While they do need to be heavy enough to be effective, there’s a decent amount of leeway when choosing the weight of a weighted blanket.
I’ll walk you through the standard recommendations for sizing a weighted blanket, and I’ve also included a basic calculator to save you a bit of time.
The majority of weighted blankets weigh between 5 and 30 pounds. The most common recommendation is to get a weighted blanket that weighs 5-10% of your bodyweight (plus 1-2 pounds if needed).
It’s generally better to go a bit under that value if your bodyweight doesn’t line up with the standard weighted blankets that are sold.
Since you’re already here, you might as well plug in your weight below to find out how heavy of a blanket you should be looking for.
We can also look at weighted blanket studies to get a better sense of how heavy a weighted blanket should be, and how important it is to get a specific size.
One study had 94 adults with chronic pain use either a 15 lb or 5 lb weighted blanket overnight (1). They found that the 15 lb blanket was most effective, which was close to 10% of the mean bodyweight.
A study on children and adults with ASD found a positive impact on sleep after using a 11-17 pound weighted blanket (2). Again, this corresponds to about 10% for most participants, which is fairly common for other studies as well (3).
Some studies have looked at short-term weighted blanket use for anxiety management. They typically use a 30 pound blanket for short durations with a positive effect, which is closer to 18-20% of the mean weight of participants (4,5). You don’t necessarily need one that heavy even for short-term use, but it may have a small additional benefit.
Summary: Most weighted blankets in studies are about 10% of the mean weight. However, it works out to anywhere from 5-15% of body weight when you look at the lightest and heaviest subjects.
If a weighted blanket is too heavy, it will not only be uncomfortable, but can make sleep worse. It will take longer to get used to, and anecdotal reports claim they experienced symptoms like nausea.
In addition, children with a blanket that’s too heavy are at risk of suffocation.
If a weighted blanket is on the light side, it will still likely have some effect, but less of one than a properly sized weighted blanket.
However, it’s better to get a blanket that’s a bit too light than too heavy for safety and comfort reasons.