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Weighted blankets apply pressure on the body to relieve stress. The weight of the blanket can depend on a variety of factors and individual preferences.

According to manufacturers, the weight of the blanket will depend on the person. As a general guideline, they should be 10% of the user’s body weight, with an extra one or two extra pounds if they fall between the recommended weights.

This article looks at how to choose a weighted blanket. It also assesses their ideal weight, standard guidelines, how to care for the blanket, and other key questions.

how heavy should a weighted blanket beShare on Pinterest
The weight and size of a weighted blanket depend on individual preference.

Weighted blankets have an outer cover, with a filling sewn inside, to offer equal weight distribution.

This filling generally consists of pellets or beads, made from plastic, sand, or glass.

Weighted blankets reportedly have a calming effect, to encourage relaxation and restful sleep.

Weighted blankets may help people with certain conditions. Some are outlined below.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are common in those with ASD.

One 2020 study suggests adults with autism who used weighted blankets had direct sleep benefits and reduced stress.

A 2014 study of children with autism found that although the weighted blanket did not necessarily affect their sleep, the caregivers and children favored them.

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state ADHD symptoms can include hyperactivity and inattention.

Research shows that adults with ADHD reported satisfaction with low-tech products, such as weighted blankets and a weekly schedule.

Lack of sleep or insomnia

A weighted blanket may help people who struggle to sleep.

A 2020 study of 120 people found weighted chain blankets were effective against insomnia for those with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS)

Manufacturers claim weighted blankets may help those with RLS. However, there is limited evidence to suggest this.

There are specific recommendations for people of all ages, with a range of weights, sizes, styles, colors, and designs.

According to a manufacturer, a person can use the following guidelines:

Age rangeWeight of person (pounds)Weight of blanket (pounds)

Manufacturers claim the ideal weight for a weighted blanket is around 10% of the person’s body weight, with an extra pound or two.

People should check with a medical professional about the ideal weight for their individual body size.

How to choose if a person is in-between standard guidelines

Every person is different. People can try more than one weighted blankets and go with the one that feels right.

The 10% ratio is a rough guideline. One manufacturer suggests if a person lands between the regular weights for a blanket, they can add an extra pound or two.

Is height a factor when choosing a weighted blanket?

Height may be a factor when a person considers what type of weighted blanket to buy.

They come in various sizes and weights, but do not necessarily need to cover the whole bed. According to guidance, a weighted blanket should not hang over the side of a bed.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), a weighted blanket may not be suitable for everyone.

Infants and children

Manufacturers recommend that people under the age of 10 should not use a weighted blanket.

A person should talk to a healthcare professional before their child uses a weighted blanket.

If a child uses a weighted blanket, they should take the following measures:

  • ensuring the head and neck are not covered
  • observing the infant’s vital signs constantly
  • avoiding rolling the infant in the blanket
  • supervising the infant at all times
  • never using the blanket as a restraint
  • avoid using the blanket for longer than 20 minutes

Medical conditions

A person should not use a weighted blanket if they have certain medical conditions. These include:

  • respiratory conditions
  • cardiac conditions
  • epilepsy
  • circulatory conditions
  • physical or learning difficulties that mean the person is unable to independently remove the blanket
  • sleep apnea

According to one manufacturer, to clean a weighted blanket, a person can use a gentle wash with warm or cold water. Some may be able to go into a dryer at a low temperature.

A blanket that weighs over 10 pounds may be too large for a home washing machine. In these cases, a commercial washer may be a better option.

Each weighted blanket is unique, so a person should follow washing instructions closely.

Anyone who wishes to buy a weighted blanket to help with sensory conditions, ASD, insomnia, or anxiety, should first talk to a medical professional.

While a weighted blanket can help ease certain conditions, a person may require a varied treatment program.

The weight and size of a weighted blanket depend on individual preference. Typically, they should be 10% of a person’s weight.

People should note there is limited medical evidence that supports the effectiveness of weighted blankets. Those under 10 years old should not use them, while other medical conditions may also mean they are unsuitable for some people.