Weighted blankets and ADHD

By Tara Drinks

At a glance

  • Weighted blankets can be helpful to some people with ADHD.

  • These blankets are designed to create a sense of calm.

  • It’s important to research before buying.

Calming down and self-regulating can be a challenge for people with ADHD. They often struggle with managing their emotions and behavior. For some, weighted blankets can help.

Weighted blankets are designed to relieve stress by providing pressure on the body. That pressure can increase the release of a chemical in the brain called serotonin, which creates a sense of calm.

These blankets are filled with glass beads or plastic pellets and come in different weights and sizes. Some also have extra layers of fabric to increase their heaviness. There are many types, including ones for kids. (Don’t use them with infants and toddlers, however.)

Weighted blankets aren’t new. Occupational therapists (OTs) have long used them to help with sensory issues and anxiety. The blankets work in a way that’s similar to an OT technique called deep touch pressure therapy (DPT). 

Using a weighted blanket is just one way people with ADHD can self-regulate and feel more relaxed. Exercise, mindfulness, and deep breathing can also be calming. 

Dive deeper

    Tell us what interests you

    Share

    About the author

    About the author

    Tara Drinks is an associate editor at Understood.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Keri Wilmot is an occupational therapist who works with children of varying ages and abilities in all areas of pediatrics.