Heated Blankets as a Sleep Aid for Children with ASD

Heated Blankets as a Sleep Aid for Children with ASD

About 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). With a wide variety of complex treatments available it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But, helping your child cope with one of the most common difficulties parents can face (bedtime) – could be simpler than you think. Here’s a look at 6 reasons why a heated warming blanket can help children with ASD sleep.

It’s Nature’s Original Therapy

Heat has long been used for a wide range of healing therapies. It’s often used to ease tension and reduce muscle pain. Applying heat can also prevent stiffness and spasms. Children with ASD can have episodes of anxiety and tension that can greatly benefit from the use of heat. In addition, using heat therapeutically can promote blood flow which increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are carried throughout the body. This instigates a number of healing benefits while lowering the risk of many health complications.


Avoid the Shocking Cold

Difficulty adjusting to changes is a common issue for children with ASD. This can include getting into an uncomfortably cold bed. Many children rely on a standard schedule that does not change. Not only can the jolt of a cold bed influence behavior issues, but it can also keep children awake, prolonging bedtime and interfering with their routine. Preparing a high-quality heated blanket about 10 minutes before bedtime can avoid these challenges and make sure there’s a comfy and relaxing bed to climb into it each night.


Relieve Symptoms

Researchers at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Center for Autism and the Developing Brains explored characteristics of children with ASD and reported improvements in multiple behavioral domains of children who experienced a fever. Areas affected included cognition, communication, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors suggesting an increase in body temperature can improve general behavior.


Produce a Calming Effect

Experts speak of the significant calming effects heat has on a person. Easing stress and anxiety by warming the body temperature is a therapeutic practice that can be traced back thousands of years in ancient Greek and Egyptian history. Modern research now knows applied heat can lower stressful cortisol levels as wells norepinephrine levels which can cause anxious feelings. Using a heated blanket can result in the relaxation of the autonomic nervous system without the side effects that come with prescribed options.


Tell the Body When to Sleep

Children with ASD are more prone to sleep difficulties compared to typically developing children. Your internal clock is run by something called the circadian rhythm. It lets your body know when it’s time to wake up when it’s time to go to sleep. The circadian rhythm is influenced by many things including temperature. Research suggests it may even be more sensitive in children with ASD. By using a heated blanket, you can ensure your child is kept comfortably and consistently warm.


Provide the Sense of Company

For the vast majority of human history, mothers have been co-sleeping with their children. While fewer families choose not to co-sleep today for numerous reasons, the comforting practice our ancestors engaged has left an innate tendency to find the warmth of another comforting while we sleep. Being surrounded by consistent warmth while sleeping can mimic the feeling a child has when co-sleeping and provide an increased sense of company and safety.


Another Option to Consider

In addition to heated blankets, a weighted blanket is another great option to assist sleep. Occupational therapists have been using the calming benefits of weighted blankets for decades. Reports from surveys consistently describe them as a significant way to ease anxiety and sleeplessness. Among those surveys, autism ranked number one in disorders a weighted blanket can help with. This deep-touch therapy tool is so successful at helping children with ASD. Autism Parenting Magazine named weighted blankets as the second item on their ‘Top 10 Things My child with Autism Needs’ list.

Many families of children with autism face an overwhelming amount of treatment options. Some wish to supplement their plans to target specific issues, one of which may be sleeping difficulties. Using a heated or weighted blanket, especially together, at bedtime can be a great way to help give your child a more reliable and restoring night of sleep.


Written by Alexis Schaffer

Alexis Schaffer is a writer in the natural health space. If you enjoyed this article, you can read more of her content by checking out this page

All Heat Therapy Products are NOT The Same

The Ultimate Moist Heat Therapy: Warm Buddy!

Ultra Shoulder Wrap

Ultra Shoulder Wrap

Most people are familiar with Hot / Cold therapy for pain and muscle aches, but not all heat packs are created equal. There are two categories of heat: Moist Heat and Dry Heat.

Warm Buddy’s Moist Heat Therapy Products are the Ultimate in healing aches and pains.

Moist heat can penetrate to the source of your pain deep inside the muscle tissue faster than a dry heat. This promotes blood circulation and brings much needed oxygen and take away waste to heal damaged tissues resulting in more effective and faster in pain relief.

