Imagine how good it feels when you get a big hug or relaxing shoulder rub. Science shows that the input from deep touch releases dopamine and neurotransmitters throughout the body which have a calming effect on the individual.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to constantly feel that relaxation, especially during stressful times, or before going to bed? Fortunately, there is a product available that can provide deep sensory input at any time….. Weighted blankets.
What is a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket looks very similar to a “regular” blanket but instead contains weights inside that provide a constant deep sensory input to help individuals calm down. Fun and Function sent me their weighted blanket to review. The weighted blanket helped my children relax and fall asleep faster than they had before using it. As an occupational therapist, I have seen weighted blankets clam down anxious kids in the classroom too. The weighted blanket works in two ways.
First, it provides constant input to the body which increases body awareness, and that added sense of body awareness is calming in itself. For example, think about how you feel walking around blindfolded…. that uncertainty about where your body is causes anxiety. For some kids, they feel that uncertainty all the time. The weighted blanket acts like a giant pair of calming hands holding onto them, reassuring the body.
The second reason that weighted blankets work is that the heavy weight (also known as deep touch) felt by the skin receptors elicits a chemical change in the body to produce calming, “feel good” hormones. These changes are similar to the changes that take place after heavy exercise like running.
Who can benefit from a weighted blanket
Weighted blankets can be used by all sorts of individuals (except for babies in cribs), regardless of whether the person has a diagnosis or special need, but they can be especially helpful for individuals who have:
- ADHD or ADD
- Autism or Aspergers
- Sensory Processing Disorder or Sensory Issues
- Anxiety/ Depression
- Sleep Difficulties
When should I use the weighted blanket?
- On your child’s bed at nighttime or nap time (not for babies in cribs)
- When your child is doing homework (just wrap blanket around shoulders or fold up on lap)
- Before an anxiety provoking situation such as school, a doctor’s appointment, birthday party, sporting event, or unfamiliar place
Fun and Function’s Weighted Blankets
As a pediatric occupational therapist, I am often asked about where to get weighted blankets. I like to use reputable therapy companies such as Fun and Function because they make high quality products. Fun and Function makes a wide variety of weighted blankets that are durable, stylish, and functional.
The blankets have weight evenly distributed throughout so it never feels lopsided. They can be hand washed and all the blankets are made in the USA. There are also covers available that fit over top of the blanket to customize the blanket to your child’s liking. Fun and Function offers blankets in different sizes and weights to fit your child’s needs.
Fun and Function is a family-owned, kid focused company with a passion for creating the best sensory toys on the planet. They take pride in #EmpoweringDifferent and helping show the world how amazing special needs children are.