How to Black out a Bedroom: Remove All Possible Irritations

Are you having trouble sleeping because of too much light in your bedroom? Learn how to blackout your bedroom even during the day in this useful guide.
By
reviewed
Reviewed by
Last updatedLast updated: November 08, 2021
Talk About Sleep is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

There is more than one reason people have problems with sleeping and why they need to blackout bedroom. There is insomnia, a health condition that disallows a person to sleep; jet lag, shift work disorder (according to 2020 statistics, it is common among 16% of America’s working population), use of electronic devices (especially phone), and so many more. But light is also a major reason that sleep is hard to find. 

Light, either from the sun or from artificial sources, such as a bulb or a lamp, can benefit the home. It allows us to see around, illuminates the room, and gives a good ambiance. Besides, sunlight is how we know when it’s time to wake up. But when it gets too much, it can interrupt quality sleep. 

Here is a guide on reducing the light in your bedroom and sleeping better even during the day. 

How does blacking out light affect our sleep

Sleep and light are not the best of friends. That’s why nighttime comes when the sun has gone down. We know of this fact. That’s why we put our heads on the table to sleep in the public or use a piece of clothing or a hat to cover our heads and faces. It’s because subconsciously, we know that too much light disrupts sleep. Even our body knows that light doesn’t help sleep; that’s why we shut our eyes when we want to sleep. But blacking out light is more than just a way to sleep soundly; it has scientific backing to it.

Sleep is related to two concerns in the human body. The first is the circadian rhythm. It is a rhythm controlled by the circadian pacemaker in the brain that helps in coordinating some body processes every 24 hours. One of these processes includes sleep. The rhythm has been created from birth, where sunrise indicates ‘wake time’ and sunset indicates sleep time. When a room is darkened, the brain interprets it as nighttime, and therefore sleep is induced. 

The second is the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produces naturally by the body, and it directly affects how sleepy a person can be or how much deep sleep a person gets. Blacking out light in the bedroom before sleeping increases the production of melatonin (which causes drowsiness). So even during the day – if you can successfully blackout your room, your sleep would be so sound, it would be like it was nighttime. 

Therefore, darkening a room tricks the brain into thinking it is night. This causes an increase in melatonin and initiation of sleep. 

Different ways to blackout a bedroom

Blacking out your bedroom does not only increase how much deep sleep you get. It also helps with eye strain, reduces your risk of cancer, and helps to regulate your metabolism (which prevents weight gain). So, if you are trying to get a good sleep and the sunlight seems to be getting in the way, here are seven (7) different ways to blackout your bedroom. 

Blackout curtains

How to Black out a Bedroom: Remove All Possible Irritations

Blackout curtains can also help to reduce outside noise from entering the room.

Curtains are used worldwide to reduce the amount of sunlight that enters a room (and also to stop people from looking into your house). But ordinary curtains still allow some light to pass through, and usually, the room is not dark, just dimly lit. Bedroom curtains blackout, on the other hand, are made specially to cause a blackout. 

They are made from polyester that’s woven very tightly; therefore, light can hardly pass through. They are also made in dark colors and can be quite heavy. The upside is that they look like regular curtains, so the room would still look stylish while darkened. They are also very easy to install – just like regular curtains, but they use thicker curtain rods.

There are different types of blackout curtains, and some of them might be of low quality because they still allow some amount of light to creep in from the sides. A wide and thick blackout curtain would cover up the sides and give you the quality sleep you need. 

Cellular shades

How to Black out a Bedroom: Remove All Possible Irritations

You can work with absolutely any décor in the home, so they fit almost every room in the house.

This is another bedroom-blackout solution. They are also called blackout shades for the bedroom It is made from thick fabrics that do not allow light to pass through. Just like blackout curtains, they are used on windows and are made specially to block out light. They also look really good, and they can add to the aesthetic of the room. However, unlike blackout curtains, cellular shades need measurements to be installed, else light would pass through the sides, or they would be too big and look off. 

