If your child is having trouble sleeping, a weighted blanket just might be the sleep easy solution you need. Read on to find out more.
How Weighted Blankets Are the Sleep Easy Solution for Your Child
1. Provides Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation
Using weighted blankets is a way of providing deep pressure therapy, otherwise known as proprioceptive pressure or deep touch pressure stimulation. This promotes the release of the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine.
Dopamine and serotonin are hormones that produce a calming effect. They help fight stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Using a weighted blanket feels similar to getting a warm hug, which just might be what your kids need. In fact, studies show infants have a positive response to being rocked, swaddled, and cuddled.
This is one of the reasons why a child who gets hurt often runs to their parents for a hug. The same is true for adults.
The instinct to get a hug, especially when one is in a stressful situation, does not go away. Receiving a hug still helps a person feel calmer and more relaxed even at an older age.
Weighted blankets also help “ground the body” during sleep, which is why they are also called gravity blankets. They push the body downwards, deeply enhancing the calming effect they produce.
Grounding the body is a sleep easy solution which simulates deep touch pressure and reduces the levels of cortisol.
Cortisol Definition: Known as the stress hormone.
2. Promotes Good Nighttime Sleep
In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Sleep and Medicine Disorders, researchers found that sleeping with a weighted blanket leads to a calmer night’s sleep. Participants said they slept better and woke up feeling more refreshed.
Another study found children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental delays (DD) not only had a harder time falling asleep but also had higher chances of waking up at night.
Using weighted blankets are sleep easy solutions that also stimulate the release of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep and regulates its cycle. It works with the internal clock of the body called the circadian rhythm and acts as the signal that tells the body it is time to sleep.
This is because of the light touch sensation one feels when moving under the blanket.
The sensation is similar to the feeling of a light caress. This soothes the nervous system and reduces arousal and anxiety.
3. Reduces Anxiety and Restlessness
Dr. Cristina Cusin from Harvard Medical School described weighted blankets as sensory tools in psychiatric practices.
Other studies show that it produces a therapeutic effect that not only reduces the feeling of anxiety but also helps aid sleep. The deep pressure stimulation it provides helps to get rid of the feelings of restlessness both in adults and children, especially those with behavioral conditions.
Another condition which may be soothed by weighted blankets is restless leg syndrome, as such conditions may be related to anxiety.
The tingling feeling is often most apparent at nighttime. It could greatly impair the sleep of both kids and adults who have them.
Restless Leg Syndrome Definition: Otherwise known as the Willis-Ekbom Disease, it causes an unpleasant sensation in the legs characterized by an irresistible urge to move them.
4. Acts as a Security Blanket
According to a 2007 study at the University of Bristol, children believe their favorite blanket or toy has an “essence” — a certain unique property.
The said research tested the theory on 3-6-year-old subjects, and these were the three main results:
- The children were offered duplicate copies of their toys as well as the originals. They, however, did not react to the duplicates the same way they did on the originals.
- A quarter of them refused to even have their favorite toys copied at all.
- Most of the children who were persuaded to have their toys duplicated wanted the original toy back.
Originally, these toys were thought to merely provide comfort and a sense of security for infants who slept separately from their parents. The results of the tests, however, show children also believe the objects have a unique property one cannot simply copy.
The same notion of “essence” may apply on sleeping blankets, too. They can be sleep easy solutions which may provide comfort to children during bedtime.
If it is one you used to own, then it becomes even more special. Since your child is likely to believe it has your “essence,” it can provide an even greater sense of security for them on sleepless nights.
5. Supports Therapy for Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder Definition: A neurological condition wherein a child or adult experiences difficulty in processing information in the five senses. Such a condition can manifest as hyposensitivity or hypersensitivity to external stimuli like noise, touch, or people.
Most therapies on children would use sensory integration as the focal point of the treatment. In most cases, it takes the form of play — allowing the kid to think, communicate, and relate through a familiar “world,” with and without the involvement of another person, e.g. parent, therapist, playmate.
But the therapy sessions are not limited within the four walls of the medical institution. They continue outside with support from the parents or guardians.
The use of weighted blankets during playtime at home or during bedtime allows children with sensory processing disorders to have control over the stimuli that get to them, preventing them from getting overwhelmed. This, then, helps create good progress in their treatment sessions.
If your kids are having a hard time falling asleep, then a weighted blanket just might be the sleep easy solution they need. It is a bedroom must-have for longer and better quality sleep.
Do you have other questions about using weighted blankets as a sleep easy solution? Ask us in the comments section below!