• Jen Miller

Weighing in on the Popular “Weighted Blanket” (a.k.a. Gravity Blanket)

Updated: May 18



Have you heard of a weighted blanket or a gravity blanket? I will admit that I have never heard of a gravity blanket before, but I have heard of a weighted blanket. It turns out that these blankets are synonymous with one another. If you didn't get one last year, then you missed out on the HOT, trendy, must-have item of 2018. I must have been living under a rock because I did not know this. If you didn't know this either, don't fret, you can still get one this year for Valentine's Day, your birthday, or Christmas.




When I did some research, I found out that there were a variety of weighted blankets that came in different sizes, weights, and prices.

So…


What is a weighted blanket (a.k.a. gravity blanket)? Weighted blankets have been used as a therapy tool for many years now. What researchers have found out is that most people could benefit from having a weighted blanket if they have difficulty sleeping due to:

  • Autism

  • Sensory Disorder

  • ADHD

  • Anxiety

  • Restless Leg Syndrome

  • Insomnia

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Or what’s mentioned here.

Before I became a parent coach, I was a school counselor. I attended workshops that talked about these blankets. I did not need for them at that time because I didn't think anyone in my family would benefit or need one because they did not have any of the disorders mentioned above.

Before I get to my review of the infamous, weighted blanket, let me share a little background on why we bought three.

When my identical boys (B and N) were around four years old, we began to notice that N would sleepwalk. We first thought it had something to do with being a mouth sleeper and the fact that he snored. After seeing an ENT, he had his tonsils removed, and his adenoids shaved. He slept better but still sleepwalked. Then about a year later, B began to sleepwalk. Luckily, their fraternal brother, R, never succumbed to sleepwalking. He's also our best sleeper who has his own room, which could play a factor on why he sleeps so well throughout the night. As for his brothers, fortunately, sleepwalking wasn't a nightly occurrence for them, but it would happen at least 5-10 times a month but not simultaneously. Lucky us!

If that wasn't scary enough to watch our boys wander aimlessly with their eyes wide open going up and down our stairs in a trance-like state or finding them sleeping somewhere else in our house, we also got to enjoy the occasional night terror with B and N. If you never experienced your child having a night terror, it sounds like someone is in their bedroom peeling off their toenails. One minute you are enjoying a TV show with your spouse or may even be sleeping peacefully in your bed when you hear your child's bloodcurdling screams. There were a few times I thought my husband and I would either trip each other going up the stairs or fall down the stairs because we were running like chickens with our heads cut off in the dark to see what was happening in our son's room.

At first, we had no idea that our son was having a night terror, which is an inherited disorder that I believe came from my side of the family (sorry boys). On top of that, N was less than 4ft away fast asleep without any inclination that his brother was screaming his head off in terror. On the flipside, the same thing happened when N had night terrors, B slept through them. I can only recollect one night B, and N decided it would be a duo performance instead of a solo night terror. That night was hard and not fun for my husband and me.

My husband and I thought we were past waking in the middle of the night, but we were wrong. Let me tell you how easy it is to go back to sleep after nearly having a heart attack in the middle of the night trying to get your child to calm down all the while trying to rationalize with him that the alarm clock was not coming after him or staring at him. I thought he or I was losing our minds. Mind you; he also had a nightlight in the room that illuminated everything. On those nights, we would turn the clock around, only to have N come hours later in the night to our bedroom asking where was the alarm clock. Seriously? We learned the hard way that you should never wake a child that is having a night terror but to stay with them until they are calm again. So talking rationally with an irrational person is not the thing to do or arguing with them that the clock is not after them. Please tell me I'm not the only one that has gone through this madness.

Crazy enough, our boys did not remember these horrifying nights while their parents had bags under their eyes and were dragging their tired feet to the Keurig machine. Thankfully, these were not nightly occurrences either nor did they coincide with the sleepwalking (lucky us). Unfortunately, it became a ritual for my husband and me to take turns being with the sleepwalker or screaming child. The night terrors seemed only to last less than six months for both our sons. For B, it was triggered by something at school that he had no control over. Once we made a change, his night terrors disappeared. We didn't know why N had them unless it's an identical brother thing. (In case you were wondering why we call our identicals "identicals" and not twins, its because they are triplets.)



As for sleepwalking, it is more common than you think in kids. My mother, sister, and my husband were sleepwalkers as kids, too. We've been dealing with our two sleepwalkers for the past two years. If you ever wondered what causes some kids to sleepwalk and others not to, it could be

  • Lack of sleep or fatigue

  • Irregular sleeping habits

  • Anxiety or stress

  • Changed sleeping environment

  • Sick

  • Certain medications

  • Genetics

Some uncommon reasons why kids sleepwalk could be a symptom of a condition like

  • Sleep apnea

  • Night terrors

  • Migraines

  • Restless leg syndrome

  • Head injuries

Now that our boys are nine years old, no one has had a night terror since the age of 6. Praise God! Occasionally, B and N will still sleepwalk throughout our house. It wasn't until recently; I decided to buy some weighted blankets to try out with B. I figured we could take it for a test drive and B could share it with N before making another purchase. B is my "heart with legs." He feels so much for others and tends to worry a lot. I wanted to see if the blanket would help him feel secure at night and sleep better. I decided to get my hubby one because he can be restless at night or have trouble falling asleep.

What's the verdict?


B and N love them. Of course, I had to order one for N. R isn't getting one because he doesn't need it, I think. We'll see. He hasn't tried it yet. My husband said that he gets the BEST sleep with his. I tried it, but it was too heavy for me. It does feel super cozy, but I am a back and side sleeper. It was hard for me to maneuver those positions with 15lbs on top of me.

If you want to try it out, borrow it first or buy it and check out the return policy. It is essential that you get the correct weight for each person. It should be 10% of a person's body weight. My boys are only 60lbs, and I got them a 7lb one. I hope I get at least a year or two out of them before I pass them along to someone else.


From Karen Lewis, Contributor/Writer for Autism Parenting Magazine: https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/weighted-blankets-autism/

Purchase the ones I bought from Walmart For my DH: https://www.walmart.com/ip/NEX-Weighted-Blanket-40-x-60-15-lbs-Heavy-Gravity-Blanket-Charcoal/799616093

For my boys: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Gymax-7-20-lbs-Weighted-Blankets-Twin-Full-Queen-King-Size-100-Cotton-w-Glass-Beads/611505999?selected=true


#sleepwalking #nightterrors #weightedblanket #parentingwithjen #parenting #sleep #kids #struggleisreal

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