Does your child toss and turn for hours during the night? Do they tend to crawl out of bed multiple times after you’ve tucked them in? If your child has trouble getting a full night’s sleep, you are certainly not alone. For a variety of reasons, many parents struggle with sleepless children. If you are among these parents, it may be worth investing in a gravity blanket.
Last update on 2021-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Gravity blankets also known as weighted blankets have become something of a mainstream fad in the past few years. Their success in alleviating the symptoms of a range of disorders, including insomnia, anxiety and ADHD, have made them a staple item in many households. While some parents swear by weighted blankets and their ability to get their children to doze off, others have less success.
As a parent, it’s important to do your research on the products you buy for your child. If you’re curious about whether using a children’s weighted blanket is the right choice for your family, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to demystify the weighted blanket and tell you about the science behind the fad. We’ll also answer all of the most frequently asked questions about the safety, uses and styles of the best weighted blankets UK for children.
Last update on 2021-01-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best Kids Weighted Blankets
After 30 hours of research and creating this guide, we’ve put together a list of the best weighted blankets that are available in the UK. You can expect fast delivery and a great product.
The ZZZNest is the best selling weighted blanket on Amazon. It comes in three sizes and is made from 100% cotton material making the blanket breathable with glass beads that are hypo-allergenic and non-toxic to provide the weight.
The weighted inner layer of the blanket is hand washable or washable but make sure the temperature is below 30 degrees to ensure the long life of the blanket.
Featuring a choice of three sizes; 104cm x 152cm 3.2kg (7lb), 152cm x 203cm 7.2kg (16lb) or 152cm x 203cm 9.5kg (21lb) there are sizes from small children/toddlers through to older kids and teenagers.
What we love: Available in 3 different sizes means there’s a suitable size for every child. 100% cotton breathable material to avoid overheating.
This weighted blanket claims that it’s the best-rated kids anxiety blanket for trouble sleeping or sensory processing disorder. The premium-grade blanket reduces stress, anxiety and sleep disturbances by offering the gentle sensation of being held.
Also available in three sizes there’s a weighted blanket for toddlers, a weighted blanket for children and weighted blankets for teens to choose from.
Eco-friendly and safe for kids the Jaymags weighted blanket is made from 100% ultra-breathable cotton so it does not overheat.
The blanket is machine washable but it’s recommended to hand wash to keep it in good condition and avoid the beads congregating at the ends. The glass beads are evenly distributed through many of the blankets separated compartments.
What we love: Hypo-allergenic and non-toxic beads along with the multi-compartment separation make it the perfect weighted blanket for children.
This blanket is available in six different designs from animal paradise to ocean dream with each design there are 3 different choices of size.
The Anjee weighted blanket is available in the following sizes; 90cm x 120cm 2kg 5lbs, 100cm x 150cm 3kg 7lbs and 100 x 150cm 4.5kg 10lbs which make it the perfect weighted blanket for toddlers and young children.
100% kid-friendly and made from 100% cotton this blanket is safe and breathable. Backed by a worry-free 30-day guarantee and a lifetime warranty with great customer service there’s every reason to buy.
Machine wash at 30 degrees on a gentle cycle for this blanket to stay in great condition.
What we love: The various adorable designs that are perfect for kids and the smaller sizes make this blanket the perfect choice.
For a full list of the best selling weighted blankets click here
What is a Weighted Blanket?
Before we get into UK weighted blankets for children, let’s discuss their wider use. While you’ve probably heard of them before, you may still be confused as to what a weighted blanket, or gravity blanket, really is.
Weighted blankets are, unsurprisingly, heavy blankets. These blankets are usually around 15 pounds and are made with a weighted material filler like plastic pellets, poly pellets, or plastic beads. The weight and material vary depending on the size of the user and the design of the blanket.
Weighted blankets were originally designed to have a calming, relaxing effect. Nowadays, they are used to help people suffering from a range of health problems. Weighted blankets are proven to help patients deal with anxiety, insomnia, and depression. They have also been used to alleviate symptoms of autism and ADHD.
