Weighted blankets are used to help bring about a restful state which can induce sleep in certain individuals. Weighted blankets were designed to create pressure stimulation which encourages the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin helps to calm the brain, relieving feelings of anxiety or stress, aiding the body in achieving a good night's rest. The use of weighted blankets is growing in popularity, benefiting those who suffer from insomnia, restless leg syndrome, autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and bi-polar disorder. They can be purchased pre-made or you can make your own at home, adjusting the weight to suit you.
Cut your fabric into uniform square pieces and pin them to one of the blankets, placing them all on the same side.
Stitch the fabric pieces into place, sewing them to the blanket on three sides and leaving the top open, effectively covering one of the blankets with pockets.
Determine the amount of weight you’d like your blanket to have. You should add between 5 and 15 percent of the body weight of the user. For example, if the person who is planning to use the blanket weighs 120 pounds, add 6 to 18 pounds of weight.
Measure the weighted material into easy-to-handle increments, placing ¼ to ½ pound of material into plastic storage bags. Seal the bags, pressing to remove as much air as possible.
Insert the bags into the blanket pockets and then add a strip of Velcro to the pocket tops. This will enable you to easily open or close the pockets and adjust the amount of weight in the blanket or to remove the weights for laundering.
Place the second blanket on top of the first. Stitch them together on three sides, leaving one side open. Place Velcro along the open side of the blanket, allowing you access to the interior and the weights.
Please consult your primary health care provider or an occupational therapist before offering your child a weighted blanket. They can help you determine the amount of need and appropriate usage of this type of tool.