Blackout window blinds can be a saving grace for night shift workers all across the country. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that three million Americans work graveyard shifts, and another four million work evening shifts, making up about 4% of the workforce in America. First responders, healthcare professionals, factory workers, and other American laborers fight to keep the country moving after the sun goes down and struggle to get the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep during the day – an accomplishment that must be achieved against a human being's normal circadian rhythm, which triggers sleep by the onset of darkness and wakefulness with light.
During the day there are many distractions, especially in a shared household – noise from people inside and outside the home, phone calls, traffic, and of course, the daylight pouring into the home. Daylight hours do not set the stage for a restful sleep. The best way to block out one of the biggest deterrents of sleep – light – is with blackout window coverings.
There are a few different types of window coverings that can add a blackout effect to the window. Some are more efficient at doing so than others, but all of them have their benefits.
Blackout roller shades will block most, if not all, of the light that streams through a bedroom window. They are made of heavy, sturdy materials that create an opaque cover for the window, but also muffle noise and insulate from heat in the summertime and cold in the winter. They are a great option for night shift workers who sleep during the day. They are also great for sleep training babies (and their parents), media rooms, and offices. MySmartRollerShades by tilt come in three different blackout colors – white, gray, and black – so you can have options when it comes to picking blackout roller shades.
Roller shades can also be used in conjunction with drapes if you want a layered look. Since roller shades typically sit recessed in a window frame, drapes can still be layered on top of the window frame and shut over the roller shades for blocking out any light that might be coming in from the sides of the window.
Blackout cellular shades look identical to ordinary cellular shades, but they have a "blackout backing" that helps increase their opacity. Cellular shades also have increased insulation because of their naturally insulating cells.
Woven shades (typically made of natural fabrics like bamboo) can be customized with blackout backing to increase their opacity. They are often a top choice of designers because of the element of style they bring to a space.
Roman shades are very similar to roller shades, but they have folds that flatten out when lowered and bundle together when raised, leaving bulky, stylish-looking fabric folds at the top of the window. They are made blackout in the same way as cellular and woven shades – with a blackout backing attached to the back of the fabric.
Hotels often use blackout drapes for extra privacy, so patrons aren't visible through the window from the street. Blackout drapes are made of bulky, heavy, completely opaque fabric and can be layered on top of sheer drapes (for light-filtering when the blackout drapes are open) or roller shades for a detailed touch.
Smart window coverings like MySmartRollerShades by tilt are easy to control on demand and program from your smartphone. Use them as your alarm to wake you up by programming open/shut times in the smartphone app. Smart roller shades are a must for tall windows that are hard to reach and are also great around kids and pets since they are completely cordless.
To give back to those on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, tilt sponsored a giveaway for healthcare professionals across the country to win automated blackout roller shades. Friends and families of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers nominated their healthcare heroes with touching stories of resilience, hard work, and dedication to their communities. Dr. Renu Ranka, anesthesiologist, was randomly selected as the giveaway winner.
"Jenny is an amazing individual. She's a labor and delivery nurse and heads up our infant loss program at the hospital. She is incredibly selfless and has been through a lot in the last few years."
"My hero. She always puts others before herself, at home or in the hospital. She was put on this earth to heal sick little ones and ensure above all else that their hearts are happy. Being a pediatrics nurse can be tiring, thankless, and heartbreaking, but she wouldn't give it up for the world. My wife. Mother to my children. My hero."
– Danna J.
"I am in awe of my husband since this pandemic. He has been taking care of COVID patients since the beginning of 2020 as a trauma/neuro ICU nurse even before all the shelter-in-place orders and before any guarantee of researched best practice of care. He is the most humbling nurse I've ever met and it inspires me as a nurse as well to be as loving, vigilant, patient, and intelligent as he is. He works at two hospitals which he makes a huge difference at. Not a day goes by without seeing a smile on his face regardless of how tired he is or how frustrating things are in the world around us. He empathizes for the patients, their families, and everyone who is going through the abnormal of this all.
"My mother is also a nurse working during this pandemic. She was one of my first inspirations to become a nurse. She currently holds the title of 'most hardworking employee' at her job because people see how hard she works. For example, she makes sure no matter what language the patient speaks, they are advocated for and they feel confident/relieved before they leave the building. She also takes part in how I treat my patients. Aside from being a nurse, she's the most caring human being I've ever met.
"My mother-in-law continues to also work at Kaiser Oakland during this pandemic. She is charge nurse on her unit and is one of their most knowledgeable approachable nurses there. She shares guidance and experiences to us and her coworkers so that we may take care of patients and ourselves better."
