The Original Version of This Sleep Consultant-Approved Blackout Curtain Sold Out, but Now It’s Back With an Update—So I Tried It
There’s nothing quite like the sleep you get in a room that's so dark you can barely tell if it’s day or night. According to sleep experts, darkness increases our body’s production of melatonin, which helps us zonk out faster and stay that way for longer. Even just a little bit of light can shift our nervous systems into a more alert and activated state, keeping us from getting that quality shut-eye our bodies crave.
I came to understand this all too well this summer when my husband and I moved into a new house less than a month before having a baby, and hadn’t yet put up real curtains when she arrived. We were trying to block the light in our bedroom with some plastic panels that use static cling to stick on to the windows. But we couldn't get them to fit right or stay on properly, so as soon as the sun started peeking through around 5:30 am, we were all wide awake to the sound of a screaming baby.
Not my ideal sleep schedule.
Luckily, I had a chance to pick the brain of sleep consultant Cara Walker of Well Rested Mama for a story I was working on about ways to get more sleep with a newborn. Out of all of her recommendations over the course of our conversation, one jumped out to me most: The Sleepout Portable Blackout Curtain. Made of thick, high-quality fabric, they’re the most effective product she’s found to block out light, she told me. They are also made to easily move from room to room because they just attach to suction cups and can be set up in seconds.
Let there be no light
As soon as we hopped off our call, I hopped on Google. It turns out I wasn’t the only one desperate for the dark. The Sleepout curtains were so popular that they’d sold out.
Fortunately, the company restocked with a new version last month—and I didn’t hesitate to get my hands on one to try it out for myself.
Designed to be portable, the curtain arrived in a shoulder bag that includes just enough room for the curtain itself and two suction cups. A QR code I scanned brought me to a site that walked me through the three steps it takes to put the curtain up:
- Lock the suction cups in place on the top corners of your window.
- Press the black velcro strips at the top of the curtain onto the tops of the suction cups.
- Roll the fabric on either side to block any light bleeds.
And if you really want to make sure no sun shines through, you can buy adhesive strips that attach to the sides of the curtain to close every last gap.
I didn’t have any strips on hand, but let me tell you, I didn’t need them. In the two minutes it took me to follow the instructions and put the curtains up, the room was completely transformed. Other than the tiniest slivers of light coming through the sides where our window ledge kept the fabric from lying completely flat, the curtain blocked out everything.
After putting the curtain up, I took it down to see how easy it would be to re-install. Now that I knew what I was doing, it took less than a minute to get up—and it stayed put. As someone with next to no "handyman" skills, this was my kind of home improvement project.
The updated version of the Sleepout curtain is apparently lighter weight than the original to make for easier travel, and with stronger suction cups to make sure it doesn't budge. I don't know how the original performed, but 2.0 definitely works: Although it's designed to be a temporary, travel-friendly solution, I’ve kept mine up for weeks without any problems, drawing it back when we're all awake and velcro-ing it back in place for naps and nighttime.
Sadly, I am still waking up before 6 a.m. more often than I'd like. But I can confirm that it has nothing to do with sunlight coming through.
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