Insomnia & Sleep Health

Will blackout curtains help me sleep better?

In 2023, 33% of UK citizens over 55 years old said that they struggled to fall asleep fast. Blackout curtains could be the solution! By blocking sunlight, light pollution and noise, these curtains can help you maintain a healthy sleep cycle and get a better night’s sleep.

 - 8 Min Read
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Will blackout curtains help me sleep better?
  • Blackout curtains have thick curtain panels that block sunlight and other light sources in your bedroom
  • Light-blocking curtains aid the production of melatonin, which can improve the quality of your sleep
  • Blackout curtains can also help you save energy, reduce noise pollution and add a bit of privacy to your home
  • There are lots of different curtain styles, materials and colours available depending on your home decor

Will blackout curtains help me sleep better: FAQs

  • What is the downside of blackout curtains?

    Blackout curtains have one notable downside. Unfortunately, some manufacturers use PVC to make their curtains. This harmful material can damage the environment and cause serious side effects for humans.

    This includes air pollution, liver damage and an increased risk of developing liver or brain cancer. Linen, velvet or cotton are preferable fabrics for your light-blocking curtains - and you can add a thermal insulated layer for extra protection from heat or cold if you need it.

  • Do blackout curtains reduce heat?

    Yes, blackout curtains can reduce heat in your home, especially when it’s warm outside. These curtains block the sun’s rays and prevent excess heat in your sleeping space on sunny days. This can help you reduce air conditioning costs in your home and keep your bedroom cool, even during Summer.

    You can also use blackout curtains to reduce heat loss in your home, lowering your energy costs and maintaining a comfortable temperature in your bedroom.

  • What can I use instead of blackout curtains?

    Although blackout curtains are a great way to reduce light and noise pollution in your home, there are also a few cost-effective alternatives to help you sleep better.

    You could put wooden boards in your windows to block out streetlights and other light sources. Blinds are also a good alternative, as they can reduce sunlight in your bedroom. However, the gaps in blinds mean some natural light can get into your sleeping space.

  • What colour should blackout curtains be?

    Blackout curtains come in a range of different colours. As long as the curtains are made from thick fabric and curtain lining, you can choose any colour you want. Ready-made curtains and made-to-measure options come in many best-selling colours, including ochre, dove grey, duck egg, teal, dark grey, black and more.

    Add these blackout curtains to your wishlist to ensure you and your family sleep better at any time of the year.

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Blackout curtains are a simple way to help you sleep better, improving the duration and quality of your sleep at any time of day. By blocking out light and reducing noise pollution, you can use these curtains to get to sleep faster - and stay asleep for longer.

Read about the benefits and different types of blackout curtains and how to use light-blocking drapes to improve your sleep today.

What are blackout curtains?

Blackout curtains are thick, dark drapes or shades covering your bedroom's windows. They block out light and reduce noise to provide a peaceful sleeping environment.

As well as sunlight, blackout curtains can block out any artificial light from cars, street lights or nearby houses and businesses. This is a great idea if you struggle with sleep issues like insomnia or if you live in an area with a lot of light pollution. 

Unlike regular blinds or curtains, blackout curtains don’t have any gaps for light to come through. They completely cover your windows and allow you to get a full night’s sleep.

Room darkening curtains aren’t just for the bedroom. You can also add these curtains to your living room, for example, if you want to avoid excess sunlight or other light sources before heading to bed. This is particularly helpful if you regularly find it hard to get to sleep.

If you have patio doors or large windows, door curtains and door curtain panels are useful window treatments for reducing noise and light in your bedroom, and they can also add an extra layer of insulation to your sleeping space.

Benefits of blackout curtains

There are many benefits of blackout curtains. Read some of the key reasons why blackout window curtains could help to improve your sleep, health and well-being.

Blackout curtains and sleep

Blackout curtains are a helpful solution if you struggle with sleep issues such as insomnia.

Your body produces the hormone melatonin when you’re in the dark. This is very important for regulating your sleep cycle, or circadian rhythm, ensuring you get a good night’s sleep. Light sources can disrupt your melatonin production - so blackout curtains could be the solution. These curtains will stop any light from getting into your sleep space, helping you sleep better.

Blackout curtains can also help you get to sleep during the day. For example, if you work shifts, you might not be able to sleep at night. You can use blackout drapes to block out any sunlight or other light sources, even if it’s the middle of the day.

If you’re a shift worker, you may also find it hard to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, as you’re sleeping at different times of the day. Blackout drapes can solve this issue, ensuring your home is completely dark.

Even if you don’t struggle to get to sleep or you’re not a shift worker, maintaining a natural circadian rhythm is very important for your health - including your physical and mental well-being. It plays a large role in your quality of sleep, and frequent disruptions to your sleep cycle can cause short- and long-term health concerns, such as an increased risk of developing heart disease.

