You've heard of weighted blankets, weighted sleep masks, and maybe even weighted body pillows, but what about weighted stuffed animals? With so many weighted products out there on the market this trend in self-care is hard to ignore! But you may still be wondering what exactly is the purpose of having all that weight. Or, the even bigger question, what is the point of weighted stuffed animals?
You’re in luck! In this blog you're going to learn about all the benefits of weighted stuffed animals – what they are, why they're so popular, and what makes them so great for the mind and body. At Warmies, we’re on a mission to create high-quality weighted stuffed animals that are over-the-top adorable while also being functional therapeutic tools. After reading this article, you'll finally understand what all the fuss is about weighted plushies, and be able to make the decision if Warmies are right for you and your family.
What are Weighted Stuffed Animals?
Weighted stuffed animals are exactly what they sound like, stuffed animals that have weight. Most weighted plushies will weigh anywhere from 1 pound to 5 pounds. Warmies stuffed animals weigh 1.5 pounds. So how do they differ from regular stuffed animals? Unlike regular stuffed animals, weighted stuffed animals like Warmies offer therapeutic benefits that help in anxiety relief, emotional regulation, and stress relief.
The materials used to create weighted stuffed animals gives pressure stimulation that has been shown to help insomnia relief. There's even research supporting weighted stuffed animals for autism.
What Makes a Stuffed Animal Weighted?
Stuffed animals get their weight from their filling, but not all filling is created equal. That is where Warmies stands alone! While other brands out there may use different types of filling material to give their products a good weight distribution, they aren’t always ideal. Common filling in weighted objects for anxiety include the following:
- Clay beads
- Wheat filling
- Plastic beads
- Polyfill stuffing
While weighted stuffed animals for anxiety are effective, the filling can cause safety concerns. Unlike other brands, Warmies does not use any of the above to fill stuffed animals! Instead, Warmies uses a carefully measured amount of naturally treated flaxseed and dried French lavender to fill each and every one of our stuffed animals. These materials also make Warmies the best microwavable stuffed animals as they won't release toxins that are commonly found in plastic materials when heated up.
The Benefits of Weighted Stuffed Animals
In addition to being cute and cuddly, there are several benefits to using weighted stuffed animals in everyday life:
- Improved Sleep - There's something called proprioceptive input, which is activity that puts force on your body. Engaging daily with a weighted plush before bed will regulate the proprioceptive input, thus getting you or your child to sleep quicker. The weight of the stuffed animal can also settle your breathing and lower your heart rate which promotes relaxation.
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety - The weight, as well as the lavender included in Warmies products helps to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This helps put your body in "rest mode" and provides you with the calming effects you need to relax and alleviate stress.
- Reduces Muscle Pain - Warmies weighted stuffed animals can also be put in the microwave. This feature allows you to use heat in addition to weight to alleviate pain in the body. The heat will sooth and relax sore and tight muscles and can even be used to soothe menstrual pain.
- Eases Sensory Processing Disorders - Whether it's you or your child with a sensory processing disorder, deep pressure touch therapy helps you get your body in a calm state of mind. Deep pressure touch therapy can be things like a tight hug or squeeze, but sometimes it can be impossible to get or give a hug which is where weighted stuffed animals. You or your child can hug the stuffed animal and feel like it's hugging back in return.
- Helps Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - ADHD causes the mind and body to feel hyperactive and stressed. Daily use of weighted stuffed animals can help regulate the body and focus the mind, relieving negative symptoms of ADHD.
Weighted Stuffed Animals and Autism
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can really benefit from using weighted toys. Children with autism often don't like to be touched or hugged by others, so weighted toys like Warmies can help trigger deep pressure touch with their weight and give kids that same hug sensation without having to hug another person.
In fact, weighted stuffed animals have been used in autism therapy for years, helping kids in the following ways:
- Reducing feelings of anxiety or restlessness
- Helping promote a feeling of calm and serenity
- Improve their body strength with daily use
- Enhance fine and gross motor skills
- Promote healthy self-soothing techniques
While weighted toys for autism have been shown to be beneficial, it’s always best to speak with your healthcare provider before introducing a new therapeutic tool.
