Saturday, April 2, 2011

And Let There Be Darkness

After experiencing a lot of insomnia at various times and blaming it on caffeine, or too much liquid before bedtime, or menopause, I am willing to consider a different cause and solution. I am not a person who would even consider taking a sleeping pill because I can't imagine deliberately rendering myself unconscious and helpless. I wonder how I could survive something like an unexpected housefire, a break in, a bad storm, or any number of other catastrophic events that would require me to wake up and manage my survival. No sleeping pills for me. The only leap of faith I am willing to take is in case of medical procedures that require sedation.

A new solution for managing my insomnia has become necessary because I often find myself wide awake at two or three in the morning and often for several hours. The master bedroom in my house has two side windows and a large trio of windows in the front since it is a corner room. The neighboring houses are not really close, but I have begun to notice that outdoor lights from the two houses that we can see from that room are turned on at strange hours.

If we have snow on the ground, the reflections coming into the front windows are so bright, we have to close the curtains. A skylight in the adjoining bathroom lets in so much light when there is a full moon, it is like daytime so the door must be closed. One neighbor has a garage on the same side as our bedroom and they have outdoor lights turned on almost all night so the two windows must have closed curtains. Even so, there is too much light in the bedroom. The curtains have linings, but not for complete darkness. I will now have to install blackout shades to get complete darkness in the room for effective sleeping. I don't think I want to wear a sleep mask.

The movie Insomnia comes to mind because the main character is going a little crazy because he can't sleep in Alaska where the daylight hours continue for much of the 24 hours. The bedrooms require blackout shades for people to sleep.

A little research tells me that complete darkness in a bedroom is required for effective sleeping. Melatonin has to be produced in the brain for healthy, sound sleep and that only happens in a room that is completely dark. It is worth a try; it is time to make our bedroom completely dark with blackout shades and it won't matter whether my neighbors leave their garage lights on until 3 a.m.


  1. I have to have a dark room to sleep, which is the only real problem I have with living up here in the North Country -- in the summertime. I got blackout curtains which work wonderfully well. I think the amount of light you describe while trying to sleep is way too much!

    I look forward to hearing if it makes a difference for you.

  2. Good Luck with that - I put my sleepless nights down to menopause, and an over active brain (not a bulging with braininess brain - just an over active one!)

  3. the city house is on a block with 7 street lights. One at each end of my 55' street side. they both shine into the bedroom. add a full moon and it might as well be day. the bedroom at the country house is so dark that we finally had to put a night lite in the bathroom. I was walking into walls. but still I have insomnia. if I go to bed 10ish, guaranteed I will wake about 2 and be awake til 5ish. then I can sleep a few more hours. you might try taking melatonin at night about 30 minutes before going to bed. I've also heard that magnesium taken at bedtime also helps. I solved my problem (mostly, I still have a few sleepless nights) by staying up til midnight.