Sleep. When you’re a child, you’ll do anything to avoid it. Teens can never get enough. And as adults, we often spend a lot of time without quality sleep, and we know we have only so much time we can spend trying. Consumer Reports found in a survey that 68% of us are either struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep most nights. The American Sleep Association agrees that 50-70% of us aren’t getting enough Zzzzs. If you’ve ever had jetlag, that is caused mainly by the sudden change from the sun’s patterns and light patterns not matching what your body is used to. It has a big impact!
Being sleep-deprived is no joke either. It’s not just moving sluggishly, or being a little snippy. Regular poor sleep has been linked to a wide variety of physical and mental health problems, including depression, obesity, and even cancer. Drowsy driving is responsible for thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries in car crashes every year, and being sleep-deprived is akin to driving under the influence.
So, we agree, we ALL need better sleep. Obviously, talking to your doctor should be your first step if you’re struggling and it’s negatively impacting your life, but without a medical reason, there’s a lot of sleep hygiene reasons you could be struggling as well. One big factor is light, and that’s the one we’re going to talk about!
How Light Affects Your Sleep
We all know about our circadian rhythm. Our bodies, as mammals, use the light and dark cycle of our environments to train our bodies when it’s time to sleep and time to be awake. We’re diurnal animals, meant to sleep when it’s dark. Exposure to late-day light actually postpones our body’s signals to get us into a sleep mode. Exposure to too-early light kicks us into daytime mode right away – even if that time is an hour before your alarm goes off. Light leaking in while you’re sleeping, even if you stay asleep, can even reduce the quality of the sleep you’re getting.
We actually have an entire article devoted to discussing colors and brightness of light, so we’ll skip that here. If you want to learn even more about how lighting affects everything from your mood to alertness, read The Psychology of Light in Your Home.
So, let’s jump into the best window coverings to help you get better rest and be at your best!
Designer Banded Shades by Hunter Douglas
What Bedroom Window Coverings Are Ideal for Getting the Best Sleep?
How much light you need to block is the biggest question you should address right away. If you have an east-facing bedroom window, you’re certainly going to want to block out morning rays as a high priority. If you’re west-facing, or have lots of large trees that block light, it may not be as big of a factor for your morning light exposure. However, if you work nightshift or regularly take naps during the day, or are covering windows in a nursery or small child’s room, then blackout solutions are necessary. You’ll need to block mid-day sun for the best sleep possible.
Draperies can be made to be light-blocking fabric solutions for good sleep
Draperies are a wonderful solution for achieving darkness. Properly placed drapery, made of thick fabrics or with a light-blocking liner, are going to be a wonderful option. Installation and size matters. Drapery not installed closely to the wall, or wide enough out from the edges of the window will still allow a lot of light to leak through. With some architecture, this can be difficult to accomplish since drapery is almost always installed outside the window frame, but trained experts can tell you more about how well it will work in your bedroom.
Hunter Douglas Design Studio™ Roman Shades
Shades can solve multiple bedroom concerns at once, not just better sleep
Shades come in a wide variety of styles and options, from cellular to roller to the ever-popular fabric Roman shades. The benefit of shades over draperies is the ability to install them inside the window frame. If that’s not your style, a tight outside fit can also prevent light leaks. With expert measurements and custom-made shades, we ensure a perfect fit! There are additional side elements that can be added to prevent any light from leaking in around the edges (and they can add beautiful accents too!).
Another benefit of shades is you can choose the right type to meet other needs you have. Preventing heat or cold from leaking in your windows, providing UV protection even when sunlight is coming in, or even adding privacy while maintain a view are all easily achievable with the right kind of shade. This makes shades an ideal option for almost any scenario. They can be custom-designed to fit may different window shapes too. Multiple problems solved with one window covering? Yes please!
Shades aren’t boring!
A lot of people think of shades as a single, plain-color, flat design. We want to squash that assumption right away! The roller shades in the images above, or in any photos on this article (or in our shades gallery) should show you right away – shades come in a huge variety of options, colors, patterns, and designs!
Our Deer Path client’s bedroom with custom draperies layered over Roman shades.
Layering Window Coverings for your Ultimate Good Sleep Solution
If you really are determined to combat light, go all in. Layering shades underneath drapery is a winning combo for great sleep. It also gives a beautiful look to any bedroom. Add a romantic, intimate feel with flowing, full draperies. Prevent all light from entering with perfectly-fitted shades. They also solve insulation issues, and you can mix and match patterns and textures for a beautiful end result that’s also incredibly functional. Now that’s a match made in bedroom heaven.
What about shutters or blinds?
Shutters and blinds can be beautiful options. However, they don’t provide blackout conditions you may need for your bedroom. Layered with draperies over the top, though, and you can certainly include these without sacrificing sleep!