Sleep disorders are prevalant among dementia patients. It is not unusual for dementia-affected folks to sleep during the day and stay awake all night.
Irregular sleeping patterns can become an issue for their family members as they have to adjust their sleep schedules accordingly.
Such behavior not only exacerbates patient’s health but also weakens their relationship with their family members.
A a non-professional caregiver, you should support your loved one with dementia at all costs but be aware of its detrimental effects on you and other members of the family.
It is possible to curtail behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) such as day-night reversal, nocturnal awakening, and wandering during the night with non-medical intervention techniques.
The use of weighted blankets has proved to be effective in the management of sleep disorders in dementia-affected people. It is one of the best non-medical intervention techniques for dementia.
Moreover, it also helps them deal with anxiety, loneliness, and negative thoughts during the night. I would love to share with you some of the best weighted blankets for dementia patients.
Jump Directly to:
- Best Overall – Luna Adult Weighted Blanket
- Best Seller – YnM Weighted Blanket
- Best Premium – Royal Therapy Weighted Blanket
- Best Handmade – YnM Handmade Knitted Weighted Blanket
- Best Affordable – Bedsure Weighted Blanket
- How Does a Weighted Blanket Work?
- Do Weighted Blankets Make You Hot?
- What Is Deep Pressure or Deep Touch Pressure Therapy (DTP)?
- Does Weighted Blanket Help Relieve Anxiety in Dementia Patients?
- Can I Put a Weighted Blanket in the Washing Machine?
- How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?
Best Weighted Blankets for Dementia Patients
#1 Luna Adult Weighted Blanket
Notable publishers such as Wired, The New York Times and Business Insider have showered a lot of praise for Luna weighted blankets. It is 100 percent oeko-tex certified.
Unlike other manufacturers who use plastic poly pellets, Luna blankets come with medical-grade glass beads. This particular material aids even distribution of weight over the blanket. Furthermore, glass beads also reduce shifting to a good degree.
The glass beads are held within the square pockets. They stay within the pocket and do not move from one end of the blanket to another. Hence, you can sleep peacefully without worrying about noise generated when shitting around.
Blankets/comforters filled with poly pellets or plastic beads can make some noise upon tossing and turning at night— waking up other people sleeping in the same room.
This weighted blanket can be washed in a washing machine. Although make you do so on a low and cold setting. Ideally, hand washing is the best way to keep it clean. To preserve the lifespan of this blanket you can hand wash it with some warm water and detergent.
Additionally, the fabric is 100 percent pure cotton. The breathable material does not cause excessive heating during summers.
Having said that, you might need to turn on the air conditioner if you live in hotter states like Florida, Texas, Hawaii, Arizona, etc. The dementia patient might find it challenging to sleep without artificial cooling. Summers can last most of the year in some states.
- Made with ecologically safe materials
- Several fun design options available
- Does not make noise
- No more night sweats
- The material gets dirty quite easily
#2 YnM Weighted Blanket
YnM makes the best weighted blankets for insomnia, stress, and anxiety relief. It is the perfect gift for a dementia-affected elderly family member or a friend. This particular weighted blanket will help fall asleep faster and sleep better.
This weighted blanket has a mixture of medical-grade glass beads and fiberfill. Don’t worry the fiberfill does not leak out— making a mess on the bed. The square compartments hold the filler material. And these pockets are the smallest on the market (4.7-in x 4.7-in).
How are smaller compartments better than regular-sized compartments? A blanket with smaller compartments has more compartments per square meter. Hence, there is even distribution of weight throughout the fabric.
Additionally, this weighted blanket offers better temperature control than others on the market. This is mainly due to smaller compartments. The blanket is thinner. You can always turn on the fan or the air conditioner if it gets hot.
Those residing in hotter regions can reduce the heat generated by the weighted blanket by putting it over a lightweight comforter. Comforters are generally made with breathable material. When placed between a dementia patient and the YnM weighted blanket, Comforter acts as a heat insulator.
- Smaller compartments, more even weight distribution
- Instantly improves sleep quality
- Does not feel too thick
- No leaks
- Conforms to the body like a hug
- Takes 3-4 days to get used to it
- Hand-washing can be cumbersome due to its heaviness
#3 Royal Therapy Weighted Blanket
Royal Therapy (a brand of Pharmonis USA LLC) brings to you one of the best weighted blankets for dementia patients. Due to its premium features, this weighted blanket makes a perfect gift for the dementia-affected person.
Someone who has trouble sleeping through the night can benefit from this blanket. It may take a day to two, but the results are profound. This blanket is indeed heavy but it does not cause night sweats or overheating. The all-natural fiber keeps the user cool and dry.
The high-density eco-friendly glass beads attached to the grid do not move around the compartment freely. The small diamond-shaped compartment provides an even distribution of the weight. As a result, sleeping under this blanket feels like a hug from a loved one.
