How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep: 10 Window Treatments to Help You Sleep Better
Blocking out light at nighttime is important because it affects your circadian rhythm. Basically, your body is designed to associate light with being awake and darkness with being asleep. Artificial light streaming through the windows at 2 a.m. will make your body think it’s supposed to be awake, even though it’s the middle of the night. People naturally have different circadian rhythms, but the vast majority of us function best when we’re awake during the day and asleep during the night.
Below, we explain the best window treatments that will help keep your bedroom dark and offer additional tips for getting a good night’s sleep.
Best Window Treatments to Help You Sleep Better
If your bedroom receives a lot of light and your current window treatments aren’t cutting it, it might be time to invest in some room darkening window shades. Here are some of our favorite window treatments for getting better sleep:
1. Roman Shades
These elegant, high quality drapes never go out of style, and come in many different patterns and colors to match every decor. If you’re looking to upgrade your window treatments, you should absolutely consider Roman shades purely for their looks alone—and they’re also great at darkening rooms. Depending on the thickness of the fabric and the darkness of the dye, Roman shades can let in a lot or a little bit of light, so you’ll want to choose a thicker fabric and darker colors for your bedroom Roman shades. If you really want light-colored shades or a print, you should consider a blackout lining, which will block light no matter what front-facing fabric you choose.
2. Roller Shades
Not to be confused with Roman shades, roller shades are indeed very similar to the classic fabric window shades. However, roller shades are slightly different. Roman shades create soft horizontal drapes of fabric as they are lowered down the window, while roller shades simply roll up and down while leaving the fabric flat. Like Roman shades, the light-blocking qualities of roller shades vary a lot depending on the darkness and thickness of the fabric. If you’re worried about how much light can get through your roller shades, a blackout lining will ensure that the room stays dark enough that you can sleep.
3. Bamboo Blinds with Lining
Woven wooden shades, especially bamboo blinds, are eco-friendly and look fantastic. While the bamboo blinds on their own let quite a bit of light filter through, by adding a privacy liner or blackout liner, they can significantly darken the room while still providing the distinctive look of bamboo blinds. In fact, even if you’re not planning to install bamboo blinds in your bedroom, you might still want to get privacy linings for the ones in your living areas, as they can become see-through when backlit at night. Privacy linings block less light but can’t be seen through, while blackout linings block the most light.
4. Vertical Blinds
While less popular than horizontal blinds, vertical blinds can provide high levels of light blocking as well. In fact, the wide slats of vertical blinds mean that less slats have to be used to cover the same size window, providing less cracks for light to shine through. Vertical blinds are an especially good choice for wide windows and sliding glass doors that have a lot of area to cover. As an added bonus, vertical blinds tend to collect less dust than horizontal blinds, making them easier to clean. Most vertical blinds are made from PVC or faux wood, which is a mixture of wood and PVC.
5. Fabric Vertical Blinds
You don’t have to settle for boring white vertical blinds if you don’t want to. If you like the idea of vertical blinds, but PVC or faux wood won’t go well with the room’s decor, you can also consider upgrading to fabric vertical blinds. While more expensive, fabric blinds make your window treatments look more upscale. Like other fabric shades, they come in many different colors and patterns that suit every style and decor. If you want additional light blocking, our fabric vertical blinds are available with PVC backing to enhance durability and light control.
6. Wood Blinds and Faux Wood Blinds
We couldn’t overlook regular horizontal blinds on our list of the best window treatments for sleep. These classic blackout blinds feature horizontal slats about two inches wide for good light blocking. Real wood blinds look fantastic and come in many different finishes and stains for a high quality look. If real wood blinds are outside your budget, you should consider faux wood blinds, which offer the look of real wood while being made of more affordable, durable materials. Wood and faux wood blinds are a classic for a reason and go well with almost any decor.
7. Mini Blinds
As their names suggest, mini blinds are made with smaller slats than your typical blinds, about one inch in width. Most mini blinds are made from coated aluminum, which is highly durable and very affordable. Mini blinds are available in corded and cordless models for maximum convenience and safety. Besides their easy operation, mini blinds are also very easy to clean, thanks to their construction. Many people choose mini blinds if they need to outfit an entire house at once due to their affordability.
8. Cellular Shades
Cellular shades are easy to spot thanks to their distinct honeycomb pattern, which can be seen from the side. Cellular shades are available in both single layer and double layer designs–the more layers, the greater the light blocking potential. Because of their unique layered design, cellular shades are also very good at insulating your home, and can help you cut down on heating and cooling bills. Made of 100 percent woven polyester fabric, cellular shades feature a cordless design and hidden brackets for convenient use and a clean look.
