Is it a struggle for you or your child to relax and fall asleep?
A sensory weighted blanket maybe just what you are looking for.
Weighted blankets, also known as gravity blankets, have been used for years by mental health professionals as a form of pressure therapy.
Today, Weighted blankets are made with evenly distributed weighted materials. The extra weight gives people a sense of security when they use these blankets, which weigh anywhere from 5 to 30 pounds, can relieve stress, improve sleep, calm children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and aid in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Recently, weighted blankets have become a popular nighttime accessory for people without mental health concerns. They can relieve pain, calm nerves, improve a person’s mood, and enhance sleep quality.
It’s a bio-neurological developmental disability that people are born with. Most cases are diagnosed by the age of three.
Autism affects cognitive development. It hinders a person’s ability to socialize, communicate, think, speak, and function in society. While there is no cure for autism, treatments and therapeutic techniques are available.
The National Autism Association reports that one in 59 children is affected by autism, and boys are four times more likely to develop the cognitive disorder. While autism awareness is the fastest-growing of the developmental issues, it’s the most underfunded.
In this guide, you will find first-hand information about everything, from how weighted blankets work and their composition, to the benefits of scientific support for sleeping under weight, and what is the best weighted blanket for your child. What is the purpose of a weighted blanket, and should you rely on it to support children with autism? Let's explore it.
The human body is a very sensitive instrument that responds to touch and pressure. Just as a baby can be soothed when held up, the human body can also be soothed by applying deep pressure stimulation.
When we use a weighted blanket or vest, the body releases oxytocin in the same way as when we were cuddled or held in infancy. Although some people are willing to be hugged, those with autism or sensory processing problems may not, so this blanket is the ideal way to use it.
Many adults associate snuggling under a comfortable blanket with a sense of security, which is reminiscent of the "safety blanket" they might have when they were young. Blankets are often referred to by child psychologists as "comfort items"-that is, an item used to relieve depression or anxiety during stress.
An earlier study conducted by Richard Passman, a psychologist and safe object expert, now retired from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, found that approximately 60% of children are in the first three years of life All like toys, blankets or pacifiers.
Recent studies have examined adult attachment to transitional objects, such as blankets and stuffed animals. In a study using a non-clinical community sample of 80 participants, researchers found that people who reported strong attachment to objects were more likely to meet the criteria for borderline personality disorder than those who did not; they also reported More childhood trauma.
The weighted blanket is designed to evoke the same therapeutic effect as the safety blanket by enhancing the feeling of being held, touched, hugged or squeezed.
The science behind the use of weighted blankets is a well-known and proven relaxation therapy that is often used for people with stress and anxiety. It is known by various names, and is often referred to as Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS).
DPS is provided by well-trained practitioners who apply pressure on certain parts of the body to stimulate the so-called parasympathetic nervous system. The nervous system naturally responds to stressful situations by inducing its sympathetic or "alert" state, which can cause anxiety and stress. The parasympathetic nervous system counteracts this sympathetic activation.
DPS and weighted blankets can stimulate the parasympathetic response. When the parasympathetic nervous system starts to work, it can instill a sense of calm and slow down many autonomic nervous functions of the body. There is also a psychological calming effect, similar to being trapped in your favorite duvet on a cold winter night, knowing that you are not affected by the outside world.
Weighted blankets can help adults and children with sensory processing disorders feel calmer and more relaxed. People with this disorder have difficulty processing sensory information such as texture, sound, smell, taste, brightness, and movement.
These difficulties can overwhelm ordinary situations, interfere with daily life, and even isolate individuals and their families. Sensory integration therapy uses activity in a way that aims to change the brain's response to various stimuli.
For children who are highly anxious or awakened due to feeling overloaded, deep pressure can also be beneficial. According to research, the application of deep pressure provided by a weighted vest or blanket can have a calming or relaxing effect on children suffering from certain clinical conditions with certain sensory processing problems.
