Choosing the Perfect Curtains for Your Space

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation.


Why dense—not flimsy—window treatments may improve your sleep

When it comes to bedroom décor, window treatments may be what your nightlife is missing. Ask yourself: How dark is your bedroom at midnight? Unless it is pitch black, it might be time to redecorate. After all, there’s more light pollution than ever. Streetlights, car headlights, and building lights create omnipresent reflected and refracted light, all of which eliminate the darkness that should cue our bodies to sleep.

So consider blackout curtains if you’re having trouble getting quality shut-eye. Fabrics enforced with light-blocking properties can make it easy to take back the darkness and get some deep, restorative sleep.

What Makes Blackout Curtains Different

You’ve probably encountered blackout curtains or drapes while sleeping in a hotel room. These specialty window coverings are made from rich, opaque fabrics (such as polyester or Thermaweave, a woven design with insulation) and are reinforced with extra lining to block out external light. Typically long, wide, and hefty, blackout drapes offer full coverage around the windowpane as well as the window itself. And don't worry—they are usually machine-washable.

If you have curtains that you love but need to darken the room more, you may be able to add a layer to reinforce the existing material. Hanging blackout liner panels behind a substantial but thin curtain might minimize light filtration.

Where to Find Them

Specialty blackout curtains and liners (prices differ drastically, from about $12 to roughly $110) are available at most major home furnishing stores. Look for labels that say “blackout,” “room-darkening,” and/or “light-blocking.” We’re fans of the Sound Asleep Curtain liners, available at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

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