It’s been a few years since I first heard of a weighted blanket. At first, I didn’t pay much attention, having only heard of them in association with autism. But then I got one, and now I hear a lot more talk about them. And I understand why. I love my weighted blanket, and wish I’d known about them years earlier!
What Is A Weighted Blanket and Why Would I Want One?
Weighted blankets are blankets that have had weights sewn into them. Frequently glass or plastic beads, the weights are sewn into the blankets to distribute the weight evenly. This weight creates a firm, gentle contact known as Deep Pressure Therapy, which stimulates the release of oxytocin and serotonin.
Studies have shown that using weighted blankets can reduce anxiety, have calming effects, lower blood pressure, pulse rate, and help with sleep issues.
Initially developed to help those with autism, they are finding users outside the autism community. My house deals with ADHD and after reading an article about how these blankets could help calm and help with sleep, I had to give it a try.
Many who deal with ADHD, also deal with major sleep issues-from falling asleep to staying asleep. Lack of good quality sleep leads to so many other problems. But when the main solution is drugs, and potentially addictive drugs or ones that can have other major side effects-or when dealing with children’s sleep issues, you can be very hesitant to rely on drugs on a regular basis. But a blanket? That’s an easy one to try out.
I was a little skeptical at first. But I gave it a try. I’m really glad I did.
My weighted blanket has had a huge impact on my sleep. I don’t know about how well it deals with stress and anxiety, but I can absolutely say that it’s had a big impact on my sleep. That means it has had a big impact on my life.
How Do I Use A Weighted Blanket?
You just put the weighted blanket on you like a regular blanket. It’s really as simple as that. For those dealing with autism, they first developed vests and then small lap blankets. The concept is very simple: drape it over you. For sleep, you can get a larger, heavier, blanket. It is meant to form around you, providing pressure all over. Its presence provides gentle pressure. That’s all there is to it.
Where Do I Find A Weighted Blanket?
They seem to be everywhere these days. This last holiday season, I saw them at Target, Wal-Mart and on Amazon. Various companies just do weighted blankets—just google “weighted blanket” and you’ll see lots of choices. And local mamas can create beautiful custom ones.
I have one that has a removable cover that you can take off to wash it. For my household, that was an important feature. I’ve also seen new ones that have fabric designed to help you stay cool under the blanket. Obviously the more features, the higher the cost. But, the longer these are on the market, the better the blankets are becoming for everyday life living with one.
How Heavy Should My Blanket Be?
The general guideline for weighted blankets was 10% of your body weight. That thinking is getting slightly altered. The current reading I’ve done on it suggests the 10% guideline is good for vests or blankets for children, but that adults could select a weight that is closer to 20% of your body weight, and even go as heavy as you are comfortable with.
Also, do NOT use a weighted blanket for infants. No matter how badly they sleep, a weighted blanket is NOT the answer. They are not considered safe for infants, as they could roll over and get trapped under it.
Is A Weighted Blanket Right For You?
Only you can decide that. But they are growing in popularity, and I think there’s a good reason for that. The studies have shown they can be great for people dealing with sensitive nervous systems, autism, ADHD, stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, and sleep issues. They have been proven to have positive effects on all of those issues. I’m always willing to try anything that might help AND mean fewer medications.
It really paid off for me. I’m sleeping better every night, dropping off quicker and staying asleep. I didn’t think that would ever be possible, and certainly not without drugs. But I hate taking anything I don’t have to, so this has been like a miracle cure for me. When I first found mine, these blankets were hard to find and very expensive. But they are everywhere now and the price is coming down. If you’re dealing with any of these issues, either for yourself or one of your kids, I really recommend considering one.