It’s hard to believe that blankets could have a therapeutic effect on a person, but they do. It’s not all in your head: Weighted blankets, which typically have pockets filled with small plastic or glass beads (or even rice), can provide a calming sensation. For anyone experiencing anxiety, this “deep touch pressure,” along with the weight of the blanket itself, can be a comforting feeling. “Deep touch pressure may cause blood vessels to dilate, which may help with relaxation and decrease stress hormones,”  says Heather Wenzlaff-Major, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the University of South Florida.  For some people, having pressure applied to their bodies can help them fall asleep.

Sensory issues, such as tactile defensiveness, are a big problem for many people. If you have a child with sensory issues, you may want to consider getting them weighted blankets. A weighted blanket provides the pressure that many people find soothing. It is a great way to help cope with sensory issues. A weighted blanket adds weight, which is used in the treatment of sensory processing order. The added weight can help in the following:

  1. Calming down anxiety and nervousness
  2. Promote better sleep
  3. Reduce stress
  4. Improve concentration, attention, and behavior

Many people with sensory issues such as autism, ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, and depression use weighted blankets to relieve anxiety issues, improve focus, and get to sleep. But how exactly do weighted blankets work? Why do only a few people with sensory processing disorder respond to them? The feeling of being hugged is a strong, positive one. Many people with sensory processing disorder have a “seeking” behavior where they crave touch. Weighted blankets help by feeling like they are hugging, a feeling they may not get enough of in their daily lives. The weight and constriction of a weighted blanket may help people relax and sleep better. The weighted blanket provides deep pressure stimulation, which has a type of therapy that can help relieve certain types of anxiety, depression, and manage serotonin and melatonin. But, how exactly do weighted blankets work?

How Exactly Do Weighted Blankets Work For Sensory Issues?

A weighted blanket is a blanket filled with small poly pellets that add weight to the blanket. The blanket must be heavy to help control sensory issues such as ADHD, OCD, and anxiety. Many theories are behind the working of weighted blankets, but conclusively, it provides relaxation and comfort to the user. Weighted blanket working depends on the amount of weight and type of material used in the blanket.

If you are on the fence about trying one for your child, it can be a useful tool that can help with some of the sensory issues associated with autism, ADHD, anxiety, and other disorders. The key is to choose the right weight. For example, if you have a toddler, you’ll likely want a blanket that is generally considered too heavy for an adult. On the other hand, if your child is an adult, then blankets that weigh significantly less than what you’d find in a store isn’t going to be very useful. The weighted blanket should be relatively thin (three to five percent of your child’s body weight).

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