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The Benefits of Weighted Blankets and Comforters for those with ASD, Anxiety and Sensory Disorders

Research has shown that using a weighted blanket is an effective way to make children and adults with autism, ADHD, stress, anxiety, or sensory disorders relax and sleep through the night. A question we sometimes hear at Sensory Tools, though, is why weighted comforters are effective. What specific effect do these blankets have on the brain that makes them an essential tool for treating or managing sensory processing issues?

What Is a Weighted Blanket?

Let’s start with a basic definition. A weighted blanket is a blanket or comfort that is weighted to be heavier than a standard blanket or comforter. When a child gets under the blanket, the extra weight exerts pressure, which stimulates touch receptors throughout the body. Said another way, a weighted blanket provides consistent proprioceptive input to the body and brain.

The proprioceptive input provided by a weighted comforter essentially does the same thing to the brain as a warm hug. Specifically, it releases serotonin in the brain, which contributes to feelings of happiness and calm. Thus, by aiding in the release of serotonin, the blanket helps the child feel safe and relaxed, which in turn improves sleep quality.

Occupational therapists will often recommend weighted blankets for autism, ADHD, anxiety, and sensory processing disorders. Sometimes, weighted comforters are even referred to as ‘anxiety blankets.’ By providing the sensory input these children crave during sleep, these blankets help ensure a good night’s sleep.

Weighted blankets aren’t just beneficial for sleep, either. On the contrary, an anxiety blanket can provide necessary sensory input at all hours of the day. You might fold up the blanket and place it on the child’s lap during play time or drape it over their shoulders when they are sitting on the couch reading a book. In each scenario, the blanket can help with relaxation, focus, attention span and overall comfort and contentment.

Sensory Tools: Providing Weighted Blankets for ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Sensory Disorders and More

At Sensory Tools, we carry a range of toys and tools that we have selected for their occupational therapy value. Our selection of anxiety blankets is no different. We have handpicked each blanket due to quality, versatility, and overall therapeutic value.

For example, we love the weighted comforter from All Seasons because it can be used all year round. You can adapt the blanket throughout the year to alter its weight and warmth. During the cooler months, a quilt cover can ensure extra warmth, when the nights turn cold, the weighted blanket is thin enough that it can be inserted into the quilt cover with the quilt. In the warmer months, you can remove the quilt cover to make sure your there is no overheating at night.

Do you have any questions about using weighted blankets for autism, ADHD, or sensory processing disorders? At Sensory Tools, our staff is always on hand to assist customers and answer any questions you may have. Our business started 14 years ago from the idea of occupational therapist Genevieve Jereb, and we maintain that emphasis on therapy, health, and overall wellness today. Our goal is to help you choose the product is that is going to be most beneficial for your son or daughter. Please contact us for assistance.