How many new things the mod­ern mar­ket offers us, con­stant­ly updat­ing its assort­ment with var­i­ous and some­times unusu­al prod­ucts. Not so long ago in Rus­sia for the first time they heard about weight­ed blan­kets, which have been active­ly used in med­ical prac­tice and in every­day life in Europe and Amer­i­ca for sev­er­al years. Already from the name you can rough­ly imag­ine the essence of this prod­uct, which is an ordi­nary blan­ket with increased weight. But what is it: a fash­ion­able trick or a real­ly effec­tive inven­tion that can ben­e­fit our body? Med­AboutMe looked into what weight­ed blan­kets are and what their uses are.

Blanket for a healthy sleep

Blanket for a healthy sleep

Weight­ed blan­kets, oth­er­wise known as sen­so­ry blan­kets, are prod­ucts of var­i­ous sizes designed for sleep­ing or relax­ing. Despite the appar­ent sim­plic­i­ty of the design, inter­est in them is grow­ing every year. Sen­so­ry blan­kets are espe­cial­ly pop­u­lar with par­ents whose chil­dren are not like oth­ers and see and feel the world around them dif­fer­ent­ly. We are talk­ing about both young patients with cere­bral pal­sy (CP), autism spec­trum dis­or­der (ASD) or oth­er sen­so­ry dys­func­tions, and chil­dren with atten­tion deficit hyper­ac­tiv­i­ty dis­or­der (ADHD).

Such a blan­ket con­sists of sev­er­al dozen pock­et cells filled with spe­cial mate­ri­als for weight­ing. The role of the weight­ing agent can main­ly be played by a hypoal­ler­genic poly­mer or buck­wheat husk. Today, many man­u­fac­tur­ers are exper­i­ment­ing, chang­ing not only the mate­ri­als used for sewing blan­kets, but also their fillers. On the mod­ern mar­ket, you can find prod­ucts with var­i­ous syn­thet­ic and veg­etable fillers, and even blan­kets with Himalayan salt used for weight­ing. In this way, man­u­fac­tur­ers are try­ing to achieve an addi­tion­al ther­a­peu­tic effect, but the main effect of weight­ed blan­kets is aimed at sen­so­ry stim­u­la­tion of our body.

Tac­tile sen­sa­tions play a huge role in the life of the body. They pro­vide an inex­tri­ca­ble con­nec­tion with the world around us, and for young chil­dren they are the main source of knowl­edge about the exter­nal envi­ron­ment. Feel­ings are direct­ly relat­ed to the needs of the human body and can act as a kind of reg­u­la­tors. The most sig­nif­i­cant tac­tile sen­sa­tions for a child from the moment of his birth and as he grows up. It has been proven that sim­ple touch­es on a child’s body stim­u­late the devel­op­ment of his brain, endocrine and immune sys­tems. Exper­i­ments with lab­o­ra­to­ry rats have shown that if new­born rats are iso­lat­ed from their moth­er, they stop grow­ing. The same thing hap­pens with peo­ple. Chil­dren deprived of mater­nal care are much more like­ly to lag behind in devel­op­ment, and the rea­son for this, in par­tic­u­lar, is the lack of sen­so­ry stim­u­la­tion.

Return­ing to the top­ic of weight­ed blan­kets, it is worth not­ing that such prod­ucts can to some extent com­pen­sate for the lack of tac­tile sen­sa­tions. It is use­ful not only for chil­dren, but also for adults. Accord­ing to the cre­ators and man­u­fac­tur­ers of sen­so­ry blan­kets, sleep­ing under such a prod­uct is akin to a strong moth­er’s embrace, in which a per­son can feel com­plete­ly safe and calm.

What are sensory blankets?

What are sensory blankets?

As men­tioned above, weight­ed blan­kets dif­fer in the type of fill­ing and mate­r­i­al they are made from. But one of the most impor­tant char­ac­ter­is­tics of such a prod­uct is its weight. The mass of a blan­ket, depend­ing on its size, can vary on aver­age from 5 to 15 kg. The weight of a suit­able prod­uct is deter­mined by the per­son­’s body weight. So, for an adult, the weight of the prod­uct, which is approx­i­mate­ly 15% of his body weight, is con­sid­ered opti­mal. When pur­chas­ing a sen­so­ry blan­ket for sleep­ing, a per­son should first of all focus on their own feel­ings and com­fort.

Also, weight­ed blan­kets can have a fixed or adjustable weight:

  • The first are prod­ucts in which the pock­ets with filler are tight­ly sewn up and con­nect­ed to each oth­er. Such blan­kets are more afford­able, but not prac­ti­cal enough to use. When buy­ing a prod­uct with a fixed weight, a per­son can­not be sure that he will be com­fort­able sleep­ing under it. Also, there are cer­tain dif­fi­cul­ties with the care of such blan­kets, because wash­ing a 7–15-kilogram prod­uct in a type­writer is impos­si­ble, but it is very dif­fi­cult to do it by hand.
  • On weight-adjustable duvets, each pock­et is equipped with a zip­per, which allows you to adjust the amount of filler and wash the prod­uct with­out it. Using such weight­ed blan­kets, a per­son can change the filler, choos­ing, for exam­ple, a poly­mer­ic mate­r­i­al for the sum­mer, and a nat­ur­al one (for exam­ple, buck­wheat), which has warm­ing prop­er­ties, for the win­ter. Also, thanks to the adjustable weight, you can dis­trib­ute the load on the body dur­ing sleep, tak­ing into account your own pref­er­ences and feel­ings.

