What is a weighted blanket?
In its simplest form, a weighted blanket is two pieces of fabric, or in the case of Comfort Buddy weighted blankets four pieces of fabric sewn together with a heavy filling inside. This filling is sewn into squares to provide even weight distribution.
Comfort Buddy weighted lap blankets are handmade in Australia using 100% cotton material and thread and are filled with non-toxic poly-pellets. The blankets are lined and double stitched, making them more durable. Comfort Buddy weighted blankets have been designed so one can hand wash or gentle machine wash the blanket.
What are the weighted blankets filled with?
Our Comfort Buddy weighted lap blankets are filled with non-toxic poly pellets and our weighted bed blankets are filled with glass beads. Our blankets are all double lined and double stitched to enusre the pellets/beads are safely secure.
The pellets and beads can be a choking hazard if exposed and injested by children. Seek medical advice if this is to occur.
What are the benefits of weighted blankets?
Weighted blankets are a great sensory tool that provided deep pressure. The deep pressure acitivates receptors under the skin that send signals through the nervous system to the brain. This results in the release of serotonin chemicals. This chemical is considered the 'happy' chemical. With this process in place you may see benifits such as:
Increased focus and attention at the table or floor during school, pre-school and homework
Decreased fidgetting at the table or on the floor
Falling asleep faster and staying asleep for longer
Reduced Sensory Overload
Creates a feeling of calmness and safety within (great for individuals with trauma backgrounds)
Improved car, bus, train and plane trips
Smoother transitions and reduced meltdowns
Reduced Anxiety and increased participation and performance
Who can use our weighted blankets?
ANYONE - ABSOLUTELY ANYONE!
In particaular our blankets may be beneficial for:
Individuals who may find it hard to sit and concerntate for long periods or time.
Individuals that may have difficutly falling asleep or staying sleep
Individuals that experience anxiety in different situations
Individuals that find car, train, bus or plane trips tricky
Individuals who fidget frequently when learning or eating
Individuals who experience a trauma response
Neurodiverse Individuals :)
How do I use the weighted blanket safely?
Weighted Blankets are NOT to be used on your face or neck region.
Weighted Blankets are NOT to be placed in the microwave.
Weighted Blankets can be used on your tummy, legs or back whilst lying down. They can be used on your lap or shoulders whilst sitting on the floor or at a table.
How can I wash the weighted blanket?
The blanket can be hand washed or placed on a gentle machine wash.
The blanket can NOT be:
Placed in the microwave or any heating device
Heavy machine wash
Do not place on or near heater or open fire to dry
What are some problems with using weighted blankets?
For some individuals the weight provided by the blankets can cause additional fatigue. This can be caused by carrying the blanket, constantly moving it or having the blanket on for extended periods of time. This results in the body becoming tired and lethargic, limiting our ability to be calm and attentive or promote a relaxed and deeper sleep. A main cause of fatigue is a result of using a blanket that is too heavy.
Using the wrong weight
Some individuals have the perception that if they purchase the heaviest blanket, they will receive increased benefits. It's important to note this is not how it works. When using a weighted blanket that is too heavy for you it can actually be less effective and become counter productive. This causes your body and nervous system to become stressed, rather than being calmer and get an improved sleep. Most importantly it can be dangerous as it can resist your body’s blood circulation and result in restricted movement during the night
For some individuals with panic disorders and other mental health disorders the sensation of a weighted blanket can have an adverse effect, making them feel more anxious. It can present with feelings of ‘suffocation’ or being ‘held down’. These experiences of increased Anxiety often depend on how heightened an individual is and if under the influcence of any substances.
Become too hot
If you purchase a weighted blanket that is too heavy for yourself, this can result in your body temperature rising. With this occurring you can begin to sweat and become restless which will disrupt your sleep cycle. This is not the purpose of a weighted blanket. Also the majority of weighted blankets come with a beautiful plush outer cover. It provides for a soft and warming feel although for some people this becomes too hot. This makes us feel uncomfortable and agitated impacting our ability to calm, relax and sleep. There is the option to remove the outer cover and sleep with just the blanket or purchase a cotton cover which will provide a more cooling effect.
Not easily portable to take places
When we talk about sensory tools, these are items we can use in any environment to support sensory regulation, participation and function. However weighted blankets are heavy and bulking making it difficult to take them with us wherever you go. This is why we hand make our lap size weighted blankets as they are smaller and lighter allowing them to be packed up and used within any environment.
How do our weighted blankets work?
Sensory integration is an innate neurobiological process and refers to the integration and interpretation of sensory stimulation from the environment by the brain. It is the sensory systems job to take in, process and form outcomes in response to our environment. Ideally it is designed to protect our bodies from danger, as the sensory system relies on ‘pre-programmed’ information and past experiences. However for a number of individuals who experience an array of mental health disorders or medical conditions experience difficulty accommodating, or getting used to, sights, sounds, touch, pressure, tastes and movement around them. In these cases, the sensory input is not integrated or organised appropriately in the brain and may produce varying degrees of problems in development, information processing and behaviour.
If an individual experiences an overwhelmed sensory system or becomes stressed, hormones are released which cause a fight-or-flight reaction. It is during a stress response that a person may become upset quickly and act out with physical or verbal aggression. When someone is fearful for their own safety, its natural to escape the situation and complete whatever is necessary to gain a feeling of safety again. This is where a weighted blanket is extremely helpful.
Weighted blankets attempt to increase overall body regulation by providing input to pressure receptors in the tactile system. So, when we regulate the sensory system, the person generally feels more in control of their body, leading to feelings of calmness and safety, which allows them to move on to other activities and learn other skills which require focus and concentration.
Additionally, many individuals have reported that having a weighted blanket on feels like they are receiving a big hug. Research has shown that hugs release oxytocin. This hormone is known to act on the limbic system (the part of the brain that relates to emotions and motivation) in the brain. When oxytocin is released, humans experience increase feelings of calmness and relaxation, decreased anxiety, feelings of safety and security, and decreased levels of stress. This is the perfect solution for those individuals who may not enjoy a physical hug or is a great substitute when you may not be able to give an individual a physical hug.
For a Visual Representation of how our Comfort Buddy blankers work - Check out Here!