Using moist heat therapy is much better for your skin compared to dry heat. Dry heat will remove moisture from the skin and dry it out. Moist heat will not only prevent dry skin but also increase skin elasticity.

Electric plug in heating pads are sources of dry heat. They may provide short term relief but the pain will come back from deep inside the muscle tissues.

Many other microwavable heat packs out in the market today are also dry sources of heat. Packs made with synthetic materials, plastic beads, gel packs, and flax/wheat fillings will create dry heat and may get too hot for the skin. Drying these products out causes diminished heat holding and may become flammable. Although some grain filled heat packs may give off moist heat when new, they will dry out in short amount of time.

Heat Packs filled with milled rice are an excellent source of moist heat. We’ve all been told when an electronic device gets wet by accident, to put it in a bucket of rice. This is because rice is a great absorber of moisture. Warm Buddy Heat Therapy Products are filled with rice so they will not dry out over time, even with repeated use. Moisture is released from the heat pack and will re-absorb moisture from the air. Warm Buddy Heat Therapy Products will continuously provide moist heat for your relaxation, comfort, and pain relief.

Heat Therapy and Essential Oils for Pain Relief

Toothache and Sensitivity During Winter

In most cases, tooth pain is caused by a cavity or an exposed root, but believe it or not, cold weather can also trigger sensitivity and pain, and even worsen the symptoms of pre-existing dental problems. Furthermore, 1 in 8 adults may have tooth sensitivity to cold, which only intensifies during the colder months. And while this may be a good reason to visit the dentist, there are a few natural options that can lessen the pain, which you can try at home.

Warmth reduces pain

Placing heat-emitting pads on the sensitive area can lessen the pain, as it warms up the surface and increases blood flow. It also helps the muscles – in this case, the face muscles – relax, which in turn also increases blood flow in the gums. Placing a warm pad on the cheek automatically causes the inside of the mouth to warm up without actually affecting the tooth enamel with any liquid or other substance. Needless to say, it is a non-invasive and effective way to reduce pain. 

Peppermint and its numbing property 

If one is experiencing tooth pain due to a combination of cold sensitivity and a cavity, the smartest step would be to visit the dentist. However, in case you’re on the waiting list and need something to numb your pain, peppermint oil will do the trick. The two active ingredients in peppermint are menthol and methyl salicylate, which have an antispasmodic and numbing effect. In case of a toothache, a very small amount of it (1 drop) should be rubbed on the gums – not the tooth itself – to relieve tension and pain. The effects are practically immediate and long-lasting. Because it’s a natural substance, it can be reapplied a few times a day, and it won’t interact with other numbing agents your dentist may apply later on during your appointment.

Aloe vera gel to strengthen enamel 

If you’re still experiencing discomfort due to cold after all your cavities have been treated, try applying an enamel strengthening substance. It’s always best to start with something natural like aloe vera gel, which creates a protective layer and helps the enamel regenerate. In case you find that it’s not as effective as you’d hoped it would be, ask your dentist for other enamel-strengthening treatments.

Taking care of your teeth is important, so make sure you do everything you can this winter to keep them healthy. Don’t postpone your yearly visit to the dentist’s – it’ll worth your time and effort in the long run.

Christmas Shipping Deadline Dates

How To Choose Essential Oils for A Better Sleep

How To Choose Essential Oils for A Better Sleep

Anyone who has spent a sleepless night knows the toll that it can take on both the mind and the body. Regular, uninterrupted sleep is a critical component of good health. Unfortunately, though, around 1 in three individuals experience mild to severe forms of insomnia. Many people try sleeping pills, but these can lead to a toxic dependency that ends up causing more harm than good. Instead, it’s best to turn to natural methods when you’re having trouble drifting off.

Aromatherapy has long been used as a way to help relax the mind and body, inducing a peaceful, sleepy state. Today, many people still turn to essential oils to help themselves sleep, either diffusing them, using them as a topical ointment, bathing with them, or sprinkling the scent onto pillows. There are several essential oils commonly found on the holistic market that are thought to have calming properties.


Many of us have heard from our mother or grandmother that Lavender helps to soothe the soul, but this is more than just a pass-me-down home remedy. Studies have shown that lavender can act as a mild sedative, inducing sleep and stabilizing mood. You can add two drops of lavender into a pillow or use an oil extract to help calm yourself before bedtime.