They are easy to install (just drill in the brackets), and they are very convenient to use, but if a measurement is wrongly given, you might have to order new cellular shades. Also, they can only be used for windows that have a standard size and shape. Therefore, irregularly shaped window designs might not be able to use these shades.

Overall, cellular shades are a great option if you are looking for a bedroom blackout pick that fits your window perfectly and does not drape over the floor.

Blackout window film

How to Black out a Bedroom: Remove All Possible Irritations

Blackout window films prevent sunlight from passing through windows, thereby giving you maximum protection against damaging solar rays.

Cellular shades or blackout curtains can still allow light to creep in from edges, but here is a way to completely rule out the light from disturbing your sleep. It is considered the best bedroom blackout choice by some people. So, what is it?

As the name implies, a blackout window film is a thick film paper that blocks out light from entering through your window. It is an adhesive that is pasted on your window surface, and you would normally need your window measurement to cut out the right fit. It is very good at blocking out light, and it can be used with irregularly shaped windows (unlike a cellular shade).
 

Despite the upsides of using a film, and it being almost the best solution, there are some things you should know before installing a blackout window film. The measurement has to be gotten right (down to the tiniest part), or light would shine right through. Also, it cannot be re-installed after it has been removed. So, you’ll either have it up or not. A professional can help you install it, or you can save money and install yourself at home by following the installation tips below. 

Installation tips: DIY

Here are some installation tips on how to blackout windows using a window film.

  • Begin by measuring your window very carefully. Take the width (breadth) and the height (or length). Take the measurements two to three times to ascertain the numbers.
  • Mark out the measurements you have taken on the blackout film. 
  • Use very sharp scissors to carefully (and slowly) cut out the markings. 
  • Peel off the paper and stick it to your window. 

Garbage bags

How to Black out a Bedroom: Remove All Possible Irritations

It is one of the most money-saving methods.

Window curtains, shades, and paper films are all great ways to darken your room, but do you want to know how to make a room darker without spending anything at all? Here is one of them – garbage bags. Using a garbage bag to cover your window is similar to using a black window film, except that it does not adhere to the window. You would need paper tape or similar material to stick it to your window. You would also need to use two or more bags depending on how large or small your window is. 

The advantage of this method is that it is cheap, easy to find in local stores, and works great for blocking out light. It can also be removed and put back as often as you’d like, unlike a window film. However, it does not add to the home’s aesthetic in any way, and they are not durable, they easily tear. It also causes heat because the material not only blocks out light but also absorbs heat.  

Aluminum foil

How to Black out a Bedroom: Remove All Possible Irritations

It helps to block all the light for some short period of time.

This is also a cheap option, but unlike dark garbage bags, this type reflects light and therefore keeps the room dark and cool. It is also straightforward to find in stores, and you would need the measurement of the window to install the foil. You would also require the use of a painter’s tape to install the material since it does not have any stick-on property. It also does not make the room look beautifully classy, but you can come close if you install it neatly. Therefore, this is a better option than garbage bags (just pricier).

Cardboard

How to Black out a Bedroom: Remove All Possible Irritations

It is a great option for those who have moved into a new house recently.

Cardboard sheets can be used both independently or dependently with blackout curtains and shades. You can tape together three or more sheets of cardboard (depending on how large or small your window size is) using paper tape or painter’s tape. 

Independently, cardboard sheets make great blackout materials because they not only prevent the penetration of light they also shield the eyes from UV rays. Another advantage is that cardboard is thicker than a garbage bag or a foil, so it keeps the room temperature moderate during cold nights. And if you already have a blackout curtain or a cellular shade, you can use cardboard to cover the edges of your window so that light does not creep in from there.

Either you use it alone, or with your curtains and shades, it is slightly more aesthetic than the other two options because it can come in different colors. It just won’t look great outside. And take note that water is its enemy.

