ISAAC Weighted Blanket Guide 2020
Weighted blankets have exploded in popularity in the past few years. To help you decide whether one might be right for you or someone you know, we’ve written this comprehensive guide to help inform and enlighten.
Everything included in this guide (click the link for quick navigation):
What weighted blankets are and how they work
- What is a weighted blanket?
- What are weighted blankets used for?
- When did weighted blankets become popular?
- How do weighted blankets work?
- Why do weighted blankets help?
- How weighted blankets help you get better sleep
- How weighted blankets can help relieve anxiety
How to find the right weighted blanket for you, and aftercare
- How heavy should my weighted blanket be?
- How big should my weighted blanket be?
- Can weighted blankets be washed?
- Where to buy weighted blankets?
And other good-to-knows
What is a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket is like a duvet with glass beads sown inside. The beads add weight and mean the blanket shapes around your body, simulating the sensation of being hugged and providing what is known as Deep Touch Pressure therapy. The pressure from this can trigger the release of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. Feel-good hormones such as these work to naturally relieve the symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression and insomnia.
What are weighted blankets used for?
Weighted blankets offer a non-medical remedy for people who struggle to get enough quality sleep, or who find it difficult to relax during times of anxiety or stress. They can also offer complimentary aid for treatments offered by medical professionals.
Weighted blankets can be used to relieve symptoms of:
- Sleep disorders including insomnia, restlessness and night terrors
- Restless leg syndrome
When did weighted blankets become popular?
Weighted blankets were first used as sleep and calming aids in special needs communities.
One of the earliest applications was in 1999 by occupational therapists to assist mental health patients. In particular, they started to be used to help children with autism sleep through the night. An estimated 80% of those with autism-spectrum disorders have problems with sleeping and, since these often stem from sensory issues, such as particular textures brushing against the skin, weighted blanket minimised movement and thereby friction for the wearer.
Weighted blankets went mainstream in 2017. Exploding at a time when politics in the west meant many felt stressed or anxious, and as mental health issues came to the fore of public debate, the accessibility of weighted blankets offered an affordable respite for many who struggled to sleep due to stress or anxiety. Additionally, sleep became an essential part of a broader trend toward overall wellness.
How do weighted blankets work?
Weighted blankets can be used to complement existing treatments for things like insomnia or can be used by people looking for a natural, home-based remedy.
ISAAC weighted blankets work by providing deep touch stimulation. Filled with silent glass beads for an all-over weight distribution, the pressure from the blanket aims to trigger the release of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. Feel-good hormones such as these work to naturally relieve the symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression and insomnia.
Additionally the feeling of being swaddled, so familiar to us as babies, promotes a feeling of security. Evidence from some studies has suggested that this makes weighted blankets a good aid for those with autism, however most supporting claims are anecdotal.
Weighted blankets are a personal preference and may not be for everyone. Whilst we do not claim to offer immediate relief to any of the illnesses listed, weighted blankets can assist in the management of symptoms and are a natural alternative to sleep medication. But, just in case you find ISAAC weighted blankets aren’t for you, we offer a risk-free 30-night return guarantee.
Why do weighted blankets help?
A weighted blanket might be for you or the person you’re buying for if you suffer from a sleep condition like insomnia, anxiety, stress, depression or a sensory processing disorder. Weighted blankets are a perfect complimentary aid for existing treatment, or offer a cost-effective natural alternative to medication.
The science behind weighted blankets relates to the proven benefits of Deep Touch Pressure therapy. Known as DTP, this can simulate the feeling of being hugged or cuddled which has been shown to produce oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone directly linked to human bonding and is an important neurotransmitter that helps people feel relaxed and calm.
Additionally, DTP has been shown to raise levels of serotonin in the body. Serotonin assists with mood regulation and helps us feel calmer, which is perfect for those who suffer anxiety or stress and therefore struggle to sleep. Serotonin, also known as 5-HTP, is a common chemical found in sleeping pills. However, sleeping pills can cause grogginess, headaches and sometimes be completely ineffective. Weighted blankets are therefore a great, natural alternative for people who want to avoid the use of supplements to sleep.
Weighted blankets also promote the release of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep and helps regulate the sleep cycle. The hormone is linked with the production of serotonin, so the pressure that triggers this chemical will also lead to melatonin production.
Simply, weighted blankets simulate being hugged which releases feel-good hormones and chemicals like oxytocin, serotonin and melatonin. These combine to promote a feeling of being calm and relaxed and, when we’re calm and relaxed, we enjoy a more restful, quality night’s sleep.
Can weighted blankets help you sleep?
While weighted blankets offer many benefits, the one most people are looking to get is to improve sleep. Heavy blankets have mostly been used for those with autism or sensory processing disorders, but more and more often they are being used for those with sleeping disorders, like insomnia or restless leg syndrome, as well as people who simply would like to improve their overall sleep quality. Weighted blankets are a healthy alternative to medication or over the counter sleeping pills.
Weighted blankets are credited with providing Deep Touch Pressure (DTP). Similar to a hug or massage, DTP has been shown to raise levels of serotonin in the body. Serotonin assists with mood regulation and helps us feel calmer, as well as having other benefits. The release of serotonin, along with decreased activity in the nervous system is a great way to a restful night’s sleep and is why those with insomnia have found weighted blankets helpful.
Weighted blankets also promote the release of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that promotes sleep and helps regulate the sleep cycle. The hormone is linked with the production of serotonin, so the pressure that triggers this chemical will also lead to melatonin production.
Additionally, since weighted blankets are heavier than regular blankets, people who struggle to stay still and frequently toss and turn will find they move a lot less.
Can weighted blankets help relieve anxiety? How does it work?
Yes, weighted blankets can be used as part of a combination of medication, lifestyle changes and other treatments to help limit the impact of anxiety and its symptoms.