Ylang Ylang

Translated as “flower of flowers,” this plant is used in traditional medicine to help alleviate stress and anxiety and restore a sense of peace at the end of the day. It comes from the flowers of the Cananga tree, a species native to Indonesia, and it’s known for its sweet yet fruity scent. Ylang ylang oil may irritate the skin, but for most people, it’s fine in aerosolized form.

Roman Chamomile

As the name suggests, chamomile was used extensively in the Roman era as a medicinal herb. It’s known as a natural sedative, and chamomile tea is often brewed for sick of colicky children to help with sleep. In addition to tea, chamomile can also be vaporized or dried and used in potpourri.

Essential oils offer a safe and natural way to help induce sleep in people who suffer from insomnia. Herbs and flowers can help to calm our minds and bodies through smell alone, leaving us feeling calmer and more at peace. If you’re having difficulty sleeping through the night, you may want to consider adding essential oils to your bedtime ritual to help yourself relax.

Top 5 Reasons to Try a Weighted Blanket

Top 5 reasons to try a weighted blanket or weighted lap pad


What is a weighted blanket?

It is a heavy blanket filled with pellets that help distribute weight evenly across the body to promote relaxation.

Weighted blankets have long been used in the occupational therapy field as an aid for children on the autism spectrum and those suffering from attention deficit disorder (ADHD) or sensory issues. Similar to cuddling, hugging or squeezing, the blankets or pads provide deep pressure therapy that helps to calm the body and reduce the physical effects of stress, such as a raised heart rate and high blood pressure.


Top 5 reasons to try a weighted blanket

1/ Stress and anxiety

Stress manifests in the physical body in ways such as raised heart rate, short, shallow breathing and increased blood pressure. The deep pressure touch provided by weighted blankets can help reduce stress and anxiety by lowering the physiological indicators of stress. It also promotes the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate certain brain functions such as mood regulation, sleep, and memory. This helps the body to naturally switch from the parasympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight”) to the sympathetic nervous system (“rest and recover”).

2/ Insomnia

The positive calming effects of weighted blankets can also have a positive impact on sleep time and behaviour, allowing you to sleep longer and deeper.

3/ A complementary tool for many psychological, physiological and neurological conditions

It is not surprising then, that the calming effect of weighted blankets can be beneficial to people suffering from a wide range of conditions such as restless leg syndrome, depression, bi-polar, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), sensory processing disorder, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, neurological problems and even menopause.

4/ Chronic pain

Acute pain is usually a signal to the brain that an injury has occurred. Chronic pain is different, as it can last for months or even years after an injury occurred, often completely independent of the original injury or medical condition that started it. Chronic pain can lead to anxiety, irritability, poor sleep and depression. The deep pressure therapy provided by weighted blankets can be beneficial to those suffering from chronic pain by reducing stress and helping them sleep.

5/ Tool for self-regulation

Children who experience sensory overstimulation experience very real physiological symptoms. Weighted blankets can be used as a tool to promote regulation, calming and re-focusing. Children can easily use a weighted blanket to drape around their shoulders or their legs when seated, or covering their bodies when lying down. It can lower stress and provide a coping strategy for times when they feel anxious.


How much weight do I need?

For adults, it is recommended to use a blanket that weighs about 10% of their body weight. It is a matter of personal preference, though, and probably a good idea to try a couple before settling on the one you want.

It is not recommended to let children use weighted blankets unsupervised under the age of 6. Even then, children should be able to remove the blanket independently.

If you have a medical condition, it is recommended to consult a doctor or occupational therapist before using a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets are a complementary tool and should not replace medication and appropriate medical supervision.


What is a weighted lap pad?

A weighted lap pad is a sensory tool that applies deep pressure touch to the legs while seated. It functions much like a weighted blanket, but is smaller in size. The weighted lap pad is often used for its calming, grounding effect that allows the user to focus for longer.


Top 5 reasons to try a weighted lap pad

1/ Focus

The weighted lap pad applies deep pressure touch to a person’s legs, providing a calming, grounding effect and can help with focussing for longer. Many people claim that it helps them when studying, writing or working.

2/ Affordability

Weighted blankets can be expensive and weighted lap pads provide a more affordable option.

