How to darken your bedroom to sleep better
As the mornings get brighter earlier, you might find cracks of light streaming through curtains and blinds, interrupting your peaceful sleep. And this, even if you have chosen blackout blinds for your room.
The idea of waking up to summer sunlight streaming through your window might sound appealing in theory, but the best bedroom ideas for waking up feeling refreshed are ones that keep your bedroom as dark as possible.
“Light is the opposite of sleep,” says sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus, also known as the Sleep Doctor, “so if you have more light in your bedroom, you end up with less sleep. “. The reason is that the light sends a signal to your brain telling the melatonin tap to “turn off” when it hits your eye.
“Light is one of the most important factors when it comes to regulating our circadian rhythm (also known as our internal biological clock) which controls our sleep-wake cycle,” adds Lisa Artis, Managing Director assistant to The Sleep Charity.
However, ensuring your bedroom is completely dark isn’t as simple as it sounds. We’ve picked out a few design ideas you can incorporate into your bedroom to ensure you can stay longer on summer weekends.
How to darken your bedroom
Once you understand why light has such an important role to play in helping you sleep better, it’s time to keep it at bay. Here are 7 simple tips to try.
1. Generously sized blackout curtains
Start with the basics and make sure you have blackout window treatments in place.
“Blackout curtains are a worthwhile investment,” says Lisa Artis of The Sleep Charity. “They provide significant light protection, they help keep rooms cooler in warmer months, and help retain heat at night in cooler months.”
To make sure they do their full job, it’s important to make sure you put up bedroom curtains that cover your window, and more. If your curtains are just skimming the edges of the window, light will filter in from all directions, whereas if you run them at least 3 or 4 inches from the window (or even better all the way to the ceiling) and on either side of the window, much less light will enter your room.
2. Layer the curtain rods
The space where the curtains meet is a major offender for letting light into your room on early summer mornings, but here’s a nifty little trick you can try when using curtain rods in your space.
Consider installing the curtain on each side of the window on different rails. This way you can very slightly overlap them when they meet in the middle. It works like a theater curtain and eliminates the gap between each side. Plus, it’s such a small difference in the positioning of each track that it’s completely unnoticeable when the curtains are open.
3. Hang a blackout blind outside window recesses
When using a blackout roller or Roman blind with a recessed window, you have the choice of installing it in the niche or outside. Many people prefer to hang a blind on the inside of the window for a neater look, and this can be helpful when using more than one window treatment on a window.
However, if you hang a shade inside a recess, if you don’t have an incredibly thin frame, you can still get slivers of light around the edges of the shade. Hanging a blind on the outside gives you the option to oversize and completely cover the edges of the window, and you can also combine it with other clever design decisions to ensure that no light escapes as well. .
4. Double your window treatments
However, if you choose a recessed blind, that means you can pair it with a set of blackout curtains. You might want to do this anyway for aesthetic reasons, but it turns out that doubling your window treatments will dramatically reduce the amount of light entering your bedroom – a win-win for stylish spaces and better sleep.
Combining heavy blackout curtains with lightweight sheers is also a popular way to combine styles. This gives you versatility – total darkness at night, but a light yet private space by day.
5. Use these smart magnetic strips to eliminate gaps
Of course, when there is a problem in a home, someone finds a solution, and there are a number of magnetic tape products that can be used to block gaps and effectively block blinds and curtains. .
One such invention is these Sleepy Time Tracks from Amazon, which are a simple magnetic strip that can be used with blackout shades including roller, flat roman, honeycomb and other shades. These create a lip on the edge of the blind to prevent light from entering and can be easily installed and removed at will.
6. Try temporary window blackouts for travel or rentals
There are a variety of reasons why you might not want a blackout blind or curtain. They are much more opaque and can feel like a heavier way to dress a window, especially if you like a light and airy sheer curtain for your space. You may live in a rented house or try to sleep better when you travel. Anyway, there are temporary solutions to the problem that you can try.
“An eye mask can also be an additional tool to eliminate light allowing you to sleep,” suggests Lisa Artis of Sleep Charity, “or if you are traveling, take a portable blackout blind.”
Portable blinds come in a range of styles, from foils that can be attached to windows with temporary Velcro, to paper blinds, like these temporary paper blackout blinds from Amazon, that can even be cut to size. This gives you a great option for use just in the summer, or when you have guests over if you don’t mind waking up when the sun comes up yourself.
7. Block the light under the bedroom door
Windows aren’t the only source of natural light in your space, you may also find that light sneaks under and around interior doors, especially if they open into light-filled hallways or bathrooms. Start by making sure to close curtains and blinds in adjoining rooms, but you can also consider using a simple windbreak at the base of the door to block out light as well.
8. Turn off the electronics
Keep in mind that natural light isn’t the only light source that can cause problems for your sleep cycle. “Remember to unplug electronic devices that emit light and inhibit nighttime melatonin secretion,” Lisa suggests, “especially in the hour before bedtime.”
9. Choose darker wall colors
We already know that when it comes to bedroom color ideas, white reflects light and black absorbs it. You can only think about it during the day to try and create the brightest and lightest space, but it’s also something to think about when trying to make your bedroom darker for sleeping.
Any small amount of light that comes through bedroom window treatments won’t be as noticeable in a dark bedroom, making the space look darker overall.
How to sleep better when it’s day?
While your primary motivation for trying to make your bedroom darker may be earlier sunrises waking you from your slumber, it’s also important to consider how light affects your sleep more holistically. Feeling fresh in the morning will only happen if, of course, you also start your evening on the right foot.
“Closing the curtains or blinds in the early evening will also help block out some of the evening light exposure in your living room and bedroom,” says Lisa Artis of The Sleep Charity. “It will help kick-start melatonin production and prepare your body for sleep. Where possible, use dimmable lamps/lights to keep light levels low and create a relaxing ambiance.’