you remember Temple Grandin, the neurologically divergent woman who taught us so much about how to treat animals in a humane way? She intuited the best way to calm farm animals, because she herself needed to be calmed in a similar way–that is, with a comfortable and predictable level of physical pressure. It’s exactly like a sustained hug! The gentle pressure calms the nervous system, bringing you out of hyperarousal.
This calming of the nervous system is helpful for people in several groups. Those who have significant early trauma or neglect in their lives, often have very anxious parts. These folks can benefit from having a weighted blanket laid over them during their therapy session. It helps regulate them, so the session is more productive. Same is true for people on the autism spectrum, those who identify as highly sensitive, and those who have ADHD.
Many people with insomnia benefit from sleeping under a weighted blanket. Some say they sleep more deeply, and many report they sleep on average, 1-2 hours longer a night.
So, what to buy?
The common complaint of menopausal women, people who sleep hot, and those who live in hot climates, is that weighted blankets are too warm! The ones they sell at Costco are fleecy, furry monstrosities, that would smother anyone. They are not worth the money! Buy the ‘Cooling Bamboo Weighted Blanket’. The fabric is lovely silky bamboo and the weight comes from glass beads sewn between the layers. It conforms to your body. There are many companies online. They are not too warm, they breathe, and a regular blanket can always be added on top, for cold nights should that be needed.
The rule of thumb is one pound of blanket for each 10 pounds of your weight. I have found this to be a good guideline, but there are a couple of other factors to consider. A twin size is large enough to cover the essential parts of anyone–even very tall people. Any larger, and the blanket becomes too heavy to handle during the night or in the therapy office. If you sleep with a partner, buy two individual twin size blankets, rather than trying to sleep under the same one. It just doesn’t work, to give you the lovely-cocoon-hug feeling we are going for here.
Also, important to know: the total weight of glass beads, 10#, 15#, 20#, are distributed over the whole blanket. So, a 15# twin size feels much heavier than a 15# queen size. I made that mistake, and return shipping is on you! In my experience, a good guideline is 10# twin for children, 15# twin for pretty much everyone else. I know several people who had to return their 20# blankets, because they were too unwieldy, especially for those who want to sleep under their blankets.