How to Make Your Bedroom Pitch Black for Sleep

Turn off all lights, cover windows.
How to Make Your Bedroom Pitch Black for Sleep
Tom Greenspan
December 21, 2022

As a reader-supported website, we're able to keep it free. Buying something through a link on this page might earn us commissions. Thanks for that.

For the people who work shifts, they will understand the significance of having a dark bedroom during the day, any chink of light can disturb your sleep during the daytime so it's imperative to achieve a bedroom that is pitch black if possible.

Parents of young children will appreciate the difficulties of getting young kids to sleep during the summer months when the lighter nights allow enough light into a child's bedroom to prevent them from sleeping.

This article will give you an overview of how you can achieve a dark bedroom and sleep soundly as a shift worker or make your child's bedroom dark enough for them to sleep soundly.

Let’s take an enlightening leap into how to black out your bedroom and more such as:

  • The best budget solution to achieve pitch black in your bedroom.
  • How to achieve the best results with drapes.
  • Is blackout film the best solution for you?
  • Ditch the smartphone

How do you darken a room for daytime sleep?

There are many ways to darken a bedroom for daytime sleep. Some are obvious but nevertheless still worth mentioning, and other ideas may be a revelation to you.

Here are some tips and ideas to help you sleep better during the daytime:

  • Use cardboard. It's a quick fix that works. You will need to have a piece of cardboard of a suitable size and trimmed to fit your window size, just placed against the window, you may need to use an adhesive putty-like Blue Tac to keep the cardboard secure to the window frame.
  • Cut hardboard, (HDF) high-density fibreboard is thin, cheap, and a more permanent solution to your light ingress problems. Again use an adhesive putty or velcro to make a secure and firm fixing to the window frame.
  • Solar film is a permanent solution, and once it's fitted to your windows, you can jump into bed without having to fit the light-blocking screen to your windows. The solar tint is much like a car window tint, with the tints starting from light to dark.
  • If you have doors that have large gaps and let light pollution into your dark bedroom, consider placing a towel at the door's base to block light ingress. If the door fits poorly, you may consider using a draft excluder in an attempt to block the light.
  • Turn off bathroom lights and hallway and landing lights during the day and at night if your child is struggling to sleep.
  • The cheapest way of addressing the problem of light for daytime sleepers is to buy a snug-fitting eye mask, they take a little getting used to, but once you have mastered sleeping with an eye mask you have solved the problem.
  • Black-out curtain liners are designed specifically for blocking light out of your bedroom.

1. It happens

You may get home after a long and arduous night shift, jump in the shower, eat a light meal and then hop into bed for some well-deserved and badly needed shut-eye, only to find light shining under the door from the hallway of the bathroom. So, you struggle through, but, what could be done?

During the daylight hours, it's easy to leave a bulb switched on if the ambient light is bright; you may not even realize the bulb is glowing and burning electricity.

It's worth the effort for night workers to check the bulbs in the adjacent hallway to the bedroom and the bathroom to eliminate some of the unwanted glow of light from below the doors.

You will understand that working nights really screws with your circadian rhythm and without a good day's sleep and rest your performance is going to reduce significantly.

Will this solution help?

The truth is every time you block or reduce a light source in your bedroom that is affecting your sleep you move one step closer to resting and sleeping normally.

Furthermore, it will save on electricity bills as bulbs are not needed to be switched on during the day in areas that have sufficient natural light.

How easy is this resolution to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most complex level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 1.

It's about creating habits before you go to sleep after your shift, check the light switches in the hallway leading to the bedroom and the bathroom.

2. Catching up with social media

How did we manage before social media and smartphones? Many of you find it hard not to get out your smartphone before jumping into bed or even while you’re in bed to catch up with the latest gossip from friends and family and maybe skim through the relevant news cycle.

It was thought that the light emitted by smartphones, computer screens, and tablets were increasing levels of insomnia. However, scientists now believe that the blue light tone emitted by these devices that imitate sunlight was the course of insomnia. 

Scientists have realized that it's not so much the light that is causing the problems but brain and hormone stimulation. You read something you don't like and your cortisol levels rise, (fight or flight). Or you become excited about your friend's activities.

Now, if it's not hard enough to fall asleep after a night shift you really don't need to make things worse by peaking your brain's stimulation making it impossible to sleep.

Remove computers and smartphones from your bedroom, and turn off the TV from the mains power supply to extinguish the standby light.

Will this solution help?

If you follow the advice to ditch your cell phone and laptop before sleeping and leave your phone out of the bedroom your chances of falling asleep fast will increase dramatically.

The addiction to social media sites is connected with insomnia and poor sleeping habits which reflect in poor performance at work.

How easy is this resolution to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most complex level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 1.

It's maybe a 3 because you will need to exercise a level of willpower to ditch your cell phone before you sleep.

