Do you find it hard to switch off if your bedroom isn’t 100% dark?
If so, you aren’t alone.
A dark bedroom is something that we need to sleep well.
Creating a darker room isn’t just to make your bedroom a more relaxing environment — it could also change your life.
Let us explain…
We’re currently in the grip of a silent epidemic.
We like to be optimistic around here, but for the good of humankind, we’re sounding the alarm. Yep… we’re going there.
What we’re talking about is a sleep epidemic. And it’s affecting almost everyone in the world right now. It’s that serious.
Honestly, if we could leave the cats unattended in the office without the risk of broken cups and other objects, we’d be out there protesting.
For example, a study on 20,000 patients in the Netherlands showed that 27.3% of them reported that they had some type of sleep disorder. (1)
Also, according to a recent survey, an estimated 83.6 million adults in the United States were reportedly sleeping less than 7 hours in a 24 hour period. (2)
And even though it isn’t a virus or contagious disease, the effects of poor sleep on your health are comparable to an illness or infection, especially over the long term.
While you might think you only need 5 or 6 hours, research suggests that you’re likely paying a silent but potentially deadly price for skimping on sleep. (3)
Sleep duration under 7 hours has been linked to 7 of the 15 leading causes of death in the U.S including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and a whole bunch more.
It’s even been linked to an increased risk of dying early from all-cause mortality (good lord!). (4)
Telling you this isn’t an attempt to scare you. In fact, more than anything else, we want you to sleep better so you can do more. It’s our mission.
We think that great sleep is the non-negotiable foundation you need to create your best life. We want you to create a perfect sleep room by making your bedroom darker so you can sleep easier.
So given the evidence, we think it’s safe to say that better sleep adds years to your life, and life to your years.
But why is sleep such a struggle today — and does it really have that much to do with a dark bedroom?
Our bedrooms aren’t dark enough
Many of the improvements in our technology over the years have been pretty cool.
Social media, global travel & Artificial Intelligence (unless you think that robots will overthrow us all) are just some of the culture-shifting advances we’ve seen.
They’re even 3-D printing steaks now. Crazy. (5)
But like most things in life, there’s a cost.
Growing evidence suggests that modern advancements are taking their toll on human health. One way this is happening is by damaging our sleep quality.
Our damaged sleep quality is, in large part, down to the time we spend on a myriad of electronic devices such as televisions, computers, and smartphones.
The light emitted from these devices messes with our sleep in surprisingly dark ways.
Let us explain how.
Why you should make your bedroom darker
When it comes to getting great sleep, light is your arch-nemesis (especially if you’re a superhero … which you are). If your bedroom isn’t dark at night, your sleep is likely being impacted.
Light is the most important external factor that affects our sleep, in two key ways. When it comes to your bedroom, the darker you can make it the better.
Firstly, light plays a key role in regulating your circadian rhythm. This is your body’s internal clock that tells you when to be awake and when to sleep.
And secondly, light also affects the production of melatonin, an essential hormone for sleep.
To understand this more fully, let’s dive into the details of these two aspects (just a little bit) more.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body. When it’s dark, the pineal gland in the brain kicks off the production of melatonin.
When it’s released, it makes you drowsy and gets you nice and ready for bed. Doctors even prescribe synthetic Melatonin to help people who struggle to sleep.
When it’s light, however, melatonin production slows or even stops.
If the image doesn’t gross you out, imagine a 24-hour clock that’s kept inside you. This clock coordinates a bunch of different functions in the body, including sleep.
In order to function, this clock needs to know if it’s dark or light outside. But since the clock is inside you, it can’t know this on its own.
To get the answer, it asks a little part of the brain called the Circadian Pacemaker to check if it’s light or dark outside, and relay the information back to it.
Here’s how it should go down:
Clock: “Hey CP! I’m deciding if we should sleep yet. Is it day or night?”
CP: “Well this bedroom is pretty dark, so night must be approaching…”
Clock: “Excellent. I’ll start to slow things down then. Release the Melatonin! It’s time for bed.”
The Circadian Pacemaker looks around and tells your internal clock whether it’s dark or light. The clock gets the message and decides what needs to happen in the body.
If it’s dark, time to sleep. If it’s light, time to be active, and so on.
Back in the old days, this system worked wonderfully without a hitch. People went to bed when it was dark and arose when it was light. On and on it went for most of human history.
But then something changed.
Humans discovered electricity, and with it, artificial light. We could now create an environment free from the dark.
Now, artificial light is absolutely everywhere. It’s on the streets, in our homes, in our cars, on our TVs, and even in our pockets. No matter where we go, we can barely escape it.