While weighted blankets are usually thought of as a way to tackle specific health problems or disorders, they are also used by those simply wishing to improve their sleep habits and patterns. These blankets are proven to encourage deeper and calmer sleep, and most people wake up feeling more refreshed and alert than usual. By using a weighted blanket frequently, you may find your overall mood and productivity increases by leaps and bounds.
What Does Science Say About Weighted Blankets?
So, how does science back up all of these claims about the benefits of weighted blankets? How does using a heavier blanket provide so many health benefits?
The weight of the blanket is designed to mimic a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation. This technique uses hands-on pressure in the form of squeezing or holding to calm the nervous system. A weighted blanket essentially mimics the relaxing feeling of a firm, warm hug.
Deep pressure stimulation is a proven treatment for pain relief, anxiety, depression and autism because of its ability to calm the nervous system, thus regulating the body’s physiological ability to process information.
There are two key parts of the nervous system that work in tandem. The parasympathetic nervous system regulates our bodily functions while we are resting. This includes digestion, heart rate and injury repair. The sympathetic nervous system kicks into gear when we are more active. It’s in charge of raising the heart rate and activating our fight or flight response, by producing adrenaline and cortisol.
With many of the conditions we’ve discussed above, there is an imbalance between the parasympathetic system and the sympathetic system. People who suffer from anxiety, for instance, tend to have an overactive sympathetic nervous system, resulting in symptoms like a quick heartbeat or a racing mind.
Deep pressure stimulation produces dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters help to counteract an overproduction of cortisol and adrenaline, thus slowing the heart rate and encouraging general relaxation.
How weighted blankets help with specific disorders and conditions
Here are three of the most common conditions treated by weighted blankets.
1. Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition that makes everyday stimuli overwhelming or painful. People with this condition have difficulty receiving and processing sensory information. Certain noises, colours or unusual textures may result in pain or nausea.
Deep pressure stimulation can help to regulate sensory stimuli and reduce the effects of the disorder. Other helpful tools include stress balls or putty.
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, affects fought 6.4 million children between 4 and 17. Symptoms include hyperactivity, impulsiveness, inattention and restlessness. The condition is often the result of an overactive sympathetic nervous system. Using a weighted blanket each night, or during rest periods, can help to alleviate the condition’s symptoms.
Austin is a disorder that results in difficulty with social interaction and interpersonal communication. Autism is a condition that can lead to anxiety, restlessness and an inability to focus on children. By using a weighted blanket, your child will get a more restful sleep, experience less anxiety on a daily basis and show more signs of focus at school. You may also see some improvement in their mood.
Anxiety results in an overactive mind. Children with anxiety will exhibit symptoms such as poor concentration, poor sleep, poor diet, negativity and outbursts of anger. While it’s important to speak to a professional about your child’s anxiety, a weighted blanket may be a helpful stepping stone in overcoming some of its symptoms. A weighted blanket will help to lower the heart rate and calm the mind. After a good night’s sleep, your child is more likely to have a positive outlook on the next day.
5. Restless legs syndrome
RLS, or restless legs syndrome, is a movement disorder that is common among children. In this disorder, your child will have an uncontrollable urge to move their legs. This usually occurs at bedtime, but can also occur when the legs have been inactive for a long period of time. While the cause of the disorder is unknown, it is believed to be due to a low iron level or a neurological disease. By calming the nervous system, weighted blankets can help to reduce the urge to move in children, helping them to get to sleep.
Should Toddlers and Children Have Weighted Blankets?
Now that we’ve been through how weighted blankets work to increase activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, let’s discuss using weighted blankets for children.
Most parents who are interested in purchasing a weighted blanket for their child are hoping to tackle one of the issues or conditions we’ve discussed above, such as autism, ADHD or general restlessness. If your child is having trouble sleeping, finding a solution is essential to their well-being and your peace of mind.
Lots of children have unique sensory needs. While your child may not suffer from one of the conditions we’ve discussed, if they have trouble settling down at the end of the day, a weighted blanket may still be worth trying. Nevertheless, some children find weight oppressive and stressful.
Age recommendations for weighted blankets
First of all, it’s crucial to take note that children under a certain age should never use a weighted blanket. Almost every baby and toddler will go through periods of sleeplessness. While it can be tempting to try anything that might provide a solution, never use a weighted blanket on a baby or a toddler under one year old.
