While it’s well-known that ADHD can be managed with medications, therapy and/or lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, other simple tools exist that can help with managing symptoms as well. And, one in particular – the weighted blanket – has grown in popularity in recent years. And that’s for good reason! As explained below there are many benefits of a weighted blanket for ADHD.
Research data shows that weighted blankets can help kids with ADHD and also ones with anxiety issues. The added weight helps them provide much-needed pressure stimulation. This gives your child the body awareness they need to calm their minds and stabilize their bodies.
In this article, we’re going to explain how weighted blankets work, the benefits they offer, and the different types of weighted blankets on the market. We also provide our recommendations for the best weighted blankets for ADHD kids today, and a buying guide to help you choose.
How Do Weighted Blankets Work?
Weighted blankets work on the principle of deep pressure stimulation. They use glass beads, weighted discs, or poly pellets to apply gentle pressure across the body. Put another way, wrapping yourself in a weighted blanket feels like someone is gently hugging your entire body.
Research has found that this approach works. Weighted blankets’ deep-pressure-touch’ approach has been shown to stimulate the release of dopamine and serotonin, two hormones that elevate your mood. It also inhibits the release of cortisol, aka the stress hormone.
By stimulating the release of feel-good hormones and blocking the stress hormone, weighted blankets help you (or your child) feel relaxed. This feeling induces a sense of calmness in their body and mind which, in turn, stimulates the release of melatonin to help them sleep better.
For those in a hurry, here’s our top pick:
Our Favorite Pick
A great addition to your child’s bedroom! This lightweight item still provides a satisfactory amount of pressure without overheating. Brightly colored artwork. Soft to the touch on both sides.
(Note: If Spiderman version is out of stock, the same company sells blankets featuring other licensed Marvel characters.)
Benefits of Weighted Blankets for ADHD Kids
Recent Research Findings
Several research studies from recent years show demonstrable benefits of a weighted blanket for ADHD. The most significant benefits come in the areas of sleep regulation and anxiety relief.
In one recent study, involving both kids and adults, weighted blankets showed a positive impact on falling asleep, sleeping the whole night, and relaxing during the day. Using a weighted blanket also improved the daily morning and evening routines, including preparing for bed and waking up in the morning.
A second recent study investigated whether weighted blankets helped distressed persons experiencing anxiety. The researchers found the use of weighted blankets and weighted lap pads helped lessen anxiety levels.
Both of these studies were consistent with earlier research that found that the use of a weighted blanket resulted in significantly better sleep maintenance, a higher daytime activity level, and reduced daytime symptoms of fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
The benefits of getting a good night’s sleep should not be underrated! Insufficient or disruptive sleep patterns can exacerbate ADHD symptoms. Plus, a consistent lack of refreshing sleep can drag down academic performance and interfere with overall daily functioning.
Help with Sensory Processing Issues
Kids with ADHD are often reported to have significant sensory issues as well.
So, weighted blankets can also help children who are experiencing sensory processing issues, regardless of whether they have also had ADHD.
Weighted blankets help with sensory issues by impacting (and increasing) their proprioceptive processing. Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense its orientation, actions, and movements. It’s one of eight sensory areas (the part of the brain that sends and receives information) impacted by Sensory Processing Disorder.
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Best Weighted Blankets for ADHD Kids
Marvel Comics Avengers Good Guys Weighted Blanket
This weighted blanket will offer your kid the best of both worlds. On the one end, its 5-lbs weight will keep your child cozy and warm in their bed. On the other end, sleeping while hugging their favorite superheroes will help your little one doze off with a smile on their face.
Parents, too, have much to like about this weighted blanket. Its machine-washable fabric makes it easy to care for.
Upon noticing any signs of dirt or dust, you can simply toss the blanket into your washing machine. Just remember to keep the speed setting on low.
What’s more, this product’s fabric is extremely soft – deep minky on one side and light minky on the other, making both of its sides ready to use.
Note that on some versions of this blanket, only the middle 4 of 6 horizontal panels, have weight material inside. This may or may not be a drawback for your child. One benefit of the top panel not having weights is that you don’t have to worry about weight bearing down on your child’s face if he likes to have his head burrowed halfway under the covers. (For example, see the top photo of this post!).
- Lightweight & breathable
- Eye-catching design
- Fade-resistent fabric
- Only 4 of the 6 horizontal panels have weight.
