As it starts getting colder again, it’s understandable that more and more people are getting their electric blankets out. However, a friend of mine recently asked whether electric blankets emit EMF radiation, and if so, whether they’re safe. I decided to do a bit of research on the subject to find out more information.
So, do electric blankets emit EMF radiation? Electric blankets, like all other electric devices, emit EMF radiation. For electric blankets, the levels of radiation can be quite high because of the heating element. What’s more, they spend a long time in close contact with our bodies, which can be harmful.
Simply knowing that electric blankets emit EMF radiation isn’t necessarily enough information. In this article I look at why this is such a problem, and what options there are for getting around it.
Electric blankets and EMF radiation
EMF radiation is generally divided into 3 main types:
- Magnetic fields
- Radio frequencies
- Electric fields.
Radio frequencies include microwaves, which are typically emitted by things like cell phones and WiFi routers. Check out my articles on EMF protection from cell phones and WiFi.
Electric blankets, however, typically emit a magnetic field. While this is generally true of most electric devices, the biggest issue here is that an electric blanket contains a heating element of some kind. Not only do these use a lot of power, but they also generate some pretty intense magnetic fields.
Sure, it’s reasonable to assume that electric blankets aren’t that powerful. After all, they don’t get very hot, unlike other heating devices. However, while the EMF radiation emitted by an electric blanket might not be that strong, this doesn’t make all that much difference.
The biggest problems with EMF radiation are intensity of the radiation, time of exposure, and proximity to the body.
We’ve already concluded that intensity isn’t the biggest cause for concern, but what about the other two factors?
As I’m sure you can guess, these are both pretty problematic for something like an electric blanket. After all, their entire purpose is to be in close proximity to our body for long periods of time. They’d be pretty useless blankets if they weren’t designed to keep us warm all night.
Similarly, proximity can also be thought of in terms of which parts of the body it’s in proximity to. While I doubt anyone would want to be blasted with EMF radiation anywhere on their body, places like your arms and legs aren’t as bad because they’re not full of important organs.
Your torso, however, is much more prone to the dangers of EMF radiation, simply because it’s where all your important bits are, and there’s not much there to protect them. So, sleeping under an electric blanket all night with it in close proximity to your organs really isn’t ideal.
The other problem is that EMF radiation is cumulative, meaning your chances of becoming ill increase the longer you’re exposed to the source of radiation. Therefore, sleeping under an electric blanket every night doesn’t seem like the most sensible thing in the world, does it?
The health dangers of EMF radiation
While I mention the health dangers of EMF radiation quite regularly, I think it’s always important to hit home how potentially dangerous it can actually be. Symptoms of EMF exposure will present differently in different people, but there are plenty of broad symptoms that are experienced by many. These include:
- A reduction (or increase) in melatonin production, which then impacts our sleep cycle
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Mental health complications (depression, anxiety)
- Headaches and dizziness
- Damage to DNA structure
- Increased risk of cancer
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Brain fog and an inability to think clearly
As you can see, the symptoms of EMF exposure are quite varied. Also, it’s not necessarily expected that someone will have every symptom, as some may only have one or two.
The big problem with the symptoms of EMF exposure is that they’re often missed, or related to other health complications. This makes it very difficult to diagnose, as those who are sensitive to EMF radiation will probably already know.
The other thing that concerns me, particularly when it comes to something like electric blankets, is that many symptoms relate to sleeping and energy levels. Considering most people will use electric blankets in bed while they sleep, they may be causing more harm than good.
After all, if an electric blanket is going to cause problems sleeping, why would you want it in your bed? This is particularly relevant when you consider that the potential dangers of EMF exposure accumulate over time. In short, this means that the more you use it at night, the worse you’re likely to feel.
The other important thing to note is exactly that: most people are likely using electric blankets at night. This is when your body goes into repair mode, and creates new cells and fixes damaged ones. Blasting yourself with EMF radiation, even low levels, during this time is definitely not going to be helpful.
Your body’s inability to repair itself at night has a number of related health complications, many of which cross over with the symptoms of EMF exposure. As you can probably see, we’re building up a picture of electric blankets just being a general nightmare if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep!
My biggest concern when it comes to the health impacts of using an electric blanket is that the fact that the area hasn’t been researched very thoroughly. In fact, research on the dangers of EMF radiation is generally lacking, but electric blankets are often overlooked because they’re seen as relatively harmless.
Luckily, more people are waking up to the potential dangers of EMF radiation, and so are taking steps to remove unnecessary devices from their home as much as possible. I’d recommend applying this logic to electric blankets in particular, as they’re realistically an incredibly unnecessary invention. Well, they are in my mind.