This absolute abundance of light is throwing the communication between the internal clock and the circadian pacemaker out of whack, and our bodily processes are equally out of sorts.
Your body doesn’t know it’s dark outside. Without the dark, it doesn’t know that night has approached and it’s time for sleep.
For example, here’s what happens when you’re on your smartphone at night:
Clock: “Yo CP! It’s me again. I’m deciding if we should sleep yet. Is it dark yet?”
CP: “I….I don’t know. I think it’s still light out.”
Clock: “What? That’s impossible. We’ve been awake for 20 hours. It should be getting dark by now.”
CP: “But… it isn’t dark. I can see light right in front of my face.”
Clock: “Right. Well, we can’t go to sleep until it’s dark. We’re staying awake. Halt the Melatonin!”
Rest of the body: “But we need rest!”
Clock: “Did you hear me? We aren’t sleeping unless it’s dark.”
Internally, your clock is telling its own time, out of alignment with the outside world. With artificial light, you can effectively extend the day.
If this continues, your body stops getting the rest it requires in order to function optimally. The consequences of this lack of proper rest can be devastating, not just on your physical health but your mental wellbeing, too.
Your magic pill: a dark & quiet bedroom
In the pursuit of great sleep, your bedroom makes a big difference.
A dark, cool, and quiet bedroom create the right conditions for your body to get the rest it needs.
No, your dark bedroom doesn’t need to be coated in Musou Black — literally the darkest paint ever created (6).
Nor does your dark bedroom need to be so quiet that it measures negative decibels (7).
But if you want to sleep really well and give yourself the rest you need to create an amazing life, making your bedroom dark, quiet and cool is the best thing you can do.
And even if you get caught in a sleep environment that isn’t ideal, there are still things you can do to get better sleep. For example, check out this article if you want to sleep like a king in your car: Car Sleeping Accessories
Now that we’ve convinced you that making your bedroom darker is a fantastic idea, we now want to show you how.
Let there be … dark!
Making Your Bedroom Darker
Making your bedroom darker doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t have to cost a ton of money, either. A dark bedroom is accessible to everyone.
Here’s a list of some simple tips to make your bedroom darker than your ex’s heart (sorry!).
Install Blackout Blinds
Blackout blinds are fantastic at creating a darker sleeping environment.
In addition to blocking out artificial light, blackout blinds block out natural light, too. That way, the sunrise won’t come crashing into your bedroom in the small hours.
The result? You’ll be able to enjoy your lie-in no matter what’s going on outside.
One caveat: as you shop for blackout blinds, make sure you find a product that has at least two layers. This is essential for creating a totally dark bedroom.
Mount blackout drapes
Blackout drapes and blinds are the most common ways of creating a dark bedroom. Unfortunately, they are often the most expensive solutions (they’re damn effective though).
If you don’t mind forking out the money, it’s definitely worth considering how much it would cost to put them up in your room.
Blackout drapes are very much like standard curtains. The only difference is the fabric they use. These curtains use a thicker fabric to block out as much light as they possibly can. They do a really good job of making your room darker, for the most part.
In addition to the fabric, they often have liners inside that help to block any light that is making its way through the curtain.
A decent set of blackout drapes can make your bedroom completely dark.
Use Aluminum foil
Hear us out for a moment. We know this isn’t the most optimal way of making your bedroom darker, but it’s honestly one of the most effective solutions available.
Aluminum foil easily reflects the sun to stop it from shining into your bedroom. Next to no light will come through your window, and in the sweaty summer, the heat will also be deflected from the room.
Something you will need to be aware of is that your landlord might not appreciate you adorning room after room in your home with foil, for a whole bunch of (justifiable) reasons.
Before making your bedroom dark with this method, you will want to check to make sure that you are not doing anything that might land you in a spot of trouble.
This method may not be the most appealing or attractive method out there, but it is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to make your bedroom dark.
Wear an Eye Mask
Instead of going to the trouble of creating a totally dark bedroom design, one way of making your bedroom completely dark is to use a pair of blackout curtains… on your face!
Okay, we’re pretty biased on this one, but it’s still true.
A high-quality eye mask can make a huge difference to your sleep quality. Make sure you choose one that gives 100% blackout, is adjustable and soft whilst removing pressure from your eyelids.
Eye masks are also pretty comfy and prevent any light whatsoever from entering, regardless of what’s going on in the room.
But where are you going to find a mask like that, eh? (wink wink).
We sell the best masks you’re ever going to find. Masks, earplugs, and all kinds of other awesome sleep products.
Place your phone face down (or switch to airplane mode)
You might be tempted to have your phone face-up on your bed stand, but every time you get a notification, your phone may buzz and briefly turn the screen on.