3. Simple solutions yield results

Light from the base of a door can be intrusive in a dark bedroom and if it's left you will toss and turn all night. Just a small light intrusion is enough to keep you awake for hours.

The problem is your body knows it shouldn't be sleeping while it's light, despite you feeling tired after a long night shift your body will want to remain awake.

If the light does affect the way you sleep you will need to take action to eliminate the light source, so do it before you get into bed, If you leave it and then decide to jump out of bed and place a towel on the door base you will have to start the relaxation process over again until you sleep.

Will this solution help?

Yes, block all light sources entering your bedroom before you get into bed and relax. It's a simple fix and only warrants a permanent solution if you decide to work permanent night shifts.

How easy is this resolution to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most complex level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 1.

Nothing could be more simple, place a towel at the base of the door and you are on your way to a good day's sleep.

4. Ambient light could be your plight!

Many of you rely on an alarm clock to wake on time and that's a perfect way to be punctual for your night shift. But, is the ambient light from your bedside alarm clock keeping you awake?

Well, this is what scientists say about light, exposure to white light during the day can have positive effects, including boosting alertness and mood. Red light has no effect on the circadian clock, so you can use a dim red light at night. Yellow and orange light has little effect on the clock so you can use a very dim yellow or orange light at night.

The use of red light is used by pilots and the military frequently when things are dark, red light does not create light blindness, whereas white lights in a dark situation require your eyes to re-adjust to the dark conditions.

If the light from the alarm clock is bothering you and interrupting your sleep, simply turn the clock away from the bed.

Will this solution help?

For some of you, the red light may even be comforting as waking in a pitch black environment needing the bathroom can be startling in some sense as you may trip or stub your toe in the dark.

How easy is this resolution to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most complex level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 1.

Ambient light can be a problem so turning your clock away from the bed is a good idea if you wake precisely on the alarm.

5. Roman blinds

Roman blinds look terrific against a bedroom window and are ideal for obscuring the outside world. If the Roman blinds are fitted with black-out linings are they going to block light pollution from entering the bedroom during the day?

Blackout linings are designed to stop light penetration and work wonderfully well in most situations. The problem with Roman blinds is they need to be oversize and be on the outside of the window reveal or recess to block the light.

The other issue is Roman blinds hang off the wall, leaving a gap of say ¼ inch which allows light to penetrate the bedroom.

There could be a DIY fix for this and that is to add velcro to the window frame and the edges of the Roman blind so you can secure the blind to the window which would prevent any light penetration into your bedroom.

Will this solution help?

Roman blinds with black-out linings stitched in will remove a significant proportion of the daylight, without the addition of velcro you will be left with light penetration around the edges of the Roman blind.

How easy is this resolution to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most complex level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 4.

It's easy to add velcro to the window and to the Roman blind, your roman blind will be secured by velcro to the folding mechanism so the material is more than suitable for velcro use.

6. Blackout drapes

The obvious choice to make any bedroom feel darker is to use blackout drapes, the drapes have a tighter weave to prevent light ingress and have a special blackout lining sewn in to block as much light as possible.

The cool thing with blackout drapes is you can buy them ready-made in a variety of colors to match your bedroom decor.

There is a drawback with blackout drapes and it's not with the drapes it's the way they are hung. Hanging blackout drapes on a pole will leave you feeling disappointed, the drapes are standing too fast off the wall to effectively block out sufficient daylight.

You will need drapes to run on a track and be oversize ao the drapes cover about 6 inches of wall on either side of the frame and it is preferable to be floor to ceiling.

If you can add a pelmet this will block all of the light to the bedroom and you will have gorgeous drapes and a pitch black bedroom.

Will this solution help?

To be honest, if you are concerned about decor in your bedroom this could be the ultimate way of blocking daylight from entering the bedroom.

How easy is this resolution to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most complex level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 6.

It's easy to buy readymade blackout drapes, you will need to fix a drape track to the wall and hook the drapes on but it's all strength forward if a little time-consuming.

7. Louver shutters

There is always more than one way to solve a problem and this solution is perfect for blocking daylight and allowing you to sleep after a long night shift.

Louver interior shorters come in all shapes and sizes, some have a traditional look that makes a room look awesome, and others have a more contemporary appearance that is perfect for the modern home.

However, they are good at eliminating daylight and provide a solid feel to the windows making your home feel more secure.

It would be a perfect solution to use wood louver blinds with drapes, a bolt and braces approach to tackling the problem of light ingress.

They are easy to install and if you take this option the package is supplied with everything you need for the installation.

Will this solution help?

Massively, it's a perfect solution to blocking unwanted light in your bedroom and they add an extra layer of security from opportunist thieves. Use in conjunction with drapes for a total blackout experience.

How easy is this resolution to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most complex level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 7.

It's a great solution if you have the time for a DIY project, check around for the different styles of interior louver doors, some are very attractive and will make a difference to your home.

