Does your child struggle to sleep at night, wake up in the morning and stay calm and centred during the day?

If so, here are 3 ways that Calming Moments’ weighted blankets can help children deal with feelings of anxiety and overwhelm that can often be the underlying cause.

#1: Calming Moments’ weighted blankets can help children sleep better at night

The Australian Sleep Foundation estimates that up to one-third of Australian school age children may have some type of sleep disorder. That means that a significant number of our kids are not getting the sleep they need to regenerate their bodies and grow.

This, in turn, means that they are less able to put their best effort into learning at school, navigating friendships and relationships or even playing. And this, in turn, can reinforce the vicious cycle of more stress and less sleep.

Calming Moments’ weighted blankets can break this cycle. By using them to sleep, your child can go to sleep faster and sleep for longer. And that means they will have more energy the next day.

#2: Calming Moments’ weighted blankets can help children destress after a busy day

Does your child hold it together during the day, but struggle to remain calm and centred in the “safety” once you’ve fetched them from school or aftercare? If so, then take the weighted blanket with you when you fetch them from school and let them “decompress” under it on the way home. (You can also use a compact travel blanket for this.)

#3: Calming Moments’ weighted blankets can help end a meltdown faster

If you see the signs that your child is about to have a melt down (or realise that they are melting down), cuddle your child under the reassuring weight of a weighted blanket. The blanket can calm your child and help them process the feelings of overwhelm – especially if they struggle with sensory stimuli.

But the real question here, is why Calming Moments’ weighted blankets work to calm your child’s stress.

The reason is simple. Calming Moments’ weighted blankets are custom-made with the correct weight for each individual’s unique body.

That means that they use the correct amount of Deep Pressure Touch to calm your “fight or flight” response when you’re feeling overwhelmed, upset or stressed. (You can find out more about Deep Pressure Touch, how it works and the scientific proof that supports its use here.)

You don’t have to take our word for it, though. Here is what some mums have to say about how Calming Moments’ weighted blankets helped their children.

What People Say

Courtney Earle recommends Calming Moments

15 February 2019

We brought a blanket for our son, who’s always been a restless light sleeper but not only that needs the touch and comfort of someone next to him. we had exhausted all avenues and were exhausted ourselves. It’s always been that way since he was born, hes now 6. A few family members made the comment about trying a weighted blanket and we thought what have to got to lose and oarded one. Claiming Moments were so easy to work with and our order arrived yesterday. He was so excited we put it on his bed. This morning our sons walker into our room and said “I stayed in my bed the whole night, my blanket was so good mum. It was like someone was cuddling me the whole time”.
I wish we had order one a lot sooner! we can’t thank you enough! we’ll definitely be back soon for more.

Samantha Marland Perry recommends Calming Moments

18 March 2019

We brought a blanket for our son, who’s always been a restless light sleeper but not only that needs the touch and comfort of someone next to him. we had exhausted all avenues and were exhausted ourselves. It’s always been that way since he was born, hes now 6. A few family members made the comment about trying a weighted blanket and we thought what have to got to lose and oarded one. Claiming Moments were so easy to work with and our order arrived yesterday. He was so excited we put it on his bed. This morning our sons walker into our room and said “I stayed in my bed the whole night, my blanket was so good mum. It was like someone was cuddling me the whole time”.
I wish we had order one a lot sooner! we can’t thank you enough! we’ll definitely be back soon for more.

Courtney Earle recommends Calming Moments

24 August 2018

Thank you so much for the prompt service & delivery of my daughter’s weighted blanket. Before receiving the blanket she was waking up between one to three times a night. Since taking delivery we have had no night time wake ups (she is 5). I wish we had done it sooner! Thanks for helping us out. We are so appreciative.

Amanda Laming recommends Calming Moments

20 August 2020

Great customer service!

I made a mistake with my order and the people I spoke to were extremely helpful and knowledgeable.

Also….my son finally sleeps through the night!!! Previously getting up multiple times and up early but not anymore. So pleased I invested in the weighted blanket. Blanket is well made and great quality. Best investment I’ve made for a long time!!

