With winter approaching, many of us might be looking for ways to stay warm and cosy at night. Using a heater all day and night is not an option - it’s too expensive. Wearing several layers of clothing for warmth can be uncomfortable, especially when you’re going to bed. Getting tangled in your pajamas? No thanks! Fortunately, we’ve other alternatives.
Electric blankets can keep you warm all through the night for a fraction of the cost of your central heating. Nowadays, many people use electric blankets rather than solely relying on their central heating system to keep themselves warm at night.
Electric blankets can do wonders in winter, but they can present a safety risk if not used properly. So let’s dig a little deeper to know more about electric blankets andtake a closer look at electric blanket myths and why they don’t stack up.
What makes electric blankets a must-purchase this winter
An electric blanket is a perfect winter warmer and a cost-effective way of escaping the winter chill. It's a cosy winter addition for any bedroom, especially for the cold intolerant among us. If you struggle to get out of bed, especially in winter, the Giselle Bedding experts suggest that an electric blanket can be a good solution. Apart from keeping you warm, electric blankets also offer several other benefits. Continue reading to find out other incredible health and therapeutic benefits.
Your circadian rhythm is your sleep-wake pattern, influenced by diet and activity, exposure to light and dark, and temperature. While sudden temperature drops at night in winter can pull you out of deep sleep, according to the National Library of Medicine in the US, the cold weather is more likely to affect your rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. This typically arrives an hour and a half after you fall asleep, taking care of memory consolidation and integrating the day’s learnings. Electric blankets keep you cosy and provide continuous, evenly distributed heating, which naturally helps you sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed.
Heat is known to help relieve body aches. Electric blankets work similarly to a heat compress. The heat generated from electric blankets activates receptors in the body and blocks pain signals sent to the brain. This can be particularly helpful for non-inflammatory body pain associated with stiffness and cramping.
Not just for relieving pain, the heat released from an electric blanket can help alleviate muscle spasms and tightness, provide sinus relief, and improve blood circulation. This aids in relaxation, and saves you energy spent shivering, which ultimately is a pain reliever and mood stabiliser. According to researchers at University of Arizona, who studied Tibetan Buddhist monks living in the Himalayas, heating the skin can increase serotonin and produce an antidepressant effect. Using an electric blanket can help you to relax into a deep slumber no matter the weather.
Saves money on heating
Electric blankets won’t cost you a fortune. Many models are energy efficient and consume less energy compared to centralised heating. Based on research from Energy Australia, electric blankets cost about four cents an hour to run on average, compared to some space heaters which can cost around 15 cents per hour. It’s a long-term investment, and you will save on the bills too.
Electric blankets or heated throws – which one should you choose?
If you’re in the market for an electric blanket, you’ll come across two types of electric blankets: fitted electric blankets, and heated throws or non-fitted electric blankets. Both these types of blankets are designed for specific purposes, so they function differently, enabling you to choose the right one considering the kind of fit and heating you need.
Fitted electric blanket/electric under-blanket
A fitted electric blanket is a type of blanket designed to fit under your fitted sheet and on the top of your mattress. It can either have a fitted skirt with a stretchy sewn seam or tie-down straps to keep it in place. A fitted electric blanket clings to your mattress and stays flat, while an electric tie-down under-blanket is secured with straps to the mattress to prevent shifting. These electric under-blankets are perfect if you plan to use them in your bed. They come in both soft and hard fabric.
Pros of an electric under-blanket
The advantages of an electric under-blanket include:
- Warm and toasty bed
- Steady source of heat
- Better heat retention
- Maintains its target temperature
- Runs efficiently
- Available in various sizes and materials
Cons of an electric under-blanket
The disadvantages of an electric under-blanket include:
- May or may not come with a fitted skirt
- Prone to slipping if it doesn’t come with a fitted skirt
- Only suitable for use in bed
- Incompatible with some mattresses, such as memory foam mattress
- Not ideal for those suffering from night sweats
- Tie-down electric under-blanket can bunch or move
Heated electric throw blanket
A heated throw or over-blanket is designed to go over your body, just like conventional blankets. It’s typically made from softer fabrics for a cosy feel and comes in an array of designs and colours. You can use it anywhere - to snuggle on a sofa, at your home office desk, or carry it along for your holiday or work trip. It will make you feel like being swaddled in a soft, cosy blanket. When you wrap yourself in the throw blanket, the heat from the heated throw blanket gets passed down to your body, which keeps you warm and toasty.
Pros of a heated throw or over-blanket
The advantages of a heated throw or over-blanket include:
- Versatile use
- Soft and cosy
- Available in several colours and designs
- Easy to carry
- Keeps you warm and toasty
- Machine washable
- Instant warmth
Cons of a heated throw or over-blanket
The disadvantages of a heated throw or over-blanket include:
- Not pet-friendly
- Less size options
- Less heat retention than under-blankets
Which material to pick: polyester or fleece?
Once you’ve decided what type of electric blanket you prefer, now is the time to identify which electric blanket material is ideal for you. Electric blankets come in various materials, such as polyester, faux fur, anti-allergy, and fleece, but the most-used fabrics are polyester and fleece. We recommend that you choose the material that you find comfortable, cosy, and pleasing to touch and helps you ward off the winter chill.
