How Weighted Blankets Can Help Kids With ADHD

How Weighted Blankets Can Help Kids With ADHD
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There’s nothing quite like feeling in complete comfort when you are sleeping in your bed. People are always looking to find reliable, sure fire ways to improve their slumber, especially if you are someone who could be held back from experiencing full relaxation and comfort. It’s likely that individuals that have autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and sleeping disorders such as insomnia or restless leg syndrome will experience discomforts that hinders their sleep.

Recently, weighted blankets have been surging in their popularity, and if you suffer from any of these disorders, a weighted blanket could be your ticket to aiding in your nighttime woes. You may have heard about benefits of weighted blankets from an occupational therapist or success stories from users of the blanket. However if you have never actually seen or owned one, you may have some questions about what a weighted blanket actually is.

What Is A Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets are exactly as they sound; a heavy blanket. But there is so much more to these blankets! Their thickness and weight make them a key component to aiding those who suffer from numerous sleep disorders. Many people can say that hugging is known to create a calming effect. And if you have ever had to hug your child for them to sleep, you can understand that the science and concept behind weighted blankets is no different. Weighted blankets are known to provide pressure and sensory input allowing as a calming tool. The theory of weighted blankets is the pressure of the blanket is to provide an overall calming effect. The pressure and weight feeds the brain with proprioceptive input which then allows the brain to release the calming chemical known as serotonin.

Weighted blankets are often weighted with poly-pellets, glass beads, or steel shot beads. They come in various weights anywhere from five to twenty five pounds. The ratio for finding the weight most suitable for users is for it to be 10 percent of the user’s body weight, and then adding a pound or two. For example, for an 80 pound child, blankets should be 10 pounds. These blankets come in several different fabrics, which can be extremely important when seeking a blanket that will provide comfort for someone with sensory issues.

Benefits Of Weighted Blankets For Kids With ADHD

There are a handful of research backed benefits that weighted blankets provide to those who use them. Improved sleep, reduction of self stimulatory behaviors, restless leg syndrome, and ease of anxiety are just some of the benefits provided from using a weighted blanket. While adults and teens can benefit from using weighted blanket therapy, weighted blankets are extremely helpful for children with ADHD and autism.

Using weight blankets for children with ADHD and autism has become very popular. Many children with autism and ADHD will utilize weighted blankets as a method to calm down after school or during their therapy sessions. These weighted blankets also provide them comfort and relaxation aiding them to fall asleep. A study published in “The American Journal of Occupational Therapy” found that elementary school aged students who wore weighted vests paid attention more and were less fidgety in the classroom. “It’s absolutely true that some kids benefit from compression, either from weighted blankets or stretchy Lycra sleeping bags (which also provide deep pressure),” says Lynelle Schneeberg, PsyD, board certified sleep psychologist and director of the behavioral sleep program at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Studies have shown that improvements in the classroom especially increasing attention span and staying on task have been seen when using weighted vests, or blankets in students laps during classes or therapy sessions.

Assist With Calming Down

Weighted blankets for children with ADHD have proven to help children transition from a high energy activity to a low energy one. This can be helpful both in and out of the classroom. Studies show that teachers gave children who needed it, a few minutes under a weighted blanket to assist them in transitioning from being outside and back in the classroom. This also can be useful at home whether its coming in from playtime outside, or needing to focus on homework or winding down for the night. Having your child lay under a weighted blanket will have a calming effect.

Especially for children with ADHD, weighted blankets are used most often for the number of sleep issues that can arise. Children who have ADHD have higher rates of daytime sleepiness, sleep disordered breathing, and restless leg syndrome. The calming effect that weighted blankets has on the nervous system allows serotonin to become readily available for children with ADHD.

It’s no wonder that weighted blankets are gaining the popularity that they are. With all the benefits they provide, especially for children who suffer from ADHD, weighted blankets are proving to be a game changer in the ways we can focus, unwind, and even improve our sleep. If you are looking to improve your child’s behavior whether in or out of the classroom, trying a weighted blanket may be the best option.

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