Copyright 2009-2013 DreamCatcher Weighted Blanket
Author * Eileen Jackson
It used to be recommended that a weighted vest should be used for 20 minute intervals and then taken off. The 20 minute rule became recommendation because that was the length of time a weighted vest was used in the study. Had the vest stayed on for two hours in the study, perhaps that would have been the recommendation, it is hard to say.
Some professionals simply carried over the weighted vest recommendation on how a weighted blanket should be used, most do not use that guideline today. A weighted blanket for sleep should be used at bedtime and kept on , without removing, for as long as the user wants it, this can be all night , as in the case with our son. In fact, if his weighted blanket is taken off or falls off while sleeping , he is awake within 30 seconds.
If the blanket is used as a calming tool it works the same way, use the blanket as long as the user needs the blanket and it makes them comfortable. This could be 20 minutes or it could be hours. The information in certain writings that state after a certain amount of time the therapeutic effect of a weighted blanket goes away is unfounded and unproven . We have never been able to find a study that makes that statement.
We personally know, as parents of a child with severe autism, that the weighted blanket was a "miracle" for him and us,however, it still hasn't been scientifically proven why a weighted blanket works nor have proven guidelines been established on how to use a weighted blanket effectively. What we do know is that after 9 years without sleep, we have a child who is now al most 20 years old and has used a weighted blanket every night for the past 11 years. He is autistic, is on no medication, goes to sleep within 5 minutes of getting to bed, sleeps the whole night through and sometimes we have to go in to wake him in the morning. That is incredible!
We also know that the same weighted blanket that our son uses for sleep is also the weighted blanket he uses when his anxiety level is high. With teenage hormones coming into play the past few years, we noticed more aggressive behavior would sometimes appear. When these times would get the best of our son, he has learned to sit and use his weighted blanket along with other calming techniques that help him feel better, unstressed and back to his usual fun self. Because he is not taking any traditional medications normally used to help with those on the spectrum, we know the weighted blanket is again playing a big part in helping him.
We hope and continue to support those scientists that will work on studies that can prove the benefits of the weighted blanket. More weighted blanket studies can only lead to helping more people.
Until then we have our personal success story along with several years of our clients experiences, and professional testimony who have used a DreamCatcher Weighted Blanket with great successes of their own..
The bottom line, there is no formal guidelines that are scientifically based that have been established to gain a therapeutic effect of a weighted blanket. There is only trial, error and experience that both the medical professionals and those of us that live with a special needs loved one can attest to. The conclusion is simply, use the weighted blanket as long as it helps and makes the user feel good.