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If you have Fibromyalgia, Would a Weighted Blanket be Helpful for You?

 

 

There has been a recent trend for the use of weighted blankets for adults and children alike.

Weighted blankets are basically blankets that are weighed down by glass or plastic beads sewn into tiny pockets throughout.  In the past, they were used by therapists to help their patients who might have had anxiety or sensory issues.

Over time, however, weighted blankets have become more popular in the mainstream and people have been using them to reduce their insomnia and stress.

How weighted blankets help with the symptoms of fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic painful condition and very common.

How does a weighted blanket reduce your symptoms?

Here are six ways:

    How to use a weighted blanket

    It could not be more simple!  When you are ready to go to sleep at night or resting on the sofa during the day, just cuddle up under it - and you will soon notice all the benefits.

    Why does it work so well?

    Weighted blankets are designed to provide firm, deep pressure stimulation otherwise known as "deep touch pressure therapy".

    A weighted blanket would give a similar kind of feeling as you would derive from a massage, releasing hormones and chemicals in your body that would help to alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia. 

    How to choose a weighted blanket

    Before you purchase a weighted blanket, you should consider who you’re buying it for. It is for a child?  An adult?  A couple? This will help you determine which size and weight you should get.

    1. Children.  Weighted blankets should not be used for children under the age of two years and, even under the age of five, you should consult your doctor first.

    When buying a weighted blanket for a child, the general guideline is  ten percent of their body weight, plus one to two pounds. Below are a few examples: 

    • 40 pounds = 5–6lb blanket
    • 60 pounds = 7–8lb blanket
    • 80 pounds = 9–10lb blanket

    2. Adults. Buying a weighted blanket for adults is relatively easy. Just make sure to note their weight, height and the size of their bed.  The blanket should cover the top of the bed but not hang down the sides of the mattress.  This will help you pick out the correct weighted blanket.  A weighted blanket should be about ten percent of your body weight.

    Here are some more examples:

    • 130 pounds = 13lb blanket
    • 150 pounds = 15lb blanket
    • 170 pounds = 17lb blanket
    • 190 pounds = 19lb blanket

    3. Couples.  It is important to note any height and weight differences.  The weighted blanket should be able to cover each of your bodies entirely, but should not hang over the side of the mattress.

    Choosing a weighted blanket weight for couples is a bit trickier. Instead of 10 percent, look for a weighted blanket that is 7.5 percent of their combined body weight. Below are some examples: 

    • 120 to150 pounds = 10lb blanket 
    • 150 to 200 pounds = 15lb blanket 
    • 200 to 250 pounds = 20lb blanket 

     Which Filling Should You Get?

    The fillers inside of a weighted blanket are largely what contributes to its weight. The blankets are made with several different types of fillers. These are the most popular:

    • Plastic poly pellets: This material is made from 100% polypropylene and is considered to be completely safe, non-toxic and safe to wash. Plastic poly pellets are considered one of the “cheaper” weighted blanket fillers.  
    • Micro glass beads: Micro glass beads are an eco-friendly alternative to poly pellets. They are hypoallergenic and machine washable. 
    • Steel shot beads: These beads are larger and heavier than glass beads and they are extremely durable. Because of their size, it takes fewer beads to achieve the desired weight — making them a cost-effective option.

    Choosing which filling will come down to personal preference.  Look for quality weighted blankets that are made with quilted channels that keep the filling in place so weight is evenly distributed.

    Are weighted blankets safe?

    If you’ve chosen the correct weight and size, weighted blankets are generally safe. However, there are a few words of warning:

    • Weighted blankets should not be used on children who are less than 20 pounds or under the age of two. 
    • Weighted blankets are not safe for children with breathing problems, epilepsy, blood circulation problems or heart problems.
    • Weighted blankets should not be used for people with underlying health issues such as sleep apnea, claustrophobia, asthma, chronic health conditions or other breathing problems.

    A good rule of thumb for children: If they aren’t able to remove the weighted blanket on their own, it is probably unsuitable for them.

    For older adults or adults with underlying health issues, always contact your doctor beforehand to make sure a weighted blanket is right for you.