Think about what your life would look like with a child who goes to bed on time and gets a full night’s rest.

  • No more spending your evenings trying to settle them to sleep. Or waking with back ache at 1am to find that you’ve fallen asleep in their bed.
  • No more fights at bedtime.
  • No more being woken at 2am by a child climbing into your bed to sleep with you.

Why is a Calming Moments’ weighted blanket the best choice for your child?

Here are some of the reasons that Calming Moments’ weighted blankets are the best choice for your child. We:

  • Are a team of Aussie mums who make every single weighted blanket with love and care in our factory in Mandurah, WA. Each blanket is certified Australian-made.
  • Make each and every weighted blanket to order with the correct weight for your child’s unique body. (OTs recommend that a single bed blanket should be 10% of the user’s body weight for the best calming effect.)
  • Pride ourselves on our high quality product and exacting manufacturing standards.

When life happens and you need to wash your Calming Moments’ weighted blanket, just pop it into your washing machine (as long as your machine can take the weight).

(If your machine can’t take the weight of the blanket, please take it to a laundromat and use their industrial machines.)

Separate dark colours and wash the weighted blanket on cold, gentle cycle.

Once the cycle is done, take it out the machine and hang it or dry it flat.

Please don’t wring it out or tumble dry.

In a similar vein, please wash the sensory compression sheets on cold, gentle cycle and air dry.

The care instructions are also on the reverse of the Calming Moments’ label.

Any question, please e-mail: kirsty@calmingmoments.com.au

I often get asked a version of “Why do weighted blankets cost so much?”

Calming Moments’ weighted blankets have a price tag that reflects their high quality.

But, let’s unpack this. So that you can be sure that your Calming Moments’ weighted blanket is great value for your dollars.

Australian-made with love

Each Calming Moments weighted blanket is made by our team of amazing Aussie mums. This means we put more care into making sure that each seam is triple stitched.

So, you can be sure that the weight stays evenly distributed through each blanket. Because each pocket stays intact. This gives you the best Deep Pressure Touch effect – which makes a weighted blanket calm your mind.

We only use the highest quality inputs

We source as many Australian- made inputs as we can.

And we make sure that every item that goes into each blanket is the highest quality we can buy. So you can enjoy that safe, calm feeling that comes from cuddling under a Calming Moments blanket.

Each blanket is custom-made for you

We do not mass-produce, but make every individual blanket to your order. You can choose from our wide range of beautiful fabrics. Plain and printed cottons, smooth or sensory minky or combine them. This means every blanket is unique – and can reflect your own personality.

We can also embroider your name – to make your blanket truly yours and unique.

Widest range of blanket weights to choose from

Many cheaper weighted blankets come in a limited number of different weights.

Occupational Therapists recommend that a single bed blanket be 10% of the user’s weight. (We recommend adding 1kg for the double and queen size blankets.)

If you use a weighted blanket that is too light for your body, it will not have the optimal calming effect. This is because there is not enough Deep Pressure Touch.

If the weighted blanket is too heavy, then it will be uncomfortable. This will increase – rather than decrease – your stress levels.

Like Goldilocks’ porridge, the weight needs to be “just right”.

We have 22 different weights available – stretching from 1.5kg to 12.0kg in 0.5kg increments. This means you can always get the best match weight for your body. This means you will always experience the calming action of Deep Pressure Touch.

Backed by a Unique two-year guarantee

And then, we have a two-year guarantee. This means that you know each weighted blanket will last. And it will continue to help you destress, relax and sleep. We will repair or remake your weighted blanket for FREE in the unlikely event that the stitching breaks.

Lastly, ask yourself about the cost of the alternatives to a good night’s sleep – for yourself or someone you love.

– How many hundreds of dollars could you spend on sleep therapy sessions?

– How much medication might you need to take over many years? What would the cost of that be?

– What would the cost of other health interventions be, if you are chronically sleep-deprived? And this would likely include both physical and mental health aspects.

Don’t make a false economy by choosing a “cheap” weighted blanket

So, not investing in a well-made, quality weighted blanket could be a false economy.

