Asperger's,Autism Spectrum Disorder,Autism Tech Support

Autism Tech Support: Weighted blankets

It’s been a while since my last tech support, but since the very beginning I’ve wanted to talk a bit about weighted blankets and so, here it goes.

If you have never heard of a weighted blanket, then it might sound a bit strange to you. How can a heavy blanket do anything except be heavy? Well, it kinda does and it kinda doesn’t. Would it surprise you that weighted blankets come in all shapes and sizes, you can even get a weighted vest to wear as well? You can get fancy, expensive versions that are tailored especially for you (depending on your height and your weight clever people can find the best size and weight of blanket you). I am sure there are even more things that I am not yet aware of.

So, what does a weighted blanket even do? Some use it in therapy, I have met and heard of several therapists who all keep a small weighted blanket in their office to use when the person coming in for therapy need to feel more calm. That’s basically what the weight does – it calms some of us down. I want to make it clear that every single person on the planet is unique and not everyone may benefit from this, so always make sure you and whomever you want to help is comfortable. If it doesn’t work for you, make it clear. If it does, make sure to remember to use it if possible.

Again, people more clever than I will tell you exactly how and why the weighted blanket works – all I know is that it stimulates the brain in some way and provides a calming effect on your central nervous system in some way. In case you didn’t know, I am no scientist, just a simple person on the autism spectrum looking for ways to make life a little better when I can. If you want to know more about the actual scientific effect, the world is open to you. If you can explain this better than I, then I would love to hear from you – just like I would love to hear about your experiences with weighted blankets if you have any.

Now, lets move on to what I can actually tell you about; my experiences and recommendations.

I always knew that I am very uncomfortable with physical touch. I hate it, especially a lighter touch like a hug or a handshake. It simply creeps me out and is disgusting to me. You may wonder why a weighted blanket doesn’t freak me out in the same way, but it’s exactly because it is weighted that it brings me comfort. If someone gives me a tight squeeze instead of a half-hearted hug it doesn’t feels as bad to me. A firm handshake is also better than a weak one.

I would sometimes wear a backpack simply because the weight made me feel somewhat more grounded and calm if I was in a public place – something that always makes me somewhat uncomfortable.

The moment I heard about weighted blankets a few years back I instantly knew I would love them. I have tried a few different kinds by now and they calm me down quite a lot when I feel the most frustrated or anxious. I wouldn’t recommend going out and buying one right away without trying it out for yourself first, because those things can be all kinds of expensive. I sure don’t have money for one yet and I have no idea when I can save up enough money for one. Of course, if money is not a problem for you, then going out and getting one perfectly made for you will be easy enough for you.

The weighted blankets can also be made of many different kinds of materials, such as pebbles, sand or steel beads. I have only ever tried weighted blankets made of steel beads and I loved it, so if I ever get enough money I would probably buy one of those. If you get the chance to try our different materials, I would love to know what you think about them.

Now, for the rest of us (or maybe just for those of us who want to try things out before committing to spending so much money) there are definitely alternatives.

It is possible to buy cheap heavy blanket and that’s what I did. I found an old blanket at home and have tried sleeping with it on top of my normal blanket. Now, I am lucky (or unlucky) enough to live in a rather cold climate and so sleeping with more than one blanket is really not a bad thing. If you live in a very warm place I honestly don’t think this alternative would work long term – but maybe just try it for a few moments to get a feel for it?

Just several normal blankets on top does actually help you feel what a weighted blanket might feel like – I know it might be obvious and maybe even silly, but I definitely think it worth it before spending a huge amount of money on a fancy weighted blanket.

I still prefer to sleep with two blanket, one normal and one heavier than normal. It helps me calm down at night and somehow makes me feel more relaxed and makes my head more quiet, therefore making me fall asleep more easily and I generally sleep more often the whole night without waking up. I have struggled with insomnia for years, but this has helped a lot.

I still don’t have money for a real fancy steel beaded weighted blanket, but recently I discovered that it is possible to buy blankets with different kinds of weights in many normal shops and some of them are not very expensive. I will go buy a new blanket instead of the one I have now, so that I can find one better suited to me instead of the old one I’ve been using.

I would definitely recommend you to try looking for cheap blankets that are heavier than normal and try it out for yourself. Whether you sit with it in the evening, sleep with it at night or put it over yourself when you feel stressed, frustrated or like you are having a breakdown is up to you – try and see what works for you! Experiment with different blankets, maybe, and see what weight works for you. If you have the money, a real weighted blanket may be right for you, but if you don’t, you shouldn’t give up on finding something that works.

My advice this time may not be particularly inventive, but it is something I myself didn’t do for years because I thought a weighted blanket had to be a real weighted blanket to work. I also thought that a weighted blanket might just be a fancy idea and not really work, it wasn’t until I tried it myself that I understood what a great thing they are. Then, because I didn’t have the money, I gave up getting one. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be perfect to help. Even a little bit more calm is better than nothing at all and now I absolutely love my heavy, old blankets. I am getting a new one, more suited to me, because after having used this one for the last two years I truly understand how great they are and getting one that is even better than the one I have is a great investment in myself – my own peace of mind, really, because that’s what I get. Peace. Calm. Better sleep.

That’s pretty good, I think.


Life with Autism Spectrum Disorder is not always easy, but it doesn't have to be impossible. Since I was diagnosed myself, I have been trying to raise autism awareness and share my own experiences and thoughts about life as well as my search for a happy and fulfilling life.

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