"My husband is an ICU nurse and one of the best nurses there is. Honestly though, you could ask anyone who works with him and they would tell you the same thing. Compassionate, kind, incredibly smart, and advocates for patients and their families. He currently works nights and cares for COVID patients on ECMO, the highest level of live support – a role and skill he takes great pride in. We've always worked together – same shift and same department. He's my best friend and I admire him so very much. Working together has given us the opportunity to really appreciate and respect each other because of the high stress roles we have. We recently just had our first baby two months ago. What an experience that was! Elated to have our sweet healthy baby but due to isolating, my husband almost wasn't allowed in the delivery room. We were fortunate that he was able to take three weeks off of work to spend time as a family but he is back to work now. Taking extreme precautions with our infant, he has shaved his beard for work and safety for our home. He strips in our garage, sanitizes all belongings, and immediately showers when he gets home. Not only has he worked a 12.5-hour shift overnight with incredibly fragile patients, he helps take care of myself and our daughter: grocery shopping so I can stay home, cooking, and cleaning so I can nurse our baby. He works so incredibly hard for our family and gives his all at work and loves every minute of it."
– Samantha H.
"We both work in a trauma 1 ICU, mine being the COVID ICU! It has been quite an eye-opening experience as family is not able to visit, only by FaceTime if they have that capability! It has been heartbreaking in most cases but there have also been some glimmers of hope for some of the lucky ones! Thank you for honoring many of us on the frontline with your generosity!"
– Shannon G.
"Kyle works as an RN for a dialysis clinic about an hour and a half north of our home. He is the clinical manager at this clinic, but due to the pandemic he offered to be the nurse on the frontline taking care of the positive COVID patients in a separate wing. This was a really hard decision for our family (with having three little ones), but it's become evident pretty quickly, it was the right decision to make. Even through all the window visits of him returning home from work, our kids' confusion, very long work weeks, and all the worries, he has been so selfless and consistent for his patients. He treats them no differently than if it were any other day and we are all so proud of him. Thank you for what you are doing for our heroes!"
– Tayler S.
"My sister works on the frontlines at the VA hospital in Portland! The veterans love working with her!"
"My mom, Frances, is a third shift nurse at one of the largest nursing homes in Dayton, Ohio. She has been a nurse for 16 years. When the coronavirus hit, she started getting nervous because she has asthma. As a kid, she was sick a lot and this pandemic has brought back a lot of trauma related to her childhood. She works in assisted living at St. Leonard. She does everything for the residents: lifting, bathing, feeding, passing meds to all of them, changing diapers and clothes, etc. She even talks to them about whatever they want, no matter what time it is. She cares for them as if they were her own family. I asked her if anyone's done anything for her or her fellow nurses and she said no one has said anything extra, thanked them, clapped for them, or acknowledged how hard they've been working during all this. My husband and I are sending some food and treats to her and her coworkers this weekend to say thank you. My mom deserves the world."
– Angelica Y.
"My mom has made so many sacrifices to be the best mom. Her life has not always been the easiest, but she never lets her circumstances stand in the way of letting her serve others. With three kids in school, she decided to do one thing for herself so that she could help others. She went back to school to be a nurse – something she always knew she wanted to do but had been told she couldn't. Well let me tell you, she did it, and was still the best mom while doing it. As a nurse, she has stood up for her patients, brought Christmas to her patients whose parents did not, cried over those who were in pain, prayed over and ministered to those who needed hope, and did it all because that's who she truly is and not because that's who she had to be. I am so proud to call her my mom."
"My husband works the frontline in this crazy situation. Every time he's about to go to work, our son always stops him from leaving. I am thankful for him and for all other frontline workers taking all the risks because of this pandemic. They are truly our heroes."
"My best friend has been a doctor in ICU for eight weeks straight in New Jersey!"
– Courtney A.
"My mom is someone who deserves more than I could ever pay back! She works full-time at Abington Lansdale Hospital. She's been there for over 25 years. She is helping me raise my three daughters as her own."
"Kissty is a neuro ICN RN!"
– Paige O.
"My wonderful/hardworking/caring wife, Mel, is at the hospital working hard. She covers the graveyards (8pm-6:30am) seven days straight at a time."
– Fernando L.
"One of my BFFs is Rachel, my twin in crime! She has such a caring heart and has worked tirelessly during COVID in the ER as a PA."
"My best friend Kylie graduated as an RN in December and started work in February as a nurse in Charlotte. When the pandemic started, she chose to continue working even though she is at risk (having asthma). She also supported me on my wedding day, which got moved around because of the pandemic. She is an amazing nurse who truly cares for people and is passionate about her job."
– Rachel D.
"My sister Stephanie works for the VA as an RN in Portland, Oregon. She's one of the strongest/most caring people I know. She loves her job and – most importantly – her patients!"