May 12, 2020
How weighted blankets can lift heavy little hearts
Weighted blankets are a practical way to help your kid get more peaceful sleep. When little hearts are dealing with big worries, the calming effect that flows from sleeping under weight can help your kiddo cope better at night, and during the day.
Safeguarding our kids from the hardships of growing up, as much as we would like to, is impossible. Life happens.
We’ve all lost people, pets, relationships and opportunities. We’ve all been left stressed or anxious (or both) while trying to make sense of life’s losses. The best we can probably do for our kids is help them find healthy coping mechanisms for when these inevitably stressful, anxious or sombre moments come along.
It’s no secret that when we’re stressed-out or going through grief, our sleeping habits suffer too. Kids are no different. Setting your child up for quality sleep goes a long way in helping them cope. And finding more joy in life.
Need something practical to help your kid get more peaceful sleep? Try one of our weighted blankets. When little hearts are dealing with big worries, the calming effect that flows from sleeping under weight can help your kiddo cope better at night, and during the day.
Stress, grief and sleep issues go hand in hand
A sufficient amount of sleep is vital for a child’s health, growth and normal emotional development. Besides leading to a range of difficulties like stress, anxiety, obesity or stunted growth, disrupted sleep is a common symptom of grief in both adults and children, and simultaneously exacerbates that grief.
A stressed or grieving child’s sleep issues can show up in different ways. Some children have trouble falling asleep. They’re tired but simply can’t doze off. Others wake up frequently during the night. Or perhaps both. These disturbances wreak havoc on the restorative aspects of a young person’s rest, leaving them sleep deprived.
Sleep deprivation restricts your child's capability to concentrate, learn, discover and efficiently perform general everyday tasks. It makes coping with stress triggers or feelings of angst extremely hard - let alone deal with a loss.
When little hearts are trying to cope with big emotions, getting enough sleep is indispensable and at the same time not an easy feat. Breaking this debilitating cycle can be incredibly challenging. But take heart, we’ve made it our mission to come up with a natural, simple solution.
How weighted blankets can lighten heavy hearts
A weighted blanket is a simple starting point for helping your emotionally-strained child get better sleep. When a stressed or anxious child rests under evenly distributed weight, it has a remarkably relaxing effect.
Bringing about this calming sensation, a weighted blanket gears your child’s body to fall asleep easier and sleep deeper, lowering stress and anxiety levels. A rested and relaxed mind paves the way for developing those crucial coping mechanisms a child needs.
Finding this soothing sleepy dust a bit more fiction than fact? The science behind weighted blankets is actually firmly rooted in the principles of Deep Touch Pressure (DTP).
What is Deep Touch Pressure (DTP)?
DTP is a tactile sensory input like a long hug, a massage or cosying up under a weighted blanket (our top choice, of course!). The benefits of DTP lay in the body’s increased uptake of serotonin and melatonin.
Serotonin is known as our happy hormone. Low serotonin levels are often involved when our kids struggle to relax and appear moody. Serotonin also directly impacts melatonin - our chief sleep hormone. If your kid is tossing and turning long after bedtime, low melatonin is a likely cause.
Sleeping under a weighted blanket helps increase the release of both these hormones. This leads to better, deeper sleep that leaves your kid’s body and brain refreshed.
But the neurochemical necessities don’t stop there! Cortisol, our stress hormone, is necessary in healthy bouts. But when cortisol reaches unhealthy levels, tension gets the better of us. If your kid is really feeling the pressure of exams, or is visibly anxious about social achievements, or experiencing grief, their cortisol levels are on the rise.
Kids need grounding...and a maybe a nap
Studies show that cortisol levels are effectively decreased through “grounding”. Grounding is a wellness concept that involves connecting your body to the ground. (No, Dad, not the same thing as being grounded for coming home after curfew…).
Weighted blankets have a grounding effect on your body, keeping cortisol levels under control. Sleeping under a weighted blanket can help your child kiss those high stress-levels goodbye, as you kiss them goodnight.
Get grounded during daytime with a barefoot walk on the beach, or running barefoot over a lush lawn. It just might leave your child (and probably you too, Mom!) feeling a bit more carefree.
If going outside isn’t an option, an afternoon nap can work wonders. If it’s nowhere near bedtime and your kid is clearly not coping well with the demands of the day, snuggling up for a rest under one of our weighted Nappers is a simple way to re-centre.
Our Nappers come in different weights, and our guidelines (your Napper should be roughly 10% of your body weight) are pretty standard for adults. With kids, it’s not as simple a match, and we’ve seen many children prefer heavier weights than the standard percentage recommends. We’ve received so many messages from parents telling us their kiddos simply love the heavy weight of their Nappers.
If your child is older than three years, it’s perfectly safe for them to snuggle up with you under your blanket. Let them guide you on what weight feels comfortable for them. Many kids respond well to much heavier weights, so just make sure they’re comfy and cared for while they’re taking some time under weight.
What else can bring about better sleep?
Investing in a weighted blanket is a practical and effective way to address your child’s sleeping difficulties. But like most hurdles in life, troubled sleep is best overcome with an holistic approach.
What else can help improve sleep? Here are a few useful tips:
- Look at the lighting in your child’s room. The darker, the better. If your little one is not comfortable with the dark, which most little ones aren't, opt for a night light with soft amber-yellowish hues.
- A cooler room temperature is more conducive to uninterrupted sleep. Make sure your child’s room has good airflow. Opt for breathable, organic bedding.
- Avoid excess amounts of chocolate or sugary cereals, as these are generally high in caffeine and sugar - both enemies to a good night's rest.
- Guide your child through a kid-friendly meditation. Meditation can be an excellent tool for setting young minds (and bodies) at ease before tucking them in for the night.
- If meditation isn’t really your thing, deep breathing exercises at bedtime can be equally helpful.
- Try to maintain regular bedtimes as well as waking-up times. This helps regulate the internal body clock - also known as circadian rhythm. Sleep science shows us that a healthy circadian rhythm leads to better sleep and improves our mood.
Joy in sleep, joy in life
As parents, we do our utmost to hold space for our kids to live a joyful life while having to learn how to cope with all its hills and valleys. At Bearaby, we believe that sleeping soundly helps us feel happier and cope better. This joyful conviction forms the base of our blanket design, so your kid can have that happy childhood, during the day and at night.
• If your child is stressed, anxious or dealing with grief, sufficient sleep is crucial in developing healthy coping mechanisms. Yet, these issues are often the root of disrupted sleep, trapping our kids in a troublesome sleep-deprivation cycle.
• A weighted blanket is a natural, simple starting point to remedy your kid’s disrupted sleep.
• Weighted blankets use science-based fundamentals of Deep Touch Pressure to bring about neurochemical balance, helping your child feel more relaxed and sleep better. And you’ll find it adds a little more joy to their day too!
Did you know?
A recent, large-scale Happiness Survey indicated that sleep is a key indicator of a child’s wellbeing.