Quility Weighted Blanket for Kids and Toddlers
Multiple features help this weighted blanket set itself apart from the competition. The first among them is its 100% cotton construction. One that has made the blanket extremely soft and breathable. The resulting airflow in and out of the blanket means your child won’t feel suffocated.
Next come the glass beads. Less bulky than poly pellets and smoother than steel beads – two of the other filler materials – the glass beads ensure that the blanket provides even weight distribution. This means the blanket won’t form any concentrated pressure points on your little one’s body.
Neither the blanket’s outer fabric/cover nor any of the beads inside are laced with any toxic chemicals. Children hypersensitive to dirt, dust, or other environmental irritants can safely wrap it around them without the fear of its fabric flaring up their allergies.
One interesting feature of this blanket presents both a plus and a minus — the removable duvet cover. On the plus side, this feature makes it easier to wash the blanket and keep it clean. On the minus side, because the interior weights are not affixed to the duvet, they have a tendency to move over time. This can lead to a weight that is not evenly distributed.
- Machine- washable
- Removable duvet cover
- Variety of pattern, colors and sizes
- Weighted interior beads can become unevely distributed
- Retains a substantial amount of body heat
Luna Kids Weighted Blanket
This cozy weighted blanket appears in a vast array of sizes designed to fit everyone from a toddler to a skinny 5-year old. Its manufacturer has managed to combine 7 weighted layers throughout the blanket, making sure that no matter how your child wears it, the blanket keeps them cozy.
The Luna Kids Weighted Blanket is available in 22 colors, most of which are vibrant enough to catch the attention of your little one. At the same time, the colors are neutral enough to ensure that your little one grows. This blanket doesn’t cease being a regular part of their bedtime routine.
On top of everything else, its 100 percent cotton fabric will allow your kid to sleep cool. Unlike polyesters or glass pellets, both of which trap fiber, cotton naturally regulates the temperature. This means that regardless of how hot/cool it’s outside, your child will feel cozy under this blanket.
- Available in 22 colors
- Comes in 8 different sizes
- Breathable and comfortable
- Cannot be mashine-washed
AN Kids Weighted Blanket
Three features distinguish the AN Kids Weighted Blanket from its competitors we saw above. The first is that it’s less expensive. That too, without cutting any corners (a claim verified by its 100% cotton construction). This makes it a must-have for budget-minded parents.
Secondly, this product is available in far more sizes than the other three. The Marvel Comics Weighted Blanket we saw at the start is available in only one size. The next two blankets, meanwhile, come in 13 sizes each. This model, however, gives you the option of 14 different sizes.
Why, then, is it not our first pick? That’s because you cannot machine wash this weighted blanket. Both its fabric and the inner filling are delicate and can only withstand hand washing. However, if you don’t have any issue with this ‘shortcoming,’ your family might be very happy with this product.
- 100 percent cotton
- Comes in 14 different sizes
- non-toxic glass beads
- Not machine-washable
Sivio Kids Sherpa Fleece Weighted Blanket
Here is another weighted blanket that will help keep your child cozy. It is made of a microfiber fabric that dries extremely quickly and is known worldwide for its stretchability. The microfiber fabric is easy to wash, too, making it an enticing option for whoever does the laundry in your home.
Most other weighted blankets with glass beads make noise. This one is different. It has secured its glass beads with 2 layers of anti-leakage polyester fiber. The non-glue polyester fiber makes sure the beads stay where they were intended to by the manufacturer, ensuring even weight distribution.
Many users complained that this product’s original version’s color faded away too quickly. Sivio, the manufacturer, paid heed to such complaints and upgraded this weighted blanket’s fabric. The update has provided this blanket with a fabric that is as fade-resistant as they come.
- Glass beads stay in place
- Offers even weight distribution
- Soft- and skin-friendly
- Comes in only three sizes
Joyching Weighted Blanket
The Joyching Weighted Blanket is one of the most expensive products in this review. Luckily, it has the features to justify its higher asking price. This model is made of 600TC Egyptian cotton fabric (one of the softest on the market). It’s for this reason that it’s ultra-breathable.
Multiple small pockets on this blanket’s interior help keep the weight evenly distributed, regardless of your (or the blanket’s) orientation. The pockets are also responsible for keeping this blanket quiet – you won’t hear any rustling noise upon turning over or pushing this blanket away.
High-tech double-stitch sewing keeps this product’s weakest points from fraying. Multiple loops and ties help you attach this blanket to any duvet cover to secure it in place. Also, this product is machine-washable and comes with a 30-day replacement guarantee.
