Taking the time to unwind is important for your overall wellness. Having go-to techniques that support your relaxation routine can help you quickly tap into the benefits of getting proper rest, and a weighted throw blanket is an excellent option. Using one while you read or watch TV is an easy and effective way to take a breather and increase your feel-good chemicals.
If you’re thinking about getting a weighted throw but aren't sure how they work or what to look for, this guide has the answers. Read on to learn everything you need to know about weighted throw blankets, including how to find high-quality versions and get the maximum benefits from them.
What Is a Weighted Throw Blanket?
Like most blankets, throw blankets are designated by their size. Most throws are around 50 inches by 30 inches. When you go above those dimensions, you have a bed blanket. A weighted throw blanket is one that meets the smaller size dimensions, but still provides the calming benefits of a weighted blanket.
When you’re looking for your own throw blanket, it should cover most of your body and legs but not have a lot of extra material hanging off your sides. It should be easy to wrap around your body, but you shouldn't be swimming in it. A safe, cozy cocoon effect is what you're aiming for.
Having a weighted blanket in your living room — or any room where you hang out — means you have a calming and relaxing solution ready wherever you are. The smaller size means you have more direct pressure working to increase your comfort and tranquility. Weighted throw blankets are also a great travel option. They can provide sleep and relaxation support when you're on the go, plus they're easier to pack.
How a Weighted Throw Blanket Works
A weighted blanket uses deep pressure therapy, which is a constant gentle pressure on your body that works to override senses and “turn down” outside stimulation, says a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The blankets are heavier than regular blankets, so that extra weight pressing down means there’s more snug, surrounding pressure than a regular blanket gives.
The pressure increases the feel-good chemicals in your body, like serotonin. The increase in those chemicals leads to deeper breathing and a slower heart rate. Both these physical responses add to the calming effect of the blankets. They are evolutionary signals that tell your body you’re safe and it's OK to relax, which leads to more restful sleep or just deeper relaxation while you're awake.
Best Fabrics for a Weighted Throw
Consider choosing a weighted throw blanket that you can easily wash by hand. People tend to move around the house with their throw blanket in different rooms and outdoor spaces, so these blankets will need to be washed more regularly.
High-quality fabrics allow you to feel warm and snug while also having breathability. Breathable fabrics, like organic cotton or bamboo, allow your body heat to circulate so you can feel cozy without getting overheated, sweaty, and uncomfortable.
Great fabrics to look for in a warmer weighted throw are: microfiber, minky, and faux fur. These ultra-soft materials offer a luxurious feeling and are easy to care for.
Weighted Throw vs. Duvet-Style Weighted Blankets
Weighted throw blankets and duvet-style weighted blankets offer similar levels of comfort. They both increase serotonin and support deeper relaxation and calm.
Size is a major difference between different types of weighted blankets. A bed blanket is designed to be larger than a throw. King-sized blankets are around 102 by 92 inches. Weighted throw blankets are twin size or smaller, typically 50 by 32 inches.
The scaled-down size of weighted throws makes them perfect for lounging and moving between your favorite lounge chair and couch. While they’re smaller, weighted throw blankets are great for close and cozy sharing and cuddling. A king size blanket would be too much on the couch, even for two people.
There are other differences between the types of blankets too. Knowing what they are will help you know which type better fits your needs. Here's a rundown of what they are.
Weighted throws, or napper blankets, come in a variety of fabrics. They can be cool and crisp or thick and luxurious. Many of the best weighted throws are reversible, which gives you multiple ways to get comfortable under the blanket. Look for a style that has premium fabrics on both sides of the blanket. It will double your comfort.
Consider whether you're naturally a hot sleeper or if you usually run cold. Choose premium cotton for breathability or sherpa for cold weather. Don’t forget to consider your color options or even go for a fun and lively plaid!
Duvet-style blankets typically come with the duvet cover and an inner weighting layer. The weighting layer can be made of several different materials, but the most popular are glass microbeads, poly pellets, or plastic beads. The glass beads allow for more air circulation than plastic pellets and make the blanket more breathable.
The removable cover can come in a variety of fabrics and textures too. Tencel and vellux fabrics deliver serious warmth, while breathable cotton or bamboo can keep you cooler — you could also invest in a cooling weighted blanket. A quilted organic cotton blanket can give you warmth with the moisture-wicking abilities that keep you comfortable if you run hot.
Who Should Use a Weighted Throw Blanket?
Heavy blankets can be used by most people who want to foster a sense of calm. The smaller size and lighter weight of a weighted throw blanket means you can create that sense of tranquility while relaxing on your couch and streaming your favorite series.
A weighted throw blanket can also help people with special conditions, according to an article by Understood.org. People who struggle with ADHD or who are on the autism spectrum benefit from the pressure as it helps regulate the senses by lowering the body’s response to outside stimuli. Serotonin increases and you get the warm cozy feeling of a really good hug.
When to Use a Weighted Throw Blanket
The great thing about weighted throw blankets is that adding them to your wellness and self-care routines is simple. You can use them anytime you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or overstimulated.
Consider using the blanket:
- When you come home from work to decompress
- When you’re watching TV
- To improve overall mental health by reducing stress
- To increase the benefits of a nap
- As part of your morning journaling routine
- To regulate senses and stimulation
- When you crave a good cuddle
The weight distribution of the blanket on your body allows your body to increase feel-good chemicals. Choosing a blanket in a super soft fabric gives you even more reasons to indulge and slow down.
Boost Your Living Room Relaxation
Having a high-quality weighted throw blanket is an easy way to increase your level of comfort and relaxation. Knowing that the gentle, hug-like pressure is ready and waiting for you whenever you need it will feel wonderful. Getting the calming and soothing benefits while you enjoy other activities like reading or watching a movie is even better. Add in your favorite cuddle partner, and you’ve created a little nest of self-care and bliss anytime you want it.