You’ve probably seen weighted blankets surging in popularity recently, and for a reason! If your little one is currently having trouble sleeping, then you were probably recommended to use a weighted blanket for them. However, a weighted blanket isn’t only good for sleeping, but for many other reasons as well!
But how exactly do weighted blankets work, and how do children benefit from them? Read on as I show you the reasons to get a weighted blanket for kids to see why these make such a great investment.
Reasons to Get a Weighted Blanket for Kids
If you’re not sure that weighted blankets are, they are exactly what the name entails. This is a blanket with small weights inside, so it’s heavier compared to the typical blanket. This will help apply consistent pressure to the body using the blanket.
These blankets come in different sizes and textures, depending on your individual size and comfort. Not only do they benefit adults, but they are great for children as well! This is all thanks to the weighted blankets’ connection to Deep Touch Pressure Therapy.
This is a type of therapy which involves applying even pressure on one’s body. Typically, the pressure is placed in forms of hugs, squeezes, or firm holding. Weighted blankets provide the same feeling, putting evenly-distributed weight for the grounding effect.
How do weighted blankets and DTP help? Here are some of the reasons why you should consider investing in a weighted blanket for your kids:
1. Improves Sleep
DTP helps in many situations, including sleeping! This is because the process is linked to the body’s natural hormones. With the pressure from hugs or weighted blankets, it would cause a spike in serotonin, which is our bodies’ happy hormone.
It can also reduce cortisol levels at night, which is a stress hormone that has a negative effect on blood sugar, digestion, and your immune system. This also helps with one’s sleeping pattern.
With the surge of serotonin and dopamine, it would naturally convert to melatonin, which is our body’s sleep hormone. This would encourage your little one not only to sleep quickly but to have better quality sleep, sleeping longer rather than waking up in the middle of the night. That way, they feel better when they wake up, feeling fully rested and more energized for the day.
So if your little one is having trouble sleeping, especially on their own, a weighted blanket can help them out. The pressure imitates your hugs, keeping your kids comforted and sleeping well throughout the night. This is especially helpful for children who might have insomnia, other sleeping disorders or are currently adjusting to sleeping on their own.
Besides this, weighted blankets can come in different textures, soft enough to keep you feel comfortable. Your little one won’t toss and turn anymore feeling discomfort, they’ll feel snugger with the pressure and soft feel. This is a natural alternative for sleeping aids, compared to melatonin supplements or medications.
Weighted blankets can help at home or during long car rides, improving their sleep wherever they are. If they are adjusting to a recent move or going through stressful situations that affect their sleep, a weighted blanket can provide the comfort they need for better rest.
2. Helps in ADHD
If you have a child with ADHD, studies show that a weighted blanket can help calm down their hyperactive minds and bodies. This can help them focus better on a school day.
A study back in 2014 shows that children with ADHD who use a weighted vest that’s about 10% of their bodyweight show improvements in their attention span, speed of processing, and responding, as well as their behaviors and fidgeting.
There was also another study done on a small test group, finding that those with ADHD that wore weighted vests improved their behavior. The same would go for weighted blankets when used in car rides or at home, or even as a comfort blanket anywhere else!
This may be from the calming effect the weighted blanket’s pressure provides, a form of Deep Touch Pressure that can also help those with ADHD relax.
It may also help relieve a few symptoms of autism. A smaller research study shows that there are positive benefits of DPT in those with autism, which may extend to weighted blankets.
3. Reduces Anxiety
Do you have a child with anxiety from certain triggers? It may have you feel helpless sometimes since it’s difficult to know how they feel and what can be done to stop the negativity.
But before getting medications, you may want to try a weighted blanket, as the DTP therapy can help raise those serotonin levels and lessen the stress hormones. This can calm your little one down during an anxiety attack, having them feel lighter and more relaxed.
Think of it like receiving a hug during anxiety-ridden situations. You, or any other person and child, would feel much better with that nice pressure wrapped around you like a huge bear hug! Furthermore, the pressure can also release dopamine and serotonin, the happy hormones that can combat anxiety, depression, and stress.
4. Other Awesome Benefits
Besides the main benefits mentioned above, there are other benefits using a weighted blanket offers, such as:
- Helps with chronic pain thanks to the light pressure weighted blankets provide. It improves pain around the legs, in particular.
- Using weighted blankets may help in those who are undergoing wisdom tooth extraction or molar extraction, based on studies, as this would help lessen anxiety problems.
- This may not apply to children, but one study regarding massage therapy may be linked to the benefit of weighted blankets on osteoarthritis. The massage therapy can help reduce knee pain from osteoarthritis, improving quality of life.
- It may ease restless leg syndrome, especially when you wear the blanket during car or plane rides.
Do you want to learn more about the weighted blanket and its benefits? Here is an informative video showing you all about it:
Any Risks Involved?
Fortunately, there are only very few risks associated when using a weighted blanket.
For children, weighted blankets should not be used for toddlers who are younger than two years old, as this increases the risk of suffocation. It’s best to consult your pediatrician before letting your little one try a weighted blanket for sleep.
Furthermore, weighted blankets may be unsuitable if your little one has certain conditions, such as:
- Obstructive sleep apnea, causing disrupted breathing while sleeping
- Asthma, which causes difficulty in breathing
- Claustrophobia, the fear of closed spaces that may be triggered by the tightness of weighted blankets
If you do plan to have your little one use a weighted blanket, with the go signal from your pediatrician, follow these tips:
- The weighted blanket should be 5-10% of one’s body weight. As for the size, it should fit snugly to the bed.
- For children between 20-70 pounds, get a small weighted blanket that weighs between 3-8 pounds.
- For children between 30-130 pounds, get a medium-weighted blanket weighing between 5-15 pounds.
- Make sure that you select the right kind of weighted blanket with hypoallergenic material to prevent allergies.
- Observe the way your child sleeps throughout the night and how they act during the day. If they are groggy or feel uncomfortable, it’s best to stop the use of weighted blankets and get them back to their original blanket.