If you have been struggling to get a good night of rest you may have started to explore ways to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep soundly through the night. One of the most discussed ways to help with this process is through the use of weighted blankets. Weighted blankets in Canada have spread in popularity as more and more people discover the comfort these blankets provide.
If you know someone who uses a weighted blanket or have come across them in the store you might be wondering if they could be a benefit to you or someone you know. Keep reading to find out how these blankets may be able to help you or a loved one, and what every smart shopper needs to know about finding the perfect weighted blanket.
What Is A Weighted Blanket?
Weighted blankets are blankets that are purposely designed to be heavier than a traditional bedroom blanket or quilt. The extra weight of the blanket is intended to put comforting pressure on a person’s limbs and can help with restlessness, anxiety, and nervous system struggles. Weighted blankets are available in a variety of sizes, weights, materials, and colours.
In Canada, weighted blankets are available from several retailers for purchase both in-person and online.
Benefits of Weighted Blankets in Canada
While no blanket should substitute for following the advice of a medical doctor, weighted blankets have been found to help with many issues experienced by individuals of all ages.
Easing Stress and Anxiety
The constant full body pressure of a weighted blanket has been shown to help people feel more grounded and secure which lowers feelings of anxiety and stress. The pressure of a weighted blanket is believed to have similar effects for adults and children to that of a well-wrapped swaddle for a baby.
Studies on the use of weighted blankets have shown lower pulse rates and lower blood pressure among those who were allowed the use of a weighted blanket as a coping tool during a panic attack. Weighted blanket use at home could help those who struggle with sleep as a result of stress and anxiety.
Better Sleep Quality
Weighted blankets have been found to help people fall asleep and stay asleep, especially in those who suffer from restless leg syndrome or other restless limb disorders.
The weight of a properly chosen weighted blanket creates a deep pressure that may help some people better create serotonin (a mood-boosting hormone) and also lower cortisol levels (a common stress hormone).
When our hormones are properly balanced we see an improved quality of sleep, and an easier ability to stay asleep for long periods. The added pressure can also steady limbs and keep our body in a relaxed sleeping position.
Support For Those With Sensory Processing Disorders
For individuals with sensory processing disorders, handling sensory input from the environment around them can be very difficult. These individuals often struggle to know what sensory input to focus on and can struggle to cope with uncontrolled outside stimuli.
The weight of a properly chosen weighted blanket has been found to help those struggling to cope with a highly sensory environment by giving them one stimulus (the pressure of the blanket) to focus on.
By being able to focus on one steady input, other environmental stimuli do not seem so overwhelming. While this may not be true for all individuals with a sensory processing disorder, weighted blankets are one potentially helpful tool.
Who Weighted Blankets May Not Benefit
While weighted blankets are great for many people, some individuals may not find a weighted blanket to be safe or helpful.
You should consult a doctor before using a weighted blanket if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, epilepsy, or regularly struggle with breathing difficulties. The use of weighted blankets may interfere with your health if you have these conditions.
Those who struggle with claustrophobia may not enjoy using a weighted blanket. The pressure of the blanket can mimic the feeling of an enclosed or crowded space. We recommend borrowing or trying out a weighted blanket from a friend or loved one before purchasing a weighted blanket if you feel anxious in small spaces.
While weighted blankets are safe for school-age children, they should not be used by toddlers or infants. If you feel your young child would benefit from added pressure during the day or for sleeping, consult your doctor before buying a weighted blanket.
What To Look For When Choosing The Perfect Weighted Blanket in Canada
There are several factors to consider when finding the perfect weighted blanket. By knowing what features you should look for, you can get a weighted blanket in Canada that you will love and use for many years.
Choose The Correct Weight
The most important consideration when choosing a weighted blanket is finding the correct weight to achieve the desired feel and still be safe to use. A weighted blanket should allow you to move easily beneath the blanket, remove the blanket, and not make it difficult to breathe.
The ideal weight for a weighted blanket in Canada is approximately 10% of the user’s body weight. However, it is safe to use blankets ranging from 5% to 12% of an individual’s body weight.
For reference, a 150-pound person would be smart to purchase a 15-pound weighted blanket but could safely use a blanket ranging in weight from 7.5 pounds up to 18 pounds. A 50-pound child would need a lighter blanket in the range of 4 – 6 pounds to receive weighted blanket benefits while remaining safe underneath the cover.
Quality Canadian weighted blanket makers should have their product clearly labelled with their blanket’s weight or include an easy-to-find weight in their item description. You may need to try a few different weights to find the one that feels best to you.
Pick A Weighted Blanket Design That Fits Your Style
There are two common designs of weighted blankets. The style you choose will depend mostly on personal preference for visual appearance, texture, and overall feel of the blanket material.