3/ Easier Washing

Lap pads are usually easier to clean due to their smaller size. Many weighted lap pads will have removable covers that are machine washable.

4/ More Discreet

Their smaller size also means weighted lap pads are a more discreet and comfortable option for the workplace. It is also easier to take it with you to work or school.

5/ Meditation tool

The calming, grounding effect of the weighted blanket can also be used as a meditation tool. Whether you meditate sitting in a chair, on the floor, or lying down, the weight of the lap pad can help you focus on the here and now.

Things to consider when choosing a weighted blanket or lap pad

Fabric – The fabric should be soothing but not overly distracting. A soft, plush fabric is usually a good choice.

Washing – Is it easy to wash? Some weighted blankets have removable weights to make the cover machine washable. Some are washable with the weights still inside but you should check that it is not too heavy to be washed in your washing machine. Weighted lap pads will often have removable, machine washable covers.

The Warm Buddy Warming Blanket

The Warming Blanket is 15″ x 19″ in size and weighs 4.5 lb. It can be used as a weighted lap pad when seated, or on the torso while lying down. You can also drape the Warming Blanket over you hips, lower back or any area of your body where you are experiencing aches and pains. It applies deep pressure touch to the body, helping to reduce the physiological indicators of stress.

The Warming Blanket can also be heated in the microwave for the added benefit of heat therapy, helping to reduce aches and pains and improve sleep. You could also add a few drops of essential oil to the heat pack after heating.

All Warm Buddy heat therapy products have undergone extensive testing and are recognised and sold as a Class 1 Medical Product.

The cover is made from a luxurious, soft fabric and is machine washable.

The Warm Buddy Warming Blanket is proudly made in Canada.

Sweet Dreams: 7 Reasons Why Sleep Is Good For You

A recent study revealed that one in three Canadians is sleep-deprived. Given the known links between quality of sleep and mental and physical health, this is a very worrying statistic that needs to be addressed. Raising an awareness of the importance of sleep is vital, together with ways in which you can regularly sleep well. Scented heat wraps are very effective at promoting sleep, for example. Keeping electronic devices and other forms of stimulation out of our sight at bedtime is also crucial. 

Benefits of sleep to our health

Finding ways of getting to sleep seem tricky. However, heat therapy can be very helpful in this respect. Heat increases oxygen flow around the body, easing any aches and pains whilst also helping you calm your mind and ‘switch off’. Simply place a heat wrap on any areas of tension and relax into it.

To be well rested, we need to go through two stages of sleep: ‘quiet’ sleep, during which we gradually enter deeper and deeper levels of sleep, and Rapid Eye Movement (REM), which is when we dream. These stages all play a huge role in our physical and emotional health:

1. Sleep improves our mood

Sleep quality suppresses activity in the amygdala, which is the part of the brain responsible for emotions. By doing so, we are less likely to wake up feeling agitated or depressed, but rather refreshed and positive about the day ahead. One way of helping your mind to relax is to put all electronic devices away and allow yourself to enjoy the comfort of your bed. In this way, it is important to ensure that you have a supportive, high-quality mattress. There are various types of materials and sleep-inducing cushioning to choose from and it is worth putting the time into doing so.

2. Sleep makes you strong

It may be surprising to know that during sleep, your muscles are growing. While you sleep, your body repairs all the tissues in your body, including muscles. It creates more of the growth hormones testosterone and melatonin, resulting in stronger muscles. Adequate sleep is therefore particularly important for bodybuilders; you can’t just rely on the gym and diet.

3. Sleep helps keep weight down

Studies show that you are 55-89% likely to gain weight if sleep-deprived, depending on your age. Sleep deprivation disrupts the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin, resulting in higher consumption of calories. It is also the case that tiredness results in people reaching out for a quick sugar-fix, which means more calories.

4. Sleep improves our memory

Research suggests that memory consolidation takes place during sleep. This is when our brains process short-term memories and convert them into long-term ones. This includes learning new skills: sleep helps us to retain new information. A lack of sleep does not allow enough time for this process to happen, resulting in a hazy head and forgetfulness.

5. Sleep makes you more creative

Recent research has revealed how the brain reorganizes memories during the consolidation process. This can often boost creative in people – thanks no doubt in part to feeling refreshed and energised.

