Children and adults with ADHD can find it difficult to adjust and control their behavior and find it hard to regulate their mental arousal in an appropriate way. Mostly it is related to problems with sensory integration. The symptoms can be inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and restlessness – and can easily be confused with the ADHD symptoms. The lack of body awareness can result in motor unrest – having a constant need for moving and stimulation even though it is not appropriate at the given time. Motor unrest can be eased with tactile and proprioceptive stimulation because the body and brain receive new sensory input about the body without any practical body movements.
Sensory disturbances appear in different ways and appear both as sensory seeking and sensory avoiding behavior for all age groups.
About 70% of all children with ADHD experience sleep disturbances. Two Danish research projects made by the child psychiatrists Allan Hvolby and Niels Bilenberg (2011 + 2020) shows that children sleeping with Protac Ball Blanket® can normalize their sleeping pattern and reduce the time it takes them to fall asleep by 40%. This has a great impact on children’s concentration, ability to learn and well-being in the everyday life.
Research: how sensory integration can help children with ADHD to better sleep and improved life quality
10-year-old boy with autism and severe ADHD
The boy experiences significant motor and psychological unrest, substantial concentration challenges, and is easily distracted. The boy exhibits stress reactions and suffers from anxiety. Additionally, he faces significant difficulties in sensory modulation and integration.
We unpacked the mattress pad together; the boy lay down on it and immediately expressed that it felt comfortable. Since then, he has used it during all his breaks, often when playing on the floor and when lying on the sofa. The boy reports, and we observe, that he can relax much better, his body is rested, and he can concentrate more effectively on his activities. His body remains much more still, and he does not change positions as frequently. We also notice that he engages in activities for longer periods compared to when he is not using the Protac® BallBase.
In the evening, the boy has always struggled to fall asleep and stay asleep even though he is used to sleeping with the Protac Ball Blanket®. The boy is very restless both physically and verbally when trying to sleep, and it can take a long time before his body, thoughts, and concerns settle. The top mattress has made a significant difference for him. He lies still, talks less, and may only change position a couple of times before falling asleep, whereas before he could lie in numerous positions and sit up, trying to fall asleep. This has reduced his falling-asleep time from over 60 minutes to a maximum of 20 minutes.
Both we and the boy notice that he wakes up more rested and benefits more from his breaks throughout the day than he did before having a Protac® BallBase. The boy uses both sides of the top mattress—he has mostly slept on the extra soft side and has used both sides for relaxation.
12-year-old boy with autism, ADHD, Tourette syndrome, and OCD
The boy experiences significant motor and psychological unrest. Additionally, he has many tics throughout the day and faces substantial challenges in sensory modulation and integration. The boy's body becomes very restless physically and verbally when tired, overstimulated, unsure of what to do, or under pressure. He is fully homeschooled and is at home all day. The day is highly structured and predictable, including the breaks. The boy often sits in his SenSit chair during breaks and/or when using the iPad. The BallBase has been a valuable addition because it stimulates the body differently, is easier to move, and can be used in a bed and on the sofa. The boy primarily keeps it in his sensory room and actively seeks it, which is something he usually finds challenging. He can feel that it helps him. He typically sits on it for 10-15 minutes.
"Usually, I sit in the SenSit chair during breaks, but I have used the mattress pad in my gamer room. I have sat or lain on it in my bed when taking a break or when my body has become too restless."
"I relax much better in my body when lying on it. I am calm and I also fall asleep much faster. The mattress pad is good for relaxation. In general, it makes me more relaxed, and it feels great to lie on it."
Protac Ball Blanket® Calm was especially effective on Jens’ ability to fall asleep. When he started school, he experienced many frustrations which affected his sleep. It could take up to two to three hours to fall asleep. When we got the Protac Ball Blanket®, the time it took him to fall asleep was reduced to half an hour. It may still be hard for Jens to go to school, but the improved sleep means he has a better day overall and that it is easier for him to cope with the challenges of the day.
5-year-old with ADHD and motor unrest
A 5-year-old boy with ADHD sleeps with Protac Ball Blanket® Flexible. He is very physically restless and has difficulty tolerating vestibular stimuli. He always slept very restlessly at night, often awakening and was not rested at all during the day. Since the first night of sleeping with the blanket, he has slept much more calmly. The boy also quickly finds the blanket and snuggles in it when he is sitting and relaxing, for example in front of the TV.
