15 Tips To Make Your Bedroom Darker For Better Sleep

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Does the light coming in from under your door keep you up at night? Do streetlights shine through your window, making it hard to fall asleep? Well, you’re not alone. From night shift workers to kids with late bedtimes, more and more people are being affected by light pollution and its ability to disrupt our natural sleep patterns.

But there is good news! If light entering your bedroom is keeping you up at night or day, there are easy ways to make your darker so you can get the deep, restful sleep you need.

First, why is a dark room more conducive for sleep?

As per Dr Ritesh Jain – Artificial light exposure affects our circadian rhythms or the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.  The hormone melatonin is what makes us feel sleepy at night. Melatonin production decreases with exposure to light, so when it’s time to sleep, and your bedroom is too bright, it can be harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. A dark room may help you sleep better by blocking out any light that could disrupt your circadian rhythm.

 

A dark room is more valuable than many people believe. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, “exposure to light at night (LAN) increases depression risks among elderlies”. Previous studies claim that constant exposure to 5 lux (a candle emits 1 lux of light) puts sleepers at a higher risk of depression.

The most obvious step for darkening a room would be to shut the blinds and pull across a curtain, but there are several other ways to help make your room pitch dark for a night of undisturbed sleep.

Tips To Make a Darker Room

tips to darken bedroom

1) Rearrange the bed if it is facing the window.

If you get woken up by the sun shining through the window, move the bed to the opposite end of the room, where it is darker. Facing a light source while you need to fall asleep will make it much more challenging. The closer your bed is to the window, the more light you will be exposed to. 

You may not notice it, but reading from a light metre will tell the truth. So, situate your bed in the darkest corner of the room.  

2) Use darkening window film.

Darkening window film is a more permanent solution. If you always need the room you sleep in to be pitch dark, this is an excellent investment. It is also an affordable solution that provides UV protection. Black-out film can block out up to 99% of light transmission. If you’re not a fan of your windows being dark, there is also whiteout film that only transmits 9% of visible light.

3) Hang bed sheets or a thick blanket on the window.

Use painter’s tape to hang a bedsheet or thick blanket as a makeshift blackout curtain. Of course, this will not look as pretty as other options on this list, but it will provide excellent results in a pinch. Ensure that the fabric you hang is dense enough, and it is best to choose a darker-coloured material to add soaking up light.

4) Invest in quality blackout curtains.

High-quality blackout curtains are denser than regular curtains and let in much less light. Make sure you purchase the right size for your window to cover all potential light leakage points. Also, ensure your curtain rod is strong enough to handle the extra weight of blackout curtains. 

Consider hanging the curtain rod a bit higher above the window frame and buying longer curtains so that any light coming in above and below the curtains is blocked. Combine this method with using magnets or magnetic strips to secure the curtain together in the middle for a total blackout.

5) Install Shades.

If you’re not interested in curtains, roller shades can be another good option. These can block out a more precise amount of light since they fit perfectly in the window frame. Some great options for making your room darker are cellular, roller, and roman shades. Each of these has its own benefits. Assess your budget and lifestyle to determine which would work best for your needs. 

6) DIY Route: Paste aluminium foil, garbage bags, cardboard boxes, or plywood on the window.

Although this is not the prettiest of options, it can be a great temporary solution if you need to get some shut-eye. Make sure the material you choose is thick enough to block out light. For example, some garbage bags can be too thin. This is a cost-effective way to block light and provides a very high amount of darkness. Use painter’s tape, so you do not damage the paint around your window. 

You could also build a window insert using plywood covered with fabric for a sleek look. This could perfectly fit your window frame and wedge snugly in, not letting any light through the edges if done correctly.  

Aluminium foil is the top choice for many regarding the cheapest window darkening option. It is dense and easy to apply and remove if needed. 

7) Fill in the bottom door gaps.

The bottom of doors can be an overlooked spot for light sneaking in. Install a door draft stopper also to stop light. Or, shove an old t-shirt or blanket under the door for a quick solution. You could also install weather stripping around the edges to provide total blackout. If you’ve addressed the window but are still having trouble with light sneaking in, check your door.

8) Add furniture near the window.

If you don’t want to mess with your window, move a chair so that it is in front of the window or covering it partially. You could also put a large plant in front of the window and let it soak up all the rays. The more objects centred around the window, the less light will be able to reach into the room.

9) Consider painting your room darker.

Rooms painted white are brighter than those painted in a grey or tan tone. This comes down to the way that light reflects. If your room is painted black, it will absorb light and naturally be darker. Even choosing a slightly off-white greyer tone can do a lot to change the way light interacts in your room.

10) Remove any mirrors.

Mirrors do a lot for reflecting light around and amplifying it. If you have a mirror in your room, consider setting it outside, as it’s probably intensifying the light in the room. In addition to boosting any light in the room, mirrors are a big no for laws promoting good feng shui. They are said to deplete energy and create sleeplessness because mirrors can bounce energy around. If you cannot move the mirror, drape a piece of fabric or a scarf over it while you sleep.

11) Use magnetic strips to prevent the light passing through where curtains overlap.

Curtains always have a sliver of light that can make its way through. That is where magnetic strips come in. There are adhesive magnetic strips that you can apply to each end of the curtain from top to bottom. You’ll get a perfect seal and a better bang for your buck with your curtains.

12) Turn off electronics.

Many people’s rooms are never fully dark because the glow of a tv or computer is always on. To get the best night’s sleep, do not let any blue light emitted by these devices interrupt you. Preferably, turn off all electronics an hour or two before bed so your brain can produce the right amount of melatonin. Even if your room is very dark, the glow from an electronic device will illuminate it and cause disturbances. This includes digital clocks, power indicators on chargers, computers, and anything else. Unplug or place it somewhere where the light is unable to escape.

13) Add a rug.

Shiny floors, especially light brown hardwood, can reflect light easily. A darker-coloured rug will help to darken the space and absorb light rather than reflecting it. A carpet can also make a room feel cozier and add to the overall aesthetics.

14) Get a curtain liner.

If your current drapes or curtains aren’t cutting, you can install a curtain liner to boost their light-blocking capabilities. Liners can easily attach with hooks or velcro to the back of the curtain. Curtain liners can also be easily removed if you do not need them.

15) Turn off digital alarm clocks, phones, and other electronics that emit light.

Turn off any electronics in your room that emit light. This includes your alarm clock, phone, night light and other devices with a bright screen. If you can’t turn them off, unplug them or cover them with a dark cloth. Also, it’s not a good idea to use a laptop or watch TV in bed, as the light from these screens can potentially make it harder to fall asleep.

16) If nothing else works, consider investing in an eye mask.

If none of the options above worked for you, consider investing in an eye mask. While it may take some getting used to, an eye mask can effectively block light. There are several types of eye masks on the market –  choose the one with padding around the edges and nose to block out potential gaps.

Closing thoughts

We hope you found these tips helpful and were able to make your bedroom darker. Remember, a dark room is a key ingredient for quality sleep, so it makes sense to go the extra mile to create a sleep-friendly environment.

If you have any questions or would like to share your own tips, please leave a comment below!

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James Lee

James Lee

James is the content director at WhatASleep, a certified sleep science coach from Spencer Institute and our in-house sleep product expert. Over three years, he's personally tested hundreds of mattresses. He likes to keep his reviews simple, objective, and straightforward so that the readers don't have to go through decision fatigue which is often the case while shopping for sleep products.

He hails from Sydney and has a journalism degree from the University of Queensland and an MBA from Melbourne Business School.

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