Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Redneck Blackout "Curtains"

Sleep is not my family's strong point. I have three kids, 5, 3, and 8 months old, and on any given night, I can expect that I will have to deal with night wakings not once, twice, or three times, but at least 5 times or more, and usually by all 3 kids. (It's usually a combination of nightmares, wanting reassurance that mom and dad are still there, bathroom trips, and nursing wakeups.)


Sleep is very precious in our house.

My kids seemed to have inherited my dislike of going to sleep (last night I slept from 3 am until 7 am, and that's not such a rarity to me) and my husband's extremely light sleeping (I've never met a lighter sleeper than him). (My husband likes to sleep, and according to my husband, I sleep so deeply its hard to wake me.)

Yup, our kids got the "best of both worlds", which means we very frequently have late nights, and then after that, multiple wakings during the night. Which is very frustrating, because that means that I can only get my work done really late at night, when my brain is half fried... which is probably why my blog posts often have typos- because I'm too exhausted by that time of the night to bother proofreading anything.

The silver lining in my kids' sleeping issues is that my kids are able to sleep in in the morning, sometimes as late as 8 or 9 am (depending on how crazy of a night they had the night before), but generally they wake up at 7 or 7:30 am. 
And I cherish every moment of sleep that I get. (Going to sleep is my problem. Once I'm asleep, I'll give anything to be able to stay asleep!)

Fortunately and unfortunately, our apartment gets a lot of natural light, which is great for during the day, but in the morning is extremely frustrating, because my kids, like roosters, wake up at the crack of dawn, no matter how late they went to sleep the night before, no matter how tired. Their brain tells them "if its light out, it's awake time", which is partly why we have sleep issues. (They think that if it just gets dark at 8 pm, they can and should be out, playing in the park, at 8 pm, and only even start to think about winding down an hour or two after that.) Even if they're exhausted and miserable, once they see it's light out, they can't really sleep anymore...

But no, I cannot have my kids waking at 5 am, just because sunup is really early in the summer. We tried regular curtains and blinds, nothing made a difference.
We were strongly considering buying blackout curtains to keep the light out of our bedroom in the morning, but instead, my husband made what I like to call our "redneck blackout curtains".

They work beautifully, even if they're butt ugly.

Mike bought some black contact paper for a few bucks.
Cut them to size to fit over the glass of the window, then attached them.

Absolutely no light shines through.
When closed, that is.

When we want natural light, though, we just open the window and get a decent amount of light. No, not as much as if the contact paper weren't there, but enough so that we don't need to turn on the light to be able to see comfortably.

So, there you have it- quick, easy peasy, "make your room totally dark so your kids actually sleep" not too expensive blackout "curtains".

And yes, it works.
Try it out yourself!

For those of you with kids, are they good sleepers or bad sleepers? What is their typical bedtime, and typical wake up time? From what age do they sleep through the night, or do they still not?
Do you or your kids wake up from light? Do you have blackout curtains in your house, or do you think they'd be helpful?
Would you ever do something like this, or do you prefer beauty over functionality?


  1. One extra step you should take, especially with it being an issue in summer. I bet if you hold your hand against this curtain you can feel it just emanating heat like crazy.

    Black attracts heat to it, so what you need to do is get two pieces of paper, one black and one white. Attach them, with the white side facing out, so the sun only hits white. It will keep the temperature way down.

  2. I actually have blinds that came with the apartment and then I made all of our curtains and one thing I did to help with the issue of waking up at dawn (but it being allowed by the apartment management) is to get super cheap black clothe (with one shinny side is the best) and make an under curtain. During the summer, I point the shinny side out to help reflect the sun and keep it cooler inside. During the winter, I point the none shinny side out so it absorbs more of the sun and heat to help with warmth. And all year round, my rooms stay fairly dark (looks like twilight when down) and we get direct blasts from the sun as it rises every morning.

  3. I agree with you, "make your room totally dark so your kids actually sleep" not too expensive blackout "curtains". But I think blackout curtain increase beauty of our room.


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