Weighted blankets offer Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) which encourages the release of serotonin, a naturally occurring chemical that helps us feel calmer. This deep pressure touch has a calming, soothing effect on people's moods.
DTP has also been found to reduce cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a hormone which regulates stress responses in the body. High levels of cortisol are associated with high levels of stress and the use of a weighted blanket can actually decrease these stress hormones in the body. This can lead to an improved mood, more efficient sleep, and feeling better physically.
Many people also use weighted blankets to help them get a restful, quality night’s sleep. Feeling rested from a good night’s sleep better equips people to tackle anxiety triggers throughout the day. Similar to meditation, a weighted blanket also helps people feel a sense of groundedness.
How heavy should a weighted blanket be?
The weight of blanket you buy should be specific for the person who will be using it. ISAAC weighted blankets are currently available in 15lbs (6.8kg) and 20lbs (9kg). As a general rule, the blanket should be 10 percent of the user’s body weight.
Wearer’s weight: 7 - 9st
Recommended blanket: 10lbs
Wearer’s weight: 9.5 - 13st
Recommended blanket: 15lbs
Wearer’s weight: 14 - 17st
Recommended blanket: 20lbs
Keep in mind that you want the weight to be heavy enough to provide deep touch pressure, but not so heavy that it poses a risk during sleep. If the first blanket you buy isn’t heavy enough, try folding it over – our blankets fit a double sized bed, so you can still cover yourself this way.
How big should a weighted blanket be?
Weighted blankets should be purchased according the needs of the wearer. They should therefore fit the individual, and not necessarily the bed or sofa on which it is laid. ISAAC weighted blankets are 60” x 80” (152cm x 203cm) and comfortably fit double beds. Therefore, whilst the blanket will hang over the sides of a single bed, it will sit comfortably on top of a double or larger bed. This makes it easier for the wearer to move or adjust the blanket whilst under it if needed. We recommend blankets be used by one person at a time.
Whilst less important you may want to consider your height when choosing the size of your weighted blanket. Remember you want to feel covered and comfortable, as you would with any duvet, so you should consider a blanket that is the same size or slightly larger than you.
Can weighted blankets be washed?
You can buy a bundle which includes a removable cover for your weighted blanket (note covers are also available to buy separately). Covers are best for easy cleaning and maintenance of your weighted blanket. Your cover should be washed on 30° cycle, without fabric softener or bleach. We suggest avoiding tumble drying where possible and instead recommend allowing your cover to air dry on a rack or radiator.
It is difficult to wash the inner blanket at home due to its weight. Most domestic machines are not designed to spin 15lbs or 20lbs blankets, especially when wet. To keep your inner blanket clean and minimise the need for washing, we recommend keeping the cover on at all times when in use.
Where to buy weighted blankets?
Based in the UK? Weighted blankets aren’t yet available in stores; however, you can order yours direct from ISAAC and enjoy fast and free delivery.
Like millions of other small vendors, we also have a store on Amazon. This allows customers to buy our products where they choose but rest assured that we match Amazon’s 30-day no-quibble return policy if you choose to buy direct.
ISAAC weighted blankets are available with Amazon Prime, meaning you enjoy free next-day delivery if you choose to order from our store on Amazon UK.
Can weighted blankets be used all night?
ISAAC weighted blankets are suitable for use all night. Whilst you may wish to remove the blanket at some point, there is no reason for you to do so other than personal preference.
Many people find weighted blankets to be like a hug, and benefit from the Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) throughout the night. Since weighted blankets discourage symptoms of restlessness, for example restless leg syndrome or frequent turning, people have found they achieve a consistent level of quality sleep by staying under the blanket.
Wearers may benefit from spending less time under the blanket whilst they find what is suitable for them. One option would be to use the blanket for 30 minutes whilst watching TV or reading a book, increasing to an hour and so on until being happy using the blanket all night is suitable.
Are weighted blankets hot?
Whilst weighted blankets are heavier than standard duvets, they don’t necessarily make people hot. You can choose to buy a bundle from us that includes a soft and breathable removable cover for your blanket. You may wish to remove this during summer months, however most customers report sleeping fine with it in place. If you do choose to remove the cover, we recommend resting the inner blanket on top of a thin flannel sheet to keep it clean.
Body temperature starts to fall as bedtime approaches, paving the way for a good night’s sleep. Your temperature during the night is likely to be 1-2 degrees lower than during the day. We sleep better when we’re cool, so your body tends to lose heat during sleep which helps you fall and stay asleep. This in mind, sleep aids that make you hot during the night are unlikely to be as effective as you would like.
We suggest you approach sleeping with your weighted blanket the same way you do a regular duvet. If you tend to get hot during the night, live in a warm climate or want to use your blanket during summer months, we’d suggest cooling the temperature in the room to a comfortable level. This could be using air conditioning, a fan, or opening a window. If you tend to sleep with one leg above the duvet to keep cool, you’ll likely want to do the same with a weighted blanket.
Are weighted blankets safe?
Weighted blankets are safe provided that the weight of the blanket is no more than 10% of the wearer’s weight. Unless specifically stated, ISAAC weighted blankets are only suitable for teenagers and adults who are able to move the blanket independently. We ask that you apply your own best judgement to whether weighted blankets are suitable for you or the person you’re buying for. ISAAC weighted blankets are absolutely not suitable for babies or young children as they lack the motor skills and strength to manoeuvre the blanket whilst lying under it.
Due to the nature of the product, weighted blankets are not suitable for those with respiratory (breathing) problems, cardiac (heart) problems, epilepsy, serious hyptonia (low tone), skin problems including certain allergies, circulatory problems, or physical, learning or other difficulties which mean the wearer is unable to remove the blanket independently.
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