Many parents are reporting that compression sheets for autism help their child get better sleep and feel calmer when they’re experiencing sensory overload.
And, in case you’re wondering, they work for all children and adults, too. Some adults and children find weighted blankets too warm for their needs, and one of these compression sheets might be the perfect solution.
In this post, you’ll find out what compression sheets are, who can use them, tips for using a sensory sheet, and info on a popular product.
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What are Sensory Compression Sheets?
First of all, a sensory compression sheet is not a weighted blanket. In fact, it doesn’t use a weight at all; it uses stretchy pressure to achieve the same effect as added weight.
With the thinner breathable material and no additional weight, you won’t experience uncomfortable heat buildup while sleeping.
Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS)
The effect we’re talking about with the use of pressure is the calming effect of deep pressure stimulation. It’s like being hugged or swaddled.
Instead of the heavy weight of a weighted blanket, the effect is produced by the consistent pressure of the tight blanket around the body.
A Large Open-Ended Pillow Case
The sheets are like a large stretchy open-ended pillowcase that fits around the mattress. The person slides their body between the top of the sheet and the mattress.
Calmness from Pressure
The sheet fits snuggly to the body, exerting pressure from compression. This helps to produce the “feel good” hormones that reduce stress and create a calm, relaxed feeling.
Some people compare putting a compression sheet on a mattress to pulling a legwarmer on over your leg. Both ends are open and it slides on.
The Material is Stretchy
The material is stretchy so the person can pull it out to get under the sheet. But it isn’t so loose that it won’t exert some pressure on the body. The trick is to make sure you order the right size for your mattress.
Not for Children Under Two Years
One of the best sellers of these sheets is SnugBug, and they recommend that these sheets not be used with children under two years of age. Keep that in mind if you are choosing a product for a smaller child.
Just as with a weighted blanket, the child (or adult) must be able to move freely under and out from under the sheet, without feeling any restriction.
The Benefits of Using a Sensory Compression Sheet
Like weighted blankets, sensory compression sheets use deep touch pressure that can help with a number of conditions, including:
Many families find products like weighted blankets and compression sheets valuable for their family members who need extra support to feel calmer and less restless.
It makes daily activities and routines less stressful for everyone. This is a common concern for families who are living with autism.
You Don’t Need a Diagnosed Condition
You also don’t have to have a diagnosed condition to benefit from deep pressure input. Many people like these types of products to get better sleep and feel more refreshed in the morning.
It works for children, teens, and adults.
Just use common sense when you consider whether it’s something that would benefit you or your child. If there are issues like claustrophobia, then it might not be a good idea.
However, if the person finds comfort from being hugged or held, then it might be a good idea to try one.
4 Tips for Using a Sensory Compression Sheet
Here are 4 tips for using a sensory compression sheet if you decide to try one:
- You can still use regular sheets and bedclothes on the mattress along with the compression sheet. You can adjust bedding for cooling or extra warmth.
- These sheets are not warm like weighted blankets, so in cooler weather, you’ll likely need extra blankets. The amount of extra bedding can be tweaked as you adjust to using the compression sheet.
- The compression sheets can be washed on a gentle cycle in cold water, but it’s recommended to place them in a garment bag. They should be dried flat to avoid high heat, which can destroy the elasticity.
- It’s easier to put them on over the mattress if you have another person to help slide it up on the opposite side of the bed.
The Special Supplies Sensory Compression Sheet
The Special Supplies compression sheet is a popular and highly-rated product that will provide gentle pressure for better sleep with a breathable, quality woven material.
You can choose from twin, full, or queen size, but the color choice is limited. However, color won’t matter much because these sheets tend to be used underneath other bedding.
If you find that weighted blankets for kids are too heavy and hot for your child’s needs, then sensory sheets may be the solution.
Compression sheets are another tool for people with autism, and also for other conditions, or anyone who wants to use deep pressure stimulation to get better rest and feel calmer.