Many of our customers have first bought a cheap import from a marketplace.

– Then they find that the stitching breaks and the weight winds up on one side of the blanket, pinning you to your bed.

– The cheaper blankets are often filled with poly pellets. They are large and can dig into your skin. And they rattle or have a swooshing noise.

– The fabric can fray under the weight of the poly pellets.

So, don’t waste your money on a “cheap” mass produced alternative that won’t help you sleep.

Consider, how much a good night’s sleep is worth to you.

$1 a night? $5 a night?

If you use a Calming Moments weighted blanket for two years, you will pay less than 50c per night for better quality, longer sleep.

Our prices reflect our high quality, certified Australian-made production.

But they also mean that you can rest peacefully, secure in the knowledge that the blanket will work for you individually AND that it contains no potentially harmful inputs. (We have heard reports of weighted blankets filled with powdered glass, noisy poly pellets or beads with toxic fillers.)

We have both Afterpay and Zippay available.

And we are an NDIS-registered provider. So the NDIS may fund your blanket if you are a participant.

In the long run, this all means that a premium Calming Moments weighted blanket gives you a great deal. Our high quality product gives you peace of mind that you – or someone you love – can use it safely for years and years.

Our beautiful coloured cotton blankets for single beds start from just $259.73. Isn’t a great night’s sleep worth this?

Just click the button below to go to our online store.

A weighted lap blanket or pad is a small, heavy blanket the size of a tray. It is heavy because it is usually filled with something that gives it weight, such as glass beads or poly pellets.

Many people with sensory processing challenges find using weighted lap blankets at school, home or work can help you:

  • Sit still for longer time periods;
  • Self-regulate;
  • Concentrate better;
  • Organise better;
  • Spend more time on a task; and
  • Transition better from one task to the next.

This is because weighted lap blankets give a form of Deep Pressure Touch therapy, that is unobtrusive and convenient.

So, what is Deep Pressure Touch therapy? And how can it help you?

Deep Pressure Touch can help soothe the body and calm the mind

Deep Pressure Touch works on the body in three ways.

Firstly, it calms the “flight or fight” response by switching off the sympathetic part of the autonomous nervous system.

Next, it triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. This slows your heart rate and your breathing. It helps your muscles relax. And you will feel calm and peaceful.

Thirdly, it causes the body to release a number of hormones and neurotransmitters that make you feel happy and reduce anxiety.

The end result is that your body literally feels less anxious and your mind is focused and calm.

The Deep Pressure Touch of a weighted lap blanket lying across your knees also gives your body proprioceptive input. This helps you know where your body is in space. And – so – a weighted lap blanket can help you sit up straight for longer.

Who can benefit from using a weighted lap blanket?

The Deep Pressure Touch therapy benefits of a weighted lap blanket that help reduce anxiety, improve sensory processing and give an increased sense of peace and calm are particularly helpful for people:

  • On the autism spectrum;
  • With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD);
  • Who have anxiety;
  • With sensory processing issues; and
  • Who suffer from dementia.

But weighted lap blankets are not for everyone.

Who is a weighted blanket not useful for?

People who struggle with tactile input may well not find a weighted lap blanket helpful. This includes people who:

  • Don’t like the feel of certain types of fabrics;
  • Hate wearing extra layers of clothes; or
  • Dislike the feeling of a heavy blanket or duvet on them.

So, in summary, weighted lap blankets are a convenient and portable way to get the benefits of Deep Pressure Touch therapy to help you focus, concentrate, sit still for longer, organise better and transition from one activity to the next.

Please click here if you would like to know more about how a Calming Moments weighted lap blanket can help you.

Or browse the products below.

Hi

Today is International Asperger’s Day, although medical professionals now see the syndrome as part of the autism spectrum and not separate.

So, we’re celebrating 9 heroes who either are – or may have been – on the autism spectrum.

Please, celebrate with us.

And here they are – in no particular order.

#1. Greta Thunberg

We’ve all heard of Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who started the (now) global #fridaysforfuture climate strikes.

