One of the recommendations we make very early on to our clients is that they should really make an effort to get their bedroom as close to complete darkness as possible.
In an ideal world, when you’re getting out of bed in the morning your room should be just as dark as when you went to bed last night.
There should be no light coming in through your windows at all until you pull the curtains yourself.
You should struggle to see your hand in front of your face – that’s how dark we’d love you to make your bedroom.
Now the question many people ask at the point is…’Isn’t that a bit over the top?’
And we’ll admit that it might seem that way at first.
But here’s the thing…there’s a method behind the madness.
Our bodies are wired to be ‘in sync’ with the light/dark patterns of the earth. It’s how we evolved.
When the sun comes up we wake up. After the sun goes down we sleep.
And our bodies are very good at recognizing a transition from darkness to light, even if the strength of that light is relatively weak.
Each person is different in how easily they are pulled from sleep by external variables like light & sound.
We call this your arousal threshold.
But what you need to realize is that being pulled from sleep doesn’t necessarily mean you fully wake up.
It could mean that you are pulled from REM sleep up into a lighter stage of sleep known as Stage 2 sleep.
Generally speaking we are more easily pulled from REM sleep then we are from the deep Stage 3 (NREM) sleep.
So you want to be doing absolutely everything you can to maximize the amount of time your body spends in REM sleep in the 90 minutes just before your wake time.
This 90 minute period is where you’re going to get your biggest chunk of continuous REM sleep if you allow it to happen.
Any light coming into your room early in the morning has the potential to stop you from getting the full benefits of that final big burst of REM sleep.
Of all the things we ask people to do when we talk to them about improving sleep, completely darkening the room is probably the one that the highest percentage of people will push to one side.
If you’re one of those people that’s cool, we understand.
There is a small amount of effort involved in blocking out all sunlight.
But we’d definitely recommend that you just give it a go.
Creating Complete Darkness In Your Bedroom
The most effective way to create complete darkness in your bedroom is blackout blinds.
There are a range of options for these, some much more expensive than others.
But the truth is you don’t need to spend a fortune.
If you head to the link below you’ll see an awesome option for getting some blackout blonds in place that is both simple and cheap.
You can also do a Google search for ‘black out blind hacks’ to get some interesting, cheap ideas, but as a starting point some examples of things you could do within the next day or so include:
- Metallic gift wrapping paper.
- Rugs/blankets hung on nails with safety pins.
- Car front windscreen sunshades.
Will A Sleep Mask Do The Job?
If blacking out your room is super difficult, eye shades are your next best option.
They’re not quite as good because your skin is light sensitive and will send signals to your brain that the sun is up.
And for many people they’re not comfortable or don’t stay on through the night.
But they’re definitely better than nothing.
Longer term I’d definitely recommend the black out blinds.
It’s amazing the number of people who are completely surprised at the impact total darkness can have on the quality of their sleep.