Actually Autistic, Autism Reviews, Life

Autism Reviews: Weighted Blanket

Hello Everyone!

It is finally time for another instalment in my Autism Reviews series! I’m sure you’re aware that I’m Autistic by now and if not, then now you know! I have explained my Autism quite a lot of times, so I’m not going to go into it today, but if you do want to know a bit more about my Autism, then I suggest you check out the first Autism Reviews post because I went into more detail there: Autism Reviews: Lush Shampoo and Conditioner Bars What I am going to be talking about today though is Weighted Blankets!

I’ve also filmed a video version of this review, so if you would prefer to watch me talk about weighted blanket, then you can watch that video here: https://youtu.be/9hAxfpHthtA

About Weighted Blankets

I feel like most people know what weighted blankets are, but a shocking amount of people don’t know that they were originally invented to help people with disabilities like Autism. Keith Zivalich first came up with the idea in the 1990’s to help soothe anxiety that comes with Autism and other similar disabilities. These days a lot of Neurotypical people use them too because they still have the same benefit of calming anxieties and helping you sleep regardless of whether your Autistic or not.

Most people with Autism experience a lot of sleeping issues for one reason or another and we all experience severe heightened anxiety in some form. I can most definitely relate to this. A weighted blanket is something I’ve been wanting for about 3-4 years now and that want doubled after I got my official Autism diagnosis at the beginning of 2018. Unfortunately, despite the blankets being originally created for disabled people (who usually have limited incomes), they are incredibly expensive, so I just haven’t been able to afford one until recently.

I recently got my Personal Independent Payment (PIP) assessment done, which is a form of benefit for disabled people living in the UK. The benefit is – as the name would suggest – designed to give the disabled person more independence. The first thing I spent the money on was a weighted blanket. This might not originally seem like something to ‘help me be more independent’, but PIP isn’t a benefit that monitors what you spend the money on and in a roundabout way the weighted blanket does help me be more independent.

As I mentioned before, I struggle with anxiety and sleep like most Autistics, which becomes a problem because I struggle to function at all when I haven’t slept well. A weighted blanket is a tried and tested solution to sleep problems, so I was eager to try it and I can happily say after almost 3 weeks of using it that it has made a huge difference.

The Review:

I don’t have a standard format for these reviews unfortunately because each product I review will require different things, but I can at least promise a pros and cons list every time! Since I’ve already given you a lot of background into weighted blankets and why I wanted one, let’s jump straight into pros and cons before we talk more:

Pros:

  • Works amazingly
  • I have noticed a dip in my anxiety, which is rather incredible considering the pandemic currently going on is causing everyone great anxiety.
  • It has most definitely helped with my sleep
  • Getting more and better quality sleep has helped me be more productive during the day
  • It is very soft, so doesn’t trigger any negative sensory reactions.

Cons:

  • It was incredibly expensive (I spent about £270 on mine and that was discounted – without the discount it would be been £300+)
  • It is very big (and heavy – obviously), which makes it difficult to fold away, which is somewhat annoying for me who likes her room to be tidy at all times.
  • It may be difficult to use during the summer since it will get hot, but I’m hoping the fan in my room will fix that.

It’s clear that there are far more benefits than there are negatives to the weighted blanket for me and the few negatives are easily fixable or a minor inconvenience at best. At the moment I still live at home, which means my world is still confined to my bedroom, but I’m sure once I have a place of my own, the blanket taking up so much space will no longer be a problem. The cost is something that can’t be helped, they are high-quality and complex to make, so I can assure you that you’ll get your money’s worth and likely won’t have to buy a second one at all if your lucky. I’m estimating mine will last me at least a decade or two, which is pretty damn good if you ask me.

How it’s helped:

Clearly this is turning out to be a very positive review, but before I give you my rating and wrap this review up I wanted to really go into all the benefits I’ve got from having this blanket.

The biggest benefit I’ve seen is in my sleep. I have always struggled with getting to sleep and usually takes me anywhere between and hour and a half to 3 hours to get to sleep, but with the weighted blanket one and half hours has now become the top bracket for how long I’m tossing and turning, which is a pretty drastic change! I’m now probably averaging about 40 minutes to get to sleep, which is honestly quite astounding.

I have a fitbit (which is going to be a future Autism Reviews, so look out for that!) which tracks my sleep, so I can honestly say with real data to back it up that my quality of sleep has improved since getting the blanket as well as the time it takes me to get to sleep and the time I stay asleep. My fitbit has recorded that I’ve woken up less during the night and I’ve scored high sleep scores even though I’ve slept less some nights for one reason or another meaning my quality of sleep is better. Pre-weighted blanket I tended to wake up often throughout the night and slept very lightly with very little deep or REM sleep, which is why I was always so tired. That problem is solved now though, hopefully for good!

Having more quality sleep has helped improve my mood, lowered my anxiety and increased my productivity, which is all around just great really! It has also helped me to have more energy and a higher mental capability to navigate the world that isn’t really designed for me.

Final Thoughts:

Obviously, I love my weighted blanket, so for a star rating I would probably give it 5/5! It has really improved my quality of sleep, which in turn has just improved my quality of life in general. I’m reaping the benefits of it in multiple areas of my life and I don’t think I’ll ever sleep without it if it can be helped.

If you’re Autistic like myself or just suffer with general anxiety/sleep, then I highly recommend getting your hands on one of these blankets. I know they’re very expensive, so maybe see if your family will donate some money for it at birthdays/holidays and spend some time saving up. I promise you it is worth every penny do matter how painful it might be to spend such a large amount of money on one thing.

Which no brings me to the end of the review. I hope you enjoyed reading about my thoughts on the weighted blanket and that it was helpful in some way to anyone thinking of getting one, but not sure if they can make the commitment. Make sure to check out the video review on my YouTube as well: https://youtu.be/9hAxfpHthtA

Goodbye for now!

Over and Out

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