DIY Lycra Compression Bed Sheets for Deep Pressure Input

A few years ago someone commented asking if I could do a blog post sharing our bedtime routine. I kind of laughed it off because that is a pretty non-existent thing in our home. What works for a week or month often doesn't work the next, and it's a constant changing battle in our home.

compression bed sheets

Kinsley has always been a pretty awful sleeper. Part of that is because she has middle interhemispheric variant holoprosencephaly, which is the long way of saying she has a few brain malformations. She is certainly a lot more high functioning than we ever thought she would be, but she does have several long term issues, one of them being sleep related. Because Kinsley has a lot of spasticity in her lower extremities, she often kicks or flails her legs when she is trying to get to sleep, which means she wakes herself up when she is just starting to fall asleep, or will easily wake herself from a deep sleep in the middle of the night. 

In 2016 we started using a weighted sensory blanket to help solve the problem. The sensory blanket worked really well for a long time, but then Kinsley got too tall for it and Derek and I were having to run into her room several times a night to get it back onto her. For her birthday in 2017 my friend's mom made her a new blanket, but that meant that we had a period of a couple months between the first blanket not working and the new one arriving at our house that we had to figure out a solution for. 

Why We Made A Lycra Compression Bed Sheet: 

I have a few friends with children on the Autism/Sensory Processing Disorder spectrum, and a lot of them had told me about the benefits of deep pressure input. We obviously had success with it in the past which is why we used weighted blankets, but many of my friends were having success getting their children to sleep with compression bed sheets to provide that same grounding sensory input, and I thought it was worth a try. 

What Is a Compression Bed Sheet? 

A compression bed sheet is essentially a bed sheet that fits over your mattress like a sleeping bag would. They're usually pretty tight and hold your child in place so that they can't move around as much in the middle of the night. They give your child a nice deep pressure feeling like being hugged, while still allowing your child to safely get in and out of the bed and be safe while they sleep. 

Initially when I had heard about these sheets several years ago I was hesitant to try it with Kinsley because she was so immobile at the time and I worried about her getting trapped. When we were in between weighted blankets though, that one year made such a big difference with her mobility that we decided to make her a compression sheet as an intermittent fix until her new blanket arrived. 

Why Make A Compression Bed Sheet Instead of Buying? 

I am not the most crafty person on the planet, but if I can make a sensory bed sheet, I promise you can too. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on this, just to find out that it might not work. When I was looking online, store bought compression bed sheets were between $30-$40, which was more than I wanted to spend on something that might not work. 

I went to Hobby Lobby and found some stretchy jersey knit fabric for $5, borrowed a friend's sewing machine, and made my own for less than $10 after I bought thread for the project as well. The savings were well worth making the compression bed sheet on my own and it took maybe 15 minutes to sew the entire thing together. 

If you have a child, or know of someone who could benefit from this, here is a super easy (really, so easy) tutorial on how to make a compression bed sheet for your child. 


Fabric (enough to fit the bed)
Sewing Machine


Measure the top of your mattress. You'll need just the length and the width. You'll then want to multiply that by two (a piece for the top, and a piece for the bottom). By not measuring the thickness of the mattress, you're ensuring the fabric will be tight enough when stretched over the mattress. 

Head to the fabric store and get your fabric. Lycra is ideal, but Hobby Lobby didn't have any when I went, and so I just went with a thick stretchy blend that they had that felt durable. I did mine on a crib size mattress and 1 1/2 yards was the perfect amount. 

I then laid the fabric out on my table and folded it in half (right sides together). I pinned the long open seam shut, and then pinned the bottom edge shut as well. 

Using a zig-zag stich, I sewed together the two pinned sides, and then I turned the sheet right side out. 

At this point it just looks like a big stretchy sleeping bag. Congratulations, you've succeeded.

Then I simply headed up stairs, placed the new sheet on top of the mattress, and put it back in the bed. 

Have your child try it out to make sure it's not too tight and is comfortable, and then get yourself a full night sleep!

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Be sure to follow along on Instagram @thehappyflammmily to stay up-to-date on all the latest posts and projects. 


  1. (Also I really appreciate that you prioritized your child's ability to be able to get out independently if needed.)

  2. really awesome cuteness on her face !!

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