Knit Weighted Blanket
The first design is a blanket that is made of dense yarn carefully knit together to create a blanket that is both thick and heavy. Many people love the classic look of a well-knit blanket and a weighted blanket made of chunky yarn creates a visually appealing display. Yarn can come in a wide variety of colours and textures from coarse to silky smooth.
Knit-weighted blankets can be made from cotton, wool, or polyester yarn made specifically for blankets. Cotton is breathable and affordable, wool is a warm and durable option, and polyester is often readily available and easy to wash. All knit blankets will be made from a thick yarn which is what gives the blanket its weight.
Heavy knit blankets do not usually have any added filler or attached weight. All of the blanket’s weight comes from the heavy spun yarn the blanket is made from. Users of knit weighted blankets have also commented on their enjoyment of the breathability of this design which can help them stay cool beneath their blanket.
Filled Weighted Blanket
The other type of weighted blanket design involves using fabric to make pockets that are then filled with weighted beads. This type of blanket is available in many stores and offers a lot of versatility in the material and pattern of the fabric used.
Three types of weighted beads are usually used within a filled weighted blanket. Those fillers are:
- Plastic Poly Beads: These beads are the cheapest of the filling options and are made entirely of plastic. They are non-toxic and can handle being washed at home.
- Steel Beads: Steel beads are quite heavy so a manufacturer can use less filling and still achieve the desired blanket weight. They are machine wash-safe and very durable. The main drawback to steel beads is that they are one of the noisier options for filling when the blanket is shifted and moved.
- Micro-Glass Beads: Glass beads are more eco-friendly than cheaper plastic beads and are also safe for at-home washing. The glass is not sharp and will not hurt you even if it escapes the blanket. They are quieter than steel beads and are considered a high-end filler for weighted blankets.
With a filled blanket you can often find a wider variety of precise weights. If you are looking for blankets with less standard weights, such as 7 pounds or 13 pounds (as opposed to 5 or 15 pounds), you are more likely to need to purchase a filled blanket. These blankets also tend to provide more direct pressure to body points than knit blankets.
If you want a weighted blanket that is made of soft fluffy materials such as Minky fur or a blanket made from a high-end specialty material such as soft anti-microbial bamboo, then a filled blanket is a perfect choice. They can be made of almost any external material that a purchaser could want.
With filled weighted blankets, you will want to repair any holes or tears quickly to prevent the loss of weighted material from your blanket.
The Dimensions Of Your Blanket
Most people like to buy a weighted blanket that fits the dimensions of their bed and many weighted blankets are sold by weight and then standard bed dimensions of twin, full, queen, and king.
If you do not plan to use your weighted blanket on your bed and instead would like to use it for cuddling on the couch, lowering anxiety during car rides, or in another location then you will want a blanket that is heavy but small enough in dimension to be packed and carried easily.
One option for Canadians on the go is to purchase a weighted lap blanket. This type of weighted blanket is smaller than a traditional blanket and is made to put pressure on the user’s legs or abdomen when sitting or lying down.
If you are looking to purchase locally-made Canadian weighted blankets it is also possible to find someone who will make you a custom size. Don’t hesitate to reach out to blanket makers in your area with your desired dimensions.
The most important thing to remember is that no matter what size your blanket is, the ideal weight is around 10% of your body weight. A blanket that is too heavy or far too light will not do its job well.
Other Features To Consider
Some people prefer to be toasty warm while others want to remain cool as they sleep. Traditional Canadian weighted blankets are often very warm. When some consumers raised concerns over being too hot under their weighted blankets, producers started looking for ways to create cooling weighted blankets.
When constructed from naturally cooling materials such as lyocell, a silky material made from Bamboo and sometimes Eucalyptus, weighted blankets can be made that remain cool to the touch and quite breathable.
Changing the design of filled blankets so that the interior grid is smaller also helps keep the glass or plastic bead weights from shifting too far to one side of the blanket and prevents the creation of zones of the blanket that trap heat and do not breathe well.
Chunky knit-style weighted blankets can be cooler as well. With plenty of spacing between the stitches, heat can escape throughout the night so you don’t overheat.
When picking out a weighted blanket, spend time considering if you plan to use the blanket year round, in a warm or cool environment, and the temperature you like to be as you relax or sleep. Use this information to help you pick a blanket made of materials that will keep you at the perfect temperature – warm and fuzzy fleeces and furs or cool high-thread count cotton or lyocell.
Cost Considerations When Buying A Weighted Blanket in Canada
The best-weighted blankets in Canada come in a range of prices, with prices varying from as low as $50 for smaller essential blankets to $300+ for the highest-quality luxury blankets. This may seem like a large range but what it means is that there is likely the perfect weighted blanket out there for every buyer.
The cost of a weighted blanket will depend on a few different variables. The three main things that influence the price of a weighted blanket are:
A Blanket’s Weight And Size
It may seem like common sense, but the larger the blanket the more material is required to create that blanket. Also, the heavier a blanket is, the more filler it needs to reach the desired weight. Any time we increase the supplies needed to make an item, we see a rise in cost.
