When it’s too hot for weighted blankets?

Anonymous asked

Spending a lot of time with a blanket wrapped around me, and/or under weighted blankets helps me to reduce the intensity of my sensory overload difficulties, but as the weather gets warmer this is harder for me to do because I get overheated after even a few minutes. Any advice or suggestions of ways that other people have dealt with this kind of issue? I’ve been using a small weighted wrap around my shoulders during the day, but it doesn’t help as much as being enclosed in a blanket does.

realsocialskills said:

I have a few thoughts. I am hoping that others will as well.

A different kind of weighted blanket:

  • There are several kinds of weighted blankets, and a lot of differences affect heat.
  • It matters what the fabric is, and it matters what the filling is.
  • There are various things weighted blankets may be filled with. The coolest (least insulating) material I’m aware of is plastic pellets.
  • If your blanket is stuffed with something else, trying a plastic-pellets-based blanket might work better for you.
  • (Especially if the blanket you have now is filled with sand).
  • Similarly, some blankets have padding like a regular blanket, and some just have the weighted filling.
  • If your blanket also has regular-blanket-stuffing, it will be at least as hot as a regular blanket. 
  • So if you have a padded weighted blanket, it might be worth trying a weight-only weighted blanket.
  • It also matters what the fabric is. If the fabric is light and breathable, the blanket won’t heat you up as much.
  • (I’ve seen some school-or-institutional plastic weighted blankets for sale — those could be *really* hot and sticky since there’s not much air flow).
  • If your blanket is heavy denim or flannel or something, it might be worth trying something with lighter weight cotton. The weight can come from the pellets inside.
  • tl;dr The least-hot kind of weighted blanket is one made of lighter-weight cotton on the outside, plastic pellets on the inside, and no blanket padding that normal blankets have.

A sheet:

  • If you like being enclosed, a sheet might work as well as a blanket.
  • A lightweight sheet is much less likely to overheat you. 
  • It’s also easier to carry around than something weighted.
  • (Things like Body Sox might also work; I’m not sure if anyone’s making them in adult sizes though.)

Tight-fitting clothing:

  • Some people who like the deep pressure of weighted blankets also like the pressure of tight clothing.
  • Some people like to wear tight-fitting undershirts or other undergarments for similar reasons. (which has the advantage of not being conspicuous)

Switching to a movement-based strategy:

  • For some people, movement works just as well or better than weight
  • One reason some people like weighted blankets is that they can give good proprioceptive input (the sense of knowing where your body is)
  • If a weighted blanket is helping you to feel your body, moving might work just as well or better. 
  • For instance, rocking might help.
  • Doesn’t work for everyone, but it does work very well for some people.

Doing other things to cool yourself or your environment:

  • It may be easier to change the temperature than to change your sensory strategy.
  • So, here are some possible ways you might cool off:
  • Moving to the coolest room in your house
  • Closing the blinds so the room won’t end up getting as much heat from light
  • Turning on air conditioning if you can afford it
  • Wrapping an ice pack in a towel or something and having it under the blanket with you
  • Getting a fan if you don’t have one
  • Or a bigger fan if you do have one
  • Making sure the fan’s blowing directly at you when you’re under your blankets
  • If you have long hair, cutting it shorter might make you less overheated
  • If you’re wearing clothing made out of heavy fabric, wearing lighter fabric can help
  • Hats also trap a lot of heat. Not wearing a hat, or wearing a lighter hat, can cool you off.
  • Drinking cold beverages might help too
  • Cooking with an oven will really heat up your living area in a way that takes a while to disperse. Cooking with a stovetop, microwave, or toaster oven doesn’t raise the temperature like that.  
  • There are a lot of other strategies I don’t know or am not remembering
  • tl;dr There might be ways to cool off yourself or your environment enough that you can keep using your blanket without overheating

Anyway, that’s what I can think of in terms of what you might do if you find that using your weighted blanket doesn’t work when it’s hot. You can try a less-insulating kind of weighted blanket. Or using a sheet instead of a blanket. Or wearing tight fitting clothing. Or switching to a movement-based strategy (can work if you’re using weighted blankets for proprioceptive input). Or doing other things to cool off yourself or your environment so you can go back to using your weighted blanket.

I’m sure there are a lot of other options I’m not thinking of — anyone want to weigh in? What do you do when it’s too hot for your weighted blanket?