It might seem harmless when you’re asleep, but as we mentioned earlier, any light can disrupt your sleep.
Another option to make sure you get total bedroom darkness would be to use airplane mode or even turn your phone off altogether.
But if you really don’t want to be late for work, you could always get an analog clock!
Eliminate the under-door light
It might seem pretty innocuous, but that light creeping in from under the door can sneakily sabotage your dark room. In order to prevent this from happening, either invest in a draft stopper or simply roll a towel under the door.
As for the sides of the door, you could use weather stripping to block out the light. And as an added bonus, this method also stops dust, bugs, noise, and drafts from entering your room.
Tape any glowing LEDs (or turn off electronics altogether)
Those flashing LEDs from your electronic devices are subtle light sources that stop your bedroom from being dark. Obviously, you might want to think about unplugging your devices, but maybe you need them on overnight.
If that’s the case, you can tape over the LED parts of your electronic devices using adhesive tape. To make things simple for you, we even sell these neat little blackout stickers for this very purpose.
It might not seem like a lot, but you’ll thank us when your bedroom is pitch black and you get the best night's sleep you’ve had in years.
Paint the walls a darker color
If you really want to make your bedroom as dark as possible, you might want to consider repainting your walls a different color.
It might seem like a drastic measure, but using a darker color for your walls can make a huge difference when it comes to making your bedroom dark.
When done properly, a dark colored bedroom can make the space seem larger — because rather than the walls reflecting the light back to you and creating a glare, the darker colors absorb light and blur the edges of the room to create a sense of depth.
Another added benefit is that a darker decor can create a cozy, calming feel to help you chill out and fall asleep more easily.
Rearrange the room (so your bed doesn’t face a light source)
It might be time to rearrange your room and get a little dark feng shui in your environment. If your bed is facing a light source, you might want to arrange your room so that this isn’t the case.
Turn off lights in adjacent rooms
To avoid light creeping in when you don’t want it to, you could make it part of your evening routine to switch off all of the lights in any adjacent room.
That way, you embody the spirit of darkness in your whole home, as well as your bedroom (at least until the morning chorus).
If you need a night light
We don’t usually recommend night lights for a dark bedroom — but what if you need to go to the bathroom in the night or go check on the kids?
We get it. In order to save you the embarrassment, we suggest putting a nightlight with a red bulb in your room.
Red is a long-wavelength light that's been shown to be less disruptive than blue light (8). Some research suggests that it might even improve your sleep.
Having a small red light in place will help you avoid having to flood your bedroom with unwanted, sleep-disrupting blue light.
Bonus sleep tips to complement your super dark bedroom
We like to go above and beyond the call of duty. Now that your bedroom is really dark, we thought we’d give you a few sleep tips to complement your new dark bedroom.
What about those late nights where you go to bed too late after watching a few too many episodes on Netflix? Well, if you invest in some smart bulbs, you might not need to worry.
Smart bulbs are a pretty nifty bedroom addition. Unlike regular bulbs, they can be set to emit red light after a certain time. This means that instead of blue light invading your beautiful dark room, you get a soothing red light as you go about your late-night business.
Power down from electronics
It isn’t just the blue light from your devices that keeps you up — it’s the mental stimulation of the novel information you’re taking in from being on your device.
Scrolling on TikTok right before bed is probably not a great way to give your brain the chance to relax and unwind, because it still has to process all the information you feed it.
Instead of giving your brain the message that it’s time to be up and active, dedicate an “electronic-free” hour before bed and allow it to slow down.
Keep your bedroom at the right temperature
In addition to light and sound, your bedroom temperature also affects sleep quality. Have you ever noticed that it can be a nightmare to get to sleep during those super-hot summer heatwaves?
That’s because bedroom temperature might even affect your sleep quality as much as, if not more than, external noise. (9)
But what is the ideal sleep temperature to complement your beautiful, dark bedroom?
Around 70°F (20°C) seems to be the comfortable sweet spot for most people, although seeing as you’re a wonderfully unique human, your preferences factor into this, too.
Getting a fan, opening the windows, and keeping the (hopefully blackout) blinds shut during the day can help keep your bedroom cool in the summer.
If you want to sleep like a baby (minus waking up crying 10 times a night), it’s time to make your bedroom darker.
If you’ve been having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, the tips above will help make your bedroom dark, cool and calming.
Trying even one of the suggestions above could make your bedroom super duper dark, and dramatically improve the quality of your sleep. (You can also try finding out the scent to help you sleep, and if you need some extra help in choosing the best sleep products to really optimize your sleep, we've got your back!)
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our blog, e-mails, or programs is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your healthcare professionals.
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