- 30-day replacement warranty
- Non-toxic, odorless glass beads
- Has high-quality binding
- Ultra-smooth fabric slips off fairly easily.
YnM Kids Weighted Blanket
The YnM Kids Weighted Blanket is by far the priciest product in this review. Its neutral color scheme means you can use it both on its own or with a duvet cover – though the absence of any loops means you’d have to stitch a few of them on your own if you want to put a duvet cover on.
Multiple users insist this product’s 7-layer construction is unique. We disagree on that part. Almost all weighted blankets these days come with 7-layer construction. Where we agree with the users, though, is that this construction helps this weighted blanket conform to your body shape.
This allows this product to offer better temperature control. Unlike some of the cheap weighted blankets out there, this product hasn’t stuffed inexpensive fiber alongside glass beads to add weight. Instead, as you can see by tearing it open (not recommended), all its interior has are high-quality glass beads.
- High-quality glass beads
- Excellent temperature control
- Excellent sewing construction
- Gives off a faint scent
HAOWANER Minky Kids Weighted Blanket
This Minky Kids Weighted Blanket has only one shortcoming. It’s available in only four sizes whereas some other products out there are offering 13-14 sizes. Everything else about this weighted blanket, from its fleece construction to its cartoon design, is above-par.
Fleece is known as a fabric that offers superior breathability and, by extension, excellent temperature control. It’s also known for its ability to keep oil stains away. Throw into the mix this product’s dark color (though it’s also available in lighter options) and what you’ve is a blanket that won’t show if it’s dirty.
This means excellent news for busy parents who don’t have the time to do laundry every other day. The presence of non-toxic and odorless glass beads in its interior helps this blanket wrap around your kind like a hug, whereas a 30-day moneyback guarantee means nothing could go wrong if you end up buying it.
- Breathable fabric keeps sweat away
- Has a soft plush bottom
- Non-toxic and odorless glass beads
- Uneven weight distribution
- Runs small
Bood Sherpa Kids Weighted Blanket
The Bood Sherpa Kids Weighted Blanket is the last item on our list. That doesn’t mean that its features are somewhat less brilliant than those of the previous 8 models. Need proof? This product offers something which some of the other models you saw above don’t: machine washability.
It doesn’t stop at that. A striped design means it can complement the interior décor of most bedrooms. If, for some reason, you think it doesn’t belong to the bedroom, turn this model over and the flannel strip side won’t let it look out of place on the couch in your living room or TV lounge.
Some users state that they run smaller, though they also admit that it makes up for this ‘shortcoming’ with its ultra-comfortable texture and extremely soft and plush button. We think it’s a good thing that it runs smaller – weighted blankets are meant to be put on from the chin down, especially by kids.
- Can be machine washed
- Has a classy striped design
- Soft on both sides
- Size may run small
Weighted Blankets for Kids
Although weighted blankets are generally safe for kids (explained in the FAQs section), they might not be that suitable for toddlers and infants. There’s always the risk that very young children might find their weight too much, leading to suffocation.
That’s why we suggest that you don’t use weighted blankets for infants and young children, especially those who haven’t passed their first birthday.
Types of Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets can be classified into multiple types based on the type of fabric used, the filler inside the fabric and the weight of the blanket itself. Some of the types might be better suited to your kids’ needs than the others. So make sure to check all of them before buying one for your little one.
On the basis of the fabric used, four types of weighted blankets are more popular than others. They include chenille weighted blankets, Minky weighted blankets, cotton weighted blankets and fleece weighted blankets. Let’s discuss all four types.
- Chenille Weighted Blankets: Made up of chenille, one of the softest (and fullest) fabrics out there, these blankets are extremely comfortable. This makes them the best choice for kids, or for adults struggling with stress and anxiety.
- Minky Weighted Blankets: These are made of plush Minky fabric. The relatively shorter length of their fabric – especially when compared with chenille – gives them a silky touch. Minky weighted blankets are best for users with a colder body temperature.
- Cotton Weighted Blankets: Made of 100 percent cotton fabric, these are the coziest weighted blankets of the lot. This means that even when your room is frigidly cold, you (or your little one) won’t feel a hint of chill under these blankets.
- Fleece Weighted Blankets: Such blankets are flexible, lightweight and comfortable. They’re also highly breathable, making them an ideal choice for areas where temperatures don’t drop below zero. On the flip side, fleece blankets are susceptible to attracting dirt.
