Weighted blanket: why is it needed and how does it affect the body?

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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? Healthy­in­fo 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:

bed, pillow, room
bed, bedroom, hotel
ai generated, couple, bed
ai generated, seniors, pensioners
generated ai, man, the scientist

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.

By Yraa

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