She has made it her message to hold adults responsible for halting and reversing climate change. With urgency. To act as if the house is on fire because – as she puts it – it literally is.

But did you know that Greta is able to speak her truth to power (and particularly US president Donald Trump) because she has Asperger syndrome.

She describes it as a gift.

And she’s right, it is. For all of us and the future she’s fighting for.

#2. Charles Darwin

At least one medical expert believes that Charles Darwin, the man who developed the theory of Evolution, had Asperger syndrome.

He notes that Darwin’s famous attention to detail and ability to focus were characteristic of the syndrome.

This view is likely to be as controversial as Darwin himself…

Read the full story here.

#3. Satoshi Tajiri

You’ve probably never heard of Mr Tajiri – but you have definitely heard of his most favourite invention – Pokémon.

The man himself is something of a recluse and seldom speaks of his autism spectrum diagnosis. But isn’t it strange to think that the world might have missed out on the Pokémon sensation without this amazing man’s Asperger syndrome creativity.

You can find out more here.

#4. Marie Curie

Marie Curie was not only the first woman to win the Nobel prize for Physics, but also the first person to win it twice (in 1903 and 1911).

These prizes were a reward for her and her husband Pierre’s work on radiation and radioactivity.

Some people believe she had Asperger syndrome.

You can read more about Mme Curie here.

#5. Alan Turing

The Allies may not have won World War II had it not been for the work of Alan Turing in cracking the Nazis’ Enigma code.

You may remember seeing his story in the movie “The Imitation Game”.

But the world today would truly not be the same without him. He’s sometimes called the “Father of the Computer” and did early work on artificial intelligence. 

#6. Albert Einstein

Although he was never diagnosed, there is a school of thought that Albert Einstein was on the autism spectrum with what used to be called Asperger syndrome.

And wouldn’t the world be a poorer place if this genius had not lived or been able to think the way he did.

You can read more here

#7. Bobby Fischer 

Bobby Fischer – World Chess Champion – may well have had Asperger Syndrome, according to this article.

His amazing chess talent attracted many people to playing the board game. And although he was notorious in some circles, our world is definitely better for having had him.

#8. Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh was a famously troubled artist who’s amazing colourful works have become world famous. Although he did not sell a single painting in his own lifetime.

One of his most famous works – Starry Night – was painted from inside an asylum.

Now there is a school of thought that he had Asperger syndrome – the cause of his brilliant talent. http://professormichaelfitzgerald.eu/vincent-van-gogh-mood-disorder-and-aspergers-syndrome/

#9. Daryl Hannah

Do you remember the mermaid in “Splash”?

Well actress Daryl Hannah has Asperger Syndrome and has helped many people through her public advocacy.

Here you can watch the moment she told Hollywood – and the world.

If your child struggles with sensory issues, then you know it. The. Relentless. Struggle. To. Get. Them. To. Leave. The. House.

And I find it really hard to understand the steadfast refusal to go anywhere. The first answer to “Let’s go to…” is always No!

And it doesn’t matter if it’s the beach. Or the zoo. Or the toy store. The default answer is always No!

Plus that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach about whether yet another happy family outing is going to end in a meltdown.

Objectively you know why. You that that your sensory kid gets overwhelmed by crowds, loud noises or bright light. But it still doesn’t make it easier to deal with.

Especially because you are just trying to do your best.

So here are 3 things that you can do to make it easier for your sensory kid – and yourself – to leave the house and live your life.

  • Plan some activities together;
  • Put them on the calendar;
  • Give advance warning.

Make your plans together

As far as possible, include your child in deciding what activities you want to do and when. He will likely come up with his own ideas for excursions that he really wants to do. Plus, it could help him remember them.

Put your plans on the calendar

Once you have a list of planned activities, fill in your planned excursion dates on a calendar. Either do this together or let him have the responsibility of doing it himself. This gives him ownership and a sense of control over his own destiny.

Because not feeling in control is often the cause of a meltdown.

