How much do you know about Weighted Blankets?
While weighted blankets are perhaps most closely associated with autism and sensory processing disorder, they may also help ease the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, insomnia and a wide range of other conditions in both children and adults.
Benefits of Weighted Blanket Therapy
- Eases Insomnia
- Helps with Sensory Processing Disorder
- Reduces Anxiety
- Fights Back Against Stress
- Improves Focus for ADHD
- Eases Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome
- Helps Fibromyalgia Pain
- Improves Sleep Quality
- Boosts Mood
- Encourages Focus in the Classroom
- Eases Pain without Drugs
- Eases Travel Anxiety
- Addresses Symptoms of PTSD
- Decreases Anxiety in Pets
- Soothes Symptoms of Panic Disorder
- Helps Manage OCD
- Manages Autism Symptoms
- Recreates a Hug
The type of pressure-weighted blankets provide is consistent with a specific kind of therapy called deep touch pressure stimulation — sometimes called deep touch pressure therapy or DTP.
Weighted blankets are best used for improving sleep and can also be used on the couch or in the car as a calming tool and for helping focus.
A weighted blanket is engineered to be 10% of your body weight to naturally reduce stress and increase relaxation.
What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
According to STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder - “Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD (originally called Sensory Integration Dysfunction) is a neurological disorder in which the sensory information that the individual perceives results in abnormal responses.”
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition in which a person has difficulty processing and acting upon the information they receive through their senses. This creates difficulty with many everyday tasks. Many people with ASD ( Autism Spectrum Disorder ) also have Sensory Processing Disorder, and symptoms of these disorders can overlap. Occupational therapists often recommend a sensory diet to treat both.
Symptoms may include:
- Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep and wandering the house at night.
- Throwing tantrums or zoning out in noisy public places.
- Have trouble sitting still, focusing, or transitioning from one task to another.
- Exhibiting fearful or aggressive behaviours in certain situations.
- Craves tight hugs, banging into things, having people sit on him or pile things on top of him.
- Covering their ears or being bothered by sounds that don’t bother others.
- Constantly putting objects in the mouth past the toddler years.
- May lick, taste, or chew on inedible objects.
- Avoids certain textures, may hate wearing clothes.
A weighted blanket is a lifesaving item for the entire family. Everywhere where someone is not sleeping or suffering from some form of sensory processing disorder this weighted blanket is a great help.
How Weighted Blankets May Help Children with Autism?
As someone on the autism spectrum, Dr Temple Grandin had special insight into which types of therapy delivered the most benefit to individuals with autism. After observing cattle being led into devices that used gentle squeezing pressure to calm them for vaccinations, she developed a “squeeze machine” for humans. In her research, Dr Grandin found that the gentle squeezing, hugging pressure made people with autism feel calmer, more relaxed and less anxious.
Weighted blankets are a convenient way to experience the benefits of deep touch pressure therapy at home. Many people who use them describe the feeling like a “full-body hug.”
Get More Restful Sleep - Research has shown that weighted blankets boost levels of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a natural chemical that helps regulate sleep.
Reduce Anxiety - “Research has indicated that DTP intervention can increase the quality of life of patients suffering from anxiety, pain, and unrest, including individuals with a developmental disability, dementia, attention deficits, and non-specific special needs.” Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering.
Reduce the Frequency of Meltdowns - When a parent or caregiver sees signs of a meltdown coming on, a weighted blanket may help an overwhelmed child feel calmer, more relaxed and more secure.
Weighted blankets have become quite popular in recent years. While they started out primarily as a therapy tool for autism, more and more people have discovered the wide-ranging benefits of deep pressure touch therapy. Whether people simply crave better sleep at night, or they’re looking for a way to relax and unwind at the end of a long workday, weighted blankets have gone mainstream.
Disclaimer: The content on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before undertaking any type of therapy or treatment.