More than 2 million Americans are reporting for work as the rest of us crawl into bed each night. They include hospital employees, police officers, factory workers, and others who turn their schedules upside down to keep the country moving 24/7. They comprise 3.2% of the American workforce and represent a minority who must try to get the crucial 6-8 hours of sleep during the daylight hours, a feat that goes against the body’s circadian rhythm, which is mainly cued for sleep by the onset of darkness and for wakefulness by daylight.
It’s difficult enough to sleep when the rest of the world is buzzing with traffic, sirens, phone calls and other normal daytime activities, but when daylight peaks through the bedroom curtains too, the bedroom can easily become a torture chamber of tossing, turning and frustration. Earplugs help with the noise factor, but what about the daylight? The best way to block the light and make the bedroom dark enough to mimic the night is with blackout window treatments.
A true blackout drapery or shade will block most if not all of the light entering your bedroom. Because they’re made of thick, heavy materials, they can also help muffle outside noises and insulate against heat in the summertime and cold in the winter. This makes them a good choice for night-shift workers, but also for babies who are still learning the difference between night and day and their sleep-deprived parents, and for media rooms, darkrooms or computer rooms. A blackout backer can be applied to many different types of window treatments, allowing you to choose whatever style you prefer with the added benefit of a dark room:
- Blackout Roller Shades: These can stand alone for a modern look or be used beneath draperies for a layered look, if that’s your preference.
- Blackout Cellular Shades: These look like any standard cellular shade, but they’re made opaque by adding a blackout backing.
- Blackout Woven Blinds: Woven blinds are a designer favorite because they look great in any style room, from modern to transitional to traditional. As with shades, they are easily customized with a blackout lining.
Blackout Roman Shades
Roman shades are a stylish option that can also be modified to become a blackout shade with the addition of a blackout lining.
Blinds and shades should be custom-made to fit your window perfectly to prevent light from entering around their perimeters. A window professional will take precise measurements to ensure a tight fit.
Choose any fabric and style of drapery that you prefer, and have a blackout backing incorporated. When you draw the drapes, the room is dark. Hotels often use blackout draperies to block light from the street at night, especially in the city and to provide complete privacy since they keep light inside the room so passersby on the street are unable to see your silhouette through them at night. You can layer blackout draperies on top of sheers for filtered light when the draperies are open, or layer them over a woven shade for a stylish window treatment.
Try A Motorized Option
Motorized versions of draperies and blinds are also available, and are controlled with the simple flick of a light switch or with a remote controller from the comfort of your bed. Motorized window treatments are a must for extremely tall windows and are also a safer option if you have kids or pets since they eliminate the potential hazards of a dangling cord.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who work nights or rotating shifts, blackout window treatments are a lifesaver. Your first good “night’s” sleep will convince you and make you wonder why you didn’t make the choice long ago!