Weighted Blankets are, in simplest terms, blankets filled with weight. They provide sensory feedback to the user. This weight is usually in the form of plastic beads, but can also be sand, steel shot or even corn seed. They are typically made from fleece, cotton or neoprene. Available in a range of weights and textures they are a popular choice for many due to a wide variety of benefits.
Weighted Blankets are typically used to reduce the symptoms of conditions such as Autism and Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD). They are now widely used for other reasons such as reducing stress and anxiety, PTSD and even panic attacks.
But why are they so good? Let’s dive right in and find out exactly.
Weighted Blankets work by applying weight across the body – known as Weighted Therapy. This weight stimulates the Proprioceptive System, the awareness of our body’s position and movement, through deep touch pressure. Stimulating this system helps the body feel more grounded, calm and relaxed. This is very important for children and adults with Autism or SPD, as they often seek out deep pressure sensations to help them feel more secure and relaxed.
Once the body is in a more relaxed state, restlessness and agitation is reduced. This can be invaluable to the individual and parents.
Feeling calm and relaxed for sleep is important for anyone, with or without a medical condition, as it helps improve the quality of sleep. People living with insomnia, fatigue, depression and anxiety have also reported significant improvements to their conditions following the prolonged use of a Weighted Blanket.
Improving the quality of sleep has mass appeal, this is one reason why Weighted Blankets are so popular.
Weighted Blankets are proven to help create a soothing environment, ideal for sleep. It is this type of environment that is necessary for the body to relax, calm and prepare for sleep. Once in this state, anxiety, tension and restlessness is reduced, helping to improve sleep patterns.
People often ask, ‘should you use a Weighted Blanket every night?’ The easiest answer is, they can be used every night but whether they are depends entirely upon the user and the condition it’s being used to help. If you are using a weighted blanket to help with infrequent bouts of stress or anxiety then you may find you only wish to use the blanket during those periods.
It’s a slightly different situation if you are using the blanket to help with a medical condition such as Autism or SPD. The benefits associated with weighted blankets are gained through using one, and don’t necessarily provide long lasting effects after the blanket is removed. Therefore it is unlikely that intermittent use of a weighted blanket at night will help with conditions such as autism or SPD. From personal experience, prolonged use of a weighted blanket, incorporated into the night time routine, helps to settle the body quicker for sleep and improve sleep patterns. Consult with your Occupational Therapist for more guidance.
When used as directed, weighted blankets are a completely safe and effective tool to help with a range of conditions. They are safe to be used every night, however it’s important that the user can self-remove the blanket. You should stop using them if the user shows any signs of discomfort or distress.
The feeling of weight across the body provides a warmth, similar to the sensation of a gentle hug. This promotes a sense of security and comfort. Feeling more secure helps to ease stress, reduce anxiety and encourage a more comfortable, undisturbed sleep.
Used correctly a Weighted Blanket is a safe, effective, home-therapy solution. It’s important to buy the right blanket with the correct weight for your individual weight. This will not only be safe, but will help get the most out of the blanket. “That’s why we’ve developed a Weighted Blanket Size Guide to help you choose the correct weight for you or your child.” If you are buying a Weighted Blanket for a medical condition it’s important to liaise with your Occupational Therapist to discuss whether a Weighted Blanket may work for you.
Although used typically at night-time to encourage sleep, Weighted Blankets are very portable. They can be used elsewhere in the home such as on the sofa or floor. Immerse yourself in it to relax after a stressful day at work, or use it to reduce repetitive behaviours and meltdown. “Our tactile and fleece Weighted Blankets are perfect for snuggling up on the sofa with”. Weighted Blankets can even be used inside a Sensory Den for increased sensory feedback.
Weighted Blankets are now available in a range of different materials. It’s easy to tailor them to the individual and budget. “We’ve developed a range of Weighted Blankets including small and portable, tactile, fire retardant and even adjustable”. They are also available with different types of weights so the overall comfort and sensation can be considered. “All Sensory Direct Handmade Weighted Blankets can be cleaned on a 40-60 degree washing machine cycle.”
Buying a Weighted Blanket can be expensive, especially if you are unsure whether it will work for you. That’s why Sensory Direct is one of the only companies to offer a no quibble Weighted Blanket Hire Scheme. “Our hire scheme helps many families try out a Weighted Blanket with minimal cost and risk.
Unfortunately, due to the recent COVID developments we have had to temporarily pause our Weighted Blanket Hire Scheme. We appreciate that this is disappointing news, but it’s very important to us to keep our staff, customers and wider community safe. We will be restarting the hire scheme as soon as we can!”
When purchasing a weighted blanket it’s important to do your research and buy from a reputable supplier. There are a lot of cheap alternatives so be mindful of the quality and read the reviews. A reputable supplier will not only have better quality products, but they will often provide additional benefits. “At Sensory Direct all of our handmade weighted blankets come with a lifetime guarantee for quality, offering you peace of mind.”
This content was originally published here.
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