How do decide whether a weighted blanket will work for your child
Here are some signs your child may benefit from a weighted blanket:
- They love being warm and cuddling up under several layers of blankets
- They tend to crawl into tight spaces
- They have trouble relaxing at bedtime or sitting still during the day
- They like bundling up in multiple layers of clothing
- They are more comfortable in a warm bed
- They enjoy hugs and cuddling
And here are some signs that your child may not be suited to a weighted blanket:
- They prefer to sleep without heavy blankets, or with no blankets
- They are tactile defensive or are overly sensitive to the feeling of new textures
- They feel claustrophobic in smaller spaces
Children’s Weighted Blankets UK Size and Weight Guide
Choosing a blanket of the correct size and weight is crucial to your child’s safety and comfort. A blanket that is too heavy may pose a health risk, while a blanket that is too light may not provide enough pressure to make a difference.
In general, the weight of the blanket should be around 10% of your own body weight. However, for children, the formula can be a little more complex. You’ll need to take your child’s height into consideration as well.
If you find a blanket that is around the same length and size as your child, aim for 10% of their body weight plus one or two pounds. If you select a larger blanket (one that covers the entire bed) you will want to add 1-2 pounds on top of the 10%.
So, if your child weighs 50 pounds, for instance, you would want a small blanket to weigh 6 or 7 lbs (5+1 or 2) and a larger blanket would need to weigh 7 or 8 lbs.
If you are concerned that the blanket is too heavy or too light for your child, we recommend speaking to a doctor who can help you to decide the perfect size and weight for your child.
How To Choose The Best Weighted Blanket For Your Child?
There are several different types of weighted blanket on the market, and it’s worth deciding which type will suit your child best. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting your blanket.
There are a variety of fabrics to choose from, all of which provide a different sleeping experience. Think about your child’s favourite textures. If they prefer cotton to flannel, for instance, choose the texture that they enjoy most. Also, consider the breathability of the material. If your child gets hot in the night, you will want to select a more breathable fabric like cotton.
Most weighted blankets use fillers to create weight. Be sure to take note of the material used in the fillers and opt for a non-toxic, safe option.
- Weight distribution
Be careful to select a blanket that has even weight distribution. Some designs do not use internal pockets to ensure even weight distribution. If you end up with one of these blankets, your child will likely feel uncomfortable and awkward, and the blanket may end up being counter-productive.
Remember, this blanket is for a child. As you probably know, children have a tendency to create a mess. Make sure the blanket is machine washable. Even if your child isn’t prone to spills, it’s worth having a blanket that is easy to wash.
Design is an important factor to consider. You will want your child to enjoy using their blanket, so make sure they like the way it looks. If they have a favourite movie character or design, try to find a weighted blanket with that image printed on it. You could even try online shopping with them and let them choose their favourite available design.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Weighted Blankets?
As we’ve discussed above, weighted blankets provide relaxation which can help alleviate the symptoms of a number of conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, ADHD and autism. But is an easier night’s sleep the only health benefit? While healthy sleep patterns come with a host of health benefits, using a weighted blanket can lead to a number of other long-term health benefits.
Health benefits from sleep
A good night’s sleep is a crucial part of one’s overall health. If you or your child is consistently sleeping poorly, you will eventually suffer from it. In fact, sleep is considered one of the three pillars of overall health alongside diet and exercise. Here are some of the known benefits of healthy sleep habits:
- Reduction of stress
- Reduction of inflammation
- Alertness and productivity throughout the day
- Healthy digestive system
- Memory functions
- Cardiac health
Sleep is especially important in children. Because the human body continues to develop throughout childhood, sleep is an essential part of physical and mental development. Between the ages of 3-6, your child should be getting 10-12 hours of sleep each night. In this period, naps will become shorter and more infrequent. From 7-12, your child should be sleeping for 10-11 hours per night.
Other health benefits from a weighted blanket
While most of the tangible benefits of a weighted blanket come from the increased relaxation and improved sleep, there are a few other health benefits unrelated to sleep.