Selecting the right filling is an important consideration while choosing a blanket. Mainly because the filler used decides how heavy or otherwise the blanket would be. Also because the filling material has an important role to play in the blanket’s durability.
- Poly Pellets: Made of polypropylene, poly pellets can be easily found in bean bags and stuffed animals. Poly pellets are cost-effective and thus manage to keep the weighted blanket’s cost down, too. They also contour to your body shape. However, poly pellets are more often than not machine washable. Also, they tend to be bulkier.
- Glass Beads: Similar in size to sand grains, glass beads are less noisy and make the weighted blanket less bulky than their plastic counterparts. Their smoother texture also enables them to give the blanket a smoother and higher quality finish. On top of everything else, they are hypoallergenic and much more environmentally friendly than poly pellets.
- Foam Beads: Also known as memory foam, foam beads are made out of polyurethane. They are known to be highly durable and have a high density that lets them offer excellent pressure relief. Not everything about foam beads is hunky-dory, though. They are the heaviest of the lot and are extremely difficult to clean.
- Steel Shot Beads: Heavier than glass beads and more durable than the other three. Their longer size allows fewer steel shot beads to offer more weight. This makes them a cost-effective option, a point you’d do well to remember if you’re on a budget. Keep in mind, though, that weighted blankets using steel shot beads tend to be heavy.
How To Choose The Right Weighted Blanket For Your Child’s Needs
Make sure to select a weighted blanket equivalent to 10% of your child’s body weight. This will allow your little one to push the weighted blanket off without needing any external help. So if your kid weighs 30 pounds, a 3-5 pound blanket will be a good fit.
Here are other points you need to keep in mind while choosing a kid’s weighted blanket:
Make sure the blanket is long enough to cover your child from chin to toe. Any longer, and the added weight might make your child uncomfortable. Any shorter, and the weighted blanket may not be able to activate all the pressure points.
The weighted blanket’s fabric should meet this three-pronged criterion. It must be lightweight, comfortable to lay upon you for extended periods and breathable. Good breathability is key as the lack of good airflow might make your child uncomfortable underneath the blanket.
- Filler Type
Most of the weighted blanket’s weight is contributed by the filling material. There are several types of fillers. However, four of them – poly pellets, steel shot beads, micro glass beads, foam – are more popular than the other. Choosing among the four is a matter of personal preference.
|Poly Pellets||Safe; Non Toxic; Safe to (hand) wash||Not ultra-durable|
|Micro Glass Beads||Eco-friendly; Hypoallergenic; Machine washable||Pricey|
|Steel Shot Beads||Extremely durable; Cost-effective||Heavy|
|Foam Beads||Flexible; Lightweight; Comfortable||Difficult to clean|
Regardless of your weighted blanket’s fabric and filling, its construction should be done to ensure the even distribution of the weight. Otherwise, some parts of the body will be exposed to greater pressure than others, limiting the blanket’s utility.
How to Use a Weighted Blanket
Follow these tips to make full use of your weighted blanket:
- Use it with your current comforter. If your little one faces trouble falling or staying asleep, but aren’t willing to let go of their current comforter, place the weighted blanket on top of their bedding. This will ensure they don’t get an unfamiliar feeling while using it.
- Cover the entire body. For maximum effect, make sure your little one’s body is fully covered (from shoulders to toe) with the blanket. However, if their body needs time to adjust, you can spread the blanket over their legs for the first few days.
- Lie on your back (optional). Users state that they get the best benefits out of their weighted blanket when its weight is evenly distributed across their entire body. Lying on your back will ensure that no single body part has to bear most of the weight.
Weighted Blankets: Care & Maintenance
How to Wash a Weighted Blanket
Before you begin, make sure to read the weighted blanket’s care label. While the external fabric is machine-washable in almost all cases, the internal filling may not be. Even if the filling is machine washable, it may not be washable with the type of water you use for laundry.
For instance, while glass beads are washable in both warm and cold water, plastic pellets will be damaged beyond repair if you give them a spin in warm water. Foam beads/sand filling, meanwhile, is not washable at all. You can only replace it when it’s past its shelf life.
Once you’ve made sure you can wash your weighted blanket, follow these instructions:
Step 1: Remove Stains
Prepare a mixture of warm water and laundry detergent in a bathtub. Dip an old toothbrush into the mixture before using its bristles to scrub the affected area on the fabric. Keep on scrubbing until the stain(s) are fully removed. If dealing with stubborn stains, use a cleaning brush.
