What Is A Weighted Stuffed Animal And Why You Need One
In this blog, we discuss what weighted stuffed animals are and what benefits these huggably heavy plushies offer.
Plush toys bring a sense of security and comfort to both children and adults alike
Weighted stuffed animals are heavy plush toys that typically weigh between 1 to 5 lbs.
The weight of plush toys cues the effects of Deep Touch Pressure (DTP) which can help with anxiety relief.
Did you know?
Scientists have found that weighted plushies can be beneficial for people with anxiety, sensory challenges, and ADHD.
Sleeping with a stuffed animal by your side is a soothing habit most of us outgrow as we enter adulthood. Or is it? A 2017 study showed that around 40% of adults still sleep with a stuffed animal. In this blog, we’ll explore the world of weighted stuffed animals: what exactly they are, and how – even in adulthood – they can help us sleep better and feel calmer.
What Are Weighted Stuffed Animals?
Weighted stuffed animals are just what the name suggests: stuffed toys that come with an extra surprise inside – weight! Some people refer to them as “weighted plush toys” or “heavy stuffed animals”.
Unlike regular stuffed animals, which are soft and light, these special plushies pack a little extra heft. They can weigh anywhere from 1 to 5 pounds. But this extra weight isn’t just for show; it’s for good reason.
Why Are Weighted Stuffed Animals Heavy?
Weighted stuffed animals are all about something called “Deep Pressure Stimulation” or “Deep Touch Pressure” (DTP). DTP is best described as the comforting feeling you get from a gentle bear hug from a loved one – the kind that makes you feel cozy and secure. And this bearhug sensation isn't just fluff; it's backed by science!
When these plushies give you a reassuring squeeze, it triggers your body to release feel-good chemicals like serotonin (the happiness hormone) and dopamine (the reward hormone). It's like having a built-in relaxation buddy, perfect for taking the edge off anxiety and stress. Scientists have even studied this magic touch and found that it is helpful for folks dealing with anxiety, sensory issues, and ADHD.
In the next section, we discuss the benefits of these cuddly friends in more detail.
What Are The Benefits of Weighted Stuffed Animals?
Weighted stuffed animals bring a host of soothing benefits.
Stress and Anxiety Reduction
Life can get pretty stressful, and while weighted stuffed animals are not an all-encompassing cure… they can be pretty helpful. The extra weight they carry can activate your body’s “rest mode.” It’s like a pause button for your worries, helping you feel calm and relaxed.
Have trouble sleeping? Weighted stuffed animals can lend a helping hand. The DTP that is naturally cued when you rest under or snuggled up to a weighted plush, can help you drift off to dreamland faster.
Not only that, but cuddling up with a weighted stuffed animal can even slow down your breathing and heart rate, naturally promoting relaxation.
Assistance with Sensory Processing Disorders
Weighted stuffed animals are a helpful tool in regulating sensory overwhelm. Whether you’re dealing with a diagnosed sensory condition or might just be looking for a simple and sweet way to wind down after a particularly stressful time, the soothing effect of DTP harnessed from cuddling with a weighted plushie is a great way to reset your nervous system.
Positive Effects on ADHD
ADHD can lead to hyperactivity and increased stress levels. Hugging a weighted stuffed animals can help your body and mind find focus and calm down, easing some of these challenging symptoms.
Impact on People with Autism
Weighted stuffed toys offer a sense of security through their gentle weight and are often used in autism therapy as they can help reduce anxiety, improve strength, and enhance fine and gross motor skills.
With this better understanding of the benefits that weighted stuffed animals offer, let’s look at some considerations when it comes to weight
How Heavy Should A Weighted Stuffed Animal Be?
Weighted stuffed animals typically range from 1 to 5 pounds. But what’s the right weight for you or your little one? It depends on your age and personal preferences.
- If you’re picking one for a child, it’s essential to ensure the stuffed animal isn’t too heavy for them to carry. Grown-ups, on the other hand, can handle a bit more weight. For adults, stuffed animals weighing between 3 to 5 pounds can provide that deep pressure sensation that promotes relaxation.
It is important to remember that your comfort matters. The right weight is the one that makes you feel snug and secure without being too burdensome.
Safety Considerations for Both Adults and Children
It's crucial to ensure that the weighted stuffed animal you opt for is safe for all age groups. Make sure there are no loose parts or small objects that could pose a choking hazard, especially for little ones. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to guarantee a safe and soothing experience.
What Other Materials Are Used To Give Stuffed Animals Weight?
There are multiple items that can be used to add weight to a stuffed animal. Here are some sustainable alternatives that are used instead of traditional filling materials like plastic pellets or glass beads:
1. Organic Grains or Legumes: These include organic rice, lentils, or dried beans, all of which are natural materials, hence biodegradable and non-toxic.
2. Recycled and Upcycled Materials: Some stuffed animals are made using pieces of recycled fabric or pre-loved pieces of heavy clothing like sweaters. This not only makes the stuffed animals eco-friendly but also gives sentimental value to them.
3. Natural Fillers: Others opt for materials like dried lavender, flaxseeds, or cotton batting. These natural fillers are not only eco-friendly but can also add a pleasant scent to the stuffed animals.
So, how exactly do the benefits of weighted stuffed animals differ from those of a weighted blanket? How do you go about choosing between the two (if you have to)?
Weighted Stuffed Animals Vs. Weighted Blankets
Weighted stuffed animals and weighted blankets are both designed to make you feel snug and cozy because both these products offer Deep Touch Pressure (DTP). But, there are some key differences:
Size, Weight, and Application
Weighted stuffed animals are little plush toys that you can hug, cuddle, or place on your chest to help you relax and sleep better. They usually weigh between 1 and 5 pounds, perfect for kids and adults alike… plus, you can easily carry them with you wherever you go.
On the other hand, weighted blankets are larger and heavier. They can weigh anywhere from 6 to 35 pounds, covering your entire body with soothing pressure. It’s like getting a warm and comfy hug as you lie in bed.
Pricing and Care Instructions
Weighted stuffed animals are usually more budget-friendly compared to weighted blankets. They are perfect for those looking to dip their toes into the world of deep pressure stimulation without fully committing yet.
When it comes to care, many weighted blankets are machine washable or come with machine washable covers. This makes them a breeze to clean. Weighted stuffed animals, on the other hand, are often spot-clean only. So, depending on the brand, you may want to prepare yourself for a bit of extra TLC to keep your plush friend in tip-top shape.
Factors to Consider When Choosing
So, which one is right for you? Well, it depends on what you're looking for. If you want a more portable, cute companion to alleviate anxiety or improve sleep, a weighted stuffed animal is your go-to choice.
If you're after full-body relaxation, a weighted blanket might be your perfect match. If it’s your first time trying a weighted blanket, our signature chunky knitted weighted blanket, the Cotton Napper, is a good place to start
Sustainably made of weighted yarn, the Napper applies an even weight across your body, allowing for deep sleep without having to readjust throughout the night.
Weighted stuffed animals, weighing between 1 to 5 lbs, offer multiple benefits, including stress reduction, improved sleep, muscle pain relief, assistance with sensory processing disorders, and positive effects on ADHD and autism. Comparing them to weighted blankets, they provide a portable companion for anxiety and better sleep. When selecting which weighted stuffed animal to invest in, consider those that are made of eco-friendly materials such as organic grains, recycled fabric and natural fillers. This ensures that your weighted stuffed animal is not only good for you but for the environment too.