How Are Weighted Blankets Made: Which one is Better?

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How Are Weighted Blankets Made? It is a common question being asked by thousands of people. Weighted blankets are available in a variety of sizes and weights. It was to imitate the positive benefits of deep touch pressure therapy that weighted blankets were invented. Researchers have shown that utilizing weighted blankets can assist those who struggle with sensory processing disorders to feel more comfortable, reduce anxiety, and enhance oxytocin levels in the brain. On the other hand, what kinds of inferences can be made from the research that was done on weighted blankets? Do you think a weighted blanket could be helpful to you in any way? This article will explain how weighted blankets work and will also explore the various medical conditions that they may be able to treat. If you have ever been wondering about the science behind weighted blankets, this article will answer any questions you may have about them.

What Is a Weighted Blanket?

The appearance of a weighted blanket can be comparable to that of a traditional blanket; in fact, this should be the case. In contrast to conventional blankets, weighted blankets are not only hypoallergenic but also non-toxic. This distinguishes them from typical blankets. A weighted blanket often has polypropylene pellets serving as its filling material. The pellets are sewn into little pockets that are fully independent of one another, and these pockets are distributed uniformly across the blanket. These pellets are what give the blanket its weight.

How Does a Weighted Blanket Work?

There is a good chance that you have several blankets in your home. We are all knowledgeable about blankets, including how they function and the purposes they serve. You may have a certain blanket that you like to cuddle up with as you watch television or read a book. This could be your favorite blanket. 

How Do Weighted Blankets Help with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder?

Hugging and snuggling have been shown to have several health benefits. Oxytocin is a crucial neurotransmitter that contributes to people’s feelings of happiness, calmness, and overall relaxation. According to an article that was published in Psychology Today by Christopher Bergland, “Oxytocin is a hormone directly linked to human bonding and boosting trust and loyalty.” Studies have shown that physical contact, such as hugging or holding hands, can cause the release of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Hugging and other forms of physical touch have been shown to provide a variety of health benefits, and as a result, these types of interactions are increasingly being incorporated into treatment modalities. Research has indicated that patients with autism, anxiety and sensory processing disorder can benefit from deep contact pressure therapy by experiencing an increase in oxytocin levels. Touch and tactile sensitivity, on the other hand, have the potential to induce feelings of worry and unease, as well as pain, in people who suffer from sensory processing disorders. Hugging and snuggling are physical contact methods that some people with sensory processing disorder or autism are unable to accept. At this point, you might find that a weighted blanket is helpful. A weighted blanket provides all of the benefits of a hug without imposing undesirable or uncomfortable body contact with another person. This is accomplished by exerting pressure that is both solid and gentle, and it does so by applying pressure. On the market nowadays, there is a wide selection of different types of squeeze machines. Nevertheless, most of these devices are rather pricey, with the bulk of models having prices that range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. They come with such hefty price tags that the majority of the time, you can only get them in medical facilities or therapy centers. To everyone’s good fortune, a weighted blanket may provide all of the same benefits as a squeeze machine, but at a price that is more reasonable and can easily fit into anyone’s budget.

Comfort vs. Durability: A Compromise

The nature of the exact material that you select plays a significant impact in providing you with the most pleasant experience possible when using a weighted blanket. However, the durability of different textiles might vary greatly. When looking for a weighted blanket, you may find that you have to choose between getting one that will be an investment for the long term and getting one that is tailored to your specific requirements and preferences as an individual. Fabrics have to offer the utmost level of comfort to make it possible for people to sleep soundly through the night, especially those who are sensitive to heat and other types of textures. Others, who do not have any known sensitivity issues or specific needs, might simply choose a fabric based on how durable it is and how appealing its appearance is.

What Types of Conditions Can a Weighted Blanket Help?

Individuals who suffer from sensory processing disorder as well as related conditions such as autism, anxiety, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are thought to benefit the most from using weighted blankets (ADHD). On the other hand, there is some evidence to suggest that weighted blankets can be helpful for a variety of different health concerns. Oxytocin is well-known for its ability to alleviate symptoms associated with a wide variety of health disorders, such as anxiety, sleeplessness, restless leg syndrome, and fibromyalgia.