Hav­ing decid­ed to buy a weight­ed blan­ket, you need to choose a trust­ed man­u­fac­tur­er who uses only safe and hypoal­ler­genic mate­ri­als for sewing and fill­ing prod­ucts.

Sleeping under a weighted blanket and health: what’s the connection?

Sleeping under a weighted blanket and health: what's the connection?

In Amer­i­ca and many Euro­pean coun­tries, sen­so­ry blan­kets have long been used in:

  • psy­chi­atric prac­tice, where they help peo­ple with var­i­ous men­tal dis­or­ders improve sleep qual­i­ty and calm down;
  • treat­ment of drug prob­lems, in which sen­so­ry blan­kets help patients to more calm­ly expe­ri­ence the state of “with­draw­al”;
  • den­tistry in order to reduce stress for patients with a pan­ic fear of den­tal treat­ment.

A weight­ed blan­ket acts on the body with what is called deep pres­sure, which affects the pro­pri­o­cep­tors and sends cer­tain impuls­es to the brain, increas­ing the pro­duc­tion of the hor­mones sero­tonin, dopamine and endor­phins — all of which are some­times called “plea­sure hor­mones”. In oth­er words, the sen­so­ry blan­ket allows the brain to under­stand where the body is and pro­vide the opti­mal load on it dur­ing sleep and rest.

Using a weight­ed blan­ket for sleep­ing allows a per­son to relax and calm down. And what could be bet­ter for health than sound sleep?

Accord­ing to the devel­op­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers of such mir­a­cle blan­kets, their use can be effec­tive in autism and cere­bral pal­sy (ICP), Alzheimer’s and Touret­te’s dis­eases, Ret­t’s, Ekbom’s and Asperg­er’s syn­dromes, schiz­o­phre­nia, epilep­sy and many oth­er dis­eases. Also, with the help of sen­so­ry blan­kets, you can fight var­i­ous pho­bias. Their long-term use brings the lev­el of the hor­mone cor­ti­sol back to nor­mal, has a pos­i­tive effect on the work of the car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem, brain, etc.

  • With cere­bral pal­sy, a weight­ed blan­ket can reduce spas­tic­i­ty, and with hyper­ki­ne­sis or atony, it can reg­u­late mus­cle tone.
  • For those with Atten­tion Deficit Hyper­ac­tiv­i­ty Dis­or­der (ADHD), sleep­ing under such a blan­ket helps to relax and calm down, as well as improve con­cen­tra­tion.
  • For patients diag­nosed with autism, the use of a sen­so­ry blan­ket helps to reduce anx­i­ety and nor­mal­ize the emo­tion­al back­ground.

Of course, the sen­so­ry blan­ket is not a panacea in the treat­ment of var­i­ous dis­eases and dis­or­ders, but its use in com­bi­na­tion with drugs and oth­er non-drug meth­ods increas­es the effec­tive­ness of ther­a­py.

Are there any contraindications for using sensory blankets?

When plan­ning to buy a weight­ed blan­ket, it is best to con­sult a doc­tor first. The spe­cial­ist will help you deter­mine the appro­pri­ate weight of the prod­uct and elim­i­nate the pres­ence of con­traindi­ca­tions to its use. The lat­ter include dis­eases of the car­dio­vas­cu­lar and res­pi­ra­to­ry sys­tems. It is also not rec­om­mend­ed to use sen­so­ry blan­kets for peo­ple with impaired ther­moreg­u­la­tion.

Baby sen­so­ry blan­kets can be used from the age of three. And then when choos­ing a prod­uct, you need to make sure that the child does not have dif­fi­cul­ties dur­ing sleep, and at any time he can fold the blan­ket on his own.

Par­tic­u­lar atten­tion when choos­ing a blan­ket should be paid to the char­ac­ter­is­tics of its filler. It should be eco-friend­ly and hypoal­ler­genic.

Who makes sensory blankets?

Who makes sensory blankets?

Today, many com­pa­nies offer tai­lor­ing of weight­ed blan­kets to order. You can also buy a fin­ished prod­uct using the search on the Inter­net. But it is best to give pref­er­ence to trust­ed man­u­fac­tur­ers who can guar­an­tee the qual­i­ty and safe­ty of their prod­ucts. The cost of prod­ucts depends on their size, weight and type of filler. Here is an exam­ple of three pop­u­lar man­u­fac­tur­ers of weight­ed blan­kets, whose prod­ucts are pre­sent­ed on the Russ­ian mar­ket:

Owl Blan­kets

The man­u­fac­tur­er’s assort­ment includes prod­ucts with filler “Owl balls” (syn­thet­ic) or buck­wheat. The size of the blan­kets ranges from 83x122 to 197x198 cm, weight — from 3.3 to 14.1 kg

Heavy Blan­kets

The pro­duc­tion itself is locat­ed in St. Peters­burg, but the deliv­ery of blan­kets is pos­si­ble through­out Rus­sia, as well as to for­eign coun­tries. The com­pa­ny uses polypropy­lene and buck­wheat husk as fillers for sen­so­ry blan­kets. The sizes of prod­ucts vary from 80x110 to 200x200 cm, and weight — from 4 to 17 kg

Blan­kets “Orthome­dtech­ni­ka”

The dimen­sions of the prod­ucts range from 85x125 — 200x200 cm, weight — 4.3–15.4 kg. Filler — buck­wheat husk or poly­mer

In addi­tion to blan­kets, many man­u­fac­tur­ers offer oth­er prod­ucts for sen­so­ry stim­u­la­tion, such as wraps, scarves, toys, vests, etc.


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