Many turn to weighted blankets for stress relief

Weighted blankets gaining in popularity

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - This holiday season, how about the gift of better sleep and stress relief? Weighted blankets are gaining in popularity. Many who toss and turn at bedtime are turning to weighted blankets.

Lindsay Willrich uses one. She's a teacher and says her students who have anxiety, ADHD, and autism sensory issues use it.

"I thought it was great," Lindssay Willrich said. "It was very comfortable. I felt very relaxed when I had it on."

Audrey Omenson, clinical director of the Nick Finnegan Counseling Center says the science behind a weighted blanket goes much deeper than just feeling nice. The pressure sensation connects to part of the brain’s sensory system you probably don’t even know exists.

"That system that tells me my joint is moving or there's pressure being applied to my body, that is a whole separate sensory system," counselor Audrey Omenson said. "A weighted blanket gets in touch with that sensory system that processes pressure and deeper touch and with that, that can be another way to tap into our sensory system and provide a calming thing - it doesn't work for everybody!"

The blanket can either make you feel soothed or claustrophobic. Omenson says it's safe to try and less invasive and less expensive than medication.

There are different weights to choose from, anywhere from 5 to 25 pounds. Omenson says people with autism should determine the best weight with an occupational therapist. The blankets can cost anywhere from $60 to $180 dollars.

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