Weighted Blankets for Individuals Suffering from Sensory Processing Disorder

There are two distinct manifestations of sensory processing dysfunction. Some infants and adults who have sensory processing disorder are hypersensitive to stimuli, which means they are overly sensitive to the effects of being touched, in large groups, or with loud noises. Hyposensitivity is a symptom that can be seen in some people who have sensory processing disorder (under sensitivity). Members of this group may have trouble detecting sounds, touches, and other stimuli. A person who is under sensitive may seek out physical contact, in contrast to someone who is oversensitive, who may try to avoid being touched. Sensitive people may also have a very high pain tolerance. This is only seen in select circumstances.

Weighted Blankets for Autism

Sensory integration theory is responsible for the discovery that using a weighted blanket can be helpful for people with autism. It appears that persons who are sensitive to touch benefit from a soothing influence on their nervous system when they are subjected to deep pressure. Autism frequently manifests itself in a person’s sensory processing. You can be someone who craves contact or someone who avoids it. There is a possibility that you will also be sensitive to things involving your other senses and your body awareness. If you have touch sensitivity, you can find that irregular feelings are upsetting and difficult to handle. It’s possible that you’d feel more at ease with solid, extensive contact, and maybe even find it comforting.

Possible indicators of touch sensitivity include the following:

  • Avoiding physical contact with others
  • Avoiding items of clothing or food that have particular textures
  • Lack of desire to have one’s hands covered in anything
  • Avoiding as much physical interaction as possible by merely touching items with the tips of your fingers
  • Hate having skin or hair washed

Using weighted blankets, toys, or vests can help relieve hypersensitivity to touch, according to the notion of sensory integration. The comfort of a weighted blanket may also have something to do with how a person with autism relates to their body. She emphasizes that people with autism typically have a diminished impression of their ability to sense and feel the sensations in their bodies. Every joint in our bodies contains sensors, which are constantly communicating with our brains to provide feedback regarding our position and movement. According to Jackson, having the ability to experience your body’s position and movements can be reassuring and empowering, and it can also give you better control over your body and the reactions it produces.

Anxiety Treatment Utilizing Weighted Blankets

One of the most prevalent mental illnesses in the United States is anxiety, which affects around 40 million people, making it one of the most prevalent diseases in the country. According to research presented by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), the good news is that anxiety is highly curable (ADAA). Despite this, the ADAA claims that only 36.9 percent of those who are affected receive the therapy that they require.

Weighted Blankets as an ADHD Treatment

The findings of a study conducted by researchers at Temple University discovered that 95 percent of participants with ADHD who were given sensory intervention showed signs of improvement. The interventions that were made available included intense forms of physical activity as well as touch therapy with deep pressure. According to the findings of one of the researchers, “We discovered a considerable improvement in the group that received treatment in terms of sensory avoidance behaviors, tactile sensitivity, and visual-auditory sensitivity” If your therapist employs deep pressure touch therapy, he or she may recommend that you use a weighted blanket so that you can continue to enjoy the advantages of the therapy even when you are in the comfort of your own home.

Insomnia Treatment Utilizing Weighted Blankets

Most Americans don’t get enough sleep. According to research conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, “bad or insufficient sleep” is experienced regularly by 45 percent of the population. The Sleep Health Foundation reports that one adult out of every three struggles with some form of sleeplessness. If you suffer from insomnia, you are familiar with the exasperating experience of wanting to sleep but being unable to do so, either falling asleep or remaining asleep throughout the night.

Are weighted blankets effective?

The evidence on the relationship between autism and weighted blankets is scant and contradictory, despite the popularity of these blankets. A significant portion of the evidence in support of the claim was only recently published. Anxiety reduction was identified as one of the potential therapeutic effects of weighted blankets in a 2020 review that analyzed the results of eight separate trials. The authors acknowledged that there was little evidence to imply that the blankets affected insomnia, but they stated that there was a dearth of research on the topic. Before this, the greatest study addressing the link between autism and weighted blankets was conducted in 2014. The subjects preferred the weighted blankets to the normal alternatives, however, the study concluded that there was no significant change in sleep quality. In contrast to the results of a 2021 retrospective follow-up study of autistic children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, these conclusions about sleep are not supported by the research (ADHD). According to the findings of this study, weighted blankets do improve:

  • Ability to nod off quickly and easily
  • Sleep for the entirety of the night.
  • Daytime leisure time and relaxation
  • The routine of the morning
  • The simplicity of waking up

These findings demonstrated a reduction in the amount of time needed to fall asleep as well as an improvement in mood upon waking. However, the authors highlighted that their findings were not sufficiently significant to warrant a recommendation for clinical use.