Moreover, these glass beads are pet and children friendly. They are non-toxic and food grade. I understand that accidents do occur. But do not worry if your pet or a young family member swallows the beads. The bead/fiber/fabric will pass through the digestive tract.
Also, when purchasing this blanket make sure you pick the one that fits the user’s height (and not the dimensions of the bed).
Royal Therapy weighted blanket is available in several weights and sizes. You can pick the right weight by referring to the weight chart shown below this section. Also, select the size from six options: king-size bed, queen size bed, couch, twin size bed, and full-size bed.
Royal Therapy follows industry standards and norms. You can clean them at home in a washer/drier or take them to a laundromat. In the end, the choice is yours.
You can also hand wash them— drying them outside in the sun causes no harm to the fabric. This blanket does not come with a removable cover. You can toss it in a washer. Make sure you do so on a cold and low setting.
- Made with eco-friendly materials
- Double stitching technology employed
- Comes with eight loops to tie a duvet
- Sewn-in glass beads
- Machine washable
- Warm in the summer, but not blazing hot
- The fabric does not feel soft on the skin
- Can be too thin for some users
#4 YnM Handmade Knitted Weighted Blanket
best hand made
YnM brings you one of the best weighted blankets for dementia patients in the handmade category. Note that the face (top layer) of the YnM blanket is polyester. This filing is a mix of cotton and microfiber. Cotton keeps the blanket from heating during summers.
Fabrics made from microfiber indeed retain more heat than those made from pure cotton, but the addition of microfiber makes the weighted blanket more durable. It prolongs the lifespan of the blanket by a few years.
And most importantly, you don’t have to think twice before tossing the blanket in a washer/dryer. You can wash handmade knitted weighted blankets in laundromat as well.
You must clean this blanket before using it for the first time. It might give out a strong chemical smell. Also, this handmade weighted blanket may appear rough or rugged in the pictures, but it feels a lot like a soft yarn. Not too smooth but not very rough either.
This knitted blanket has some major advantages over the beaded one from the same manufacturer. The absence of glass beads and fiber fills make the blanket breathable. As a result, the temperature inside the blanket will not surpass the temperature of the room.
Furthermore, this handmade knitted blanket by YnM also offers a uniform weight distribution. Also, it is a lot easier to toss and turn in sleep. The blanket hugs you tightly but does not suffocate you like some of the beaded weighted blankets. There are no night sweats with this knitted blanket.
- More durable than other cotton handmade blankets
- 100 percent homemade product
- Offers a relaxing hugging feel
- Machine/hand/laundromat washable
- Not a 100 percent cotton blanket
- Gives out a strong chemical smell when new
#5 Bedsure Weighted Blanket
Bedsure is a 40-year-old all-American luxury bedding manufacturer. Unlike other bedding companies, Bedsure caters to the modern American consumer. Both Bedsure and its customer’s value simplicity and authenticity. The company has offices in San Francisco and New York.
Bedsure blankets come with a balanced mixture of organic glass beads and siliconized fiber— to be specific, 90 percent glass beads and 10 percent fiber. The square pockets (of 5 ¾-in by 5 ¾-in) hold the filler material.
Furthermore, the experts at Bedsure have designed this blanket to last longer than any other similar product on the market. For instance, the two additional layers prevent beads or fiber from leaking out. No matter how ruggedly you use this blanket, it will last without any wear and tear.
Bedsure weighted blanket have mood-enhancing properties. It is not uncommon for a dementia patient to behave violently. Dementia makes a person forgetful of their surroundings, it makes them oblivious to other people’s feelings. This blanket will help them remain motionless and calm.
Healthy individuals who work incredibly hard show symptoms such as teeth grinding and sleep talking (medically known as somniloquy). Try this product for a week or two if you notice the aforementioned symptoms in your loved one. Ask them to use it while relaxing on a couch or a comfy chair.
- Comfortable for dementia patients of all ages
- Makes sleep pleasurable
- Improves the overall quality of sleep
- Affordable product
- Suitable for a couch or sofa use
- Heavy for some users, requires some getting used to
- A carrying case would have done a world of good
How Does a Weighted Blanket Work?
Weighted blankets have heavy material within them. The manufacturer makes sure to evenly distribute the filler material. Needless to mention, the design and layout of a weighted blanket entirely depend on the manufacturer.
So how does a weighted blanket work? A regular blanket offers protection from cold weather, shields you from insects, and provides general comfort. But pulling over a blanket weighing 10-20 percent of your body weight can offer much more than that.
Weighted blankets can calm down kids with autism or behavioral disturbances, says Dr. Cristina Cusin from Harvard Medical School. It is not a new concept. Psychiatrists prescribe weight therapy to patients with chronic anxiety and restlessness.
