National Autism Resources Blog
How Much Weight Should Your Weighted Blanket Have?
Most people recommend 10% of a person's body weight for a weighted blanket but research and experience suggests the appropriate amount of weight is closer to 20%. As an Occupational Therapist I am very aware of the common misconception on the internet and elsewhere regarding what the appropriate weight is for a weighted blanket.
For a very long time there was no research done on weighted blankets. In order to have some frame of reference, the research that was done on weighted vests and backpacks was misapplied to weighted blankets. This is incorrect and unfortunate as weighted blankets are used in an entirely different way.
The biggest difference is that an individual is not bearing the weight of the blanket while standing. That is what the research on weighted vests and backpacks tested - weight bearing while standing. The useful weight for a Weighted Blanket is most commonly more than 10% of the person's body weight. The Sleep Tight weighted blankets follow the current, research-based recommendations of being heavy enough to be effective but light enough for the user to remove the blanket at will.
There is now finally some research on weighted blankets. This research was conducted by Dr. Tina Champagne, an Occupational Therapist based in Massachusetts. She also concluded that using the results of the weighted vest and backpack research to determine appropriate weights for weighted blankets was incorrect. In fact, she found that people consistently sought out, and were comfortable with, weighted blankets that weighed well over 10% of their body weight.
I have found this research matches my experience trying different weights with the children I have worked with in my Occupational Therapy practice. The weights that I recommend are based on what we have found to be most commonly effective as reported by parents, the blanket users, and my observations. Some people crave more pressure and some people like less pressure but the following guidelines generally with work for most people, both children and adults.
|Person's Weight||Approximate Age||Blanket Weight|
22 - 35 lbs
|36 - 45 lbs||4 - 5||8|
|46 - 70||6 - 10||12|
|71 - 140||11 - 15||16|
|141 and up||16 and up||25|
Champagne, Tina, et al. " Evaluating the Safety and Effectiveness of the Weighted Blanket With Adults During an Inpatient Mental Health Hospitalization." Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 31.3 (2015): 211-233.
Chen, Hsin-Yung, et al. " Physiological effects of deep touch pressure on anxiety alleviation: The weighted blanket approach." Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering 33.5 (2012): 463-470.
Mullen, Brian, et al. " Exploring the safety and therapeutic effects of deep pressure stimulation using a weighted blanket." Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 24.1 (2008): 65-89.
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