One other piece of evidence in favor of using weighted blankets comes from research that was conducted on persons who were receiving inpatient mental health treatment. According to the findings of the study, wearing a weighted blanket was associated with a reduction in anxiety that was sixty percent greater than the control group.

How Are Weighted Blankets Made

It is not rocket science and does not require any specialized abilities to learn how to build a weighted blanket; therefore, anyone who has the necessary materials and a little bit of time may construct their weighted blanket by following the methods indicated below. If you decide that using a weighted blanket to help treat insomnia caused by any of the concerns described above is the best course of action, the next step is to figure out what kind of materials are required and how big the blanket has to be effective. In the first place, you need to think about the person who will be using the blanket so that you can design the measurements appropriately. Making a blanket to fit a bed is not something that we encourage doing. For example, if a child with autism who is 8 years old and sleeps on a bed that is twin size at night requires a weighted blanket, it is not essential to purchase a weighted blanket that is twin size; the blanket simply needs to fit the person. When it comes to measuring for a blanket, “chin to heel” is a decent rule of thumb to follow. Not only is it a waste of materials to let excess blankets hang off the ends of the bed, but it can also pull weight away from the body and make it difficult to adjust during the night, especially for children. In cases of insomnia, the optimal length of a blanket is often from the chin to the heel. This makes certain that the pressure from the weighted blanket hits all of the body’s Deep Touch Pressure points while preventing the face from being covered. If you have other symptoms, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Restless Leg Syndrome, you might simply need to cover the upper or lower half of your body with the blanket. When making these more compact blankets, measure the length from the chin to the heel and divide that number in half. This will make a good throw blanket for someone who only needs to throw it over their shoulders or their legs on occasion.

How to use weighted blankets?

Some manufacturers suggest that the weight of your weighted blanket should be roughly ten percent of your body weight if you are an adult. Your taste might lean more toward slightly more or slightly less than that amount. When it comes to youngsters, the advice of 10 percent isn’t always feasible or safe. For children, a weighted blanket typically ranges in weight from 3 to 12 pounds on average. The use of a weighted blanket in very young children may, in some circumstances, increase the likelihood that the kid would suffocate. A trained medical practitioner can assist you in determining which options are appropriate for the requirements of your child.

Which Types of Fabrics Are Most Appropriate for Weighted Blankets?

When searching for a weighted blanket, you should think about the materials used for the exterior and the inner, as well as the weight and other aspects, such as whether or not the blanket can be washed in a machine. The option that you go with ultimately relies on your personal preferences, although micro glass beads are a relatively common type of material used in weighted blankets. Micro glass beads are entirely hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and offer the ease of being able to be washed in a machine. Other benefits include an even weight distribution and a compact shape.

How Are Weighted Blankets Made That Also can be washed?

At some point, the subject of cleaning will unavoidably come up for discussion. However, this does rely on the sort of filler that is used in the blanket as well as the weight of the blanket itself. Some weighted blankets may be washed and dried, while others cannot. It is important to keep in mind that water is not a friend to dietary fillers like rice, beans, or grains. They may get swollen, mildewed, and clumped together if they are exposed to moisture. Glass beads and plastic pellets, on the other hand, can be washed and even dried without any problems.

What are weighted blankets filled with?

The usage of weighted blankets, which are heavy blankets, for therapeutic purposes, such as the relief of anxiety and stress, is becoming increasingly popular. Weighted blankets can range in weight from five to thirty pounds and are often loaded with either plastic pellets or glass beads. When worn, the supplementary weight is intended to induce a state of relaxation in the wearer by its gravitational pull.

How do they make weighted blankets so heavy?

