Living with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is no small feat. Fortunately, as an enthusiast and advisor around the solutions for those suffering from ADHD, I’ve come across an incredible tool that has made a significant impact: the weighted blanket. Not only do these heavy covers bring comfort, but they also offer a multitude of benefits for individuals with ADHD. This article will dive into what ADHD is, the science behind weighted blankets, their benefits, and how to choose the right one for you or your loved ones.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that has the potential to affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. Its symptoms can make routine tasks challenging and may impact various facets of an individual’s life, from school or work performance to relationships and self-esteem. ADHD is characterized by a range of symptoms, including difficulty paying attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Symptoms of ADHD
For some, ADHD might mean daydreaming consistently, while for others, it’s a never-ending battle against restlessness. Symptoms can also differ based on age and other factors, but they typically include forgetfulness, difficulty following instructions, difficulty staying organized, impulsivity, and excessive energy or activity. These symptoms can range from mild inconveniences to significant challenges, affecting academic performance, occupational success, and interpersonal relationships.
Causes of ADHD
While the exact cause of ADHD is still under investigation, several factors appear to contribute. Genetics play a significant role — a child with ADHD often has a parent or sibling with the disorder. Apart from this, prenatal exposures, such as maternal smoking or alcohol use during pregnancy, premature birth, low birth weight, and lead exposure, have also been associated with an increased risk of ADHD. Neurological factors may also be involved, as brain imaging studies have shown differences in brain structure and activity in individuals with ADHD.
The Science Behind Weighted Blanket ADHD
Amid the numerous treatment options available, weighted blankets have garnered much attention for their potential to alleviate ADHD symptoms. But how exactly do they work?
The Concept of Deep Pressure Stimulation
At the heart of a weighted blanket’s effectiveness is a therapeutic technique known as Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS). It involves applying gentle pressure to the body, which can stimulate the release of serotonin, a hormone that helps regulate mood and sleep. This sensation can have a calming effect, helping to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
How Weighted Blanket ADHD Work
Weighted blankets are designed to apply DPS. They’re filled with materials like plastic pellets or glass beads, which give them their weight. This weight is evenly distributed across the blanket, creating a sensation similar to being held or hugged. This can trigger a chain reaction in the body, reducing the “fight or flight” response, promoting feelings of calm, and aiding sleep.
Benefits of a Weighted Blanket ADHD
When used consistently, a weighted blanket can be a game-changer for someone living with ADHD. Let’s look at some of the ways these blankets can help.
Improved Sleep Quality with a Weighted Blanket ADHD
Many individuals with ADHD struggle with sleep disorders. Insomnia, frequent night awakenings, and restlessness are common issues that can exacerbate ADHD symptoms. The DPS provided by a weighted blanket can help soothe the nervous system, promote relaxation, and help individuals fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Better Focus and Attention with a Weighted Blanket ADHD
Hyperactivity and restlessness can make focusing a challenge for those with ADHD. A weighted blanket can provide a calming effect, grounding the body and reducing the feelings of restlessness. This can lead to improved focus and attention, which can positively affect school or work performance.
Anxiety and Stress Relief with a Weighted Blanket ADHD
People with ADHD often experience heightened anxiety and stress. The soothing pressure of a weighted blanket can help reduce anxiety levels, making it easier to relax and unwind.
Choosing the Right Weighted Blanket ADHD
Choosing a weighted blanket isn’t as simple as picking a regular blanket – several factors need to be taken into account to ensure you get the most out of it.
Consider the Weight
The weight of the blanket is crucial. As a rule of thumb, the blanket should weigh around 10% of your body weight, plus one or two pounds. However, personal preference also matters – some people may prefer a slightly heavier or lighter blanket.
Consider the Material
Materials can vary widely, from cotton and polyester to bamboo and fleece. The right material depends on individual preferences. Some people might prefer a cool, breathable fabric like cotton, while others might want the cozy warmth of fleece.
While weighted blankets used to be quite expensive, the increasing demand and competition have driven prices down. Today, you can find quality weighted blankets ranging from around $50 to over $200. When selecting a blanket, consider its durability, quality, and the reputation of the brand.
Popular Weighted Blanket Brands for ADHD
Here are a few brands that are well-loved in the ADHD community:
Weighted Blanket (Dark Grey,48″x72″-15lbs) Cooling Breathable Heavy Blanket Microfiber Material with Glass Beads Big Blanket for Adult All-Season Summer Fall Winter Soft Thick Comfort Blanket
AG Weighted Blanket Heavy Blanket for Adults 15 lbs | 48” x 78”, Cooling Blanket | Calming Weighted Blanket | Heavy Fleece Blanket, Luxury Cotton Material with Glass Beads
Life with ADHD comes with its challenges, but a weighted blanket can be an effective tool in managing some of these hurdles. From improved sleep to reduced anxiety, the benefits are immense. However, remember that what works for one person may not work for another, and it’s always recommended to seek advice from healthcare professionals before starting any new form of treatment.
- Can a weighted blanket be too heavy? Yes, it’s important to choose a blanket that’s about 10% of your body weight to ensure it’s effective and safe.
- How long should you use a weighted blanket? There’s no set time limit, but many people find it helpful to use throughout the night for improved sleep.
- Are there any risks associated with using a weighted blanket? While generally safe, weighted blankets can pose risks for those with certain health conditions, such as respiratory problems. Always consult with a healthcare professional before use.
- Can children with ADHD use weighted blankets? Yes, but the blanket’s weight should be carefully chosen based on the child’s weight, and always under adult supervision.
- Do weighted blankets get hot? Some can, but many brands offer cooling options made from breathable materials.
*We may earn a commission for purchases made using our links. Please see our disclosure to learn more.