Decorating: How to Achieve Total Darkness for a Good Night’s Sleep
Well-planned window treatments, clever design ideas and common sense are the recipe for the sleep-inducing darkness every bedroom needs
Light has a sneaky way of peeping out around the edges of a window treatment, so prevent this happening by fitting very long curtains that stretch from ceiling to floor and comprehensively block the light. Long drapes like this offer some sound insulation, too, which can further contribute to a good night’s sleep.
One of the most effective ways to block light from outside is to hang more than one window treatment. Shutters or neat roller blinds will do much of the light-exclusion work, but fitting curtains that hang in front of them will create another line of defence.
Check out the best way to dress windows
Blackout fabric, which is a thick, light-excluding material, is super-efficient at keeping light out. You can use it to line curtains or simply make roller blinds with it. If you have Velux windows in your bedroom roof, you can opt to have them installed with blackout blinds fitted neatly into the windows, for complete light exclusion.
Pelmets used to look fussy, but today’s sleek designs are anything but. Better still, they provide another way to block light, by sealing the top edge of any window treatment and preventing light from leaching into the room above your curtains or blind.
The light from a TV or computer screen can stimulate us and prevent us from dropping off to sleep, so make the bedroom a tech-free zone. Perhaps you don’t check emails at midnight, but it’s still beneficial to keep equipment out of the bedroom. Even the glow of a standby light can puncture the darkness and disturb your rest.
When it comes to telling the time, choose a conventional clock with hands. The light from a digital display can be distracting, especially when the rest of the room is very dark, and repeatedly checking the time has never helped anyone get off to sleep!
If your current bedroom has multiple windows and is bathed in light, rather than investing in multiple window treatments, it might be better to move to another room (if you have one). A bedroom with fewer windows, one at the back of the house away from streetlights, or a room that is west-facing, to avoid being woken by the rising sun, may be the solution to better sleep.
Setting your mobile phone to silent is not enough – leave it in another room for the night. Nothing shatters the cosy darkness of a bedroom more dramatically than a smartphone screen pinging to life with a text or update in the wee small hours.
How do you keep your bedroom dark and cosy? Tell us in the Comments below.