13-year-old girl with ADHD and OCD
Our daughter has had problems sleeping since infancy. Throughout the years, it has been blamed on colic and ear problems, but no treatments have helped. After starting medication for ADHD, a year ago, her sleep has most certainly not improved, and there have been many sleepless nights for our little family. The only treatment we have been offered is sleeping pills, which I would prefer not to give my child. After we did a bit of our own research, we found that we could try different types of specially designed blankets. Initially with no noticeable difference - until one day we were introduced to the Protac Ball Blanket® Granulate. We tried it without great expectations, but after a few days we found that it made a huge difference for our daughter. She now falls asleep much faster and if she wakes up during the night, she can now calm herself enough to fall asleep again. Where she previously asked us stay with her when she went to bed, it now occurs that she asks us to leave, so she can sleep.” “Throughout the years it has been a nightmare every evening at bedtime, and we really enjoy that she can now go to bed and fall asleep. It has been beneficial for the whole family, so we now all get a much better night's sleep. It also affects our energy and mood during the day.” “It is still upsetting that, for economic reasons, the municipality would rather “fill our children” with medicine than provide the financial support for the Protac Ball Blanket® that can help children with sleep problems become calm enough to feel their natural fatigue.
9-year-old girl with ADHD
The girl uses Protac GroundMe® for homework and meals, as she has difficulty sitting still and being present in these situations: "I notice that her behavior becomes calmer, and she is more present when she uses the foot cushion. For once, she sits properly on the chair, where she typically is extremely restless and sometimes must give up on eating the meal as she cannot remain seated on the chair. The foot cushion provides her enough calmness to stick with what she is doing."
6-year-old girl with ADHD
Has difficulty concentrating and sitting still on a chair. She often sits on her knees on the chair or lies on the table twisting and turning her body. Observed effect of the Protac Ball Cushion®. From the first day, the girl can sit much more calmly. After a few days, it is evident that she can both concentrate for a longer period and sit quietly on her chair. Now she no longer lies on the table. The girl can even sense that the ball-cushion is doing her good. When she arrives in the morning, she is usually the first to sit in her seat. Should she play computer or sit somewhere other than usual, she brings her chair and ball-cushion with her.
10-year-old boy with ADHD
” Jens' body is very restless at the end of the day. When he needs to concentrate on homework, doing creative activities like Fuse Beads or other activities that require concentration, he often puts on the Protac MyFit® ball- vest . When he gets the ball-vest on, he quickly calms down - so they really do have an effect, those balls! He knows that the ball-vest helps his concentration and that things work out better for him.”
14-year-old boy with ADHD motor unrest
The parents state: "Peter uses the Protac MyFit® ball vest during periods when he feels restless and impulsive. The balls and the material clearly help him to become calm and better sense himself. He is just as pleased with the ball vest as he is with the Protac Ball Blanket® - with the ball vest he can achieve the same safe feeling during the day as the blanket gives him at night ".
Security to sleep tight
The dynamic sensory input from the balls in the Protac Sensack® provides the body with the calm feeling it needs to fall asleep and the enveloping shape gives our boy a sense of security and physical demarcation of his body. We find that Daniel falls asleep more easily now, he rarely wakes up at night and he feels rested and re-energised in the morning.
(Parents to an 11-year-old boy with ADHD)
13-year-old boy with ADHD
It is obvious that all forms of contact and communication as well as bodily calmness increase both while and after the boy sits in the Protac SenSit® chair . He seeks out the chair spontaneously and often tries to “pretend sleep” to be allowed to stay in the chair a bit longer. He is clearly calmer and happier and easier to work with when he has been sitting in the chair. He often expresses with a twinkle in his eye: “one day I will snatch the chair and take it home without you noticing".
Young woman with ADHD and Borderline, among other conditions
The woman loves the mattress pad and misses lying on it after the trial period. She feels extremely comfortable on the padded side. She does not know if she sleeps better, but she feels extremely comfortable on it. Combined with the Protac Ball Blanket® she feels like a princess.