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Heated, Cooling, and Weighted: Specialty Blankets You Need

Whether you’re talking about a cozy comforter, bountiful bedspread, or fancy fleece, everyone loves a good blanket. But these personal, oh-so-soft coverings can be hard to match to your individual sleep needs.

There’s really not a blanket answer for everyone. We have, however, identified three common categories of sleeper and their mythical avatar.

  • Sleepers who run hot: Sasquatch Sleepers want as light a covering as possible.
  • Sleepers who run cold: Abominable Snowman Sleepers need heat when they sleep.
  • Sleepers who like to feel weighed down: Nessies like to be buried in the depths of an ocean of blankets.

No matter what mythical creature sleeper you most resemble, there’s a blanket solution for you. Here are three specialty blanket types that are sure to fit your sleep needs.

Cooling Blankets for the “Sasquatch Sleeper”

sasquatch sleepers description

When it comes to sleep, most of us prefer a cool environment—like the forests of the Pacific Northwest. According to one sleep survey, 80% of people said they slept better during cooler winter months compared to summer ones.

And science backs up this cold environment preference. When we get sleepy, our bodies naturally try and achieve a lower temperature to maximize the slow-wave sleep of the REM cycle. That’s the deep sleep that causes us to rise feeling rested and ready to go.

Our sleep changes depending on our body temperature. When the mercury rises, so do we. Cooling blankets help us get a better night’s rest. You stay cool most effectively with a blanket that’s breathable and absorbent.

Breathability

To stay cool, you need a blanket that promotes good airflow in and out of your sleep space. Trapped air heats up quickly, raising your body temperature. Then, it’s go-time for your sweat glands!

The solution? Set the hot air free with a blanket made from materials that have natural or synthetic venting structures.

Here are some blanket materials with good breathability:

  • Regular cotton
  • Egyptian cotton
  • Linen
  • Satin
  • Viscose/Rayon
  • Blends (e.g., cotton & linen)

When choosing a blanket material such as these, think about your budget and expectations of softness. All of these fabrics vary with respect to price and texture. As a general rule, the higher the price, the better the breathability.

Absorbency

When choosing a cooling blanket also look for one made from a fabric with good absorption properties or hygroscopy. These blanket materials actually draw or “wick” the moisture from the air. Just like the weather, dry air is easier to cool than moist air.

On a summer night, that sweaty air under your blanket can get hotter than a ghost pepper. Transfer that superheated moisture to the fabric itself, and the air will dry out and cool down more easily.

Here are some blankets with good absorbency:

  • Cotton
  • Hemp
  • Bamboo
  • Flax linen
  • Microfibers

Air Cooling Blankets

Air-cooling blankets contain internal cavities for injected cool air to flow through. A machine that sits at the foot of your bed shoots the air via a hose into your cooling blanket. You can even buy air cooling blankets that heat and cool both sides of your bed differently. Air cooling blankets are expensive and will bump up your electric bill, but they keep the most sultry Sasquatch slumbering for hours.

Heated Blankets for the Abominable Sleeper

abominable sleepers description

For Abominable Sleepers, it can’t get warm enough in their sleep caves or under their blankets. And a trip to the bathroom is like a migration across frozen tundra.

Even though they pile on the comforters to the point of suffocation, cold feet, hands, and noses still rouse the Abominable Sleeper from slumber. For them, an electric heated blanket is the answer to staying in hibernation all night long.

Not only are heated blankets good at Yeti warming, they help lower your electric bill by letting you keep your bedroom colder. Here’s the skinny on the what to look for in your next electric blanket.

Fabric

Many electric blankets are made from polyester because of its flame-retardant properties. Plus polyester tends to keep its shape well after washings.

Cotton is another option—it’s softer but less flame resistant. Both cotton and polyester blankets also come in fleece styles for added softness.

Thickness

If you’re a sensitive sleeper, go for a thicker blanket. The thicker the blanket is, the less likely you’ll be able to feel the electric wiring within. But you can save a little and go for a thinner version if you don’t mind feeling like a human Tesla Coil.

When buying a blanket at a brick-and-mortar store, check to see if you can feel the wires through the fabric. If you’re buying online, read the reviews.

Washability

After an entire winter sleeping with your heated blanket, things can get mega funky—and we’re not talking James Brown here. Abominable Sleepers often make abominable smells.

Stains and odors need to go. So, look for an electric blanket with detachable controls. You can throw these in the washer and dryer with no special prep.

Washability is especially important for cotton blankets, which wick away moisture and trap it in the fabric. Check out the cleaning instructions before you buy—they’re usually labeled on a tag attached to the blanket—to see if it’s something you’ll want to deal with.

Cord Length

On some electric blankets, the cord is right in the middle of the blanket, rather than on the side. This can make reaching an electrical outlet impossible. Sure, you could always use an extension cord. But who wants an electrical line stretched across their path to the bathroom at night?

Controls

Your blanket’s controls should also be simple to adjust, easy to read, and visible at night—contrary to popular myth, Abominable Sleepers can’t see in the dark.

