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5 Safer Alternatives to Electric Blankets

by Dale Cudmore | Updated: Mar 08, 2022

When it’s getting cold in winter, your normal bed setup might not be warm enough.

An electric blanket can be a solution, but they can break, and they can pose a fire risk. They’re also not very “green” since they consume a decent amount of electricity.

I’ve never liked the idea of electric blankets myself, so I’ve tried out many alternatives.

Here are the best alternatives that are as good or even better than an electric blanket.

Get a Warmer Duvet or Comforter

One of the simplest solutions is to get a better duvet.

A good duvet will keep you warm even if it’s freezing. A thick one made of the right materials will trap in virtually all your body heat and you’ll possibly be too warm after a short period.

The warmest materials for a comforter are:

  • Fleece
  • Wool
  • Down
  • Polyester

If you’re worried about being too hot during the summer because of the duvet, keep your lighter one. It’s not unusual to have 2 different duvets to rotate throughout the year.

Add More Layers of Blankets

This is the simplest thing that most people can do to warm up their bed without spending more money.

Blankets work by trapping body heat, but each blanket can only block so much heat. So when you layer them on top of each other, the effects are multiplied.

It’s why layering is so important when you go outside in cold winter weather up north.

Say each blanket retains 50% (not accurate, just for a simple example) of body heat that it contains. A single blanket only traps 50% of heat, while 2 layers would trap 75%, and 3 would trap nearly 90% of heat.

There’s another potential side benefit of adding more blankets - a bit of extra weight.

For most people, weighted blankets reduce anxiety and are more comfortable, sort of like a gentle hug, that may help you sleep better.

Use A Portable Heater Instead

If the electricity usage isn’t your reason for looking for an electric blanket alternative, a portable heater might be the better choice.

Portable heaters typically have very robust and safe designs if used correctly. You can simply turn it on in your bedroom a bit before you go to sleep.

The benefit compared to blankets is that the warmth affects your face as well.

One note is that you shouldn’t put a space heater on top of a table, because then it actually can become a fire hazard. Keep it on the floor where it belongs.

If you really want the air blowing in your face, get a lower bed frame.

A portable heater can also be a useful strategy for couples who disagree about sleep temperature, as it affects the side of the bed it’s closest to more than the other.

Get a Proper Set of Warm Pajamas

When you first crawl into bed in the winter, the blankets themselves are going to be relatively cold, especially compared to any clothing you’re wearing.

Simply wearing warm pajamas will make it so much easier to get into bed without freezing.

Similar to duvet materials, the warmest pajamas are made from:

  • Wool
  • Fleece
  • Flannel
  • Polyester

Flannel is the most breathable of those options in case you’re worried about getting too warm.

Use a Hot Water Bottle

While it’s not the most convenient option, I’ve found that classic hot water bottles still work well.

They’re great at retaining heat, and since they eventually cool down, you won’t overheat later in the night.

The biggest benefit of a hot water bottle is that you can put it wherever you need it:

  • Slip it inside of a pillow’s case and hug it as you fall asleep.
  • Put it under your pillow
  • Place between knees or by feet

The biggest downside is that the heat is very localized, and it’s kind of a pain to have to heat up water every night before sleeping.


Medical Disclaimer: The information on SnoozeUniversity.com is not intended to be a substitute for physician or other qualified care. We simply aim to inform people struggling with sleep issues about the nature of their condition and/or prescribed treatment.


About the authorDale is the founder of Snooze University and a sleep researcher. I overcame my sleep issues and now I'd like to help you do the same by summarizing the latest sleep studies for you.