6. Sleep strengthens your immune system

The fourth and final stage of ‘quiet’ sleep is the most crucial for ensuring you feel energised when you wake. Your muscles are at their most relaxed and your breathing and heart rate slow right down. These physiological changes strengthen your immune system, putting you at less risk of illness and burnout.                       

7. Sleep improves your reaction times

This is quite straightforward really. If you have not slept enough, you are likely to feel lethargic when you wake. This means you will be slower to react to sudden movements or noises. Being well rested therefore makes you safer, particularly in potentially dangerous situations like driving.

Make time for sleep each night. It is as important an activity in your daily life as what you eat and drink and the amount of exercise you do. The role it plays in your emotional and physical health is crucial.

Aromatheray Sleep Mask

Creating the Perfect Sleep Environment

Our Warm Buddy Body Wrap and Aromatherapy Sleep Mask were recently reviewed by Dr. Cary A. Brown. She is a Professor at the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta.

Body Wrap

This product is well suited for many people to help promote sleep. Research shows that one way to help people fall asleep naturally is to raise the core body temperature slightly. When the heat source is removed, the core body temperature drops. This slight drop in core body temperature signals the body to make certain hormones that help with sleep. The heated body wrap, either held across the lap, or laying lengthwise on top of the body, is ideal to raise core body temperature slightly. Then, when the wrap cools, core body temperature will start to drop and you are more likely to fall asleep. The key is the heating up and then cooling down process. That’s why we like to be cozy when we go to bed but cannot sleep if it is too warm all night long. The Body Wrap is very pleasant to hold and soft on the skin. The aromatherapy is relaxing as well. People I spoke to all felt that the way the Body Wrap draped and conformed for full body contact was a very positive feature. Research also shows that moderate pressure, for most people, is more relaxing than light and so the weight of the Body Wrap is also helpful to produce a pleasant, relaxing sensation.

Aromatherapy Sleep Mark

This is the best sleep mask I have ever tried! I and three other people tried it out and we all agreed it conforms to the contours of your face perfectly and does not allow any light to creep in around the edges. This is important for sleep because as soon as the light level (measured in lux) in the bedroom is 30 lux or greater, your body slows down the production of hormones that you need to go to sleep and stay asleep. Thirty lux is equivalent to the light level at dusk and the average office is about 300-500 lux. The strap needed some adjusting the first time but we all agreed that the nice wide elastic band was more comfortable than the thin elastics on most sleep masks. The cover material is very comfortable and did not irritate anyone’s skin. We tried the mask heated, room temperature and cooled in the fridge- and it was comfortable at all three temperatures. The slight weight and the aromatherapy were also very pleasant and relaxing. Most sleep mask get discarded in frustration because they shift around as you try to go to sleep and that did not happen with this product.

For more information about passive body warming to help promote sleep they can look at:


Sport Wrap - Heat Wrap Therapy

Heat Wrap Therapy

Sports medicine researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) have concluded that heat wrap therapy is more effective for relieving lower back pain than drugs such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

The results were published in Spine Magazine. In the six-month study involving 371 patients, participants were given the maximum recommended non-prescription dosages of ibuprofen and acetaminophen or heat wrap therapy for two days to treat acute lower back pain.

The results showed that the heat wrap therapy provided significantly more pain relief beginning on the first day of treatment than the oral pain relief medications, and that the effects lasted more than 48 hours after the treatment was completed.

Dr. Nadler states, “Confirming that this [heat therapy] treatment is effective is important to patients because it gives them a treatment option that does not have the potential risk to the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract than can accompany inappropriate analgesic (oral pain medication) usage.” The heat wrap treatments for low back pain also proved to be “better than oral analgesics because it goes beyond pain relief to provide muscle relaxation and increased flexibility.”

Low back pain is the leading cause of disability in people under age 45 and the cost to society is estimated to range from $20 to $50 billion per year, according to statistics provided by the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Perfect Heat Wrap Therapy Products

A Warm Buddy Sports Therapy Wrap (pictured below) or Body Wrap is the perfect heat wrap to help relieve lower back pain. Warm Buddy products promote relaxation and provide natural relief from aches, pains and stress.

The Full Heat Wrap Therapy Study

Warm Buddy heat therapy products were not used in the study. The full study can be found here: Spine Magazine Heat Therapy Study.