Buying Guide - How to Buy an Electric Blanket
Many electric blankets today come with adjustable heat settings, so you can use them year round for a variety of needs and purposes. Whether you’re trying to save on your electric bill during cold winter nights, ease period pain, or simply enjoy a warm and toasty feel when you hop into bed, an electric blanket can help.
Fortunately, electric blankets are widely available at major retailers like Target or Walmart, manufacturer websites, and online marketplaces like Amazon. Depending on the size, features, and brand of your electric blanket, the cost will vary, but you can usually find a quality electric blanket between $50 to $150.
We’ve written this guide to help you choose your electric blanket. Learn how electric blankets work, their common design features and safety tips to consider, and view our top picks for the best-reviewed electric blankets of 2020.
How Do Electric Blankets Work?
Keeping a cool bedroom temperature is a critical ingredient for a good night’s sleep. However, if you live somewhere with cold winters, or have trouble sleeping in the cold, an electric blanket can help warm things up to a more comfortable temperature – and quickly at that.
Electric blankets use electricity to heat insulated wire that’s safely enmeshed in between the blanket’s fabric layers. The wire heats up, heating the surrounding fabric, which then warms you up more quickly than your body heat or regular bedding.
Humans experience thermoregulation, the process by which the body works to maintain an ideal temperature range. Your internal temperature can climb as high as 100.4 or sink as low as 96.8 over the course of the day. As long as the human body stays within this comfortable range, you’ll be able to achieve the best possible function during the day and rest more easily at night.
In the morning, your body raises its internal temperature to help energize you, making it easier to get things done. But as the day fades, it starts cooling down, preparing you for eventual sleep. Your body continues cooling even after you go to sleep, with your internal temperature hitting its lowest point just a few hours before you wake up.
It’s possible that due thermoregulatory dysfunction or simply having too cold a sleeping environment, you might struggle to experience the right level of warmth at bedtime that can let you sleep comfortably. An electric blanket might be useful for providing the right amount of warmth to keep you comfortable so you can sleep soundly.
Do Electric Blankets Raise Your Electric Bill?
No, quite the opposite. By using an electric blanket, you can save significantly on your electric bill. There’s less need to run the heat since you’ve got your own personal heating device in the bed with you. Many people find they can lower their central heat settings by as much as 10 degrees thanks to using an electric blanket.
Plus, most electric blankets tend to be made of plush microfleece and similar materials, which are designed to provide heat without even turning the electric part on! The wires inside electric blankets are thin and flexible, enabling the blanket to stay soft and feel like a regular blanket, so it’s comfortable to use whether it’s plugged in or not. The thinness of the wires also prevents burn damage while delivering maximum comfort and range in heat.
Can Heat From an Electric Blanket Interfere with Sleep?
Among other things, good sleep is predicated upon proper thermoregulation, referring to your body’s ability to regulate your body temperature. Our core body temperature is tied to our sleep-wake cycle, lowering at night as we tire for bedtime and rising in the morning to energize us for the day.
By maintaining a consistent body temperature while you sleep, your brain has one less thing to focus on, allowing you to enjoy restful sleep. However, temperature changes in your bedroom air, along with body heat from your sleep partner, can all impact your own body temperature. Proper bedding insulates you from these temperature disruptors. For some people, an electric blanket can be a helpful tool.
Are There Other Benefits to an Electric Blanket?
Like heating pads, electric blankets provide the additional benefit of soothing symptoms of menstrual cycles, arthritis, and fibromyalgia – all of which come with pain and discomfort that make it more difficult to relax sufficiently to fall asleep. By relieving the discomfort through the heat of your electric blanket, you can more easily fall asleep.