8. Ready-made pleated blackout shades

Ready-made blackout shades can be bought online from most major online retailers and provide a budget-friendly solution to dealing with light penetration into your bedroom after your night shift.

They may appear a little flimsy but this is reflected in the price and you may consider fitting the ready-made pleated black-its blinds and leaving them shut but in actuality, the pleat design does add some structural strength to the blind and they will last if you treat them appropriately for their price point.

The problem is you are always going to get a little light around the edges from this type of blind unless you have a track for the blind to run inside. However, if you are adept with a craft knife then you can trim the blinds pretty close to the window frame dimensions which will eliminate more light.

Will this solution help?

If you are looking for a quick and easy solution to block out daylight this could be the answer for you. The black-out blinds are either paper or a light fabric so will need to be handled with care.

How easy is this resolution to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most complex level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 4.

The blinds are simple to install, you will need a sharp blade, and a kitchen knife will not be good enough to make the clean cut required. Once cut to length remove the adhesive protector strip and stick it to the top of the window.

9. Black-out paper DIY

The ultimate budget-friendly black-out blind that provides the very best solution for blocking light ingress into your bedroom and it's totally DIY and can be fixed in minutes.

If you have nonstandard type windows such as arched windows or even round porthole style windows you can use this system to block out the light totally.

It's lightweight and easily removed and could be the perfect solution for your child's bedroom at home or when on vacation.

The kit is made to be lightweight and portable or it can be left in situ for a cooling effect in the heat of the day.

Will this solution help?

This is a perfect solution if the decor is not your main priority and sleep is. You can cut the material precisely to the window size and then use velcro style hook and eye fasteners to secure the blind to the window frame.

How easy is this resolution to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most complex level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 2.

It's a simple but very effective system to block light from a bedroom, it's perfect for a kid's bedroom with ease of use, installation, and removal. If you have skylights in your vacation rental then this is easy to use to address all light penetration issues.

10. Blackout film

Using blackout film to eliminate light from a bedroom is a semi-permanent solution that may put some users off trying this type of solution. However, it works exceptionally well and if you work a permanent night shift schedule this could be ideal for you.

It's simple to fit and has UV protection that will also dissipate some of the day's heat keeping your bedroom cool.

It's a DIY install and can be done with a craft knife, and a clean window for the best adhesion.

The film has other uses and will provide an added layer of security and could be used in vehicles that are carrying tools and a total blackout solution if this is legal in your state.

Will this solution help?

It's a great semi-permanent solution that will definitely block 100% of the light entering your bedroom if it has been trimmed to fit the window precisely.

It may not be ideal for those of you who take pride in your home decor and have families, but if you are a single-shift worker then this could be the best option for you.

How easy is this resolution to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most complex level to achieve these bedroom shelves is a 3.

Precise trimming is needed and this type of blackout system can be tricky if you have smaller window panes requiring multiple sheets of the film to be cut for just one window frame solution.

11. Blackout roller blinds

It's hard to find a home that does not have a roller blind somewhere in use in the home because roller blinds provide a simple and effective solution for privacy. But did you know roller blinds can block out light?

These particular roller blinds can be found online by the largest retailer of this type of equipment. The blinds have UV protection, waterproof, and a blackout liner is impregnated into the roller blind.

They are extremely easy to install and are a DIY installation without hassle or complications. The roller operates smoothly and stays within its designed track.

However, all window blinds have the same inherent problem: they never sit flush against the window frame, allowing light to penetrate the room for the edges and the base of the roller blind.

Will this solution help?

It will certainly go a long way to preventing the majority of light from entering your bedroom, but for absolute blackout conditions, you will need to add another layer of blackout material, say from drapes.

If you add drapes as a secondary measure, will the drapes match the style of the roller blinds? There is possibly a better solution to be found when adding a secondary level of blackout protection.

How easy is this resolution to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to achieve, these bedroom shelves is a 4.

Drilling over window frames can be a problem, so keep this in mind for any type of blind you wish to install. Window frames have a lintel that is likely to be steel so you will need a masonry drill and a steel drill to fix the roller blinds effectively and securely.

Pitch black bedrooms

It may be more of a challenge than you expect to make your bedroom pitch black and it could involve two layers of light prevention to mitigate the light ingress totally into a bedroom.

Being in a pitch-black bedroom can make you feel disoriented when you wake up to use the bathroom or wake up with an alarm. Often the cheapest and simple options are the most effective ways of blacking out a bedroom to make it pitch black, but there is a question you should ask yourself. Do you really want your room to be pitch black?

It can be beneficial to have a chink of light entering the bedroom as long as it's not illuminating the bed!

Most people with kids will know that getting them off to sleep during the summer months can be a challenge due to light ingress, so use a budget-friendly solution for the few months it's needed. Then if the child is sleeping soundly, you can move toward a permanent solution later in the year.