Plywood

Last but not least way to blackout your bedroom for better sleep even during the day is the use of plywood. Plywood is a strong and durable board that is created from many thin sheets of wood. Though it costs more than cardboard or aluminum foil and a garbage bag, it is still cheaper than the curtains and shades. It also completely blocks out light from entering the room, and you don’t have to drill holes in the window to use plywood.

Different ways to block artificial light

The question; how can I block out my bedroom window using both durable and pricey methods, as well as some DIY methods, has been answered in the previous section. But what about the light in the room? Light from bulbs, TVs, or clocks, or any other artificial material affects the quality of sleep. Studies have shown that many Americans do not get enough sleep due to artificial lights Trusted Source The truth about blue light: does it really cause insomnia and increased risk of cancer? | Health & wellbeing | The Guardian The light emitted from our LED screens is blamed for everything from bleary eyes to much more serious health issues. So just how worried should we be? www.theguardian.com (even if they are dim). Here are two sure ways to block artificial lights in a bedroom. 

Unplugging electronics

How to Black out a Bedroom: Remove All Possible Irritations

Not only for blocking out your bedroom but also for your safety.

How many electronic devices do you have in your room? Electronic devices are cable boxes, power indicators, laptops or computers, alarm clocks, radio, cell phones, TVs, electronic chargers, air conditioning units, stereos, and so on. So, how many do you have in your room? If you think that you don’t have a lot and they shouldn’t affect your sleep, turn off your light bulb and completely block out your window, then see how lit your room remains. 

One device such as your phone or an alarm clock might not be bright enough to disrupt your sleep. Still, when you add up a TV, a digital clock, charger, and a laptop, the room would be slightly bright enough to interfere with melatonin and all the science we talked about earlier. The best way to tackle this is to simply unplug all the electronic devices in the room until you wake up. You could keep your phone on as an alarm clock – so that you won’t oversleep. 

Removing light from under a bed

Some people love the decor and look that bed lights give, and that’s fine. Except that the light can affect how much sleep you get. It can even hinder you from sleeping well. And though removing the lights would help kill the light and bring in the needed darkness, it can be dangerous. You know, you have unplugged all the electronics in the room, and you have blocked out the natural light. Therefore, we assume that your room is now in pitch darkness. What about when you want to stand up to pee?

That’s why we recommend motion-detecting bed lights. So instead of staying on throughout (which is not supportive of sound sleep), it can only come on when motion is detected on the floor. Therefore, the light comes on when you stand up to pee, and it goes back off when you slip back into bed. Great, right?

Renovating a bedroom

When last did you renovate your room? You might want to consider making some changes to your room to make it a darkened room. These changes would include changing your bed position, rearrangement of other pieces of furniture in the room, re-painting your wall, and so on. These darkening room ideas would help achieve the pitch-black room that you want to achieve. Below are more details on how to renovate your room to get a blackout bedroom.

Rearrange a room

The following items in the room are of major concern here; the bed, any door in the bedroom, the windows, and an open roof in the room. First, the bed. The bed should be located in a corner in the room rather than at the center of the room or the side of the wall. Studies show that people who have their beds in the corner sleep longer than those with their beds at the center of the room. Why? Simply because sleeping at the corner simulates coziness. 

Also, locate your bed so that it does not directly face any door (in case light creeps in from under the door). Although you can use a piece of fabric or any other material to block the bottom of the door. You should as well take note of windows. Do not sleep facing the windows (it’s almost like facing the sun with your eyes closed). Keeping away from the windows (even if it is blocked) decreases the chances of being woken up by a sudden light ray.
 

Finally, if you have an open roof or a cellar in your room, don’t lie down directly below it. It’s a recipe for ‘no sleep.’ Taking note of how your room is arranged – and where what is, is a good way of inducing sleep. 

