Weighted blankets have been growing in popularity over the past few years. This isn’t just some fad. It’s because they really work! As discussed in our dedicated article about how to choose a weighted blanket, here are numerous benefits to either sleeping under or simply snuggling under a weighted blanket, for people of all ages.
What is a Weighted Blanket?
Before we get into why this is a wonderful purchase for the child in your life, let’s back up and discuss what exactly is a weighted blanket. A weighted blanket is exactly what it sounds like- a blanket with weights sewn inside to make it heavier on your body. Weighted blankets vary in size, shape, color, and material, depending on what a person prefers. They’re usually filled with tiny plastic or glass pellets, which are what makes them heavier. Some blankets have just a few extra pounds on them, making them an ideal for kids. For instance, the PureCare Zensory Kid’s Weighted Blanket weighs just seven pounds for the perfect amount of contoured compression. It is recommended for children 60-90 pounds.
Weighted Blanket for Kids Benefits
When you’re stressed, your heart beats quickly, too quickly. Before a particularly nerve-wracking event, like giving a speech or a big job interview, you’ve probably felt like your heart was going to beat out of your chest. When this happens, lowering your heart rate can lead to relief and an overall feeling of calmness. Pressure calms you by activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers your heart rate. This lower heart rate leads to feeling calm and ready for sleep.
Research shows that being covered with a weighted blanket creates a type of physical connection that has an abundance of positive effects on the hormones that regulate our nervous system, affecting both mood and stress level. These benefits aren’t just for adults, but kids too! They can help with:
Anxiety and Nervousness
One of the main weighted blanket for kids benefits is for those who suffer from anxiety and other nervous behaviors. Your nervous system controls your breathing, heart rate, sweat, and more. You have probably heard of your “fight or flight response.” The pressure of weighted blankets puts your child’s autonomic nervous system into “rest” mode. The weighted blanket will reduce some of the main symptoms of feeling nervous, including a quickened heart rate and short, shallow breathing. This can provide an overall sense of calm to anxiety sufferers of all ages, including kids.
You may think a weighted blanket is just for bedtime, but it is not. When someone has Autism, social interaction can be anywhere from hard to nearly impossible for them. Talk about stress! Basic, everyday social interactions can lead to anxiety, making it harder to function, learn, and excel at school. The pressure from the weighted blankets can relieve stress for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and improve their ability to focus on the task at hand. Individuals with Autism may also feel like sensory stimulations around them, such as loud noises, are too intense. The pressure from a weighted blanket can actually help provide comfort from this feeling and allow them to relax.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
A weighted blanket can be a helpful “hug” anytime a child needs to calm down. Children with ADHD have a hard time sitting still and concentrating. Weighted blankets can aid in this. By activating the sense of touch, the weighted blanket keeps a hyperactive child from becoming distracted by other sensory stimuli in their environment, such as the sound of someone else talking, a bird outside they can see through the window, or a video playing in another room. This can help them improve their attention, fidget less, and stay on a task.
Insomnia, Restlessness, Night-Waking, and Night Terrors
For some kids, a good night’s sleep is more a dream than a reality. Research tells us that weighted blanket work by stimulating the Deep Pressure Touch (DPT) zones, stimulating the release of Serotonin which is then converted to Melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that makes us drowsy and fall asleep at night. Research into the sensory input of weighted blankets has also shown that a weighted blanket can also reduce the level of cortisol released at night. Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone and its release increases close to waking up every morning. Releasing it in the middle of the night is a big problem.
Children love security blankets, and the Hush Kids Weighted Blanket is the ultimate in providing comfort and calming anxieties. With a cover as soft as the blankie they carried when they were babies, these blankets are perfect for both nap time and all night long. Designed for kids 40-70 pounds, these five-pound blankets are weighted to provide gentle pressure, like a hug from you! This can produce a calming effect that can improve your child’s sleep.
Whether your child has Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, ADHD, or simply struggles to fall asleep and stay asleep peacefully, a weighted blanket made specifically for children may be able to help. They have been shown to help children achieve a healthy and full night of sleep, as well as make it through the day more focused and calm.