The other day I was doing some research online and stumbled across this link for weighted blankets. While I always knew I loved heavy blankets, I neither realized why I liked them nor really understand how they were made.
I was really intrigued and looked further into it and, as I researched further, I found that people typically use weighted blankets for anxiety, or for anyone that needs something calming—such as for the purpose of providing a sensory experience to an autistic child.
Turns out there is quite a bit of science behind the practice of weighted blankets too!
When you put the blanket on it feels soothing and calming, similar to what we feel while getting a supportive hug. When our body receives a hug, several chemicals are released into our blood stream that make us feel calm. With this in mind, it makes sense why the blankets would be so soothing for us. Then, as I thought back to being a small child, I realized my best and deepest sleep was when I was at my Aunt’s house because she always had heavy blankets that I slept with, though I never recognized the correlation before. The more I think about it, the more it makes absolute sense to me now.
Being that I love to sew, love heavy blankets, and that I’m all for supporting those struggling with mental health, I knew I had to try make my own and try it. So, I did just that.
It was a project I wanted to experiment with so this is only the first of probably several I will make. As I make more, I will learn about how to refine my process.
Here is how I made this one (if you aren’t a sewing person you can order these online—you may find them expensive, but their value is unquestionable):
I started with two pieces of fleece fabric—you can use any kind of fabric you choose but it should be durable as it needs to hold up over time with the weight.
- First, I sewed them together and turned it inside out so there is a clean edge. I didn’t get pictures of this part but it’s just sewing the two pieces together along the edge leaving a hole big enough to turn inside out then sealing the hole.
- Then I made lines across the blanket vertically and horizontally to form squares. This creates the pockets we are about to make.
- I then cut very small slits in each pocket. This is so I can stick the weight in a little bit. This is one of the steps I will be refining as I get my process down to a science.
- I may come back and put Velcro and flaps on the pockets or buttons possibly. I also decided I didn’t want to sew the entire day so I used baggies and put whole kernel hard corn into.
- Then stick one baggie in each pocket.
Presto! A weighted blanket to enjoy! If you decide to make one, you can research online how to do so because there are many ways to accomplish this. Mine is probably a faster way, but not the cleanest look. As my process gets more refined, this will improve!
You can use poly pellets, or anything you can think of to add weight to your blanket that won’t tear the material. Fish tank rocks are small enough, because you want each pocket to be about the size of a pea give or take, but if your materials used are too sharp, then over time it could quickly wear away the blanket’s material. So just do your research before deciding on what to put in.
Note: if you find something that works and is washable you don’t have to make pockets.
I made pockets is because I used corn for my weight, and it’s better not to wash corn. The purpose behind my decision to use corn was for ease of use, and the way I make my weighted blankets allows the weighted pockets to be removed for overall cleaning of the blanket.
Some people also use rice in this way, but be sure you don’t wash it with rice, as just like corn that will ruin your material.
The weight for these blankets is typically somewhere around ten percent of the person’s body weight, plus one pound.
Be careful if you make one for a child, as using too much weight in children’s blankets can be dangerous to them, especially if they sleep with it. Also never put weighted blankets over a child’s head. There are weight charts that will offer more information you can find searching through Google it or by looking it up on Pinterest.
I am not a doctor or medical professional, so please do your due diligence and seek their advice before using this in the event you have any concerns or health problems. They might be able to tell you better what weight would be good for you, and give you direction on any specific health concerns you may have in relation to use of weighted blankets.
I hope you like the idea of this as much as I did. It’s an interesting and soothing way to practice self-care, especially if you are anxious.
In addition to what I think about it – check out what other IMAlive volunteers who have made or used weighted blankets have to say:
“We have used them at work for some of our residents to help them stay sleeping at night, and they truly help!”
“My daughter who has Autism, anxiety, and Sensory Processing Disorder, knows that if she hides herself away inside her weighted blanket the whole world will disappear until she’s a little more ready to deal with it.”
“I know that a lot of my friends looooooove their weighted blankets…My mom uses weighted vests, lap pads, and blankets in her classroom to help her kiddos, and it helps a lot of them to be able to make it through the school day significantly better.”
“We use poly beads. Antimicrobial, washer and dryer safe, non toxic.”