Deep contact pressure stimulation therapy produces a calming effect by applying direct pressure to the human body. Stress produces and releases serotonin, also known as happiness chemical, which is a hormone essential to our health and can help people feel relaxed.
Weighted blankets exert deep contact pressure on the person who uses them. As the pressure on the blanket increases, the human body releases more serotonin. The more serotonin produced and released, the better a person’s feelings.
It has been found that deep touch pressure stimulation can help people with the following diseases:
•Restless legs syndrome
•Autism Spectrum Disorder
•Post-traumatic stress disorder
In 2015, researchers found that participants who slept on a weighted blanket sleep more peacefully. The deep touch pressure from the blanket helped participants fall asleep faster. This makes them feel safer and toss and turn less throughout the night.
Anxiety, autism, and depression can affect a person’s sleep, which is why many mental health experts recommend weighted blankets.
The weighted blanket originated in the autism community. Family members with special needs will make quilted squares to add extra weight to the child’s blanket. Over time, caregivers started experimenting with homemade weighting materials, from corn to popcorn seeds to beans.
In the end, Eastsure weighted blankets began to be made of organic cotton, which is a revolutionary technology. The cotton thread distributes weight evenly throughout the blanket to allow deep touch pressure stimulation to work.
The effect of a weighted blanket can be seen on children or adults with autism. Users need to have a blanket that fits their body size. A standard rule of thumb is that the weighted blanket should be 10% of a person's body weight.
Before choosing a weighted blanket for your child, you should consult your pediatrician or family doctor. For some young people with sleep difficulties, weighted blankets may not be as effective as other strategies, such as establishing and adhering to a strict bedtime or avoiding drinking water for a few hours before going to bed.
For children 3 years or older and weighing at least 50 pounds, weighted blankets are generally considered safe. When choosing a blanket for your child, it is wise to follow the "10% rule", otherwise you will go wrong. Overweight blankets may put children at risk of injury, even if they are three years old or older.
Our weighted blankets are specially designed for children. The weight of a child's weighted blanket is between 3 and 10 pounds. If your child weighs more than 100 pounds, a blanket for adults or children may be more suitable.
Likewise, before deciding which blanket (if any) is the most effective sleep strategy for your child, talk to your family doctor first.
Will weighted blankets help children with autism?
A 1999 study found that the deep pressure exerted by the hug machine showed that the tension and anxiety of children with ASD was significantly reduced.
A 2014 study in Pediatrics found no conclusive evidence that weighted blankets help children with autism sleep. However, researchers report that children with autism and their caregivers like to heavier blankets.
According to the Journal of Autism Parenting, research has shown that deep pressure stimulation of aggravated blankets can help children with ASD in the following ways:
•Decreasing floating anxiety
•Increasing happiness due to higher serotonin levels
•Improving social interactions
•Decreasing sensory processing problems and hypersensitivity
•Lowering the risk of seizures
•Improving change tolerance
•Decreasing the risk of self-injury
•Increasing feelings of calmness
Weighting blankets are often used for children with autism, so much so that they are often referred to as autism blankets. Deep pressure stimulation from the blanket is believed to improve children’s cognitive function, help them fall asleep, and reduce the number of crashes caused by sensory processing disorders.
Most children with autism have low levels of serotonin, but a weighted blanket will release serotonin from children with autism. Higher serotonin production stimulates melatonin, a chemical in our body that helps sleep.
Weighted blankets increase feelings of security and lower uneasiness in children with autism. They can help a child transition to a new change in his or her life. Weighted blankets are a viable tool for both significant and minor changes.
Weighted blankets and deep pressure sensitization therapy can calm the central nervous system, improve relaxation. It can help our body calm down, lower our heart rate to a relaxed level, and put us into a peaceful sleep state.
A weighted blanket helps a child with autism feel secure and relaxed at times where their senses are triggering a tantrum. Weighted blankets provide deep pressure therapy to help a child stay calm despite experiencing sensory changes.