Sleep Problems are very common in autistic people, so we’ve written a blog about how compression therapy can aid sleep & wellbeing. Some of us having difficulty falling asleep, others may be early risers or frequent wakers. Our sleep can be restless, inconsistent and poor. We all know how important getting a good nights sleep is, yet for many of us it just doesn’t happen. Have you ever heard the saying
“You can deal with anything if you’ve had a goodnight’s sleep?”
I’m not sure if I made it up or I heard it elsewhere but I do know that it is true!
But don’t worry there are lots of things that can help you to try and get yourself or your child a decent nights sleep. These include consistent bedtime routines, medication, weighted blankets and the one we are going to focus on today which is compression therapy with the help of Fidget Bum.
Here is how compression therapy can aid sleep & wellbeing!
What Is Compression Therapy?
Compression is basically the feeling you get from being hugged or squeezed. It will not benefit everyone but many autistic people report positive effects from it.
Compression can improve many areas for those of us on the spectrum. It can help to calm our sensory systems and decrease our anxieties and stresses. It has been known to help reduce self-harm and one of the biggest positives is it can aid a better nights sleep!
Compression therapy can come in many forms, you can even have an assistance dog that is trained to give deep pressure compression therapy.
How Does It Work?
Deep pressure such as squeezing and hugs will relax the nervous system. It basically switches us from “fight or flight” mode to “rest and digest:”. When you are in fight or flight mode for too long you feel anxious and irritable and this can have an adverse effect on your sleep. Lots of autistic people and people with sensory processing disorder not only struggle with sleep but are in fight or flight mode regularly.
With the help of compression, we can send our bodies into rest and digest mode which slows our heart rate relaxes us and improves circulation. Helping us to feel calm and relaxed. Our bodies release happy endorphins alongside dopamine and serotonin, which help us to feel good. This, in turn, helps us to stay calm and in control, more motivated, focus our attention, helps our memory, improves our behaviour and helps us get a better nights sleep!
How Compression Therapy Helps Me
I am a 30 something autistic adult who suffers massively with anxiety. I am very often in fight or flight mode and I struggle to get out of it. This often leads to me having a meltdown and often a shutdown. Somedays when I can keep on top of myself and I schedule in regular sensory breaks to keep me focused throughout the day. This includes weighted therapy and compression therapy. 10 minutes under a weighted blanket can really help me to reset myself and get back onto the task at hand.
Compression therapy works the same way and whilst I’m not a fan of hugging or close contact the fidget bum to me is the like Temple Grandin’s squeeze machine! On days when I don’t keep on top of myself and I have a meltdown compression therapy helps me to reset myself. I wouldn’t be able to get back on with the task at hand and the compression session would need to be much longer than 10 minutes.
Once I feel regulated I can, however, see the day out in a much calmer manner. After shutdown, I can barely function but the pressure of compression helps me to relax and feel calm. Even though I know I won’t accomplish anything else that day. I feel safe and secure and I will often then fall asleep. Self-care is really important and compression really helps me with this. I just need to remember to schedule breaks regularly to help me avoid the meltdowns and shutdowns wherever possible.
Fidget Bum is made from comfy, cosy, stretchy cotton fabric. It has a chunky zip at either end. It is designed to stretch snuggly around your bed. Once zipped up it gives you the feeling of being held or hugged. Fidget Bum is perfect for sensory seekers who crave extra pressure. Providing compression at night to help calm and soothe our sensory systems and aid a better nights sleep. Originally designed for those fidgety toddlers you can get fidget bum in 5 different sizes from toddler beds right up to king-sized!
Budget Weighted Blanket
The Budget Weighted Blanket that Sensooli stocks are inexpensive but in no way basic. It gives you everything you need from a weighted blanket. Made with 100% cotton and glass beads it feels lovely. The beads are quiet and spread evenly, with no bunching. This blanket has no cover and so is cool on the skin, but you can add a cover if required. It’s perfect for those who need compression therapy on a budget!
Koala Weighted Blanket
The Koala Weighted Blanket is one of luxury. It really is the best-weighted blanket I have ever used (and I have used a lot). The cover is super soft and also cooling meaning it can be used year-round. This blanket has been made with huge attention to detail and it’s obvious. So if you want the best-weighted blanket then here it is, it might cost a bit more than the other options… But trust me when I say, IT IS WORTH IT!
These are great products to aid sleep. You can use them alongside medication or on their own if you are looking for a more natural solution. What’s fantastic about Fidget Bum is that you can combine it with their our Budget Weighted Blanket or our Koala Weighted Blanket if it doesn’t give you enough compression. These products can be used at any time of day to help soothe our sensory systems and compression therapy can create an amazing sense of healing and wellbeing.
Like I said before, you can deal with anything if you’ve had a good nights sleep!