Considering a weighted blanket for ADHD therapy? Read on for a list of therapeutic benefits a weighted blanket can provide when battling the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
In this article:
- Helps Ease Insomnia
- Improves Quality of Sleep
- Improves Focus
- Helps Combat Stress
- Reduces Anxiety
- Soothes Symptoms of Panic Disorder
- Promotes Calm
- Boosts Mood
- Recreates a Hug
Weighted Blanket for ADHD | How It Can Help in Dealing with ADHD and Its Symptoms
1. Ease Insomnia
One of the symptoms of ADHD is excessive activity or restlessness. As such, those with ADHD often have insomnia, or trouble sleeping.
This is where a weighted blanket for ADHD comes in. It functions as a form of deep touch pressure (DTP) therapy.
Using a weighted blanket for ADHD helps promote the release of serotonin, the body’s so-called “happy hormones.”
This chemical is essential in controlling mood, sleep, calmness, and focus. It is also a major factor in different psychological conditions such as autism, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and ADHD.
Weighted blankets provide a gentle but firm pressure on the body, releasing more serotonin and helping regulate sleep.
Deep Touch Pressure therapy definition: DTP therapy is a form of occupational therapy that applies gentle, evenly-distributed pressure on the body, similar to a massage or a hug. It helps calm the nervous system as it triggers the release of serotonin in the body.
2. Improve Quality of Sleep
A weighted blanket not only promotes longer sleep, but it also improves its quality. Poor sleep quality can aggravate or trigger the symptoms of ADHD such as fatigue, lack of focus, mood swings, etc.
Most of the time, people hear the importance of just getting enough sleep. Getting restful, restorative, and quality sleep, however, is equally important.
ADHD is often linked to a number of sleep issues such as daytime sleepiness, restless leg syndrome, and disordered breathing. To combat this, one of the treatments doctors recommend is melatonin supplementation.
Using a weighted blanket for ADHD not only promotes the release of serotonin, but also melatonin. This is a chemical in the body that helps one to fall asleep faster and longer, and wake up feeling more rested.
3. Improve Focus
Focusing on tasks can be a problem for people with ADHD. Often, they can experience problems when it comes to multitasking, organization, and time management, as they tend to get distracted easily.
In a certain study, researchers found that wearing weighted vests could help children with ADHD improve their focus. It reported an improvement in the in-seat behavior, task completion, and attention-to-task of children diagnosed with ADHD.
Another study published in The American Journal of Occupational Therapy found that DTP therapy not only improved performance, it also made a positive psychological change as it calmed down the nervous system of the subjects.
The studies found that it specifically increased the attention span of people with ADHD, helping them stay on-task.
While the studies above referenced weighted vests, one could accomplish similar results with different strategies as long as they employ DTP. As an alternative, one could place a weighted blanket for ADHD across the legs or shoulders to achieve the same effect.
4. Combat Stress
Those with ADHD experience more difficulty when it comes to dealing with stress. Fortunately, a weighted blanket can also help combat it.
While those with ADHD or chronic stress problems tend to have more difficulty in handling stress, everyone still experiences its negative side effects at some point. Stress can harm not only one’s physical health, but also his mental health.
As previously discussed, using a weighted blanket promotes the release of serotonin. This can help one feel calm and more in control of stressful situations.
5. Lessen Anxiety
As mentioned, one of the hallmarks of ADHD is difficulty in processing information. For them, this could lead to anxiety and meltdowns, especially for young children in classroom settings who do not always have the capacity or maturity to verbalize their feelings.
Anxiety, however, is not limited to those with ADHD. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that in the US alone, there are around 40 million people who suffer from some form of it.
Since weighted blankets produce a calming effect, it can help relax people with anxiety, especially in tense situations.
6. Soothe Symptoms of Panic Disorder
It is not uncommon for people with ADHD to also experience panic attacks, especially when under intense stress. Similar to anxiety, panic attacks are not limited to those with ADHD.
Unfortunately, most people with panic disorder do not know when a panic attack will strike. For different individuals, different triggers such as stressful events can make them susceptible to an attack.
Once again, a weighted blanket can help individuals manage panic disorder.
Studies show that those who sleep with a weighted blanket on wake up feeling more refreshed and less anxious. With fatigue being one of the most common triggers of panic attacks, having a good night’s rest is essential in controlling it.
7. Foster Peace
Frequent mood swings, hot temper, and low frustration tolerance are some common manifestations of ADHD. That is where the role of a weighted blanket for ADHD comes in.
A weighted blanket can help calm emotions as it releases those happy hormones, thus battling negative emotions.
Some people with ADHD might also have difficulty when it comes to transitioning from a high-energy activity to a low-energy one. For them, this could cause a lot of frustration.
Weighted blankets can help with that transition and can be used in a number of scenarios.
For example, parents can use a weighted blanket for ADHD to help their child focus on doing homework. They can also use it in the car to allow their child to stay calm in the backseat.
8. Boost Mood
Having a long and bad day? Stuck in traffic, spilled coffee, late for work… bad days often strike when least expected.
A common misconception about the use of weighted blankets is that a person should have a diagnosed medical condition to use it. This is wrong.
Using a weighted blanket can help one de-stress and unwind after a long day. It not only boosts the production of serotonin but also reduces the levels of cortisol (stress).
Sometimes, chemical changes in the brain cause those bouts of sadness. It might be that the brain is not producing enough serotonin.
Wrapping a weighted blanket around the shoulders should help one battle this. What makes it even better is that one could get this therapy pretty much anywhere.
9. Recreate a Hug
Wrapping oneself with a weighted blanket feels a lot like a big and warm bear hug. Who doesn’t like hugs, right?
Most infants have a positive response when cuddled, rocked or swaddled. When toddlers get hurt, one of their first instincts is to run to their mother for a hug.
Adults are not that different. This instinct to hug does not go away and still promotes a sense of relaxation and calmness.
This is because hugs boost the production of feel-good chemicals inside the brain. A weighted blanket allows one to get it whenever and wherever needed. This is especially helpful in children with ADHD, who might often be averse to physical touch. A weighted blanket can stimulate the same feel-good effect of a hug, without triggering any meltdowns.
On that next cold, rainy day, try snuggling under a weighted blanket and see its effects for yourself!
A weighted blanket is a great self-soothing tool that not only helps those with ADHD, but even those who might just want a hug to brighten up their day. It is, however, especially useful in battling the symptoms of ADHD as it helps improve focus, boost mood, and promote a sense of calm.
Do you have other questions about the therapeutic benefits of using a weighted blanket for ADHD? Ask us in the comments section below!