Give advance warning

And then the most important thing to do is to gently remind your sensory kid ahead of time about the outing. That way it’s not a shock and you hopefully avoid the “leaving the house” meltdown completely.

And a special bonus tip: establish sensory breaks

It really helps a sensory kid to have a safe place to go and have a “time out” when he is struggling and you can see the overwhelm building up ahead of a meltdown.

An over-stimulated child can help themselves by walking away from the action every half hour or so. Obviously, it should be to a place where the supervising adult can still see them. But try and make this part of the plan before you go out.

So, before you leave the house, decide where the sensory break place will be and how to put it in place. If your child is in preschool or early years, you may have to set an alarm and send him on the break at 30 minute intervals.

If they’re a bit older, they can take responsibility for it themselves. But set clear ground rules about what is acceptable – and safe – and what is not.

I know it’s not easy for you or your child. But together you will win this.

And click the link below for more great tips on how to help your sensory kid.

CLICK HERE FOR TIPS TO HELP YOUR SENSORY KID

Have you seen “Float”, the new short Pixar Spark film?

If you love someone who is on the autism spectrum, you should.

In six intense minutes, every parent who has ever dealt with a child on the autism spectrum sees the ecstasy and the anguish of trying to be the best possible parent for your child.

A moving story with an insider’s view

Why is it so heart-rending?

Because it is based on director Bobby Rubio’s personal experience of his own son’s diagnosis with autism. And he has honestly laid out the range of emotions he went through.

That initial anguish summed up in just one line. “Why can’t you just be normal?”

The story is not specifically about autism, although the undercurrent is clear. In many ways it could apply to any child who the world labels “different”.

In a nutshell, the story is about a father’s relationship with a boy who has a special ability.

He floats. Literally.

Our hero dad tries to control the situation by keeping his son indoors. He weighs him down with a backpack full of rocks.

But one day, the boy escapes.

And floats around the playground blissfully.

Shamed by other people’s judgement

As you can imagine, this causes some consternation and judgement (eye roll) from the other children’s parents.

Because those other kids don’t float.

And floating is – apparently – disruptive. It’s not “normal”.

It’s wrong.

It’s strange.

The dad buckles under the pressure – because he is ashamed of the other parents’ judgement.

But then he has an epiphany and allows his child to float…freely.

The film ends with this dedication from Rubio to his son.

“For Alex. Thank you for making me a better dad. Dedicated with love and understanding to all families with children deemed different.” 

That made me cry.

Read the full story of how Robert Rubio turned his own personal coming-to-terms-with-a-diagnosis story into this beautiful short film here.

And, if you have six spare minutes, watch it yourself on Disney+.

And “poof”. Just like that “everyone” knows about weighted blankets.

And every second retailer stocks cheap, imported weighted blankets.

But – have you noticed – that the available weights tend to be quite select:

  • 2.5kg;
  • 7.0kg;
  • 9.0kg;
  • 10.0kg and
  • 12.0kg.

The danger in the “mainstreaming” of weighted blankets

This is a problem because Occupational Therapists (OTs) recommend that single bed weighted blankets are 10% or slightly more of a user’s body weight.

Why?

Because weighted blankets help calm physical and mental agitation by applying a firm but gentle pressure all over the body. The experts call this Deep Pressure Touch.

And clinical studies have shown that Deep Pressure Touch physiologically calms both the body and mind.

BUT there is one important ingredient to the Deep Pressure Touch. It has to be just right.

  • It cannot be too soft (because the weight is too light), because then it doesn’t do its job.
  • It must not be too hard or painful, because the blanket is too heavy. Because that is – simply – not relaxing at all.

In other words, following the “slightly more than 10%” rule for a single bed weighted blanket helps you get the best Deep Pressure Touch experience – and more sleep.

So, someone of (say) 60kg using a (say) 2.5kg blanket will not receive the correct level of sensory proprioceptive input. And then they will probably find that the weighted blanket doesn’t work for them.

Similarly, a blanket that is too heavy can make you claustrophobic and anxious.

Don’t risk injuring someone with a weighted blanket that is too heavy

There is also an important safety aspect to using the correct weight blanket – especially for children.

