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Autism and Weighted Blankets: Our Experience {+ a Dr. Hart's Review + Deal}

**Product received for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

Sleep has always been an issue for my son. At the ages of 2-3, he would fight sleep until 1-2 a.m. every night. After he'd finally settle, it was up every hour on the hour screaming. Night after night we would have this battle. We tried everything. We took him to the doctor and were told once he stopped nursing, his sleep would even out. But when that time came and went and the sleep struggles continued, still nothing helped.

"It's just a part of autism", they said.

And to be honest, that wasn't 100% inaccurate. According to WebMD, sleep issues have been shown to affect anywhere from 40-80% of autistic individuals. Still, that didn't mean it was something that we should just settle for and not try to find solutions for. And try we did. He would go through brief periods of better sleep, then go right back to those sleepless nights. It affected his behaviors and his school days... after all, no one functions at their best when they aren't getting the proper sleep.

So, we continued to look for a solution. In doing so, I kept reading more and more about weighted blankets. Now, weighted products were nothing new to us. We'd used weighted vests and lap pads during the day for calming and focus. But weighted blankets are usually much more of an investment than these other weighted products and I must admit that I was apprehensive to try for that very reason. What if we spent the money and it didn't work? I needed to know more.

Today, I'm sharing our experience using weighted blankets in hopes that it can help others in their decision to try one too.

First of all, what exactly IS a weighted blanket? How does it work?

A weighted blanket is- as the name suggests- a blanket that has extra weight added to it. The Dr. Hart's weighted blankets feature patented DreamBeads™ (made of quartz microspheres) for this extra weight. These were originally designed by NASA and are exclusive to Dr. Hart's. They are also odorless, non-toxic and hypoallergenic. The patented ContourWave™ design better contours to your body for even weight distribution. The blanket we use is a 15 pound blanket, the perfect size for my 100 pound 11-year-old (or anyone up to 150 pounds). It is recommended that blankets be 10-15% off the user's body weight.

This added weight helps to reduce anxiety, increase serotonin, and lower cortisol. The result for many is that it helps them to fall asleep faster and sleep through the night. It's not JUST for sleep either though, it can be used any time when extra calming is needed. Oftentimes if I see that my son is growing increasingly agitated, some time wrapped in his blanket can help relax him a bit before he reaches the breaking point. While I cannot say I completely understand all of the whys for how it works as it does, it really does work!

Who can benefit from weighted blankets? And who should NOT use them?

Weighted blankets have been used for many years for autistic individuals like my son, as well as those with ADHD, etc. I can say in our experience, it helped him TREMENDOUSLY! Since he began using a weighted blanket to sleep every night, he has actually been sleeping through the night, on his own with no issues at all. The difference in his sleep is night and day. It did take him about a week or so to get used to the added weight, he'd often take it off sometime in the night... but after he got more used to it, he absolutely loved it. Now, he craves it and loves how it helps him sleep better. Since we began using a weighted blanket, his behavior at school has improved dramatically as well. Now, I don't think it is SOLELY due to the blanket as there were a few other changes made that helped as well--- but I do think it has been part of the combination that has helped. When we're tired, we're not at our best...so that better sleep? It plays a big part!

Autistic individuals are not the only people who can benefit from the use of a weighted blanket. It can also provide relief for those struggling with various anxiety disorders as well. We have seen this to be true for my husband- a veteran with PTSD. He likewise has felt the calming effects it has on his nerves and the better sleep it gives too. I also have many friends with anxiety who have experienced the same.

Still, they are not going to be for everyone. I suffer from severe anxiety myself, and have tried them here and there with no relief. However, with my anxiety (and especially recently), I often find myself feeling claustrophobic. There are times even with a regular blanket that I will feel trapped, and cannot stand to be touched at all. So for me, that weight only adds to that. If you or your child is someone who is claustrophobic or has those feelings like I do, it might not be something I would recommend. But if you need that grounding, if you enjoy a strong hug and need that extra sensory input, they truly can be an amazing tool for a better night's sleep.

Dr. Hart's Weighted Blankets should also not be used on children under 50 pounds due to the weight.

Which one do I recommend? 

There are many weighted blankets on the market and trying to decide which to purchase can certainly be tough. We've tried a few here to be honest. But the favorite? Dr. Hart's Weighted Blanket! So, what sets it apart from the others? A few things:

Photo Credit: Dr. Hart's

  • The Unique Design. I talked about the ContourWave™ design that better allows Dr. Hart's Blankets to contour to your body and evenly distribute the weight. Comfort is everything when we're talking about a)autism and b)sleep so this is a huge benefit all around. This is a patented design that you will not get elsewhere. My son loves the way it feels.
  • The Removable Cover. Let's be real--- kids are messy! Things are spilled, dropped, etc... especially when using during the daytime! While the blankets themselves ARE machine washable, it is still recommended to hand wash and drying is a no go. That's just the nature of this type of blanket. However, Dr. Hart's comes with a removable cover that is both machine washable and dry-able too! Awesome. Perfect for kids- but really great for anyone too as ALL blankets need washed at some point! It's also incredibly plush and soft! Again, this is a great aspect when we're talking about autism and one that my son absolutely loves. Of course, it can be used without the cover too so while he's loving it now when it's still pretty cold out, if during the summer months he decides that it's just too much, we can remove the cover and use as is. They even have a cotton cover that can be purchased separately if you prefer to always use a cover but need something a little lighter! 
  • The Size. Dr. Hart's blankets are a generous 60 X 80 inches and will fit king, queen, full and twin size beds. My son and my husband have BOTH tried this blanket and despite their greatly different sizes, it works just as well for both of them. With this size, though it is really meant to be used by just one person, it could still be used by a couple too. 

Where do I buy?

If you're looking for a sleep solution for yourself or your child- be it for autism, PTSD or anxiety, a Dr. Hart's Weighted Blanket can truly be a great investment. And right now, you can take advantage of a $30 rebate with your purchase.

To be eligible for the $30 rebate, use the link provided here. It will take you to the product page on Amazon and gives details on how to receive a $30 rebate, please visit this link first BEFORE going on Amazon. Just copy & paste into your browser: bit.ly/harts30

Oh, and in case you needed one more reason to go with a Dr. Hart's Weighted Blanket, here it is. They donate a portion from the sale of every blanket to a charity that stands with us to help people with serious sleep-related challenges, such as PTSD and autism. Amazing! Being personally affected by BOTH of these causes within my immediate family, I find this to be all the more reason to love Dr. Hart's.

Have you tried a weighted blanket for yourself or someone in your family? What was your experience? How do you think Dr. Hart's could help you get a better night's sleep? 


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