Step 2: Start Washing
If your weighted blanket weighs less than 20 pounds, you can clean it on the washing machine’s gentle cycle. Make sure to use a mild detergent. Avoid bleach (it will erode the fabric’s fibers) and fabric softeners (which will hurt the shell’s texture).
If the blanket weighs more than 20 pounds, you have two choices: hand washing or taking it to a laundromat. Using your machine for such a bulky fabric might cause wear and tear. Follow the rest of the instructions from the previous paragraph.
Final Step: Dry It
In contrast to what most people think, weighted blankets don’t take ages to dry. The fact that their fillings are water-resistant helps them dry in 12 hours under full sunlight. If your blanket weighs less than 20 lbs, you can dry it on your machine’s low-heat setting.
If it weighs more than 20lbs, lay the blanket flat on a sturdy rack or a clean wall. However, if you can’t find a clean piece of wall or a rack that could withstand the blanket’s weight, lay out a tarp on the floor and spread the blanket over it. Make sure the blanket’s weight is evenly distributed to avoid bunching.
How do you handwash a weighted blanket?
Follow these steps to hand wash a weighted blanket:
- Remove the weighted blanket’s fabric cover.
- Pour cold water over the stained area. Add a few drops of mild detergent and gently scrub with a cleaning brush. Repeat if the stain isn’t fully removed.
- Fill the bathtub with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. Before you move to the next step, make sure the detergent is thoroughly dissolved in water.
- Submerge the blanket in water. Rub its fabric with both hands to clean any dirt. Submerge the blanket again for 15 minutes before rubbing its fabric again.
- Drain all the water while keeping the blanket in the tub.
- Fill the tub with clean water. Rub the fabric and keep on doing it until the water runs clear – this is a sign that the blanket is clear.
- Take out the weighted blanket from the tub. Place it on the tub’s walls and squeeze it with both hands to drain excess water.
- Air-dry the blanket.
How do you dry a weighted blanket?
If the blanket isn’t heavy enough and you have a sturdy rack capable of withstanding its weight, laying the weighted blanket on the rack may dry it in less than a day. However, if the blanket is excessively heavy, lay out a tarp on the floor and spread the blanket over it for drying.
How to put a duvet cover on a weighted blanket?
Follow these steps to put a duvet cover on a weighted blanket:
- Spread your weighted blanket flat on the carpet. You can also do this on your floor, bed, or any other clean, flat surface. Make sure there aren’t any wrinkles or creases afterwards.
- Flip the duvet cover inside out. Put your hands inside the cover, grab the bottom corners and pull them towards you.
- The duvet cover will have loops. Tie them to the openings left on the sides of your weighted blanket. Make sure the knots are tight. This will keep the blanket from moving around inside the cover.
- Put your hands inside the duvet cover. Grab the blanket inside and push it towards you. Afterward, lay both (the cover and the blanket) on your bed. Make sure the blanket is fully inside the cover.
- Did your duvet cover come with a zipper? Then close the zipper to trap the blanket inside. No zipper? The cover then must have loops. Tie, snap or button them inside. After closing the duvet cover, shake it so that the blanket inside smooths out.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is a weighted blanket made?
A common filler such as glass beads will be blended with padding material (polyester or cotton).
Do weighted blankets help with insomnia?
Yes. Research has shown that weighted blankets can help improve sleep patterns and reduce insomnia.
Are weighted blankets safe for kids?
Yes. Weighted blankets are generally considered safe for kids as long as they can lift the blanket off without external help. But, consult your doctor if your child has asthma, claustrophobia, chronic respiratory, or circulatory issues.
What is inside a weighted blanket?
Typically, weighted blankets have fillers of glass beads, poly pellets, sand, steel beads, etc. The filler provides the blanket with its weight.
Do weighted blankets help people with ADHD sleep?
In a recent study involving both kids and adults with ADHD, weighted blankets showed a positive impact on falling asleep and sleeping the whole night..
The identified benefits of weighted blankets for ADHD kids include better sleep, decreased anxiety, and sensory balance. It can also help your child calm down when they are feeling overwhelmed by senses or emotions.
So, if you have a child who is struggling with anxiety or sensory processing issues and routinely bothered with disturbed sleep, try a weighted blanket. With the help of a weighted blanket, your child could be sleeping soundly through the night and feeling more secure than ever before.
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Last update on 2022-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API