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The Link Between Depression and Light Exposure During Sleep

Even the smallest bit of light can throw off the entire sleep process. Next Day Blinds recommends several Room Darkening or Blackout Shades to help turn your bedroom into your own personal sleep oasis.


In a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found a link between depression and light exposure during sleep by monitoring the sleep conditions and mental health of 863 elderly adults over the course of two years. Researchers used a light meter to measure the light levels in each bedroom and asked  participants to maintain sleep diaries as well as complete regular surveys to monitor for the development of depression symptoms. Findings suggest that sleeping in total darkness may not only be ideal for sleep, but also mental health.

Skinny on Blackout Shades Night Sky

“Maintaining darkness in the bedroom at night may be a novel and viable option to prevent depression,” says Kenji Obayashi, study co-author.  

Of the 863 participants, 73 developed depressive symptoms during the follow-up period. Researchers found that individuals who saw more than five lux of light at night were more likely to develop depressive symptoms than those who sleep in complete darkness.

alarm clock

“It’s probably a good idea to shut out as many sources of light as possible when you sleep, no matter your age,” says Obayashi. And while it is still not entirely clear how light is connected to depression, the study author suggests it may be related to sleep disturbances.

“There is robust scientific data documenting the role of light in promoting wakefulness,” write researchers Helene Emsellem, MD and Taylor Bos, BA. “Photoreceptors in the retina sense light and dark, signaling our brain about the status of the outside world and aligning our circadian rhythms to the external day-night cycle.”

Even the smallest bit of light can throw off the entire process.

“It may be time to invest in some blackout curtains,” says Jamie Ducharme, Time.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Blackout Shades Promote Healthy Living

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults ages 18+ need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, but many fall short, which is why the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has labeled sleep deprivation a national epidemic, affecting 50 to 70 million Americans. According to our own 2017 Sleep Survey, 45 percent of Americans age 45-64 rate their sleep as “very poor,” with only 46 percent of people getting the recommended 7-9 hours. However, the solution, in many instances, could be as simple as blackout shades.

sleep quality by age

“Overhauling the bedroom starts with an acknowledgment that your body needs to sleep in near total darkness for optimum health,” writes author Jennifer Barrett in her article “Sleep Oasis.”

Next Day Blinds recommends several Room Darkening or Blackout Shades to help turn your bedroom into your own personal sleep oasis.

Room Darkening Roller Shades

Our Room Darkening Roller Shades feature fabric fused with white backing to block light and provide maximum privacy. Although the shade is completely opaque, some peripheral light may escape from the sides, which is why we recommend using an outside mount to help create a cave effect, providing optimal sleep conditions.

“The old-fashioned roller shade is still a good option,” says interior architect Rob Whitten. “They are a practical and inexpensive option that works well in many applications.”

Shop Room Darkening Roller Shades

Room Darkening Honeycomb Shades

Our Room Darkening Honeycomb Shades are lined with Mylar® to block nearly all exterior light. These shades are also extremely energy efficient, helping to maintain a consistent temperature in your bedroom for a good night’s sleep. A white backing provides a clean, consistent look when viewed from the outside while reflecting incoming ultraviolet light. 

“Cellular Shades, also known as Honeycomb Shades, are one of the hottest new trends in window shades and are designed for light filtering or for the total blocking of sunlight,” writes Christie Craig, Houston Lifestyles & Homes magazine.

Shop Room Darkening Honeycomb Shades

Nursery Honeycomb Shades Child with Mother

Ultra Room Darkening Aluminum Mini Blinds

“Thankfully, we’ve come a long way from the days of hiding [windows] behind basic mini blinds,” says Carolyn Forté, Home Appliances & Textiles Director in the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.

Our Ultra Room Darkening Aluminum Mini Blinds are made utilizing 8 mm thick aluminum alloy slats attached to a decorative beveled headrail. Unlike traditional aluminum mini blinds, Ultra Room Darkening Aluminum Blinds feature hidden routing holes and increased slat overlap to block more light when the blinds are closed. They offer precision light control is just about every color imaginable. 

Shop Ultra Room Darkening Aluminum Mini Blinds

Room Dimming Savannah Shadings

Soft and adjustable Room Dimming Savannah Shadings vanes appear to be floating between two sheet fabric panels. They are able to obscure light from entering room but will not provide complete darkness when in the closed position. These window treatments are available in 2 inch and 3 inch vane sizes.

Shop Room Dimming Savannah Shadings


Founded in 1993, Next Day Blinds is a fully integrated, full-service custom window covering company located in Jessup, MD, just 25 miles from Washington, DC, and 15 miles from Baltimore, MD. From sales and design to manufacturing, measuring, installation, and service, we do it all. Our goal is to help you create a better tomorrow by providing a superior result--blinds, shades and shutters that look nicer, last longer, and are there when you want them.