Post by contributing writer, Erin Long
I couldn’t believe how well I was sleeping. For the first time in I didn’t know how long I was falling asleep right away and staying asleep until my alarm went off. And I wasn’t exhausted when I woke up.
Why was I sleeping better all of a sudden?
While I was on vacation in Europe with my family, it wasn’t just spending my days walking around charming villages that was helping me to sleep better at night. It was also the light blocking shutters in every guesthouse we stayed at.
Back at home my bedroom has very cute, very thin curtains that let in plenty of light.
I knew I slept better in dark rooms but when it came time to buy curtains for my bedroom I quickly discovered something about light blocking curtains: they’re ugly.
So when I found an adorable set of curtains on clearance, I went with fashion over function and decided I would rather have a cute bedroom than a dark one.
Fast forward a year and a half, right after we got back from our trip to Europe. I knew I needed to make my room darker but still didn’t want to sacrifice the curtains I loved. So I did a little internet searching and discovered there’s such a thing as light blocking fabric and all you have to do is mount it to the back of your existing curtains and voilà, you have adorable light blocking curtains.
And they work. A lot of light floods my room at night and it doesn’t break through my new light blocking curtains. It’s like sleeping in a cave and I love it.
Why do we need light blocking curtains?
Before modernization, people depended on the sun for light, or at most fire or candles, but now every urban area is flooded with artificial light once the sun goes down. Streetlights come on, we turn on lamps, and we spend our evenings in front of screens.
And many of us use thin, light colored curtains or blinds that do little to keep the outdoor light out once we turn off our lights.
All this, along with other factors, has lead to non-restful sleep for many people. Light blocks our ability to produce melatonin, a hormone vital for sleep, and keeps us from getting quality sleep.
But as this article points out, it does much more than that:
But LAN (lighting at night) unnaturally elevates cortisol levels at night, which disrupts sleep and introduces a host of problems relating to body-fat levels, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation. It also contributes to sleep debt and a disruption the neuro-regulation of appetite.
So light in our bedrooms does more than just keep us from a good night’s sleep – it affects our overall health in substantial ways.
(These are the curtains in my kids’ room in the afternoon. The curtain on the right has the light blocking fabric and the left doesn’t. It makes a big difference!)
Are you ready to make light blocking curtains?
I feel somewhat ridiculous making this DIY because it’s so easy. All you have to do is buy the right materials and have 15 minutes to spend. Seriously, it’s that easy and straightforward.
But if you like to see projects step-by-step, I’m here for you. If you want to figure out your own way to do it, awesome. Let me know what you did in the comments!
All you need is this:
- Curtains you love
- Light blocking fabric
- Fabric tape
- Place your curtain on top of the fabric and trace your curtain with a pencil
- Cut on lines you traced
- Place fabric tape along the top of your curtain
- Carefully lay the fabric onto the tape. I had to pull it off to adjust a couple of times and it still held strong. So make adjustments as needed.
- Hang them up and sleep better!
Seriously – it’s that easy. Enjoy cute curtains in your bedroom, and reap the rewards of better quality sleep, too!
(Note from Beth: I’m SO SO SO grateful to Erin for sharing this tutorial. You all know how important sleep is to me, and right now our freshly painted and decorated bedroom has terribly ugly light-blocking curtains hanging. I’m on a mission to put this DIY to good use ASAP. And hurray for not breaking the bank to do it!)
An excellent project! I think that people will be surprised on how much this helps you get more restful sleep. Thanks for sharing!
I have been working second shift for almost three years. When it was apparent that blocking the morning sun for better sleep was a necessity, I bought the light blocking fabric and Velcro. I stapled the Velcro onto the fabric and staple gunned the other side onto my window jamb. I never thought to line my curtains though. I think the fabric fits better with the Velcro and I get less light around the opening.
Sounds like a good solution! Glad you found something that works for you. 🙂