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.

A child sleeping with head on a table

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.

(This post contains affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Opinions are our own and we do not receive payment for our reviews.  See policy.)

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.

Child and therapist playing with a ball in a sensory room

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.

Avoid Restriction

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.

Group of children raising hands to answer question in a classroom.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

The people who’ve bought this product give it a high rating in reviews.

Read Latest Reviews: Special Supplies Compression Sheet on Amazon


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.

28 thoughts on “Compression Sheets for Autism”

  1. Thank you! The original SnugBug is great. It helps my children sleep through the night. The weighted blankets tend to fall off if the child rolls over, but these stay put! I would highly recommend it. I use it in my own bed too. It used to take me up to 5 hours to fall asleep. Now I am asleep within an hour. I think it is the deep touch stimulation. I hope more people find your website and get one!

    1. Hi Edward;

      It’s great to hear of someone who uses the SnugBug and finds it helpful. It is supposed to make use of deep touch stimulation like a weighted blanket, but without the added weight on top of the sleeper.

      This is a good solution for people who sleep hot or for anyone who moves around and knocks the blankets off, as you say.

      Best to you all,
      Stella

  2. Although I am familiar with Autism, I had no idea that something as simple as a compression sheet could have such a positive impact. And not only for autistic kids but other conditions too. Mattresses can be heavy so I hope these sheets are easy to slide over them. Thanks for sharing this “miracle” product!

    Edwin

    1. Hi Edwin;

      Yes, there are many people who say they find these thinner sheets work better than a weighted blanket for autism and other conditions when the person finds the weighted blanket too heavy or warm.

      It’s a good idea to have another person help with putting the sheet on over the mattress. But it does slide underneath, so you don’t have to left the mattress off the bed to get it on. That said, I would recommend caution for anyone with back problems or concerns with lifting heavy objects.

      Best to you,
      Stella

  3. Wow!  Simply interesting to know about the workings of a compression sheets. I have a friend who her kid is autistic and it has really being a battle for her and her kid. I never knew that this could be of help and I will definitely suggest this to my friend and see how it helps her out with her kid. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Hi Tracy;

      Yes, many people give good reports of compression sheets helping children with autism get better rest and experience less restlessness at night.

      I hope it helps your friend and her child.

      All the best,
      Stella

  4. Hello Stella, thanks for this nice and I must commend the usefulness of this post to me is unmatched. I’m quite familiar with cases of autism but knowing such blankets can help in cases of insomnia and anxiety give it a whole new level of importance. My little boy at home have been a victim of insomnia and this have been affecting his education for some time now. I’d love to get this blanket to help him sleep better.

    1. Hi Chloe;

      Yes, these sheets are particularly useful for students who need sleep in order to perform well at school. A child with autism may benefit well, especially if products like weighted blankets are too heavy or warm.

      Let us know how it works out for you.

      All the best,
      Stella

  5. Compression sheet sound like a novel idea, do the sizes of sheets come in different sizes considering that they have to fit snugly? Considering that people use different sizes of beds? Then using this for children; must they be used for autistic children only? And do we have different fun colours as well? I reckon that would be a great hit with the children, having different colours that is.

    1. Hi Yomi;

      Yes, compression sheets come in different sizes to fit different size mattresses. They also come in different colors depending on what the manufacturer offers.

      No, they are definitely not limited to use by children with autism. They are suitable for anyone who wants to experience deep touch pressure for better sleep and calmness.

      Many people who find weighted blankets too heavy and warm find compression sheets to be a better choice.

      Best to you,
      Stella

  6. ReviewsForThePeople

    Hi Stella, thank you for your post! This is a great product. As I have a child that’s on the spectrum this would benefit greatly his comfort and sleep habits. There’s not a lot of blogs that focus on such things. I appreciate the insight into the new compression sheet idea as the weighted blanket was a bit too warm and he ended up not liking it at all. Keep up the the great posts. Ill check back in to see what else you have.  Thank you.

    1. Hi there;

      Yes, some children find the weighted blankets too warm, and the compression sheets can be a lightweight alternative that won’t retain as much heat. Another option is to use a cooling weighted blanket.

      The main thing is to find the product that works for your child and benefits them in the long run.

      Best to you and your family,
      Stella

  7. What a helpful tip when getting into fall. Most of us will be looking for some blankets soon, especially with fall and winter coming up, this is timely. The compression part seems like something a doctor just ordered. After a long day at work, when you are in the upper digits in age the body plays tricks and compression socks come in handy at night. This looks like a good addition not only for keeping warm but also for circulation.

