People all over the world have long known the magical properties of sleeping with a weighted blanket to improve their sleeping schedule and getting a better night's rest. However, the popularity of weighted blankets began within the support communities for parents who have children with ASD—often referred to as ‘ball blankets’.
In this article, we want to immerse you with the science behind weighted blankets, how this could help your child, and show you a few case studies from parents who purchased a YNM weighted blanket for autism-related purposes. Before we get to this, let’s first recap on what a weighted blanket is!
What is a weighted blanket?
The best way to describe the experience of weighted blankets is to imagine yourself laying under 5 or more chunky duvets. The trick, however, is that we achieve this sensation with a single blanket which is as thin as a single duvet and provides the same warmth properties as a single duvet! More information on how weighted blankets work can be found here.
How are weighted blankets made?
The process is very simple! We take various fabrics (from cotton, bamboo, and minky) and stitch them together. In the space between the two layers, we create dozens of square pockets.
Inside of these pockets, we fill them with thousands of micro-glass beads. It’s the combined weight of these beads and the perfect distribution which gives the blanket its weight without bulking out the blanket itself.
These micro beads are perfectly safe and are secure within their own pockets. We use innovative stitching technology to ensure this is the case!
What are the effects of using a weighted blanket?
The final product is a large blanket which gives the effect of feeling like you are being hugged constantly. This mostly comes into effect when you’re sleeping at night, but is just as viable when relaxing around the house.
When sleeping at night, this helps to ‘ground’ your body with a constant source of gentle pressure. Your body remains still and feels like falling asleep in the warm embrace of a loved one. This has helped millions of people fall asleep faster and wake up feeling refreshed.
Because we use glass beads with the YNM weighted blankets, they do not absorb a lot of heat—you remain cool as you sleep! Some people will still sleep hot, which is why we introduced a range of weighted blankets made with bamboo viscose. These have better breathability and will keep you even cooler as you sleep.
How can weighted blankets be used to help people with ASD?
Sure enough, it is this ‘hugging’ sensation, which is the source of helping children with ASD. In therapeutic terms, we know this as deep touch simulation (DTS).
As the blanket applies gentle pressure to the body, this releases serotonin into the brain. This feel-good chemical is the same chemical that is released when we hug someone! Therefore, helping you to feel relaxed and calm.
It is with this effect in mind which some parents have used weighted blankets to help calm their loved one after a period of anxiety. Meaning you can use the blanket in the bedroom and improving their sleep as well as general use around the house.
You can read dozens of clinical studies that delve into the science of DTS and the effects it can have. To get you started, you can read this study fronted by scientist Mickey Losinski; a leading practitioner for research into helping young people with various disabilities.
How YNM combines research with development
With this in mind, we wanted to create the perfect weighted blanket for people with autistic spectrum disorders. Our latest release is the Minky Weighted Blanket.
Understanding the importance of touch, we set out to design a blanket that provides additional sensory stimulation. First, we began with the fabric for the blanket. Minky is soft, warm and delicate—perfect for recreating the hugging feeling of the embrace of a loved one.
What sets the Minky weighted blanket apart from every other product on the market is our use of dozens of small tactile bumps.
This additional sensory stimulation adds a new layer of depth gained from the overall experience of using a weighted blanket. Combined with the delicate fabric, it’s certain to be a household favorite and loved by all!
What are the experiences of parents using YNM weighted blankets for autism?
As the best-selling weighted blanket on the Amazon marketplace, we have a large review pool which contains thousands of stories by people using weighted blankets to aid their various sleep-related conditions.
Among these reviews, you will find plenty of stories from parents talking about their experiences with the YNM weighted blanket and their children with ASD. Below, we present some of our favorite experiences shared with the public:
“I’m in shock. Every school day morning for the past 3 years has been a battle. Crying, fighting, yelling, “I hate school!”, “I don’t want to!”, refusals to even put on clothes. Then when finally out of bed, acting as if he’s never seen socks in his life. All gone. He finally got a good nights rest!
Normally my son tosses and turns, wakes up repeatedly, and complains of nightmares/vivid dreams. Suddenly at 7 years old, he had started climbing in our bed every night because he couldn’t sleep and needed us. At my wits end I ordered this blanket, overnight delivery.
This morning was amazing. Not only did he sleep all night (he woke up once because he kicked off the blanket), but he woke up in the best mood I’ve ever seen. Dressed himself, even managed to button his pants for the first time ever without my help! I couldn’t believe it. Brushed his teeth with no complaints, found his own shoes, and was out the door. All the things I knew he could do but has simply been too exhausted to do, done. I’m so happy I could cry!
If your child has ADHD or Autism and you’re wondering if this is worth the try, let me tell you, it is. It so very much is. Seeing them happy and functioning in the morning because they FINALLY got a good nights sleep is worth every penny.”
““I received the blanket right on time and it is made very well. It is very comfortable and helps me to relax so that I can sleep better. My son has autism and I have also had him try this blanket. He said that it helps him. He has even dragged it into the living room to provide comfort! I am looking at purchasing a second asap!! I have not had the need to clean this because I have just gotten it, but I did get an outer duvet cover to help protect the actual blanket. Thank you for a great customer experience.”
“My son is autistic, and like many autistic kids, has tons of trouble getting to sleep. With his sensory issues, he does things like twitch, move, and have his feet always touching something, even when he's sleeping, making it difficult for him to stay asleep. With this blanket, even after five minutes, he was still. He wasn't bouncing, moving, or swinging his legs. He felt comfortable, calm, and focused. It was a miracle. I throw it on him every chance I get and he is now sleeping better through the night. His grades are better, his attitude is better, and he appears more relaxed.”