A child who doesn’t sleep can’t excel at life - it’s that simple. Sleep is so important when it comes to developing their young minds and also giving them the energy to participate and learn at school.Weighted blankets are a tool occupational therapists often recommend for kids with ADHD, anxiety and autism spectrum disorders.
What are weighted blankets?
It’s as simple as it sounds - these are blankets that have a weightier pressure to them. Inside the lining of each blanket are thousands of tiny glass beds, which is what makes it feel heavy. The blankets come in a variety of sizes and weights and the general rule of thumb is to go for a blanket that’s around 10% of your body weight for the optimum level of comfort. But one important thing to note is that weighted blankets shouldn’t be used with infants and young/small toddlers as it can be risky if they’re unable to move the blanket by themselves.
How do they work?
The gentle pressure of a weighted blanket helps calm excess activity in the nervous system by getting the body to naturally produce serotonin, a hormone which helps regulate our sleep wake cycles and internal clocks. Serotonin also naturally converts to the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin - the all important hormone that tells our body when it’s time to get some shut eye. Serotonin is a major factor in ADHD, autism and anxiety and has been proven to be effective on both adults and children.
Let’s talk facts…
One of the primary uses of a weighted blanket is for the incredible ways it helps those suffering from anxiety. A recent study has shown that deep pressure stimulation can help reduce autonomic arousal. This arousal is responsible for the symptoms of anxiety, like an increased heart rate. Researchers found that using a weighted blanket reduced anxiety in roughly 33% of the 32 participants - how amazing is that?!
Another incredible study found that children with ADHD were able to focus on their tasks in the classroom 15% better while they were wearing a weighted vest, a similar concept to blankets. This weight can be great not only for sleep, but helping bring focus to your child’s busy brains. Children with ADHD are often distracted by what’s going on around them and it becomes hard for them to focus. By activating the sense of touch, the blankets can help improve their attention, remain on task, stay in their seats, and fidget less. It’s a great idea for when there’s homework to be done or you’re trying to get your child to focus on reading a book with you.
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