Everyone appreciates a good night’s rest, but some people have a hard time settling down and staying asleep. Sharing the Weight, a non-profit group in Redmond, is looking for volunteers to help make weighted blankets, which help make it easier to fall asleep, especially for people with autism or anxiety.

Why weighted blankets?

Just like a good hug can make a person feel more peaceful, weighted blankets bring a lot of comfort and calmness. The gentle, even pressure of the blanket is more than just relaxing – it helps our brains release of two important chemicals: serotonin, which helps with calmness and feeling centered, and melatonin, which supports a healthy sleep cycle.  The extra weight also reduces tossing and turning, helping people feel more settled and relaxed.

How can volunteers help?

On the fourth Saturday of each month from 12 to 4pm, volunteers meet at the Kaleidoscope Family Center (731 SW Highland Ave in Redmond) to make weighted blankets. Even volunteers who don’t sew have plenty to do, because making the blankets involves many different jobs, like measuring and cutting the fabric, and filling it with beads.

“Making one blanket takes several hours of work, and we have over 500 people on our waiting list, so we can use help from everyone,” said Sharing the Weight organizer Stephanie Widler. “The blankets are given to families free of charge, and the organization has no paid staff, so every volunteer hour makes a difference!”

How can I get a weighted blanket?

If you or someone in your family needs a weighted blanket, go online to SharingTheWeight.org to fill out a blanket request. Since the request list is quite long, receiving a blanket can take some time, but volunteers can usually receive a blanket much more quickly. Sometimes they can even bring one home on the day you volunteer!

For those who are handy with a sewing machine, check out the online instructionsfor making a weighted blanket on your own.

For more information on volunteering with Sharing the Weight, or to learn about receiving a weighted blanket, contact Stephanie Widler at Oregon@sharingtheweight.org.