Fillers such as plastic poly pellets, glass beads, or steel shot beads are used in weighted blankets to give them their heavier feel. When a weighted blanket is used, the user experiences something that is referred to as “deep touch pressure,” which is caused by the blanket’s weight pressing down on the body.

How do they make weighted blankets?

The method entails combining the weighted pellets, which are often made out of glass, with the padding material in such a way that it combines evenly and prevents it from coming free when it is being used. The utilization of this method results in a substantial improvement in the weight distribution because it ensures that everything stays evenly balanced for a longer period.

What material is used to make weighted blankets?

Plastic poly pellets have long been used as the standard and most common filling material for weighted blankets. They have the appearance of little pebbles and, in most cases, they can be washed in a washing machine, which is a significant advantage of these products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why glass beads in a weighted blanket?

Glass beads are less bulky than poly plastic pellets because they are denser.

Can weighted blankets be washed?

When it is time to give your weighted blanket a thorough cleaning, you have the option of either washing it in a washing machine or washing it by hand in a bathtub or sink. In either case, you should use a gentle detergent that does not include chlorine, and you should wash the blanket in cold or warm water, as the majority of weighted blankets are not designed to withstand hot water.

Why are weighted blankets so comfy?

Weighted blankets are effective in promoting restful sleep because their gentle pressure reduces the intensity of your heart rate and breathing just before bed. This is because your pulse rate and respiration will naturally decrease due to the pressure of the weighted blankets.

Can using a weighted blanket cause back pain?

Yes, that’s right.  However, this only applies if you already have an injury or medical condition that causes you pain or suffering and the blanket makes it worse.

Is 20 pound weighted blanket too heavy?

It’s not too difficult to figure out how much of a burden your weighted blanket should carry. The standard recommendation for people using a weighted blanket is to use one that is 10 percent of their body weight. For an adult, the ideal weight range for a weighted blanket is between 12 and 20 pounds.

How Are Weighted Blankets Made: Why they are so heavy? 

Because the blanket begins to cause your body temperature to rise, using a blanket that is heavier over 35 pounds increases the likelihood that you may experience discomfort. During the night, it will apply an excessive amount of pressure on your joints. You will experience a sense of confinement as a result.

Who should not use a weighted blanket?

For certain people, employing a weighted blanket might be extremely uncomfortable or even dangerous due to preexisting medical conditions. These include anyone with chronic lung or heart conditions, asthma, low blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or claustrophobia.

Why are weighted blankets so expensive?

Weighted blankets require materials that are thicker and of higher quality than those used in traditional blankets. In addition, they should be double-stitched to ensure that nothing shifts. The high price tag is a result of the extensive effort, premium supplies, and cutting-edge machinery essential to its production.

Can you sleep on your side with a weighted blanket?

It has been shown that sleeping on your back produces the finest outcomes. This ensures that the pressure is distributed uniformly across your complete body. You are free to lie on your side, but be aware that this will result in the blanket covering a less surface area.

Can you put a 15 lb. weighted blanket in the washer?

The answer is yes, you may wash your weighted blanket in the machine. If you don’t have access to a large front-loading washer, you might find it more convenient to do your laundry at a coin laundromat. If you need to clean blankets that weigh more than 10 pounds, a commercial washer is likely going to be able to do a better job than your home washer.

Is a weighted blanket too heavy for a washing machine?

The huge mass of a weighted blanket makes it unwise, in the opinion of our specialists, to wash a weighted blanket weighing more than 15 pounds, even if your washing machine is capable of washing a weighted blanket weighing 20 pounds.

Can you wash weighted blankets?

The vast majority of weighted blankets come packaged with one of the following sets of directions: Washing and drying by machine: When washing your blanket in a machine, select a mild detergent that does not contain chlorine, wash it in either cold or warm water, and put it on the delicate cycle. Steer clear using fabric softeners.

What can you use to fill a weighted blanket?

Grains like Rice and Beans can be easily used to fill a weighted blanket. When making weighted blankets, it’s not uncommon to include dried foods as filler. Some common examples include rice, beans, corn barley, and pasta. With consistent use of these components, a healthy weight can be attained. Dried foods offer several benefits, one of which is the fact that they are accessible and do not cost very much money.

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