9. Pleated Shades
While they may look similar to cellular shades from the front, pleated shades aren’t quite the same. If you look at the shades from the side, you will see a zigzag pattern instead of the distinctive honeycomb pattern that is the hallmark of cellular shades. Because of this design, pleated shades are only made with one layer of fabric instead of two. They are made of 100 percent woven polyester fabric, which is pretty effective at blocking out light. Pleated shades also come in cordless options, which is one of their most appealing features.
10. Blackout Curtains
If you currently have blinds or window shades and they’re still letting in too much light, blackout curtains can provide an additional layer to help stop even more light from coming into the room. Like other fabric window treatments, blackout curtains come in many different colors and patterns to suit every decor. Blackout curtains are not to be confused with room darkening or light filtering curtains, which block medium and small amounts of light, respectively. Keep in mind that blackout curtains will still let in light around the edges. Since they are usually mounted outside the window, the curtains won’t meet the edges of the glass as closely as blinds would.
Other Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Blocking out the light isn’t the only thing you can do to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep. Here are some other steps you can take to help you fall and stay asleep:
Stick to a sleep schedule.
Waking up and going to bed at the same time is one of the best things you can do for your sleep schedule. As much as you can, try to go to bed and get up at the same time, leaving yourself seven to nine hours to sleep each night. Over time, your circadian rhythm will stabilize and you’ll start falling asleep and waking up at the same time, even on weekends.
Seek out bright light during the day.
Just as you want to block out light during the day, so you want to seek out bright light during the day (especially natural sunlight). This is especially important for people who live in overcast regions or in places where the daylight is short. Being around bright light, especially in the morning, will help you stay awake and feel alert during regular hours.
Watch what you eat and drink.
What you eat and drink can keep you up at night. Caffeine is the most obvious example of this, which is why you shouldn’t consume it after mid-afternoon. Alcohol might make you feel sleepy, but it also disrupts your sleep cycles. Heavy meals can also keep you up with stomach troubles or acid reflux, so avoid eating foods that you know you’re sensitive to.
Deal with distracting noises.
Light isn’t the only thing that you need to think about avoiding. Loud noises can also keep you up or wake you up at night. Ear plugs block out the sounds and are very affordable. You might have to experiment with several styles and sizes to find the best seal. If you need additional noise blocking, you can purchase a white noise machine or download a white noise app on your phone.
Consider natural sleep aids.
Melatonin is perhaps the most well known natural sleep aid, and it’s worth trying if you have trouble falling asleep. Other people like to have decaf tea before they go to bed, while some find that CBD products work for them. If you like to drink tea or other liquids before going to sleep, don’t do it too close to your bedtime or you’ll have to get up to use the restroom in the middle of the night.
Put screens away.
The blue light from screens can confuse your body and make it think that it’s still daytime even when it’s late at night. As you wind down and prepare to go to bed, put away your screens at least half an hour (and ideally an hour) before you plan to get in bed. This means turning off the TV and reading physical books instead of ebooks.
Upgrade your bedroom.
Take stock of your pillows, mattress and bedding to see if any of it could be keeping you up at night. It’s hard to get a good night’s sleep on an uncomfortable mattress even if everything else is perfect, and using the wrong types of pillows for your preferred sleeping positions can lead to pain and discomfort. Do some research and make sure that you have the bedding you need to sleep well.
Take a warm shower or bath.
Your body temperature naturally lowers as your body prepares to sleep. To hasten this process, take a warm shower shortly before bed. The artificial rise in temperature and subsequent drop will help you feel sleepy. While you’re at it, you might want to reduce the temperature on your house’s thermostat and make sure that your bedding doesn't make you too hot.
Exercise physically tires you out, making it easier to fall and stay asleep as your body works to repair itself. Be careful not to exercise too close to your bedtime, though. Exercise causes a temporary rush of adrenaline and other hormones that wake you up for a short period of time. If you like to work out later in the day, try not to do it later than the mid-evening.
Create a bedtime routine.
Creating a routine each night before you go to bed will help you transition to sleep. Your bedroom routine might include changing into your pajamas, brushing your teeth or setting your alarm. Over time, your body and brain will learn to associate your nightly ritual with sleep, and it will help you fall asleep more quickly.
If light is keeping you up at night, try one of these 10 window treatments to help you sleep better. Don’t forget the additional tips and tricks to help you fall asleep and stay asleep!