The parasympathetic nervous system can benefit from switching on even when you aren’t sleeping. After a long or stressful day, a weighted blanket can help to reduce stress. Many people swear by weighted blankets as a necessary tool for their mental health. Taking care of your child’s mental health from a young age will help to prevent anxiety and stress when they get older.
Because weighted blankets can help to lower an overactive heart rate, they are also beneficial for long-term cardiac health. If your child suffers from a speedy heart rate, speak to you doctor about gravity blankets to see if they might help the condition in the long run.
Can Weighted Blankets Be Dangerous?
If you’ve decided that a weighted blanket is worth trying for your child, it’s important to understand the risks and safety recommendations.
Avoid using a weighted blanket if your child has:
- Respiratory (breathing) problems
- Cardiac (heart) problems
- Skin problems or allergies
- Circulatory problems
- Physical difficulties which will make it difficult for them to move the blanket themselves
Ask your doctor if you are unsure whether a weighted blanket is safe for your child, and to test your child for any of the above conditions before using a weighted blanket.
How To Use A Weighted Blanket For Kids
While selecting the perfect weighted blanket for your child is important, it’s even more important to use it properly. Here are some tips on how to use your blanket safely and effectively.
Using the blanket safely
Follow these guidelines when tucking your child into bed with their weighted blanket.
- Ensure the blanket doesn’t cover the neck or head
- Check your child’s vital signs (pulse rate, temperature, breath, etc.) and make sure they are always visible
- Do not roll your child in the blanket, but place it over them
- Do not let the blanket drape over the sides of the bed
- Make sure your child can easily move the blanket if they need to
- Tell your child that they can move the blanket if they become too hot or uncomfortable
- Try to supervise your child while they’re covered
- Be sure to check specific instructions on the product
- Do not use a blanket that is heavier than 10% plus three pounds
- Do not use the blanket overnight on small children
Tips on how to introduce the blanket into the nighttime routine
Getting your child used to their new weighted blanket can be difficult. Some children might not initially like the way it feels. Of course, if your child is uncomfortable or stressed, never force them to use the blanket. But, if they need a little encouragement, here are some tips on how to introduce the blanket.
- Introduce the blanket slowly. Start with it at their feet and slowly pull it up. Check-in with them to see if they like it.
- Make sure they feel safe under the blanket. Ensure them that you are there with them the first few times they use it.
- Suggest using the blanket during calm times. Wrap it around them while you read to them or while they are quietly playing.
- Create an indoor fort where you keep the blanket. By making a special, quiet place, you will encourage relaxation.
How To Make Your Own Weighted Blanket
While many people buy their blankets online or in-store, it is possible to make your own. Here are some simple tips on making a DIY weighted blanket:
- Choose a durable fabric that will withstand a bit of weight
- Select weighted beads and make sure to measure their weight accurately according to your child’s weight. Be sure to subtract the weight of the fabric or the blanket will be too heavy.
- Cut the fabric to size. Usually, you will want it just a little larger than your child. Make sure you have a front and backside of the blanket.
- Sew pockets into one side of the blanket. Divide the beads evenly and fill each pocket with beads.
- Sew the front and back together.
- Be sure to sew small stitches to keep the beads in place.
Weighted blankets can be a great tool to help encourage relaxation and deep sleep. If you have a restless and anxious child, this could be the answer you’ve been looking for. By mimicking deep pressure stimulation technique, a weighted blanket helps to calm the nervous system and release soothing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
Because weighted blankets are proven to help the parasympathetic nervous system kick in, they are commonly used to tackle a range of sleep-related issues. Children with autism, ADHD, anxiety and insomnia have all been found relaxation through weighted blankets.
While weighted blankets can be a wonderful addition to a child’s nighttime routine, it’s important that you heed the safety precautions in this article. Never use a weighted blanket on an infant or a toddler, be careful to choose the weight correctly and always check in on your child when they’re using the blanket.
A weighted blanket can end up being a great addition to the family. When you see how well your child is sleeping, you may even want to get one for yourself. Everyone can benefit from a good night’s sleep, so why not invest in weighted blankets for the whole family.