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#AskTheOT All About Weighted Blankets
At Sensory Direct it's our job to help each and every customer get the product that's right for them. Together with a network of Occupational Therapists and Professionals throughout the UK we aim to provide help, support and advice across a range of topics.
Each quarter we will team up with a series of OT's and likeminded Professionals to answer a series of questions across a variety of topics. Why, we hear you say? Well, to put it simply, at Sensory Direct we aim to help people. By providing professional support alongside our own personal experience and product knowledge, we can give the best support and advice to you.
For this edition of #AsktheOT we were delighted to work with Future Steps Occupational Therapists Consultancy. We put their Occupational Therapists to the test and asked them some of our most frequently asked questions all about Weighted Blankets.
What are Weighted Blankets and how do they work?
Weighted blankets are essentially what they sound like, blankets with weight. They have sewn pockets filled with beads or rice, made in a patchwork type quilt to evenly distribute the weight throughout the blanket. Weighted blankets are used to assist with physical and emotional regulation. They work through providing deep pressure to the body to calm the central nervous system.
What are the benefits of Weighted Blankets?
Research studies have found the use of weighted blankets can reduce conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, stress, and sleep disturbance. Additionally, weighted blankets can assist with emotional regulation, so they are great to use when you are winding down for bed or feeling stressed or anxious.
How do you pick the right weight for your blanket?
The general rule is that the blanket should weigh 10% of a person’s body weight. Some areas of research indicate a child’s weighted blanket should be 10% of their body weight plus 1-2lbs.
Can I sleep with a weighted blanket all night, and do I use it with or without my existing bedding?
There is conflicting information provided regarding length of time weighted blankets are used. We would not advise that a child uses a weighted blanket all night, however, it is down to the discretion of the parent regarding their individual child. Every child is different so some may prefer to use it all night.
Are weighted blankets hot to use?
Yes, weighted blankets can become hot to use if the individual tends to become hot quite quickly usually. If you are using them when sleeping, cooling blankets can be used alongside a weighted blanket, or by choosing light cotton material bed sheets you may feel cooler.
Can I wash my weighted blanket?
Depending on the material and weight of the weighted blankets, they can be washed in a washing machine. It is advised not to wash too frequently as this may deteriorate the weighted material inside the blanket. For large blankets it is recommended to hand wash and air dry 4 times per year, and in between as necessary. Of course, always check the label of the blanket you purchase!
Is there a minimum age recommendation for using a Weighted Blanket?
Children weighing less than 20lbs or under the age of 2 should not use a weighted blanket. For any young children, weighted blankets should always be used with adult supervision.
Can anybody use a Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets may be unsuitable for people with certain medical conditions, including chronic respiratory or circulatory issues, asthma, low blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnoea, and claustrophobia. They are great for people that like the pressure, but they should be used carefully and if you have any doubts, check with your GP first.
What do I need to look for in a quality Weighted Blanket?
Ideally choose a weighted blanket with glass bead fillings rather than plastic, as this results in the blanket being more breathable and quieter to use. You should also consider the material and the time of year you are using the blanket. By choosing one that is of higher quality, they will last longer and provide more benefits.
How will I know if a Weighted Blanket will suit me or my child?
Ensure you follow the weight guidelines when choosing your weighted blanket, and then trial this for approximately 40 minutes to see how using a weighted blanket has impacted you, how you feel/your regulated state. This can also work for children but make sure they are supervised when using one for the first time.
If you have any questions you'd love to feature in another #AsktheOT article, please get in touch at email@example.com.
Please note, this article provides general advice on a given topic(s), which may or may not be suitable for all conditions / circumstances. For individual advice and support specific to you, we would always recommend seeking guidance from your Occupational Therapist.