Weighted blankets have become increasingly popular in recent years as a tool to help promote better sleep and relaxation. They are particularly beneficial for children who may struggle with anxiety or sensory processing difficulties. In this article, we will explore the top 5 benefits of using a weighted blanket for kids.
What is a Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket is a type of blanket that is filled with materials such as plastic pellets or glass beads to add weight. The weight of the blanket provides deep pressure stimulation, which can be calming and soothing for the nervous system.
Benefit #1: Improved Sleep Quality
One of the main benefits of using a weighted blanket for kids is improved sleep quality. Deep pressure stimulation has been shown to increase levels of serotonin and melatonin, two hormones that help regulate sleep. This can lead to deeper, more restful sleep patterns.
In a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders, researchers found that participants who used a weighted blanket reported improved sleep quality, reduced movement during sleep, and overall feelings of comfort.
Benefit #2: Reduced Anxiety and Stress
Weighted blankets can also help reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress in children. The deep pressure sensation can provide a sense of comfort and security, helping children feel calm and grounded.
In a study published in the Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering, researchers found that using a weighted blanket led to a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, indicating reduced levels of stress and anxiety.
Benefit #3: Improved Focus and Attention
The use of a weighted blanket can also help improve focus and attention in children. By providing deep pressure stimulation, the nervous system is calmed, allowing the child to better regulate their sensory input. This can improve their ability to concentrate and focus on tasks.
A study published in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health found that after using a weighted blanket, children with ADHD demonstrated improved attention and focus during classroom tasks.
Benefit #4: Sensory Processing Support
Weighted blankets can be helpful for children with sensory processing difficulties. The deep pressure stimulation can provide proprioceptive input, helping the child better understand where their body is in space.
In a study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, researchers found that using a weighted blanket led to improved sensory modulation in children with sensory processing disorders.
Benefit #5: Improved Mood
Finally, the use of a weighted blanket can improve mood in children. The deep pressure stimulation can help regulate the production of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. This can lead to improved feelings of happiness and well-being.
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that after using a weighted blanket, participants reported reduced anxiety and improved mood.
How to Choose a Weighted Blanket for Kids
When choosing a weighted blanket for your child, it's important to consider their size and weight. The blanket should be approximately 10% of the child's body weight. It's also important to choose a blanket that is comfortable and made from breathable materials.
Weighted blankets can be a helpful tool for promoting better sleep, reducing anxiety and stress, improving focus and attention, supporting sensory processing, and improving mood in children. If you're considering using a weighted blanket for your child, be sure to choose one that is appropriate for their size and weight and made from comfortable, breathable materials. With these benefits, a weighted blanket may be just the tool your child needs for a more restful, peaceful night's sleep.