HOW CHILDREN CAN BENEFIT FROM WEIGHTED BLANKETS
In the past few decades, the experiences children are frequently being exposed to has drastically changed. While children of the 60s had frequent face-to-face interaction, dirty feet, freedom to roam the neighborhood, and higher rates of exposure to common allergens, children of the present have instant streaming video, internet connected devices, and an inumberable amount of colors, shapes, and sounds to process on a constant basis.
Addtionally, the number of diagnosed childhood disorders has increased overall. ADHD and other conduct disorders, Autism Spectrum, mood disorders, eating disorders, and PTSD are diagnosed in greater numbers than ever before. While there is some debate about what these stats indicate, the availibility and number of treatment options specific to each of the disorders as each carries with it a distinct set of signs and symptoms. Common to all of these disorders, however, is the disturbance of sleep.
Researchers often refer to “behavioral insomnia,” a learned inability to fall and/or stay asleep. Behavioral insomnia is typically present when a child has an inability or unwillingness to try to sleep unless certain conditions are present, or when appropriate limits are not set. While there are a number of precursors for behavioral insomnia and childhood sleep disturbances, the presence of a mental health disorder can increase the likelihood of troubled sleep. And the type of treatment appropriate for solving a dilemma such as troubled sleep is somewhat of a puzzle.
WEIGHTED BLANKETS FOR CHILDREN
There is frequent debate in the professional world about ethics with regard to medicating children – some are greatly supportive of medication as an option while others view it as a hindrance to typical behavior modification. Recent research recommends that actions to alter a child’s behavior should begin with behavior therapy and non-medication forms of treatment before beginning a medication regimen. While some parents prefer medication as a remedy for the behavior preventing their child from functionally normally, many remain skeptical about the long term consequences of introducing their children to chemical substances at such a young age.
One technique rapidly gaining popularity is the use of weighted blankets as a calm-inducing form of treatment. The use of weight as a therapeutic technique is known to have relatively low risk and is accessible at an affordable price to families in comparison to other treatment options. Clinically referred to as deep-touch therapy, the use of items such as weighted blankets brings to mind the image of swaddling or wrapping a young child in a blanket to promote a sense of security and serenity. Studies indicate two very different forms of touch exist: light touch tends to alert the central nervous system whereas deep, or pressured, touch calms and relaxes. Much like the peace provided by being held, gently-applied, deep pressure encourages the body to relax and come back into balance through an increased release of serotonin. The serotonin is later converted by the body into melatonin prompting tiredness and sleep in a natural pattern. In other words, the use of a weighted blanket can encourage the body and the brain to work together to balance the sleep cycle.
With the incorporation of a weighted blanket during sleep or times of increased stress, a child may begin to rest more peacefully and bounce back more quickly from the turbulence of everyday life experiences.
WHERE TO BUY WEIGHTED BLANKETS FOR CHILDREN
Weighted blankets for children that can be used for sensory therapy are currently on sale from Yorkville Blankets. Yorkville blankets are a premium quality blanket brand that are affordable enough to try out if you are buying your first weighted blanket, but are high quality an made to last. Yorkville Weighted Blankets provide sensory input without too much heat so you can get a good night sleep without tossing and turning or overheating. These weighted blankets can be purchased here or on Amazon.