One of the most common reasons it’s difficult to sleep at night is the amount of light inside a bedroom. The brightness or darkness of a room can often make or break the quality of sleep that you get. And, as many of you will know, there are obvious benefits to sleeping in a dark room.
It’s no surprise then that blackout curtains are often found in the poshest hotels. But are blackout curtains the best solution for peaceful nights, or do they have negative implications on the way we sleep?
If you don’t want to be kept in the dark any longer, read on. In this article, we look at what room darkening can do to give you a good night’s sleep. And discuss whether you should be blocking natural light from entering your bedrooms at home by updating your curtains.
What are Blackout Curtains?
Blackout curtains or darkening curtains are a type of window treatment that you can install in your bedrooms or even in your living room. They often look like your normal curtains but are made with heavier, more opaque materials to prevent light (and even heat) from entering your room.
Simply put, just like the name suggests, these curtains block out a significant amount of light (if not all) from entering your windows. They come in many forms and styles, but the most common are polyester fabrics since they are more tightly woven, thus significantly reducing the amount of light that’s able to pass through.
Other lighter fabrics can also be used as blackout window coverings, provided that they have a blackout liner on the side that’s facing outside the window.
The Pros of Blockout Curtains
There are plenty of reasons why many people recommend blackout curtains to block light from entering the bedroom. Here are some of the most compelling:
Makes you Fall Asleep Faster
The simplest way to achieve optimal sleep conditions is to go to bed in a quiet, pitch-black room. While this may feel a bit claustrophobic for some people, the absence of noise and light sources reminds our brain and our body to be in a restful sleeping state. The darkness inside a room tricks your brain into believing it’s nighttime so that you produce melatonin (the human sleep hormone) much more easily.
Know someone who swears by using earplugs and eye masks for sleep? Blackout curtains provide the same effect, without having to attach anything to your eyes or ears. The curtains block out light from the outside so you won’t be distracted by street lights or other light sources.
Night shift workers significantly benefit from using room darkening and blackout curtains as it allows them to simulate night conditions whenever they have to sleep during the day.
An added benefit of blackout curtains is their ability to block a good amount of outside noise from entering your room. As they’re made from thicker, heavier materials, blackout curtains work excellently in absorbing outside noise which can help you to get a better night’s rest.
Helps Improve Sleep Habits
One of the many advantages of using blackout curtains is being able to program yourself for sleeping. Since your bedroom is pitch black, it retains only one purpose – sleeping. Going into a dark bedroom is a helpful reminder for you to just close your eyes, put your devices away, and get some shut-eye.
But, using blackout curtains isn’t an automatic solution to setting a perfect circadian rhythm – you have to put in the work too! Enforce it upon yourself that when it’s dark in your bedroom, you shouldn’t be fiddling with your phone (this exposes you to blue light, which wakes you up more), and you should just focus on creating a habit of sleeping and getting the best rest possible.
Cooler Room Temperature
Another great thing about blackout curtains is the way they help keep heat out of your room. It’s an obvious fact that sunlight carries heat with it and fortunately, the materials of most blackout shades and curtains are great for insulation –preventing the temperature of your room from raising, working similarly to thermal curtains.
Cooling your room is also more energy-efficient when you use blackout curtains as your air conditioner doesn’t need to work as hard to lower the room temperature. Which also has the added benefit of helping to keep your energy bill lower.
Whether you’re using blackout blinds or curtains, an added benefit for your bedroom is the increased privacy provided. Blackout curtains are very opaque in nature. Light can’t pass through, which means you can’t see through the material. This provides a sense of peace and comfort knowing no one can see you from the outside. Including your neighbours, if you live in close confines.
What we love about blackout curtains is the character they can add to a room. Often draping from floor to ceiling, they are a great way to style a room and can also be layered with different materials. The best blackout curtain combinations are paired with light-filtering curtains which allow softened light to enter a room during the daytime and add more depth to your bedroom’s window and walls.
The Cons of Blackout Curtains
Not Enough Natural Light
As you’ve seen, there are many benefits to using blackout curtains – but there are still some downsides. We know it doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but not having natural light can mean you get more hours of sleep in the morning as there’s no sunlight to tell your brain that it’s time to wake up. What’s the problem? Oversleeping can cause headaches and might even cause you to be late for work!
Another consideration? A baby’s sleep pattern is often tied to the time of day, so having no natural light in the room may not be ideal if you have an infant sleeping in your room.
Should you Install Blackout Curtains?
The benefits far outweigh the cons of blackout curtains, so they’re definitely worth a try. Most sleepers benefit from a darkened and quieter bedroom – and don’t forget the money you can save on your energy bills even while sleeping in a cooler room. They may be a bit costly to have installed, but the perks you get will set you up for the long run.
Want to sleep even better? Try out the Ecosa Memory Foam Mattress.