Paint walls a darker color

How to Black out a Bedroom: Remove All Possible Irritations

Dark color reduces stress and helps to fall asleep faster.

This is the second way you can blackout your bedroom by making changes to your bedroom. Bright colors indicate alertness, activity, and adventure – and you want none of that. At least, not at the moment. To keep your room blackout, you should paint your walls in a dark, dull, and soothing color. This also applies to the general aesthetic of the room. Pictures, decors, decorations, the color of the bedroom furniture pieces, and so on should fit into the calming, cool, and dark color blend rather than a bright shot. 

How to get better night sleep: Tips

Generally, a dark room should help to induce sleep. But it can be pretty challenging to get your room pitch black, and therefore sleep can be affected. Also, some factors could hinder good sleep, even if your room is pitch black. Here are some tips to get better sleep at night.

Use a sleep mask

How to Black out a Bedroom: Remove All Possible Irritations

The use of earplugs and eye masks resulted in an increased amount of REM sleep and less time spent between falling asleep and reaching REM sleep.

Darkening out your room completely can be a lot of work. For instance, you might not want to change your room color from white to black. How then can you still keep your room dark? The answer? Get a sleep mask. A sleep mask is a blindfold worn across the eyes during bedtime to simulate a dark environment. A sleep mask that has padding around the nose region is more effective because it stops light from coming in. An advantage of the eye mask is that it relieves you of permanent changes to your room. Also, it can blackout any room, which is good for when you travel, and you leave your bedroom.

Don’t use gadgets 30 minutes before bed

The extent to which your eyes are exposed to bright light before bed affects your sleep latency (how long it takes before you go to sleep after you hit the sheets). Yes, we have already created a dark room. But using your phone right before you go to bed or staring at a screen while on the bed can affect how long it takes you to sleep. It would also alter the production of melatonin as well as the circadian cycle. Turn off and drop any gadgets 1 hour or 30 minutes before you go to bed. Don’t use your gadgets while lying down. And keep phones and other gadgets a few meters away from you while you sleep. This will help you to get better sleep.

Blue light-free light bulbs

Blue light doesn’t necessarily mean a light with blue color. It is light that is emitted at a short wavelength and is found in many LEDs and electronic devices. Similar to the previous point, exposure to this light 1 hour or 30 minutes before bedtime can lower melatonin production.A few research works have also shown that it causes an increased risk of cancer and insomnia Trusted Source Arrogance of ignoring need of sleep Society has become “supremely arrogant” in ignoring the importance of sleep, leading researchers have told the BBC’s Day of the Body Clock. www.bbc.com . The blue light (even when it appears dark) tricks the body into thinking it is daytime because of how the brain interprets the wavelength. You can either wear a blue-light blocking glass or get a blue light-free light bulb. The blue light-free light bulb is the best for the bedroom because it does not affect the production of melanin.

Final thoughts 

Getting a good sleep both at night and during the day is down to a blackout bedroom. A darkened room helps to increase melanin production which causes drowsiness and induces sleep. And there are several ways of blacking out a bedroom including a blackout curtain, cellular shades, and window films. DIY methods of darkening the room include using garbage bags, aluminum foil, cardboard, and plywood. 

You should also pay attention to the artificial lights in your room that come from electronic devices or bed lights. For example, motion-detecting bed lights are better because they come on only when you get off your bed to pee. For a permanent blackout bedroom, you can look into painting your room in a dark, and soothing color rather than a bright color. Finally, the use of well-padded sleep masks can help to keep the room dark while you sleep.

References

1.
The truth about blue light: does it really cause insomnia and increased risk of cancer? | Health & wellbeing | The Guardian
The light emitted from our LED screens is blamed for everything from bleary eyes to much more serious health issues. So just how worried should we be?
2.
Arrogance of ignoring need of sleep
Society has become “supremely arrogant” in ignoring the importance of sleep, leading researchers have told the BBC’s Day of the Body Clock.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *