Dealing with ADHD can fall somewhere between a winding road and a hair-raising roller coaster. I feel for families who have had sleep problems like ours and I love to share whats working for us. My son has had great success using a weighted blanket for ADHD – it calms his anxiety at bed time and induces a more restful nights sleep.
For many kids, the diagnosis of ADHD is not just about hyperactivity. If you are like our family, it may be the least of your worries. A whole host of other symptoms can come under the ADHD umbrella – anxiety, sensory issues, sleep trouble, emotional disregulation – to name just a few. In out family, we can list anxiety and trouble sleeping at the top of our list.
Sleep is sooooooo important
I know sleep is so important for kids in general, but less sleep can really exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD. Getting the recommended 10 to 12 hours of sleep can be really difficult. Kids with ADHD may have trouble calming themselves down at the end of a busy day. Once asleep, they may wake up frequently and have restless sleep.
I have been hyper vigilant about my kids getting at least 10 hours of sleep a night. (I have an entire blog post devoted to our bedtime routine.) Many nights, even with our time-tested bedtime routine and our supplements, dozing off to sleep was still a challenge.
Enter the weighted blanket.
I was familiar with weighted blankets, but thought they were more for kids falling on the autism spectrum – I did not know they could help someone with ADHD. I was so wrong. In fact, there have been many, many studies which have proven that using a weighted blanket for ADHD can have a therapeutic effect. It was not until a friend shared how a weighted blanket had helped her sons with ADHD that I bit the bullet and bought one for us.
Why weighted blankets work for ADHD
Weighted blankets–where the weight is evenly distributed throughout the entire blanket–can be a great source of Deep Touch Pressure. The pressure can reduce the bodies “fight or flight” activity so often seen with ADHD. Not only that, this Deep Touch Pressure can help with sleep. The pressure releases serotonin in the brain which helps regulate mood and provide relaxation. Serotonin also has a big part in the production of melatonin – your bodies natural sleeping aid.
Many kids find weighted blankets to be a great benefit in many other areas , as well. They can help kids focus on school work and provide relaxation when needed. These adorable weighted stuffed animals are great for use in school settings or while reading or doing homework.
How a weighted blanket helps my son
My son uses his weighted blanket primarily at night to help ease the transition to sleep. Most nights he is asleep in under 10 minutes with this blanket. I can’t tell you what a relief this has been for us. My son gets more sleep and I can relax knowing I get time in the evenings to do a bit of relaxing myself!
When my son was a baby, he LOVED to be swaddled really tightly – swaddling releases all those same great brain chemicals as the weighted blanket – so this makes total sense now. The weighted blanket is giving him that sensory input that his body craves at age 11. My son now says, “Mom, I used to hate sleeping, but now I see how relaxing it can be.”!
How to choose a weighted blanket
There are many different companies that sell weighted blankets. If you are a patient seamstress you can even make one. I bought ours from SensaCalm and this one and this one look similar. Blankets are typically sold according to a childs age and weight-and yes, they make them for adults, too! The SensaCalm sight has a really nice “how to purchase” section.
My son was about 70 pounds when we purchased ours and his weighs 8 pounds. Children may prefer a slightly lighter or heavier blanket than suggested, so make sure you can exchange your blanket. The blankets are not huge and are meant to fit just over the body. We use ours over a down comforter in winter and with a lighter blanket in the warmer months.
Weighted blankets are costly. I can honestly say, it is one of the best ways I have spent money in a long time. (SensaCalm does have a great clearance section where I purchased ours.) The benefits of a restful nights sleep effect so many other aspects of my son’s – and our family’s life.
Want more about ADHD?
Read about my favorite breakfasts for ADHD here.
Need more help getting your ADHD child to sleep. Read about our successful sleep routine for ADHD here.
In the market for a good parenting read? I share three of my favorites here.
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Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase a product with these links I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I purchase myself and have had share-worthy success with.