These blankets can help people with dementia alleviate anxiety and worry, especially at bedtime. The concept is quite simple. The additional weight feels like a hug by a loved one. This leads to the cessation of anxious thoughts.
Do Weighted Blankets Make You Hot?
The short answer is, weighted blankets made from synthetic fibers have the potential to make you hot during summers. The ones made from polyester, acrylic, nylon, or rayon can make you hot.
Also, note that a good quality weighted blanket comes with a washable external cover. The cover protects you from heat flashes during summers. Therefore, always go for a weighted blanket made with pure cotton.
On some occasions, even a pure cotton weighted blanket can make an elderly person hot. Caregivers must keep an eye on patients’ comfort levels — in the middle of the night.
If the heating problems persist you can always take the weighted blanket off once the patient is deep asleep. The temperature of the room also plays a key role in deciding the comfort levels of the patient.
What Is Deep Pressure or Deep Touch Pressure Therapy (DTP)?
Deep Touch Pressure Therapy is a popular amoung occupational therapists who deal with autistic children. Autistic children suffer from crippling anxiety. DTP is a non‐pharmacological therapy (NPT) for patients with Autistic Disorder.
Tactile sensory input applied via engagement in activities such as hugging, holding hands and cuddling has been immensely helpful.
Caregivers in nursing homes often practice Deep Touch Pressure Therapy. It is a common occurrence for nursing home caregivers to encounter patients with severe anxiety disorders.
This is where weighted blankets come into play. Anxiety and panic attacks can occur in a dementia patient as well. Experts in the field of occupational therapy design the best weighted blankets for dementia patients.
Sleeping under the comfort and warmth of a weighted blanket activates the parasympathetic nervous system (aka the “rest and digest” nervous system).
It slows down the heart rate so the person can fall asleep without resistance. The mental state of a dementia patient goes from anxious to peaceful, within minutes of DTP. They no longer feel irritated or antsy.
Does Weighted Blanket Help Relieve Anxiety in Dementia Patients?
Studies suggest that weighted blankets reduce anxiety and depression in Dementia patients. Weighted blankets have gained immense popularity in North American and some of the Scandinavian nations.
Recently, Mio Nakamura and Nodoka Yamauchi, two Japanese scientists, did a study to find the efficacy of weighted blankets. They published this study on 17 January 2021 in the Wiley Online Library.
An 80-year-old Japanese woman with Alzheimer’s disease was the prime participant of this study. She was a resident of a nursing home for the elderly.
Further, she showed typical dementia symptoms such as nocturnal awakening, wandering, and odd eating behaviors. The whole point of the study was to see if five months of weighted blanket usage would bring any improvement in her symptoms.
After five months of sleeping with weighted blankets, she was able to sleep 0.9 hours more than she did before. In addition, her nocturnal awakening decreased from 13 times per month to just 7 times per month. The study was a huge success.
Can I Put a Weighted Blanket in the Washing Machine?
Weighted blankets under 10 pounds can be washed (at home) in a washing machine. Before tossing your weighted blanket in a washing machine make sure to soak it in some warm water with detergent added. A large bucket or a bathtub would suffice for soaking.
On the other hand, weighted blankets heavier than 10 pounds need a commercial washing machine. Take the weighted blanket to the nearest laundromat.
Depending on where you stay it shouldn’t cost you more than $5 for a single wash. The good thing about the laundromat is they have rolling carts to help you move the blanket within the store.
Editor’s note: You can wash a weighted blanket in a washing machine. There’s no major harm in doing that. But most manufacturers recommend hand washing. Hand washing preserves the lifespan of the fabric. Also, if possible use it with a duvet cover and wash the duvet instead.
How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?
Weighted blankets come in a wide weight range. One must choose a weighted blanket keeping the user in mind. Sleeping under a heavier blanket can lead to several health problems, especially in the case of the elderly with respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchitis.
Ideally, you should go for a blanket weighing 8-10 percent of the user’s body weight. You can add a pound or two to the equation based on the user’s preference. Caregivers or family member’s unsure about the dementia patient’s preferences can go for a lighter weight blanket.
Here’s the standard Weight Chart Guide:
It’s not strange for dementia patients to feel isolated and lonely at night. Patients who do not have a partner/spouse/companion by their side experience these emotions quite often.
Several dementia-affected folks spend their lives in nursing homes. Which we know can seldomly be a cold, unsympathetic, and compassionless place.
Sleeping under a weighted blanket feels a lot like a hug from a loved one. It expunges the feelings of loneliness and subsequently helps the user sleep peacefully.
From the products discussed above, I would pick Luna adult weighted blanket over others. It is 100 percent oeko-tex certified. And comes in several sizes, weights, and colors.