Does your child suffer from sleep issues?
If so, The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) estimates that they lack shut-eye along with about 69% of children 10 and under. This problem can significantly impact their overall health.
Let’s take a look at the impact of sleep issues and see whether or not you should use weighted blankets for kids.
How Trouble Sleeping Impacts a Child’s Health
Children should sleep about 10-12 hours each day. Not sleeping enough affects them both mentally and physically.
Lack of sleep increases the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body. This will make the child feel moody and irritable, leading to chronic temper tantrums.
This not only affects the peace of bystanders. The exhaustion impacts the child’s mental clarity causing:
- Lack of motivation and interest
- Decreases creativity
- Impulsive behavior
For school-aged children, this can create difficulty learning and socializing. When this occurs chronically, they may appear to suffer from a learning disability, when in reality they just need more sleep.
Physically, chronic sleep trouble causes:
- Blurred vision
- Body Aches
Sleep deprivation also throws off their coordination and sets them up for falls and playground accidents.
It weakens their immune system, making them more susceptible to illness. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to serious conditions in the future. Some of these include obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even early mortality.
Can Weighted Blankets for Kids Help?
In short, yes! Weighted blankets can help counteract many causes of sleep deprivation in children.
What are Weighted Blankets for Children?
As the name suggests, weighted blankets contain fillers that make them heavy. They can generally weigh anywhere from 5lbs to 30lbs.
Are They Safe?
Do not try to use a weighted blanket to soothe your crying infant to sleep. In fact, any un-swaddled blanket can lead to suffocation or increase the risk of SIDS.
With that said, a weighted blanket should not pose a risk to your older child. After the age of two, your child can benefit from a weight appropriate blanket.
To determine the weight for your weighted blanket, calculate 10% of your child’s body weight and add 1-2 lbs. For instance, if your little one weighs 40lbs, you multiply that by .10 to get 4lbs, and then add 1-2 additional lbs. This would prompt you to buy a 5-6lb blanket for your 40lb child.
How Do Kids’ Weighted Blankets Work?
The extra weight in these blankets does everything from soothe your little one to change their inner workings to better accommodate sleep. Let’s look at reasons your child may suffer from sleep deprivation and how the blanket counteracts them.
Anxiousness can keep children awake at night, causing a chronic sleep issue. Many people turn to potentially dangerous medications out of desperation, which can cause restlessness, headaches, dizziness, digestive issues, dependency, and further trouble sleeping.
Before turning to pills, you may want to try this natural remedy to easing anxiety and helping your child sleep. To start, think about how swaddling an infant calms them, as this works through the same mechanisms.
Cortisol increases anxiety. As mentioned earlier, the body produces more when sleep-deprived, but it’s repercussions include further sleep deprivation, putting the poor kid into a nasty cycle of sleeplessness.
Weighing down the body decreases cortisol production. This will help reduce stress levels, therefore reducing anxiety and allowing for sleep.
Low levels of one of the body’s feel-good chemicals, serotonin, is also associated with anxiety. Serotonin decreases heart rate and blood pressure, which calms the nerves and helps ready the body for sleep.
Many anxiety medications increase serotonin levels in the brain for this reason. However, by placing pressure on muscles and joints, weighted blankets trigger the body to naturally rev up serotonin production.
Serotonin also helps the body produce another hormone important for sleep, called Melatonin. Melatonin works in the brain to help you feel drowsy and to regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
Kids who sleepwalk may not find it difficult to fall asleep. However, their quality of sleep is severely compromised.
Sleepwalking stems from many causes. Weighted blankets for children can help many of them and may help your little sleepwalker stay put.
First, it takes more effort to get up with the weight on you. That may be enough to keep your children in bed.
Second, the weight will help keep your child more comfortable and calming. The suppression of the central nervous system caused by the weighted blanket will help tame sleepwalking causes like anxiety and sensory issues that your child may suffer from.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring and sleep apnea may produce very different consequences. But they can stem from similar causes and definitely inhibit sleep. Sleep apnea not only hinders sleep, it can lead to life-threatening problems.
You may think that extra pressure on the chest would make breathing more difficult and increase these respiratory nuances. However, weighted blankets actually do the opposite.
As the extra weight calms the nervous system, it relaxes the respiratory system. This opens up the airway more and allows for easier breathing.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome affects about 1.5 million kids in the United States. This neurological condition creates an insatiable urge to move the legs, especially while resting. As you can imagine, this has a profound impact on sleep.
In restless leg syndrome, the nerves get fired up during rest, creating the impulse to move. As the weighted blanket decreases cortisol and increases serotonin to soothe the mind, it quiets the nervous system.
A kid’s weighted blanket may help your child who suffers from this condition rest better by applying pressure to the legs as well. When the nerves fire up, the pressure in a sense overstimulates them to shut them back down.
Other Uses for a Kid’s Weighted Blanket
Though weighted blankets can work wonders for sleep, you can use them outside of the bedroom as well. Parents may want to keep a weighted blanket on hand if their child suffers from a sensory processing disorder, an autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, or severe ADHD.
In the same way that heavy blankets help the children fall asleep, they can also calm them in an emergent situation or prevent one from occurring. If your little one suffers from any of the above conditions, keep a weighted blanket in a backpack so you always have it with you.
This can help you soothe your child in the car and public places. It may also help them learn better in school if a readily available blanket soothes them immediately without disruption or the need to remove them from the classroom.
Best Weighted Blankets for Kids
Finding the right weighted blanket for your child may require some research. Here are some of the better options!
Best Weighted Blankets for Toddlers
When buying a weighted blanket for tykes, you want to take several factors into consideration.
First, safety. You do not want something that will rip open easily, spilling out tiny choking hazards.
Second, washability. Toddlers are messy little creatures, so you want something with a removable cover that you can throw into the wash without compromising the quality of your blanket.
Third, comfort. The blanket should feel good to them. Nylon, acrylic, and polyester covers do not absorb moisture and can stick to them if they sweat at night. Natural materials like cotton typically provide more comfort.
Fourth, aesthetics. To a child, a blanket is not just something to cover with. Choose colors, patterns, or pictures they will love and find soothing.
With that in mind, choose between the HARKLA, Mosiac, or the ZonLi weighted blankets. If you need a second blanket to take around, Target offers fun character blankets for comparably low prices that will work well to calm your child during the day. HARKLA also makes sensory swings and weighted lap pads that may also work well for your little one.
Best Weighted Blankets for Teens
Teens may give you a little more leeway than a toddler, but they come with similar weighted blanket requirements.
LUXOME cooling weighted blankets are perfect for hormonal teens who suffer night sweats often. It will keep them dry and cool as they sleep with the extra weight over them. As a perk, this blanket is also hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and eco-friendly!
Unfortunately, weighted blankets can cost quite a bit. For something more affordable, without compromising quality, get your teen a Helix weighted blanket. It provides softness and even weight distribution, like some of its pricier alternatives.
HARKLA also makes weighted blankets in larger sizes. So your teen can benefit from one of these as well.
HARKLA works especially well for kids with sensory processing disorders. They are super soft, but also provide a dot matrix that your child might enjoy rubbing against their hands.
Soothe Your Little One With a Weighted Blanket
As a parent, you want to give your child the best life possible. This means helping them sleep so that they can enjoy each day both happy and healthy.
Weighted blankets for kids offer you a natural alternative to medications so that you can make this happen. Find more information about weighted blankets on our website!