Blankets for children will generally be less expensive than the same style of blanket sized to fit a king-sized bed. Children’s blankets are also often lighter and therefore have a lower price tag than a blanket for an adult.
The Material Used To Fill The Blanket
As we discussed earlier three main materials fill weighted blankets to give them their heft. While we looked at the different features of each material, it is important to know that the material that fills your blanket will influence the price.
The cheapest of the common fillings is poly-plastic pellets. These are readily available to blanket makers, easy to work with, and economical. They are a great option for someone who is looking to purchase a weighted blanket that is effective and fits into a tight budget.
Steel shot beads are a popular option for those who want an affordable filling that requires fewer beads than poly-plastic. Steel shot beads are thick, heavy, and durable. They are slightly more expensive than plastic pellets but create a blanket that may be thinner than a plastic-filled blanket while being just as – if not more – heavy.
Microglass beads are considered a high-end filling and are one of the pricier options for filling a weighted blanket. However, many people find that a price increase is worth paying for these beads that distribute evenly across a blanket, and unlike steel beads, are quiet during movement. Microglass beads are heavier than poly-plastic which allows the weighted blanket to stay thin and breathable.
The Blanket’s Outer Material
Weighted blankets can be made with a wide range of materials. Blankets made out of standard cotton or polyester blends are going to be cheaper than some other options. While basic materials will work and can be used to make weighted blankets, there are benefits to paying a little bit more for higher-end fabrics.
If you want a cooling weighted blanket you will want to pay for a blanket made of high thread count cotton or lyocell (usually a bamboo blended fabric). These fabrics allow for airflow through the material keeping the blanket cool, are durable enough to hold up to regular use, and are easy to wash.
If you want a blanket to keep you cozy on chilly Canadian winter nights then you may want to consider a blanket made of fleece or flannel. Some blankets are two-sided with a cooling material on one side and a warmer material on the other. Using materials other than cotton or polyester blends will raise the price of a weighted blanket but it is often money well spent.
The other thing to consider when pricing and purchasing a weighted blanket is that the overall quality of the blanket matters.
Because these blankets are heavy, and you’ll be using the blanket frequently, the stitching needs to be durable enough to hold up over time. Some companies may cut costs on their blankets by using lower-quality thread or quickly mass-producing blankets without using proper stitching techniques.
A blanket that unravels, tears easily, or is made of a hard-to-clean material isn’t worth the investment of even a few dollars. Take time to look into purchasing from a company that specializes in making weighted blankets and has the reviews to back up their work.
Where To Purchase A Weighted Blanket In Canada
Weighted blankets are available for purchase in Canada at a variety of locations. Many major retailers carry economical weighted blankets made from basic materials. These can be bought in person at local stores.
These blankets are often a good purchase for someone wanting to try out a weighted blanket for the first time. Once you have found a size and weight that you enjoy, you may want to consider purchasing a higher-quality blanket from another source.
Specialty-weighted blankets can be purchased online from a variety of companies whose focus is on creating high-quality Canadian cooling blankets, blankets for children with sensory disorders, or heavy-weighted blankets that are very large. Keep in mind that weighted blankets can come with a hefty shipping fee, but some retailers will provide free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount.
Another option for purchasing a weighted blanket in Canada is to ask about local blanket makers in your area. A local maker will save you on shipping, may be able to add extra customizations to your blanket if you need a specific weight or dimensions, and is likely to create an item of high quality. Purchasing locally-made Canadian blankets keeps your dollars close to home and can give you the satisfaction of supporting a local business.
The Final Word On Weighted Blankets
More Canadians are using weighted blankets for good reason. They are versatile in size and weight, can be created with a wide variety of materials, and have been shown to help relieve stress, calm anxieties, and improve sleep for many people.
When purchasing a blanket for yourself remember to calculate a weight that is around 10% of your body weight, plus maybe a pound or two. Also, consider a cooling weighted blanket if you want to avoid being too warm under your blanket. Take your time to shop around for a blanket that fits both your weight range and has an appearance and texture you love. It’s an investment you’ll be glad you made.
Frequently Asked Questions About Weighted Blankets in Canada
Weighted blankets in Canada that weigh less than 20 pounds can be washed at home in most standard washing machines. Wash weighted blankets in cold water on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Heavier blankets may need to be washed in industrial machines found at laundromats or professional laundry cleaning service providers.
Depending on the type of material used for the blanket, weighted blankets may be hypoallergenic. The most allergy friendly weighted blankets are made from bamboo based materials which are naturally hypoallergenic. Be sure to read blanket labels carefully to know the fabric used for the blanket you are looking to purchase.
Yes, children can use weighted blankets. If a child is going to be using a weighted blanket it is very important to choose a safe weight for your blanket. A child needs to be able to move around underneath their blanket, shed their blanket in an emergency, and breathe easily beneath their blanket.