Energy-saving benefits

Blackout curtains also have many energy-saving benefits. Thermal blackout curtains can trap heat during the winter, keeping your home warm. These types of curtains are typically thermally insulated, helping you reduce heat loss - and save on your energy bills, too.

During Summer, blackout curtains can also keep your home cool, as they block the sun’s rays. For this reason, you may also want to add these curtains to other rooms in your house, such as your living room.

You may struggle to get to sleep if your bedroom isn’t the right temperature. Blackout curtains can help you maintain a comfortable sleeping environment in your home, preventing your bedroom from getting too hot or too cold before you go to sleep.

Blackout curtains and noise

Blackout curtains can also help block out noise. You may want to put them up in your kids’ room if your windows look out on a busy and noisy road, or use them during the day if your little one needs a nap.

Unlike regular blinds or curtains, blackout curtains are made from heavier materials. Pencil pleat curtains are the best style for blocking sound waves, but any blackout curtain lining will provide some level of insulation from noise pollution outside. If you live in a busy urban area, the right blackout drapery could also increase privacy in your home.

Drawbacks of blackout curtains

There are a few drawbacks of blackout curtains. Some companies use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to make roller blinds or curtains. Unfortunately, this material includes some dangerous chemicals that can cause damaging side effects, such as:

  • Liver damage.
  • Increased risk of brain and liver cancer.
  • Immune and reproductive system problems.

PVC is also harmful to the environment, and it can cause air and groundwater pollution. If you want to get blackout curtains but are worried about potential PVC issues, choose window treatments made from fabric or natural textiles instead. This will help you avoid any harmful side effects and enjoy the benefits of blackout curtains for your sleep.

You may also find that blackout curtains require sturdier rods as they are made from heavy fabric. They also make your bedroom pitch black - which can be disorientating for some people. You’ll need to rely on electric light sources or use curtain tiebacks to let in some light.

What to look for when choosing blackout curtains

There are a few things to look for when choosing your blackout curtains, and it’s important to choose the right material, fabric and style if you want to improve your sleep.

Blackout curtain styles

If you want blackout curtains for your home, it’s important to consider which style you want for your bedroom.

Eyelet curtains are a common style of curtains. These uniform drapes slip onto a curtain pole using eyelet rings (grommets). This style of curtain is very easy to hang, but you’ll need to purchase a curtain pole if you don’t already have one.

You can also choose pencil pleat blackout curtains. When hung up at the windows, these curtains have pleats that look like a row of thin pencils. Unlike blackout eyelet curtains, pencil pleat curtains are compatible with both tracks and poles.

If you want to block out all light sources and improve your sleep, make sure to fit any curtains from floor to ceiling for the best effect.

Blackout curtain materials

There are many different types of textiles and materials to use for your blackout curtains. Some common options include velvet curtains, linen curtains, voile and chenille fabric. Using densely woven fabric will make sure no light comes through your curtain fibres, so this is an important aspect to consider if you want to block out all light pollution.

A poly/cotton lining can help you block sunlight and reduce noise in your bedroom. You can also choose to add a thermal layer to your curtain panels if you want to insulate your sleeping space.

You may want to think about the size of your curtains. If you’re not sure how long your curtains need to be, you can measure the width of your curtain pole and add a couple of inches as a basic general guide.

Alternatives to blackout curtains for better sleep

Sleep is integral for your health and well-being, including your mental and physical health. Although blackout curtains can help you sleep better, there are a few other things you can do to improve the duration and quality of your sleep, including:

  • Limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption.
  • Sticking to a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Avoiding blue light before bed, such as your mobile phone.
  • Reducing stress, especially at night.

A lack of sleep can lead to headaches, decreased energy, anxiety and irritability - and it can also cause more dangerous health symptoms, so speak to your healthcare provider for further advice and support.

To read more helpful sleep tips, check out our article about insomnia.

Using blackout curtains to sleep better

Simon Shepard, CEO of Optima-life told Health Times, “Sleep is our most deliberate 'coping strategy'. Something we do for around 30% of our lives and yet something many pay little attention to. Ensuring the environment is optimal is one of the key factors that will help deliver good quality sleep and ensure you wake up feeling physically refreshed and mentally alert.”

Blackout curtains block out sunlight and other light sources, aiding your production of melatonin, maintaining your natural circadian rhythm and helping you get to sleep faster.

You can choose from a range of different fabrics and styles depending on your needs, including cotton lining, velvet curtains or pencil pleat curtains. Make sure to avoid PVC blackout curtains, as these window treatments can cause harmful side effects for humans and the environment.

Image Credit: Quin Stevenson at Unsplash

The content on is provided for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice or guidance. Should you need professional medical advice or guidance, you should consult with such a professional in their relevant field. Likewise, you should always seek professional medical advice before starting a diet, exercise regime or course of medication, or introducing or eliminating specific elements from your lifestyle. We strive to write accurate, genuine and helpful content, and all views and opinions expressed within this article are specifically the views of the author.
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