A user must always be able to easily lift the blanket off themselves to make sure there is no risk of injury or suffocation.

If you put someone who weighs (say) 30kg under a 10kg blanket, they will not be able to move it. And could be hurt.

We want you to have the best weighted blanket experience possible

That is why Calming Moments’ weighted blankets are specifically engineered to give you the correct weight blanket relative to your body mass.

Our weighted blankets for beds are available in single, king single, double and queen size.

We make them in 20 different weights, starting from 2.5kg and then increasing in 0.5kg increments to 12.0kg. This means you always get a high quality, correctly weighted blanket.

This, in turn, will give you the correct amount of Deep Pressure Touch – not too firm and not too gentle.

This will relax your mind and body – and help you sleep.

The Calming Moments’ promise to you

Our beautiful, professionally sewn weighted blankets help you have calm, happy bedtimes and a peaceful night’s sleep.

  • We make each and every weighted blanket in our factory in Mandurah, WA. (Our weighted blankets are certified Australian-made, with as many Australian-sourced products as we can.) This means you have peace of mind about our production standards and the quality of our inputs.
  • We carefully engineer each blanket to be the correct weight for each individual user. There is no “one size fits all” approach. This means your weighted blanket will give you the optimum amount of Deep Pressure Touch – so that you can go to sleep and stay asleep longer.
  • We have the widest range of fabrics and colours to choose from – so you can get a beautiful, unique blanket that reflects your personality.
  • We have a unique Calming 2-year guarantee, because we know we make our blankets to the very highest quality standards. We will repair or remake it for FREE in the unlikely event that the stitching breaks. This gives you peace of mind that your blanket is a long-term investment in your sleep

Consider, how much a good night’s sleep is worth to you. $1 a night? $5 a night? If you use a Calming Moments weighted blanket for two years, you will pay less than 50c per night for better quality, longer sleep. Our prices reflect our high quality, certified Australian-made production. But they also mean that you can rest peacefully, secure in the knowledge that the blanket will work for you individually AND that it contains no potentially harmful inputs. (We have heard reports of weighted blankets filled with powdered glass, noisy poly pellets or beads with toxic fillers.) We have both Afterpay and Zippay available to help spread the financial load.

So, don’t delay. You can buy one of our exquisite weighted blankets today for toddler, single, king single, double, queen or king size beds. Just click on the button below for our range of different weighted blankets by bed size. 

People – and especially children – with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)* can come across as day dreamers. They often have difficulty following instruction. They may fail to complete their work or school tasks.

And they can struggle with social interactions.

The truth is, they’re not being lazy. They just fail to complete assigned tasks to a neat standard and in the assigned time. They often struggle with planning and come across as disorganised.

Medical professionals will recommend using like stimulant drugs and behavioural intervention programmes to help people with ADD manage their day to day lives.

And often, professionals such as psychologists will advise using a weighted lap blanket or lap pad in the office or at school.

Why is this? Why is it that weighted blankets – that can help you sleep better – can also help you focus better at work or school?

Read on to find out more.

What is a weighted lap blanket or pad?

A weighted lap blanket or pad is tray-sized and designed to lie on your knees and lap. It is usually made out of a fabric sleeve. Inside, it has a number of pockets that are filled with some kind of weight (usually poly pellets or glass beads).

The weight of the beads causes a mild, firm pressure on the lap and legs. This pressure is evenly distributed and feels comforting.

How do weighted lap blankets work?

Weighted lap blankets literally bring the body back to equilibrium if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. This happens because the pressure of the weights mimics the Deep Pressure Touch that Occupational Therapists use.

Deep Pressure Touch works on the central nervous system in two steps.

Step 1: It shuts down the sympathetic nervous system. This is the part of the nervous system that is in charge of the “fight or flight” response. (If your sympathetic nervous system is constantly switched on, you will be stressed, tired and unable to concentrate.)

Step 2: Deep Pressure Touch fires up the parasympathetic nervous system. This makes you physically feel calmer. (Clinical studies have shown this happens biologically. Trial participants showed a measured slow down in body functions such as heart rate and breathing rate.)

