How to Soundproof a Bedroom for Better Sleep

a bedroom

Last updated: March 30, 2022 at 7:52 am

A bedroom is one place in your home which should be tranquil, peaceful and (most importantly) quiet. We all know how important sleep is, so if there’s noises keeping you or others awake, it’s time to do something about it.

In this article, lets look at why you might need to soundproof a bedroom, and how exactly you can go about it.

Why Would You Need to Soundproof Your Bedroom?

The obvious answer is to stop noise from getting in or out. Studies show that good quality, uninterrupted sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. A lack of sleep can result in stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, a greater chance of developing diabetes and headaches.

Here are a few reasons your bedroom may need soundproofing to help you get a good night’s sleep:

  • Bedroom faces out onto a busy street with a lot of passing traffic
  • Home is near a noisy bar or restaurant
  • Live next to noisy neighbours so need a soundproof wall
  • Work nights and need to be able to sleep through the day
  • Have a baby or young child who is a light sleeper. You’re worried noise in the house or outside will wake them
  • Have a child that plays loud computer games, music of an instrument, and you don’t want the noise disturbing the rest of your home
  • Use your bedroom for work and need a soundproof office

5 Areas to Soundproof Your Bedroom

If you’ve read any other articles on this site, you’ll know that the key to soundproofing is sealing all the gaps and soundproofing all surfaces. So let’s go through each area in turn.

1. Seal the Windows

First, you should assess the condition of your windows. If they are single-glazed or in poor repair, they will do very little to block sound. If you have a big enough budget, replacing single-glazed or damaged windows is highly recommended. However, if you have a limited budget, you could consider only replacing the windows in your bedroom rather than the whole house.

Double glazing will make a big difference in how much sound can get through. It should be sufficient for most noise levels. If you’re in a very noisy area, you could also consider triple glazing or acoustic glass. These options are both significantly more expensive than double glazing, so it’s not necessary unless noise is a major issue.

If you can’t replace the windows or already have double-glazing, you should plug up any gaps around the frames or the panes with acoustic caulking and acoustic sealant. If you’re not sure where the gaps are, you can run a piece of tissue paper around the window on a windy day. The paper will start to blow anywhere there’s a hole.

Once you’ve done all you can to repair the windows, you can increase the soundproof effect by fitting thick curtains or soundproof blinds. Each of these will block up to 30% of noise, so blinds and curtains are recommended for the best result. Having blinds and curtains will also block out light, helping you sleep better. They will also keep in the heat, which will save you money.

2. Improve the Floor

The green glue company makes soundproof clips that you can fit between the floorboard and the joists. This detaches the floor to prevent sound from travelling through. You’d need to lift the floorboards up to fit them, though, so unless you’re doing a complete remodel, it wouldn’t be practical.

The best option is to lay as much mass as possible on the floor. If you’re prepared to lift the carpet and underlay, you could put a layer of mass loaded vinyl (MLV) on the floorboards. It’s only a few millimetres thick and very flexible, so it would be easy to tack it onto the floorboards. MLV both absorbs and reflects sound making it very effective when used for soundproofing.

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Other alternatives are to lay extra thick underlay or even acoustic underlay, specifically designed to reduce sound coming through. Whether you choose MLV, underlay, acoustic underlay, or more than one of them, a good thick carpet will add extra mass to absorb noise.

As well as the underlay and carpet, you could also lay lots of good thick rugs. The extra mass will deaden any sound and help keep the room warm.

3. Add Mass to the Walls

There is a range of soundproofing options available for the walls, and which you choose will depend on your budget and whether you’re prepared to redecorate the room.

Improve the Plasterboard

The best option is to add a soundproof product behind the plasterboard. The first product you could consider is green glue compound. This is a paste that can be applied from a caulking tube or using a brush. Cover the plasterboard with the compound and then attach a second piece of plasterboard on top. The green glue will cover any sound that hits it into heat. Tests show it can reduce audible sound by around 50%.

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Mass Loaded Vinyl

The next option is mass loaded vinyl. You can tack mass loaded vinyl onto your existing plasterboard and then attach a second layer of plasterboard on top. Mass loaded vinyl will reduce noise by 30-50%. As mass loaded vinyl is very thin, you could even attach more than one layer to enhance the effect.

Acoustic Plasterboard

The third option is acoustic plasterboard. This is a denser type of plasterboard with a soundproofing material like MLV already built-in. This means you can just hang it without an interim layer, but you are still building new walls and will need to redecorate afterwards. These three options will likely give you the highest degree of soundproofing, but they will be the most expensive and disruptive option.

Soundproof Paint

If you only want to block a small amount of noise, then you could consider soundproof paint. Soundproof paint is much thicker than traditional emulsion. The mass is created by suspending ceramic microspheres and vacuum filled pouches of pigment, called thermacels, in the paint. When the sound wave hits the thermacels, it absorbs the energy and stops it.

The positives are that repainting a room is fairly low effort and will cause minimal disruption. It’s also one of the cheaper options listed here. The negatives are that it’s still more expensive than standard paint and doesn’t go as far due to the increased mass. The surface will also look a little rougher than other paints. In terms of soundproofing, you’ll notice a 30% noise reduction at the very most.

Moving Blankets

The final option you could consider is hanging moving or acoustic blankets on the walls. Soundproof blankets, in particular, come with fixing ready to hang them and come in a range of patterns to suit your bedroom’s decor. In addition, they will reduce noise levels by around 30-40%.

If you choose an attractive design, you could make the blankets into a design feature while also benefiting from the peace and quiet.

4. The Door

The door is a critical area, especially if you want to stop noise from the rest of the house. There are gaps around and under the door, which will allow sound to escape.

If you live in a new build and even some older houses, it’s likely your bedroom door is hollow. This provides little mass to stop sound waves. If you have the budget, consider investing in a solid core door that will be far more effective. If you want to add even more mass, you could hang a thick curtain or soundproof blanket over the door or fasten a rug on the back of it.

You can stop noise from passing under the door by installing an acoustic door sweep. A door sweep is a piece of metal or rubber that attaches to the bottom of the door and blocks the gap underneath. When the sound wave hits the sweep, it is either absorbed or reflected and does not get through.

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Finally, you should seal the gaps around your door and in the frame. You can install acoustic strips between the door and the frame. It will create a seal and block sound. You can also use acoustic sealant around the frame to seal any gaps between the frame and the wall. More info on this in our door soundproofing guide.

5. Deal With the Ceiling

It is true noise that enters, and heat leaves via the ceiling. However, many of the options listed would not be appropriate. You could fit an extra layer of plasterboard with green glue or MLV in between. However, unless you’re very experienced at DIY, it’s best to hire a professional for this task, as safety is key.

The easiest DIY option would be to use soundproof paint on the ceiling, paired with some of the other options listed for the rest of the bedroom.

Key Takeaways

There is a range of soundproofing options depending on your DIY skills, your budget, and how noisy your bedroom is.

Just remember that whatever option you choose, you need to soundproof all areas to achieve the best results. Take your time and be thorough, and your room will be quiet again before you know it.

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About the Author: AJ

AJ is a self-confessed soundproofing nut. He has written full-time on Quiet Living for the past 4 years, and has a wealth of knowledge about living a quieter life, soundproofing and fixing loud noises.

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