    I also like the kids sensory compression sheets, i just wonder how hot they get. I have a nephew who is autistic and this would help but he sleeps with very light coverings. I like the sensory compression, do you think this might be too hot for him? He is 8.

    Thanks for the post, this is helpful

    1. Hi Zikora;

      Yes, one of the best features of a compression sheet is that it doesn’t get as warm as a weighted blanket, but would still provide the pressure therapy for a child with autism.

      All the best,
      Stella

  8. While the weighted blankets are great for extremely cold seasons, these compression sheets provide the added advantage of comfort for all seasons preferably during warm seasons. I had an experience using a compression sheet, my spouse and I, and it gave us a night sleep to remember. We simply slept better than nights we didn’t use it.

    1. Yes, compression sheets have the advantage of being less warm than a weighted blanket, and are better for warm times of the year or for hot sleepers. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Stella

  9. This is my first exposure to information about compression sheets. I am not familiar enough about autism to understand the relationship between these sheets and what makes them effective. Are there any studies that have officially studied the sheets to determine why they have the effect they do? I realize that even those without autism seem to benefit, but I think it would be interesting to discover the actual “why” they work. In the same way, I would like to know if there are officially sanctioned results explaining the therapeutic effect of the spinners that were popular a while back. I know I am speaking about two separate items, but I just wondered about the testing process that has been used. I think the positive results achieved from something as simple as a compression sheet is a wonderful aid in helping autistic children. Thanks for educating me about them.

    1. Hi Jack;

      The science behind the use of compression sheets is the same as for weighted blankets: deep touch pressure (DTP). You can read more about it in our weighted blanket guide. There aren’t a lot of studies on this use yet, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to encourage the use of this principle.

      We haven’t explored the use of fidget spinners from a science point of view, but we can tell you that our own son uses fidget toys all the time and finds them very helpful to help him stay calm and more focused. I also know other children and families that swear by them. So, they do help in some cases.

      Thanks for your interest and questions,
      Stella

  10. I actually have one of these for myself and I love it. I sleep like a baby without needing any other sleeping pills or drugs (which I try to avoid as much as possible). I’m glad you’re putting the word out about them more because I think they could be a really big help to a lot of people, both children or adults with autism as well as other people who may be having issues with sleep as well.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience with compression sheets. Yes, they’re great for anyone who needs help with sleeping, and they’re a good alternative to weighted blankets for anyone who is a hot sleeper and finds the weight and bulky material too warm.

      Stella

  11. SnugBug looks super cozy for the little ones, I can see why it can help with restlessness. Out of curiosity, does it wrap around the mattress, or do we need to tuck it in manually like a normal bed, only tighter? It would be super easy if we don’t have to manually tuck it in every day as parents can be busy at times and might be back late.

    1. Yes, the SnugBug is like a large pillowcase with two open ends. It slides up over the mattress, and it’s easier to do with two people, especially for beds larger than a twin size. Getting it on the mattress is probably the biggest drawback to using one of these products.

      All the best,
      Stella

  12. You have a nice write up here. You have provided great insights into this topic and thanks for clarifying the issue of sensory compression sheets because some still assume it is a weighted blanket. I have had experience with the SnugBug and I don’t think any other blanket comes close to the stimulation it offers. 

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on compression sheets, Charles, and the SnugBug in particular. Yes, the thing that makes compression sheets so different from a weighted blanket is that they are so lightweight. Great for anyone who can’t handle a lot of weight on them when sleeping, but want the deep pressure therapy.

      Stella

  13. One thing for sure is that I always learn something new whenever I read your posts. Today is no different. I’ve heard about this kind of sheets maybe once or twice, but having gone through this review, I now have a better understanding of the role these sensory compression bedsheets plays in relation to getting a really good sleep. But I’ve also come to realize that they can also be beneficial to kids with autism.

    Great post 

  14. I had never heard of sensory compression sheets until I ran across your website and read your blog. Do you think that these are a good replacement for weighted blankets for regular people? I currently use a weighted blanket and think that a sensory compression blanket might help me sleep better.

    1. The main reason that people use compression sheets instead of a weighted blanket is because they find the weight uncomfortable. The compression sheets provide the same deep touch pressure and benefits without the extra weight.

      Stella

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