Alternatives to using an electric blanket
Getting by without an electric blanket for most of the year shouldn’t be too hard, unless you live somewhere very cold. However, there are plenty of alternatives to using a standard electric blanket, some of which mean you don’t even have to sacrifice having a much warmer bed!
Below are my alternatives to using a standard electric blanket, which emits enough EMF radiation to justify removing it from your life completely. Here are my top picks:
1. Buy a low EMF radiation electric blanket
My first solution means you don’t even have to give up having an extra warm bed on those cold winter nights! A low EMF electric blanket is the best compromise in terms of warmth and convenience.
Some products in this category claim to emit no EMF radiation at all, but this isn’t something I’ve tested personally (like the SoftHeat by Perfect Fit on Amazon). I’d be hesitant to completely believe this, as all electric devices will always emit some level of EMF radiation when not in use.
I think the thing here is that they don’t emit high levels of the dangerous kinds of EMF radiation. This obviously makes it much safer to use, but I’d just be conscious of the fact that if you’re going to use any kind of electric blanket then you’ll always be exposed to some kind of EMF radiation.
The best thing to do is start with plenty of research. A good place to start is Amazon, because of course there are hundreds available on here. Almost all electric blankets will work on similar technology, but some will be more efficient than others.
As with all purchases, make sure you focus on the following things:
- Product quality (materials in particular)
- Any logs of EMF emissions (if available)
- Customer reviews
- Size and color, if necessary
Customer reviews, as always, are probably the most important thing here. Many people reviewing these products will be in a very similar position, and it’s fair to assume you’ll find some reviews from those that are sensitive to EMF radiation. These will be your best friends because they’ll give the most comprehensive review of the product’s quality.
As with most low EMF devices, you will most likely have to end up spending a bit more money than the normal version. However, if you’re serious about reducing your EMF exposure, then that’s the price you’ll have to pay.
2. Choose warmer sheets
I always find it very surprising how much difference the right set of sheets makes to your comfort and temperature levels in bed. I’ve spent a very long time finding good bed sheets because I love spending time in bed, and like to be comfortable while doing so.
Having a good set of sheets for your bed will massively improve how warm you are, even before you’ve added extra layers or blankets. Warmth is measured in a products ability to trap air, so there are a few things to look out for:
- Thread count. This usually implies quality, but a higher thread count also means the gaps between threads are smaller, meaning they trap air better. The higher the thread count, the higher the quality.
- Material. Cotton should be your first choice for bed sheets because it’s breathable, but also excellent for trapping warmth. Cotton/poly blends are the next best, but they’re nowhere near as good.
- The finish. This isn’t available on all products, but brushed cotton makes a difference to warmth levels. In short, this is almost furry cotton sheets, and it creates a much greater feeling of warmth. Flannel is another good choice for the same reason.
Simply by changing the types of sheets you have on your bed, you’ll notice an improvement in how warm you feel. Considering you should feel this before you’ve even added extra layers, it should be your first step.
However, you can obviously expect to pay more for better quality sheets. But considering we spend around a third of our lives in bed, why would you not want to have the best quality sheets you can?
3. Wear more to bed
I know that some people are very particular about what they wear to bed, but an easy (and cheap) solution to using an electric blanket is to simply wear more when you go to bed. Pay particular attention to your colder parts, such as feet, hands, and head.
The main thing is that most people are only cold when they get into bed. During our sleep cycle, our body temperature rises and falls anyway, so you should find yourself being plenty warm once you’re actually asleep.
What I’ve done in the past is get into bed wearing loads of clothes. By this, I mean a jumper, scarf, hat, the works. Then, once I’ve warmed up under the sheets, I just take these layers off until I reach the right temperature. You might even find yourself waking up in the night because you’re too warm!
4. Add more blankets
This might seem like a really obvious suggestion, but just add more blankets or comforters to your bed. The benefit of doing it this way is that you don’t have to use loads of electricity to warm yourself up.
Comforters and duvets are given a tog rating, which is a measure of their ability to keep you warm. As far as I’m concerned, this is a pretty arbitrary scale, but it at least gives you the ability to pick the right duvet.
A high tog rating is recommended for winter, and a low for summer. Therefore, find one that you think will be warm enough, and maybe buy a second, thinner one that you can put on top. This, combined with several blankets, should keep you plenty warm enough overnight.
Some final thoughts
There has been a much higher demand for low EMF versions of products in recent years, and electric blankets are no exception. As I mentioned, the biggest issue is the length of time they’re in contact with our bodies. If you’re concerned by the amount of EMF radiation an electric blanket emits, try one of my solutions above.
Thanks for reading! Check out all my recommendations for EMF protection.