I've never met a worse sleeper than my husband. He's plagued not only by insomnia but also by night terrors. And when the insomnia is bad, the night terrors only get worse. It's really not a lot of fun for him ... or for me.
His main sleeping issues seem to revolve around his terrible schedule — he never forces himself into bed at a certain time (he says lying awake in bed makes him more anxious) so when things are at their worst, he's not going to bed until about 3 a.m. and then waking up late — as late as 10:30 or 11 a.m. And in case you were wondering, he works for himself, which doesn't help in terms of forcing him to get up at a normal time on weekdays.
When we re-did our bedroom this past summer, we accidentally stumbled across a hack that corrected his morning sleep-ins, and ultimately put him on an entirely new path.
Part of our redecoration process was to replace the roller blackout shades that sit behind our gauzy curtains — they were a few years old and had become really ratty. When we came back from The Home Depot one Sunday with our newly cut shades, I discovered a stupid mistake — I'd mis-measured and the shades were too small for the windows. Really not wanting to make another trip to THD (and pissed about buying shades we couldn't return), we decided we'd deal with it on the following weekend. But what ended up happening that week was brilliant: My husband physically couldn't sleep in because every morning, he got up with the sunlight. It was literally like a miracle — he was now waking up at a reasonable 8 to 8:30 (in our seven years together, this has NEVER happened), and because he'd been waking up earlier, he was tired in the evening and making it into bed before midnight. Some five months on, he's still more or less on a much healthier timetable.
Of course, there are downsides to not having any light-blocking shades or curtains on your windows. Sleeping in is next to impossible if you're not wearing an eye mask (which I do now keep in my bedside table, and sometimes use on weekends). And you have to be in a position where your bedroom has enough natural privacy to allow you to have no window treatments or at least sheer window treatments.
So if you have issues with insomnia, it might be worth trying for a more light-filled bedroom in the morning to help correct your habits. Can't say it will work for everyone, but it helped my husband.
Leonora Epstein is Hunker's Senior Director of Content. She has previously served as Executive Editor at HelloGiggles and as BuzzFeed's Deputy Editorial Director. She is the co-author of "X vs. Y: A Culture War, a Love Story" (Abrams, 2014). Feel free to reach out at email@example.com.