Weighted blankets have long been used in the special needs community. In recent years they have also become much more commonplace in the neurotypical community. You probably know at least one person who owns one or have seen weighted blankets while shopping. Despite their popularity, many people still don’t know how these blankets work or all of the potential benefits of using one.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Weighted blankets are designed with additional weights inside them to give people a hug-like sensation while using one. The extra weight gently applies pressure to the body to increase the release of serotonin and calm the nervous system. Just like a firm hug given by a parent or friend, the deep pressure from a weighted blanket has an organizing effect in the body that often results in overall improved behavioral symptoms.
What Are The Benefits Of A Weighted Blanket?
Research shows a range of benefits from using a weighted blanket. Some benefits include improved sleep, reduced anxiety, better attention and focus to task, as well as greater sensory integration. You may reap different benefits than someone else would from using a weighted blanket, since everyone has unique sensory needs. Regardless, the positive impact it has also impacts other areas of your life.
When Should You Use A Weighted Blanket?
Simply put– whenever you need! The best time to use your weighted blanket is specific to what is necessary for you to benefit from the calming deep pressure input. Some of our occupational therapists’ favorite times include the following:
- Bedtime– You can spend time under your weighted blanket as part of your pre-bed routine or while you sleep. Make sure that you can move easily under the blanket and can remove it completely on your own before sleeping with a weighted blanket.
- Homework session– It can be difficult to concentrate on a task such as homework, especially if you’d rather be playing. Wrap yourself in a weighted blanket or place it on your lap to help increase your focus.
- Traveling– Whether you’re taking a flight or going on a road trip, travel often involves stress. The change in routine and unfamiliar surroundings can make you feel nervous. Take your weighted blanket along to help make your travels more peaceful.
- Playtime– You can roll yourself up in a weighted blanket like a burrito for full body deep pressure input that’s also silly and fun!
- Relaxing time– Grab a weighted blanket for an extra calming boost while you relax on the couch after a long day.
Which Weighted Blanket Should I Choose?
We recommend that the weight of your blanket be no more than 10% of your body weight. For example, a child weighing 50 pounds can have a that weighs 5 pounds, whereas an adult weighing 130 pounds can use a blanket up to 13 pounds. Other than that you can find blankets made in many sizes, colors and materials. Our Weighted Plaid Blankets come in three colors, each a different weight. If you’re looking for something with a more luxurious, velvety feel, then our Minky Weighted Blanket is perfect.
Keep in mind that just because they are popular does not mean weighted blankets are for everyone. You can get similar calming benefits from compression. Our Hug Sleeping Bag™ is designed for kids to get a cozy compression feeling while they sleep, without the added weight.