How to Use a Weighted Plush for Anxiety
If you or your child suffers from anxiety or stress and you’re wondering, do weighted stuffed animals help with anxiety? The short answer is yes! However, it helps to know when to use a weighted plush for anxiety. Weighted plush animals can help alleviate symptoms like sweaty palms, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, or feeling worried. Without the right tools, it can be difficult to tackle anxiety head-on, so here are some techniques for using a weighted plush that can help alleviate anxiety:
- When needing to relax or go to sleep, place the weighted plush on your chest. The weight will help calm your your breathing and slow down your heart.
- Carry the plush around the house. The weight can help you feel grounded and engage your muscles.
- You can place the plush in the freezer for an hour or two to get it nice and cold. This can be useful for treating any sort of headache brought on by anxiety.
- You can heat yours up in the microwave (following the care guide instructions) to warm your body and soothe any fatigue.
Why Stuffed Animals Help with Anxiety and Depression
Studies have shown that petting a dog or cat can help reduce anxiety and stress. The same case could be made for stuffed animals, as they're similar to cats and dogs in shape and feel. The comfort of familiarity that stuffed animals bring you can help reduce your stress and anxiety tenfold, which will keep you feeling healthy and happy.
What about depression? Well, when you think about the role of hugging and touch, they're associated with the release of "feel good" hormones. These hormones give you feelings of joy, relaxation, and help boost your overall mood fighting off feelings of loneliness. While dealing with feelings of depression requires a multitude of treatments, having a buttery soft cuddle buddy, especially one that can be warmed in the microwave, can give you comfort as these weighted stuffed animals are designed to feel like a hug. These are benefits for adults as well as for children.
The Purpose of Weighted Toys
Most people think of stuffed animals as just toys to look at and enjoy, but these weighted stuffed animals have proven to be multipurpose and many different kinds of people use them in their daily life to help with all sorts of issues. There's really no right or wrong way to use them. Parents use them to help soothe their children, occupational therapists use them to help patients with motor skills, and adults use them as an everyday relaxation aid.
The important thing when looking for a weighted stuffed animal for yourself or a loved one is making sure that they're made with only the safest and highest quality of materials. This will help you be safe and healthy throughout its lifetime and ensure that you aren't being exposed to unnecessary chemicals or toxins.
You can explore Warmies high-quality weighted stuffed animals here.
When to Stop Sleeping with Stuffed Animals
Never! There's no age that one should stop sleeping with stuffed animals. The only real restriction to sleeping with stuffed animals is for babies under the age of 1, as it poses safety risks. For infants, Warmies offers My First Warmies, which are stuffed animals that are safe for newborns. Other than that, any person at any age can sleep with comfort objects like stuffed animals as often as they want. In fact, it just may be the key to falling and staying asleep.
However, there are some signs to watch out for that show you it's time to stop sleeping with stuffed animals:
- You or your child cannot sleep without specific stuffed animals.
- The stuffed animal is falling apart, posing a safety risk for you or your child.
- You or your child feel like you can't take part in everyday activities without bringing the stuffed animal along.
How to Wash a Weighted Stuffed Animal
Since Warmies stuffed animals are filled with organic material and dried French lavender, there's a specific way to get them nice and clean so that they don't lose their unique therapeutic benefits.
Whatever you do, don't immerse your Warmies in water or put them in the washing machine. This will make the filling clump together and lose their relaxing. Instead, use a damp sponge or towel to wipe away dirt and stains from the stuffed animal.
Once it's all clean, don't put your stuffed animal in the dryer. You can simply leave it out in a cool dry place to dry over the course of a few hours or overnight. You can use a low heat setting on a hair dryer if you want it to dry faster.
For more information on how to care for your weighted stuffed animal, check out the Warmies Care Guide.
Summary of the Benefits of Weighted Stuffed Animals
So now you see that weighted stuffed animals have become useful anxiety tools in environments like the home and ADHD therapy. They're a great way to promote healthy emotional regulation in children and adults of all ages, complemented by the fact that they’re simple to use and easy to clean.
So whether you're shopping for your child, a friend with anxiety, or yourself, Warmies offers the best selection of high-quality weighted stuffed animals that will soothe, relax, and brighten anyone's day.