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Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Weight of my mind - sweet dreams

Do I really need to buy a weighted blanket?
Do they work? Is this part of a sensory diet? Why do they work? This was [more or less ] the most interesting google search question this week. Or two weighted blankets in our case? I might add that this item is just about the most hidesouly expensive thing anyone would ever care to buy. I don’t know what you consider to be affordable or within budget but if you require two, as we may do, that is a pretty hefty investment. If you add the postage costs, remember, they’re weighted which means by very definition they are heavy, then more dollars are floating away than I am able to count. However, I digress.

Do they work? This should be where we really start. The benefits of weighted blanket are well documented elsewhere, primarily in the ‘calming the fizzy sensory system.’ As with most therapy items, a weighted blanket is unlikely to cause miracles but used in combination with other treatments, together, they may help provide a more balanced yet full sensory diet.

Children, autistic or otherwise, often benefit greatly in the sleep department from any number of different calming techniques together with a sensitive, carefully tailored night time routine. Some of us may remember the benefits of swaddling babies, either swaddling our own babies, or being the swaddlee ourselves when we were babies. The swaddling technique used to be quite commonplace.

Although many manufacturers claim that their blankets are fully washable, if a child is a frequent bed wetter then be sure to read the fine print large!

However, to answer the question more directly, I only need to recall when I was a youngster in the ghastly days of sheets and blankets, long before leisurely duvets were invented, or rather imported from our European cousins into England. Those were the days when there was no other option but to make the bed daily to restore order to the messy higgledy piggledy pile. However, it did have the added benefit then when a parent came upstairs at the end of a long and weary day, they did indeed ‘tuck us in.’ My Mum, in particular, would snap those sheets so tightly across my bod it was like being laced into a corset, and almost as breathless. The net result, apart from a concave chest, was a blissful night of sleep, secure if not padlocked. So if you want to save yourself a whole tonne of money, toss the comforter and invest in the old fashioned. You may even be able to borrow the old stuff from a close and crumbly relative.

p.s. really skilled sleepers who have been cocooned in this elastic fashion, soon learn to remain static during sleep and if they’re really, really clever, they can squiggle out of the bed in the morning, to allow the sheets to ping back into place with barely a visible wrinkle, which neatly takes care of the bed making problem.

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