Weighted blankets have gone big time, and it's great that they're more accessible than ever; but they're not all made the same, and they're not all good.
If you've been looking at buying a weighted blanket, you've probably been overwhelmed by the variety on offer with prices ranging from about £50 to more than £200. It may seem like a good idea to buy a blanket at the cheaper end, but you have to ask yourself why they are so cheap? Here we explain why buying a cheap weighted blanket can end up costing the earth.
The price isn’t the only thing to consider when buying a weighted blanket. When it comes to any product, budget-friendly usually means not Earth-friendly. Here’s why:
Nearly all cheap weighted blankets are made from poor quality polyester, an inexpensive synthetic alternative to natural fibres, but a choice that takes a tremendous toll on our environment. Nearly 70 million barrels of oil are required to meet the fast fashion industry’s polyester demands each year. Even though polyester lasts only a few years in our wardrobes, it’s non-biodegradable and will stay in the environment for much longer.
More often than not, cheap packaging will be used to cut costs, cheap meaning single-use plastic packaging. Unfortunately, most plastic waste is sent to landfills. We don't use any plastic packaging for our products.
Not only are synthetic fibres made using petroleum products, the manufacturing process is also very energy-intensive. The way we produce our weighted cotton yarn uses at least 2.5 times less energy (ultimately also emitting less CO2) than typical polyester production methods.
Another concern is that cheap products, more often than not, depend on cheap labour, mainly in China or India. Our products are made by a family business in Poland. We know them, we've even been on holiday with them! We know they pay a fair wage and have good working conditions.
So, you’re trying to relax under a cheap 10 kg polyester weighted blanket, but you feel it’s not working quite as expected, why is that?
Inexpensive weighted blankets are usually filled with plastic pellets or glass beads to produce the weight and lined with polyester wadding fabric to disguise them, this has several drawbacks:
The principle of weighted blankets and their effectiveness relies on deep touch pressure (DTP), which stimulates the release of happy hormones and slows down stress hormones.
When a blanket is filled with beads or pellets (even if they’re sown into pockets), they will move around (which can be noisy) and congregate along the sides and corners of the pockets, creating an uneven weight distribution over your body. Uneven weight distribution makes it difficult to obtain the therapeutic benefits of DTP effectively.
Bead-filled weighted blankets can become lumpy, and without consistent and evenly distributed DTP, they can end up serving no purpose. Also, over time, the stitching can become loose and the beads start leaking.
The most common complaint with cheap weighted blankets is how hot they get. Polyester is a non-breathable fabric, think about it, even a thin shirt made of this synthetic fibre can leave you feeling hot and sticky. Now imagine lying under 10 kg of it!
Sweating under a synthetic weighted blanket is not only uncomfortable, it could be harmful as synthetic fabrics are known to give off small amounts of toxic vapour. The only way to get the full benefits of a weighted blanket is to opt for one made of natural materials that don’t trap body heat.
When it comes to sleep quality (and ultimately looking after your mental and physical well-being), it's worth investing a little more.