06 Nov Weighted blankets for Christmas gifts?
Have you heard of weighted clothing for individuals with autism, ADHD or sensory processing disorders? Well, an extension of that is weighted blankets for those with sleeping challenges?
So I created a “mini” problem
I got a weighted blanket for one grandchild and now 4 more grandkids are fighting over that one weighted blanket. I’ll just have to do more shopping!
Here’s the story
One of my favorite OTs recommended a weighted blanket when I was exploring solutions for a grandchild who was having some difficulty falling asleep at night.
Gotta get sleep
Getting good sleep is critical for students and for everyone around them. Sleep challenges don’t affect just the student. When one person doesn’t sleep well, it can affect the emotional, physical and mental well-being of an entire family. I have no doubt that sleep problems carry over into school performance, too.
So, when my OT friend suggested a weighted blanket, I started to do some research and found Laura LeMond, founder of Mosaic Weighted Blankets®.
Here’s what I did
I got one. Getting one of Laura’s weighted blankets seemed like an easy, non-invasive thing to try. The risks and concerns are not the same as those that emerge when considering medication choices for sleep problems. There’s even a chart online to help you decide what size and weight of blankets are appropriate for the size and age of the person who will get the blanket.
And this is what happened
Alex LOVED the blanket. But so did his four sisters. There’s something about the weight of the blanket that helps them relax and provides a sense of pleasure. When I asked Alex how the blanket helped him, he didn’t use the professional terminology I would use. He just said it helped him relax and go to sleep more easily.
Here’s how Laura explained what the blankets do
“The concept behind weighted blankets is simple, yet effective. The weighted blanket mimics the “back in the womb” experience. The weight of the blanket puts slight pressure on the body to create the same sensation a person feels when they receive a hug. The deep pressure touch created by the blanket causes the release of serotonin in the brain which is the “happy, feel good hormone”. After an increase in serotonin, melatonin is released which provides a calming effect and is what many of us feel when we get sleepy. And the blankets can work for children, teens or adults to help them sleep better.”
How’s that for an explanation?
Laura LeMond has shared about her own personal experience with sleep challenges. She suffers from a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) that interfered with her sleeping from a very young age. The issue became even worse when she left for college. To give herself comfort in the middle of the night, she used to put books on her feet. Although she withstood some teasing from her dorm mates, the weight of the books put a slight pressure on her body that made her feel grounded and more secure and allowed her to sleep soundly through the night. Eventually, Laura started filling pillow cases with sand for the same effect.
Years later, when Laura’s son was diagnosed with ADHD and suffered with his own sleep issues, she had an “aha!” moment. Why not create a weighted blanket that would duplicate her old dorm room sleeping aid? She got to work creating a blanket. When she gave it to her son to test it out (and created one for herself) and they both enjoyed their first night of deep sleep in years!
Shopping time. . .
So, now I have an urgent item on my Christmas shopping list that will be guaranteed to make some grandchildren very happy. (The blankets come in lots of fabric choices so each child will have a different one so they know which one is theirs)
Have you tried using a weighted blanket for students? Check them out HERE.