Let’s learn about the unique benefits each of these materials offer.
Polyester electric blankets
Electric blankets made with polyester fabric are a popular choice of many. They have a soft and cosy feel and strong fibres that trap warmth for extended periods and make them resistant to wear and tear. Being such a versatile material, polyester is fire-resistant and easy to keep clean and maintain. Polyester electric blankets are also cost-effective as compared to other materials.
Pros of polyester electric blankets
The advantages of polyester electric blankets include:
- Machine washable
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Cost-effective compared to other materials
- Soft and cosy
- Easy to store
Cons of polyester electric blankets
The disadvantages of polyester electric blankets include:
- Lack of moisture absorption
- Can make you sweaty
- Restricts airflow
- Holds odours
Fleece electric blankets
Nothing beats the simple pleasure of snuggling into fleece electric blankets. They are wonderfully comfortable and can help you stay warm and cosy through the night. The fleece electric blanket is encased with a soft, fleecy synthetic faux wool cover that’s machine washable. It’s resistant to dust mites and prevents an unpleasant build-up of bacteria and germs. Fleece electric blankets are warm and a perfect solution for winter.
Pros of fleece electric blankets
The advantages of fleece electric blankets include:
- Easy care and maintenance
- Machine washable
- Plush feel
- Breathable and lightweight
- No shedding or fading
- Easy to store
- Value for money
Cons of fleece electric blankets
The disadvantages of fleece electric blankets include:
- Can attract pieces of hair, dust particles, and pollen
- Highly absorbent
- Absorbs unpleasant odours
What to look for in electric blankets
Who doesn't love a warm and cosy bed? Electric blankets are a great winter accessory that will warm your bed so you can enjoy a restful sleep. Before purchasing an electric blanket, consider the following to ensure you buy an electric blanket that works efficiently, provides the highest level of comfort, offers premium features, and meets all your expectations.
Electric blankets come in single, double, queen, and king sizes. You should ensure you choose the ideal size electric blanket for any given mattress. This will prevent the electric blanket from hanging over the edge if it’s too big, or providing coverage to the wrong areas of the mattress if it’s too small.
Dual remote controls
Ideally, a single-size electric blanket has one controller, and double-size, queen-size, and king-size blankets may come with two controllers on each side. The two remote controls are designed for people sleeping with their partners. Dual remote controllers have individual heat settings that allow the sleepers to set the warmth level depending on their comfort. This means one side could remain cool, while the other stays warm.
Antibacterial and hypoallergenic
Do you or your sleeping partner suffer from breathing issues caused by conditions such as asthma, or are you at risk of developing allergies? If that's the case, you should look for antibacterial and hypoallergenic electric blankets for added safety and comfort. Hypoallergenic blankets of all kinds prevent bacterial growth and dust mites, making your bed safe and comfortable to sleep. Natural fibres like cotton, wool and bamboo are often advertised as hypoallergenic, though you should check the manufacturer's label before ultimately deciding.
Illuminated LCD screen with timer
Choose an electric blanket with an illuminated LCD screen and timer control settings. A bright screen makes it easier to see the heat settings in the dark, so you don’t need to turn on the lights every time you want to make any changes. Timer controls allow you to set a maximum heat setting at a particular time and automatically switch it off after the time limit. These features help you to stay safe at night and prevent any accidents.
Waterproofing and cleaning
When purchasing an electric blanket, make sure that it has waterproof protection. You will need to get it cleaned occasionally for hygiene purposes or if you accidentally spill something over it. Quality waterproofing prevents circuit damage because the heating wires within the banket are well-insulated. You should also check if the electric blanket you intend to purchase comes with a machine washable feature and detachable controls for easy cleaning and storage. A word of caution, you should never switch the blanket on until it’s completely dry. It may short-circuit and even catch fire.
Electric blankets can vary in thickness. They have an internal heating wiring system. If you purchase a poorly-made electric blanket, it can be thin and uncomfortable. You may feel the heating elements, which may contribute to restlessness. You should invest in a higher quality, thicker blanket where you cannot feel the heat elements and you feel cosy and comfortable. A sufficiently thick blanket will stay warm for longer even when it’s not plugged in.
Electric blankets are safe when the heat level is under control. Overheating may present a significant fire hazard and even cause skin burns. Modern electric blankets typically come with overheat protection and automatic shut-off. These features keep you safe and reduce the risk of fire and skin burn. So the next time you’re shopping for an electric blanket, ensure you choose the one with these modern safety features for your peace of mind.
Heating your feet
Troubled by cold feet? It’s one of the most commonly reported reasons for restless nights. A study published by the National Library of Medicine in the US found that people suffering from cold hands and feet have difficulty falling asleep. Warming your feet can allow your brain to send clear signals that it’s time to sleep. An easy solution for dealing with cold feet is to opt for an electric blanket that provides a dedicated feet-heating zone. A foot zone at the bottom of the electric blanket can deliver extra warmth to your feet and keep them nice and warm.
