Weighted blankets are increasingly popular with sleepers battling insomnia or nighttime anxiety. To be effective, a weighted blanket needs to provide enough pressure to have a calming effect, without providing so much pressure that the user feels trapped or uncomfortable. We’ll examine the top considerations when choosing a weight for your weighted blanket.
What Is a Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets usually contain either plastic pellets or glass microbeads designed to add pressure to the body. These beads or pellets are often accompanied by batting of some sort to provide warmth and reduce the feel and sound of the fill shifting. Most weighted blankets weigh between 5 and 30 pounds, significantly heavier than most comforters and duvets. Some weighted blankets come with a removable cover for ease of cleaning.
Weighted blankets are believed to stimulate production of “happiness” hormones like dopamine and serotonin and reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. This helps the user enter a more relaxed state, which is conducive to sleep. However, these health claims are the subject of ongoing research.
How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?
As a rule of thumb, the weight of a weighted blanket should be about 10% of your body weight. Of course, the ideal weighted blanket weight depends on what feels right to you. Preferred weights can vary between 5% and 12% of the sleeper’s weight. Look for a blanket that provides a feeling of comfort, but that still feels safe when you are resting beneath it. You may need to try a few different weights before settling on one you find comfortable. Weighted blankets may not be suitable for sleepers who tend to feel claustrophobic.
Weighted Blanket Weight Chart
Recommended weights for a weighted blanket can vary between 5% and 12% of their body weight, with most people preferring a weighted blanket that weighs approximately 10% of their body weight. Regardless of its weight, a proper blanket should allow for comfort and movement.
|Body Weight Range||Weighted Blanket Weight Range|
|25-60 lbs.||2-6 lbs.|
|35-84 lbs.||3-8 lbs.|
|50-120 lbs.||5-12 lbs.|
|60-144 lbs.||6-14 lbs.|
|75-180 lbs.||7-18 lbs.|
|85-194 lbs.||8-19 lbs.|
|100-240 lbs.||10-24 lbs.|
|110-264 lbs.||11-26 lbs.|
|125-300 lbs.||12-30 lbs.|
|150-360 lbs.||15-36 lbs.|
Recommendations for each body weight range are based on current users’ general opinions and preferences. Sleepers should not interpret these estimates as an exact science, as what feels right to one person may not feel right to another. You may also find that the material and fill of the blanket play a role in how comfortable it feels and how hot it sleeps.
Weighted Blanket Weights for Children
Weighted blankets are generally considered safe for children aged 3 years and older who weigh at least 50 pounds. In recent years, a number of bedding brands have introduced weighted blankets specifically designed for children. These blankets typically weigh between 3 and 12 pounds.
Parents should use caution with the “10% rule” when picking out a children’s weighted blanket. We recommend consulting a family physician to determine the right weighted blanket weight for your child – and even then, you may want to err on the lower end of the recommended weight range.
Although weighted blankets have proven popular with kids, some of their medical benefits have been disputed. One study evaluated the effectiveness of weighted blankets in improving severe sleep problems for children with autism spectrum disorder. While participants enjoyed the blankets and felt comfortable, the blankets did not help them fall asleep or stay asleep during the night.
Weighted Blanket Safety
Weighted blankets can provide relaxation and comfort to some sleepers, but pose potential health and safety risk to others. This is especially true for people with conditions that affect breathing because a blanket that is too heavy can restrict airflow and make breathing more difficult.
“The weighted blanket should provide gentle body pressure but not be too heavy. If you have any breathing problems (like asthma) or a primary sleep disorder (like sleep apnea) that can affect your breathing at night, you want to do your research to find quality hypoallergenic materials and double check with your doctor that using a weighted blanket is safe for you while sleeping. You don’t want any heavy weight pushing down on your chest, potentially disrupting your breathing even more.”
– Sarah Silverman, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist and holistic sleep wellness consultant who treats patients in New York and Florida.
We recommend talking to your doctor before using a weighted blanket if you live with one of the following:
- Low blood pressure
- Respiratory disorder
- Type 2 diabetes
- Obstructive sleep apnea
Even for people who do not suffer from severe medical conditions, a weighted blanket may be too constricting and make them feel claustrophobic. As a general rule, sleepers who are unsure about their health risks should consult a physician before buying a weighted blanket.