Weighted Blankets - Frequently Asked Questions
What is a weighted blanket?
Weighted blankets are exactly what they sound! They are blankets lined with evenly distributed weight that is designed to provide gentle pressure to a person while they relax or sleep. This compression known as Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) helps the body to relax having a calming effect.
DPS has helped support people with:
Weighted blankets have been used as a tool by occupational therapists (OT's) for many years and is often recommended for teenage children with ADHD, SID, and Autism Spectrum Disorders to help with calming. Research also suggests that weighted blankets help reduce the anxiety that often accompanies these conditions.
A weighted blanket can literally be a lifeline for entire families where a family member is not sleeping or suffering from some form of sensory processing disorder. Weighted blankets are best used for improving sleep and can also be used on the couch or in the car as a calming tool and/or to help one focus.
What is Deep Pressure Stimulation?
If you remember as a child sleeping under sheets and heavy blankets before duvets became popular in the 1970’s and upon waking up on a cold winter morning feeling incredibly calm and peaceful then it is likely you have already experienced what deep pressure stimulation can do for the nervous system.
How does Deep Pressure Stimulation Work?
The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is our body ‘alert’ system and in control when you’re facing a stressful situation in your life, be it at work, stuck in traffic or when you receive unexpected bad news.
If the SNS (sympathetic nervous system) takes the lead for too long then this can cause you to feel tired, irritable and anxious. This affects your sleep and can cause digestive disorders.
Unfortunately, many with autism spectrum and sensory processing disorders spend a considerable amount of time stuck in the sympathetic nervous system and even once they have calmed, it takes very little to re-trigger this system again.
The parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), however, brings a sense of calm and peace to the mind and body.
When the parasympathetic nervous system takes over, your heart rate slows, muscles relax, and your circulation improves. Your body produces endorphins, which are the “happy” hormones that make you feel amazing, for instance, after exercise.
Applying Deep Pressure Touch (DPT) to the body helps bring the parasympathetic nervous system online, calming you and bringing a sense of well-being. At the same time, with this, comes a release of natural hormones which are the feel-good neurotransmitters of the brain. These natural hormones help with motivation, impulse control, attention, memory, social behaviour, digestion and of course sleep.
What Benefits are observed with Deep Pressure Stimulation?
While not all individuals will experience every benefit, the potential positive effects include:
- General sense of calm that can last up to several hours after therapy
- Decreased overall anxiety when practiced regularly
- Increased happiness
- Improved social interactions
- Increased communicativeness
- Improved focus
- Lowered incidence of seizures
- Decrease in incidents relating to self injury
- Lowered hypersensitivity to touch
- Improved ability to tolerate the school environment
- Better quality sleep
Are weighted blankets safe?
Weighted blankets are safe for both older children and adults. There are lighter weighted blankets you can buy for younger children however we suggest you should seek your doctors advice before use. Also the blanket weight should be around 7-12 percent of the users total body weight and maximum of 12 percent at most. For most healthy adults, there are few risks to using a weighted blanket.
There are, however, certain people who should not use a weighted blanket or should check with their doctor before doing so, including people with
- sleep apnea
- certain other sleep disorders
- respiratory problems or other chronic medical conditions
- heart conditions
- pregnant women
- and infants
Also, check in with your doctor or a trained therapist if you are interested in trying a weighted blanket for a child.
Why SnugCosy blankets?
SnugCosy weighted blankets are manufactured using Cotton that is ultrasoft, breathable and also hypoallergenic. The blankets are quilted and sewn into very small sections to create pockets for the glass micro bead filling which produces the acquired evenly distributed weight over the blanket surface.
Unlike most other blankets available we only use the finest high quality glass micros beads with the size of the pockets being much smaller restricting any chance of movement.
How to care for your weighted blanket & cover with CosyCare