Weighted Blanket Tips for Finding What’s Right For You or Your Loved One
I often get the question, “What weight is right for me?” This is a challenging one to answer because weight can very much be a personal preference and while one person with anxiety might like a weighted blanket that is at their maximum another may find that far too much. I get requests to do weighted blankets beyond what is recommended, and this is why I cannot accommodate: my blankets come in a standard size and those sizes have weight constraints, or maximum weight allowances based on their size. There also needs to be an allowance for the sewing machine to get between the weights for the nicest quilt finish.
So, what weight is right for you? In my 5 years of experience I can answer this question best through a conversation, but I will do my best here. Let’s talk about it in terms of various uses.
People looking for an anxiety weighted blanket tend to choose weight at the top end of their weight range (18+ pounds). Often, customers tell me that when they are having a panic attack they crave the weight of another human on them. Or, I hear that during a bad time they will have their pet sit in their lap. Most people and pets will weigh more than a weighted blanket, but that doesn’t mean your blanket needs to weigh as much as a person or pet. A consistent and constant pressure is what you’re craving.
However, if you are claustrophobic, have low strength, or are sensitive to deep pressure, you should consider something in the lower weight range (12 to 17 pounds) as that represents the benefits of a hug, which may have been your treatment of choice. In these cases, I suggest something in the 12- to 17-pound range, enough to give you deep pressure feedback but not so much as to feel trapped or be painful.
In my experience, although seniors can have more weight based on their body mass, they often have low strength. A blanket over 12 pounds could be too challenging to use independently. It is important to be independent in your weighted blanket use because you need to be able to remove the blanket, as well as manipulate it for comfort. For safety reasons, we don’t want any of our clients to be in a position where they can’t remove the blanket and need help.
For sleep comfort without anxiety:
Some people use extra blankets to get the weight and enclosure they crave during sleep. Extra blankets can overheat and lead to discomfort. For these people, I recommend a weighted blanket in the 14- to 18-pound range. Despite being able to safely go heavier, they might be looking for comfort weight as opposed to therapeutic weight. Just heavy enough to replace all those hot extra blankets. A regular blanket weighs in the range of 2 to 6 pounds depending on thickness and size. So, if you sleep with 3 to 5 extra blankets a weighted blanket that is 14 to 8 pounds will be more than sufficient.
For children with anxiety:
Getting a weighted blanket for a child can be a bit tricky because they are less able to communicate what they may like in terms of weight and parents usually want a blanket that is going to grow with their child. I find the 40×50 size to be the most ideal for kids and even teens as it provides good coverage but is not so large as to be cumbersome when trying to move it from room to room. In my experience, most kids like weighted blankets near the top end of their range. Because kids grow so quickly you can often push that weight up by 2 to 3 pounds to get the most life out of the blanket.
People with autism tend to have similar preferences in terms of weight as those with anxiety. Choosing weighted blankets at the top end of their range has great results. With Autism, there are other challenges; there may be sensory issues around fabric. Cotton is smooth and cool to the touch so it seems to be the fabric with the least issues. However, flannel and cuddle fabrics have the most negative reactions due to their strong textures. I would suggest avoiding these fabrics altogether to decrease the chance the blanket might be met with refusal.
For Restless Legs and Area-Specific Chronic Pain:
People who suffer from issues that target a specific area tend to prefer as heavy a blanket as possible in a smaller sizes, such as 30×40 and 20×50. This allows them to have the weight exactly where they need it without having to cover their whole body, or manage an extra blanket.
Something to consider:
At Hippo Hug, we suggest 15% of body weight rather than the common 10% plus one pound formula. We do this because the 10% plus one pound measurement is not linear. For example, using the 10% plus one pound formula for a 30-pound child would result in a 4-pound weighted blanket, which would be 13% of their body weight, but an 180-pound adult would need a 19-pound weighted blanket or 10.5 % of their body weight. Huge difference.
At Hippo Hug weighted blankets, we use 15% of body mass as a maximum weight in the smallest size based on a person’s height. Then we extrapolate up in size based on our in-house formula. For example, a 21-pound. 40×60 weighted blanket “feels” like a 40×70, 25-pound blanket because they are almost equal in terms of weight once you account for the added length. Even though you are getting 4 pounds more you are adding 10 inches to the length so the weight is distributed across a larger area.
Note: In the future, we will consider adjusting the maximum weights of our weighted blankets as we will be using new, customized weights that better meet our needs. New weights go into production in summer of 2017.
As always, feel free to contact us at info(at)hippohug(dot)ca or 587-356-0633 to have a conversation about your specific needs. And if you are in the Calgary area, please come by and visit the shop where you can try out different weights and sizes.