These same clinical studies have also shown that Deep Pressure Touch literally calms the mind too (by measuring brainwaves).

It also causes the brain to release the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can help counter the stress hormone cortisol.

How do weighted blankets help keep you focused and on-task?

People with ADD can struggle to focus because they are overwhelmed with sensory overload.

Deep Pressure Touch improves your capacity to focus and concentrate by helping your sensory integration. This, together with the Deep Pressure Touch effect of a calmer mind, makes it easier for you to complete tasks – including in the classroom.

It can help you organise your thoughts and your belongings better.

And Deep Pressure Touch also provides proprioceptive feedback, which can help make you feel more grounded.

People with ADD can benefit from using a weighted lap blanket

So, in combination, people with ADD can benefit from using a weighted lap blanket. It can clear their minds and help them feel calmer. This, in turn, will improve their ability to plan and organise. And it may help them concentrate better for longer.

If you think a weighted lap blanket can help you or someone you love manage their ADD, please visit this page to find out more.

*It’s officially called “Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder predominantly inattentive presentation”

Sensory processing is – simply – someone’s ability to:

  • Take in;
  • Organise and
  • Respond to sensory information from their immediate environmen

People with sensory processing issues can find it difficult to make sense of the world around them. And this can lead to being labelled “clumsy”, “disruptive” or “out of control”. It can make it difficult to make friends or be part of a group.

So, what is behind this – and how can we help people with sensory processing issues meet the challenges of the world as they experience it.

How does the sensory system work?

The brain and central nervous system receive input through our five senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. In addition, they also receive information from pressure (exerted by or on the person) and movement.

Once the brain has interpreted this information, the central nervous system then sends messages to the body that affect determine that person’s response to the sensory stimuli. These govern functions such as memory, learning, muscle movement, gross motor co-ordination and behaviour.

In a nutshell, this process of sensory integration governs how your body responds to external stimuli. This includes the awareness of how your body is positioned in space and how your body is positioned relative to its own parts (or proprioceptive input).

People with Sensory Processing Disorder typically feel sensory input either more (hypersensitivity) or less intensely (hyposensitivity) than other people.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory Processing Disorder is a neurological condition that means the brain and body do not organise appropriate responses to sensory stimuli.

It feels like a main traffic intersection, where none of the traffic lights are working and no motorists are taking turns. You have lots of different – and often conflicting – stimuli coming at you. And you can’t make sense of any of it.

 And this sense of panic and overwhelm can hurt someone’s ability to perform daily activities and respond appropriately to the people around them.

According to SPD Australia, Sensory Processing Disorder affects around 5% of the population.

This article in the Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy summarised that clinical studies have found that healthy adults with sensory sensitivity and sensory avoiding processing have “greater anxiety, neuroticism, negative affect, as well as elevated pain catastrophising and more sleep problems”.

How does sensory processing disorder impact sleep?

And it found that the sleep problems were largely due to sensory processing issues – such as finding pyjamas or sheets uncomfortable. Or not being able to relax because the sleeper couldn’t identify where there body was positioned in space.

One other clinical study looked at the relationship between sleep and sensory processing sensitivities.

It found that there was an interesting feedback loop: that the quality of your sleep also affects your sensory processing.

And, so, there seems to be something of a vicious cycle.

People with SPD may find it difficult to sleep. And their SPD is worse than it might be, because they don’t get good quality sleep.

How can a weighted blanket help?

A clinical study, “Positive  Effects of a Weighted Blanket on Insomnia” published in The Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders found that weighted blankets can help you sleep.

To quote, it said that weighted blankets may provide an “innovative, non-pharmacological approach and complementary tool to improve sleep quality”.

It also found no “adverse impacts” from using the weighted blankets.

The study’s authors conclude: “…a weighted blanket may aid in reducing insomnia through increased tactile and proprioceptive inputs, may provide an innovative, non-pharmacological approach and complementary tool to improve sleep quality”.

Please share this with someone you know with SPD.

Made with © 2021