Electric blankets usually consume less energy than conventional heaters, which makes them a cost-effective heating solution. Rather than heating the entire room, they will warm up your bed or body exclusively so you can sleep comfortably. Remember that not all electric blankets are created equal: some models may spike your electricity bills. You should invest in an energy-efficient electric blanket with an energy-saving mode. It may help you save a few dollars over time. A pro tip from the experts at Giselle Bedding is to set your electric blanket on a high heat setting 30 minutes before you go to bed and turn it off when you’re ready to sleep. This will prevent more power consumption due to being on all night.
Electric blanket myths vs facts
Electric blankets have been around for a long time. They were first invented in 1912 by the American doctor Sidney Russell with the sole intention to keep patients warm. In 1936, George Crowley made and patented the first automatic electric blanket drawing inspiration from his other invention, a heated suit for pilots flying at high altitudes.
Since its invention, there have been many myths surrounding electric blankets. We’ve taken initiative to bust some of the commonly-held myths.
Myth: Electric blankets can cause cancer.
Fact: Some people fear that constant exposure to electromagnetic waves can penetrate the skin and cause cancer. Several studies were conducted to check if electric blanket use can cause cancer. In one study, the authors examined invasive breast cancer in the Nurses’ Health study, while the other study assessed the development of thyroid cancer in women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. Both the studies determined that there’s no association between electric blanket use and cancer. Note that you can even find electric blankets that emit low electromagnetic waves to feel even safer.
Myth: Electric blankets can catch fire or explode.
Fact: The research conducted by Columbia University found that electric blankets that were ten years or older accounted for 99 per cent of all electric blanket fires. If you notice loose wiring, or your electric blanket is cracked or showing signs of wear and tear, consider replacing it for your safety. Additionally, choose electric blankets with official safety certification for your peace of mind.
Myth: Electric blankets can’t be used when pregnant.
Fact: Using electric blankets on a low or medium temperature setting has been determined as safe for pregnant women and their unborn child. After evaluating the electromagnetic exposure with electric blanket use, the WHO found no evidence that this exposure could cause miscarriage, birth defect, low birth weight, or any other disease. However, the WHO recommends pregnant women avoid using electric blankets on very high heat settings as developing foetuses can be sensitive to environmental conditions.
Myth: Electric blankets are hard to clean.
Fact: Absolutely not! Modern electric blankets are often machine washable. They come with detachable cords and controls that make cleaning and maintenance feel like a breeze. If you need more information about cleaning and maintenance, read the manufacturer’s user manual that comes with the product when you purchase.
Myth: Electric blankets consume more energy.
Fact: Instead of using an old heater to escape from the winter chill, Energy Australia recommends using an electric blanket. It disperses heat through built-in wires, which consume minimal energy. The heat remains trapped beneath the sheet, which keeps you warm through the night. According to a research study, electric blankets consume about four cents worth of energy an hour. So electric blankets are a cost-effective option as compared to other heating solutions.
Electric blanket helpful tips
To ensure your safety and efficient use of the electric blanket, the specialists at Giselle Bedding have shared some additional helpful tips. So make sure you continue reading to the end.
- Before purchasing an electric blanket, always check if it's certified for safety. Giselle Bedding’s electric blankets come with SAA and EMC certification, which ensures your safety and efficient use.
- You shouldn't skip reading the manufacturer’s safety and care instructions to ensure proper use, care, and maintenance.
- Fire and Rescue NSW recommends that you test your electric blanket before laying it on your bed. Check for any abnormalities in the internal wiring and inspect the cords and controls for damage. Turn on the electric blanket and feel for any uneven hot spots. Replace it if you notice the above issues.
- Make sure you switch off your electric blanket when it’s not in use.
- Avoid keeping the electric blanket on all night. It's best to use them to warm your bed and switch it off before falling asleep.
- Don’t let your pets in your bed if you’re using an electric blanket. Chewing or clawing can damage your electric blanket and even injure your beloved pets.
- Be sure that your electric blanket is laid flat on your bed. A bunched up electric blanket can overheat in those sections. Giselle Bedding’s electric blankets come with a fitted skirt with an elastic sewed seam, which keeps them in place and flat even when you’re rolling or turning in your bed.
- Always keep an eye on the condition of your blanket. If you notice any signs of damage, consider replacing it with a new one.
- Avoid placing items other than your bedding products on the electric blanket.
- For your safety, never use a hot water bottle or drink fluids while you’ve got an electric blanket fitted to your bed. If you accidentally spill liquids on your electric blanket, you’ll be mixing water with electricity. This can be a serious safety concern.
- Avoid using sharp objects, such as pins, around your electric blanket. You could accidentally puncture the insulation of a heating wire. This could result in a short circuit or fire hazard.
- Ensure that you choose an electric blanket that matches your mattress size to prevent overhanging.
Electric blankets are worth purchasing to ward off the winter chill. You can enjoy a warm and toasty bed every day without spending a fortune.
Want to purchase an electric blanket? We’ve got you covered. Giselle Bedding offers electric blankets in polyester or fleece material, which are easy to clean, lightweight, and machine washable.
Get winter-ready with Giselle Bedding! Check out our collection of electric blankets today.