When it comes to your control’s heat settings, the more numbers available the better (we like them with an 11 setting). While higher numbers don’t indicate higher heat potential [most range from 80°F (27°C) to 108°F (42°C)], they do mean you can fine-tune the settings to find the perfect sleep temperature.

Dual controls are must for a pair (or herd) of Abominable Sleepers. Heated blankets with separate controls let you roast your side of the bed, while your partner can maintain a low simmer on theirs. Perfect for a Sasquatch/Abominable combo.

Weighted Blankets for the Nessie Sleeper

nessie sleepers description

For Nessie Sleepers, the sensation of evenly distributed pressure during sleep is reassuring and relaxing. Nessies enjoy sinking to the deep depths of their blanket caves where things are quiet and calm. Weighted blankets replicate this feeling.

For almost two decades, scientists have been looking into the link between this pressurized sensation and the lowering of anxiety levels. A 2006 study found that 63% of sleepers reported lower anxiety levels while using a weighted blanket.

Aside from anxiety reduction, weighted blankets literally keep you from tossing and turning while you sleep, which means fewer times you’re roused from deep sleep.

If you’re looking for a better sleep experience that brings safety and comfort, try a weighted blanket. They can be pricey, but it’s worth the extra cash if they help you sleep better. You can’t put a price on comfort and peace of mind.

Here are some qualities to look for in a good weighted blanket.

Construction

Weighted blankets consist of an outer covering of soft and absorbable material and an inner lining. The lining is designed to hold a weighted filler—formed into beads, pebbles, or similar granular shape. The inner lining attaches to the outer covering to keep the granular filler from shifting.

The weighted material should be divided into a grid of pockets within the inner covering to ensure evenly distributed weight. If the inner lining isn’t well-constructed and securely attached, the filling can shift and create a lumpy blanket that’s uncomfortable.

Weight

Weighted blankets come in ranges from 5 to 30 pounds. But which size do you need? You don’t want to be crushed. The general recommendation for maximum comfort is between 5% to 10% of a person’s weight. For example, if you weigh a 140 pounds, start with a 7-pound blanket and work up from there.

An important note: Weighted blankets can put children at risk—a heavy blanket could suffocate a small child. Don’t give any child under eight years old a weighted blanket, unless prescribed by a medical professional or therapist. And weighted blankets also pose risks to people with claustrophobia or who have breathing problems.

Outer Covering

Weighted blankets can stay just as cool as regular ones, if you choose a breathable and absorbent outer covering fabric. If you’re a Nessie Sleeper with Sasquatch tendencies, choose a weighted blanket made from natural fibers like cotton, which breathe well and absorb moisture.

If you run a little colder, go with a weighted blanket with a synthetic covering like polyester fleece or plush (“minky”). These fabrics are softer to the touch but less breathable.

Filler Material

The most common fillers for weighted blankets are glass or plastic beads and sand. Each filler type has pros and cons.

Plastic Beads

Plastic or “poly” pellets are affordable and washable fillers, but they can be noisy when you move in bed, and they have a rougher texture than other fillers. Sleepers with sensitivities to sound and touch should avoid plastic fillers.

But if you’re going with plastic, look for pellets made from higher-quality ABS virgin plastic. They haven’t come into contact with toxins or other chemicals. Some weighted blanket manufacturers even claim that these higher quality plastic beads help keep you cooler.

Glass Beads

Glass fillers are quieter and smoother than poly pellets but tend to be more expensive.

Because glass is heavier than plastic, this means fewer glass beads are needed. Fewer pellets means a thinner blanket, which some sleepers prefer over bulky coverings. Glass beads also look and feel smoother. Glass is also hypoallergenic and easily washable.

Sand

Sand is a much cheaper filler option but doesn’t spread out and distribute weight as effectively as plastic or glass. It’s also harder to wash and dry because … well, it’s sand. When it gets wet, it tends to clump together inside your blanket and create lumps.

Over time, the sand is much more likely to leak through the pockets and cause uneven distribution. If sand leaks outside the covering, it will transform your comfy mattress into a sandy beach!

Your Blanket Could Uncover Your Sleep Problems

While we still don’t know whether mythological creatures like Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster really exist, we do know sleep problems are very real. Sleep is intimately connected to our health and sense of well-being, yet we often don’t give it the thought and planning it deserves. Sleep is a complex process that involves our brains and body.

We all sleep, but we do it differently. Getting quality sleep involves making adjustments to your sleep environment, like finding the best sleeping position or the best mattress. Small changes like these make big differences. They determine whether we wake restful and ready to conquer, or sluggish and ready to crawl under the covers. One of those small sleep changes is finding the blanket that fits our bodies and minds.

The *new* Purple Blanket offers a dual-feel experience: Sleek and cool on one side, thanks to breathable bamboo fibers. Cozy and warm on the other, thanks to plush mink fabric. Find out more about this revolutionary bed tech.

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