By Oktay Ozadam
Weighted blankets are quite a big investment, so lots of people want to know, do weighted blankets really work? So, we thought we'd write an article specifically about this, how these blankets are supposed to work, and why you should get one (maybe).
One thing we'd like to mention before we go any further is the main difference between regular weighted blankets and cooling weighted blankets.
A weighted cooling blanket, such as the chiliBLANKET, is usually made of a lighter, more breathable fabric that does not absorb moisture and make you hot or sweaty. We will explore how each of these blankets works below.
How is a Weighted Blanket Supposed to Work?
Traditionally, a weighted blanket is filled with material, most often glass or plastic pellets.
These pellets are generally hypo-allergenic and non-toxic and are sewn into the fabric of the blanket itself, to maintain even distribution.
Other types of weighted blankets can include several layers of fabric or a water-powered heating system.
The reason weighted blankets work in regulating your sleep (both in terms of temperature and anxiety) is that the added pressure of the weighted blanket is comforting to the body. This is known as deep pressure therapy.
The weight of the blanket is therapeutic because it makes us feel protected and stimulates the body's production of serotonin and endorphins, which in turn make us feel more relaxed and happy.
The pressure of the weighted blanket also forces your heart rate to slow down.
As we know, our hearts tend to beat too fast when we're angry or stressed. This leads to overall agitation and anxiety and can prevent us from getting the sleep we need.
But by applying pressure and literally 'holding us down', a weighted blanket negates that and regulates our heartbeat.
How does a Cooling Weighted Blanket Work?
A weighted cooling blanket is based on the same therapeutic principles of the regular weighted blanket, but with the added bonus that it is not too stifling. It can be a good fit for hot sleepers or menopausal women suffering from hot flashes.
A weighted blanket with a cooling technology isn't as dense as a regular weighted blanket. The fabric is more breathable, and it might even use a special mechanism to ensure your body keeps cool. A cooling blanket is achieved through the following systems:
- it has fewer layers than a regular weighted blanket. Obviously, more layers mean more heat, so the fewer a blanket has, the more chilled you'll be;
- its' exterior layer is made of a cooling fabric, such as cotton (known for its' breathability) or bamboo;
- it can use the cooling power of water to provide your body with the warmth it needs during sleep, without being overly hot.
Overall, we would recommend getting a weighted cooling blanket, rather than a regular weighted blanket. Even if you are not a hot sleeper or don't usually struggle with night sweats, a cooling blanket is just more versatile. It can provide an excellent cooling option in those warm summer months.
What Should You Look for In A Weighted Blanket?
Not all weighted blankets are created equal, and as such, not all weighted blankets are necessarily advertised as 'cooling'. Some might not have a specially designed technology to keep you cool, but might provide that effect, anyway.
The fact is, how cooling a blanket is depends most of all on manufacturing aspects. As with most products, a good quality blanket won't be too stifling, but to ensure that, you must look for the following things:
Fabric is the most crucial aspect, and the one that will truly determine whether or not your weighted blanket feels too hot or not. Sadly, many manufacturers go for cheap products to minimize their costs.
You'll find many blankets that are made of cheap cotton and even polyester. These will suck away the moisture from your body and cause it to accumulate in the fabric of the blanket itself. This creates a clammy, sweaty feeling that prevents you from getting proper rest.
What you should look for:
- Bamboo. Bamboo is absorbant, but also renewing, which means the moisture from your body does not accumulate on the blanket and make it stick to your skin. Bamboo is also great because it's a breathable fabric, and it does not make you feel stifled as you sleep. Lastly, bamboo is warm and resistant, making it an ideal material for the exterior cover of a weighted blanket.
- Microfiber. Another popular option, microfiber, is famously easy to wash and soft. So there's no chance of not sleeping because of a 'scratchy blanket'. Though relatively thin, microfiber also provides excellent warmth and is hypo-allergenic. For these reasons, microfiber can be another superb fabric for a cooling weighted blanket.
- 100% Pure Cotton. Remember, not cheap cotton, but proper cotton, because that is well-known for its' breathability and softness. It's also cool and pleasant against the skin, making it another big favorite for blanket fabric.
Stay away from synthetics, such as polyester, since that sucks away all the moisture, without providing any of the benefits of microfiber. That will make the blanket feel too hot and make you sweat.
Obviously, the more insulation (wadding) a blanket has, the hotter it will keep. And while some insulation is necessary for that weighted feeling, too much can be detrimental because it will stifle you.
A lot of weighted blanket manufacturers use heavy insulation to make the blanket appear heavy.
This is a trick to make you feel like you're getting your money's worth (because of course, you'd want a heavy blanket, right?), but it will, in fact, make your nights hot and sticky.
To ensure that weighted feeling, blankets often have layers. Too many layers, to be exact, and this can make you too hot.
A good weighted blanket should have at most 7 layers. Remember, each layer traps heat and sweat, and considering a lot of these blankets are made up of 9 layers, no wonder the sleeper can get too hot!
All weighted blankets should have an exterior cover that is easy to detach and machine-washable. This cover should be made of cotton, bamboo, or microfiber to ensure breathability.
Some weighted blankets come with separate covers – one for the colder months and a lighter one for warmer months.
All these factors are crucial in creating that cooling effect and ensuring you don't get too hot in the night.
Even if a blanket promises a cooling technology, such as a hydro-powered one, don't be fooled. Make sure you do the proper research and that the blanket meets the above points.
So, Do Weighted Cooling Blankets Actually Work?
Yes, these blankets can provide you with the right balance between hot and cold and regulate your body temperature for optimal sleep. But you need to take the time to find the right blanket.
We know it's quite a bit of research, but in the end, a good cooling weighted blanket will be totally worth it!