One of the cruelest symptoms of ADHD is insomnia. And the kind of insomnia where your body desperately craves sleep, but your brain refuses to give in. After all, beds are boring. Beds are where you lie still and do absolutely nothing.
First daughter routinely has what I’ve called “pop-ups” in previous blog posts. She really doesn’t understand why she must be banished to her mattress EVERY night, it’s so unfair. Especially since the evening is when the parrot really starts talking, which is incredibly fascinating to a chatty ADHD child, which is incredibly fascinating to the chatty parrot and they just jabber and yell at each other so happily that it seems a crime to calm down and stop. Eventually, however, she does go down to sleep, and sleeps well. Not me.
Unlike First Daughter, I love the idea of getting a good night’s sleep. I eagerly get into the bed, smooth the top sheet, wool blanket, and down comforter over me, and politely wait for sleep to come. And wait and wait and wait. Often, if I can’t manage to fall asleep by 2 am, I’m extremely sad and start hyperventilating. If I do manage to fall asleep at a reasonable hour, I usually have pop-ups at 1 am, 3 am, 4, am, and 5 am, only to be thoroughly exhausted at 6 am.
One thing works – if my husband lies on top of me. It sounds very strange, I know, but the hard pressure is the only thing that can help calm me down enough to fall asleep. I have found doctors don’t really seem to have good advice on how to treat insomnia – I’ve been prescribed sleep pills, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications – nothing worked. Deep pressure works for me. When I’m stressed, and lying on the sofa, I’ll ask my little ones to come sit on my legs. Thankfully they think this is very funny and are happy to comply. The pressure helps me calm down.
As I’ve done research on ADHD for my sweet first daughter, I’m beginning to realize that I have a lot of these symptoms as well. Let me put it this way – I have a craft supply closet. Not only does it contain lots of craft material, but there are also at least 5 unfinished projects at the moment. And it will take every ounce of strength I have not to go buy a brand new craft project to start. I can’t organize myself at all, particularly any living quarters. I’m great at computer filing. I can’t sleep well because my brain is buzzing too much. My brain buzzes so much, that I can read books really really fast – usually poring through a 400 page murder mystery in a few hours. I can’t stop worrying about problems that really aren’t a big deal, but I can’t physically get my brain to stop going over them again and again and again. I find it easy to bury myself in books or knitting, to the detrminent of things that need to be done (like cleaning, cooking dinner, etc.), but find it extremely difficult to pay attention to stupid (like cleaning, etc.) And I can’t sleep.
Exhaustive internet searching led me to the idea of “weighted blankets” or “pressure blankets.” I thought this might be a good solution for first daughter’s pop-ups, it just sounded like such a wonderful idea. It’s a blanket, full of weights, that applies pressure to your body. It’s supposed to be calming for people with sensory issues – particularly kids on the autism spectrum. It’s also getting quite popular with ADHD families. As I researched, while I knew that first daughter “might” appreciate a blanket like this, I knew I definitely NEEDED it.
After price checking a few sites, I relied on the great reviews from the “Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid” online support group, and contacted ”Salt of the Earth Weighted Gear.” They had lower prices than most, and they agreed to ship to Israel (yay!) They offered suggestions about weights and size, and I made a decision to order one for myself, and let first daughter actually see what it is, before I order it for her. I placed the order around the end of December, and it took exactly one month to arrive to me. Actually, Salt of the Earth, got it shipped out to me in a week and a half (all blankets are custom made to order.) It arrived to Israel within two weeks, but the customs office here spent an additional two weeks scratching their heads and trying to figure out what in the world this could possibly have been.
It’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. It’s very calming and soothing. It feels like a super-heavy beanie-baby. Many companies use ball-bearings as weights in their blankets, but Salt of the Earth uses fine-grade river stones. It feels like sand. The cotton is also a great texture, nice and stiff like the cotton of a good top sheet.
My husband (who has been diagnosed with ADHD) loves it as well. He was the one to pull it out of the package and unfold it. And then of course, he couldn’t help himself, he had to test it out. Now he steals it for daily naps. It’s too heavy for first daughter to use, but she’s seen how we use it, and has said that she would like one of her own to try.
Pictures below. I chose a lightening fabric, but they have lots to choose from on the site. I’m not sure if doctors in Israel know about this – they might, and there might be Israeli options for this blannket, but information is so hard to get here sometimes. Salt of the Earth is a great company – and if any Israeli is thinking about ordering from them, you’re welcome to stop by our place on Hallelujah mountain and test it out.