A mental health expert talks about the benefits of using weighted blankets.
A certified mental health professional weighed in on – you guessed it – the benefits of using a weighted blanket.
Recently, we wrote about how weighted blankets can help people with autism and insomnia (and ADHD and OCD and PTSD). And while we still believe that they’re great, we wanted to know if there was even more benefit to using something like this.
So, we decided to ask Jennifer, a certified mental health professional who’s worked with many people on the autism spectrum. She has noticed that weighted blankets are very helpful for individuals on the spectrum or with sensory disorders because they can help them calm down—and even feel sleepy. “One of the biggest things I hear often is how weighted blankets can help with better sleep,” she says. “They are a fantastic sensory [resource] to [practice] deep pressure touch stimulation, [which is] calming and soothing.” She adds that this type of therapy can be helpful for people looking to relax and fall asleep faster than usual—and stay asleep through the night.
(Fun fact: If you search “weighted blanket” on Amazon, a bunch of people have posted positive reviews about the product helping with insomnia.)
Although some doctors and therapists recommend against using weighted blankets or lap pads for those with sensory issues, Jennifer thinks it can be a great sensory resource as long as it’s implemented correctly. For example, she always advises that you “start small and slow” with anything that involves weighted blankets. “For many people seeking weighted blanket therapy, they do tend to be a little bit pricey,” she adds. So if you’re just getting started, she suggests buying a 10- or 15-pounder ($30 on Amazon) instead of going straight for the 25-pounder ($65 on Amazon) and building up from there if you notice that it is helpful.
If you’re considering buying a large weighted blanket, Jennifer also says it’s important to research the company and know its return policy. She recommends only purchasing the product from a company that has been around for a while (no fly-by-night operations, please) and has a good reputation.
“I love to see people thrive and succeed,” she says, “so I would recommend weighted blanket therapy as long as it’s done correctly and there is research and evidence behind the company,” Jennifer notes that there are great resources on this topic online if you want more information.
She adds that people should start normalizing the use of a large weighted blanket because it positively impacts so many people. “[Weighted blankets] can help with stress relief, calmness, relaxation, and I’m sure the list goes on,” Jennifer says. “If it’s in your budget and you find that it helps you in any way to better function in life, then absolutely purchase one.”