The Link Between Sleep and Colour: Calming Colours to Paint Your Bedroom

The Link Between Sleep and Colour: Calming Colours to Paint Your Bedroom

Sleep is becoming more and more of a precious commodity these days. We’re constantly glued to our gadgets and many of us are so stressed that when we finally get into bed after a long day, our brains are so active that we just can’t switch off.

People try all kinds of things to help themselves drift off – from eating certain foods to using essential oils, doing yoga and listening to calming music. These things are all really important and can make a huge difference, but there might still be a missing link in the chain, and it is probably staring you right in the face every single night and every time you walk into your bedroom.

What colour are your bedroom walls?


You might never have thought about the fact that the colour surrounding you can have an impact on your mental state and the quality of your sleep.

After all, how can a colour actually make that much difference?

To some people, it won’t make a difference at all. I’m talking about those people that can fall asleep in seconds absolutely anywhere, from loud trains to uncomfortable planes. HOW do they DO it?!

However, not all of us are blessed with the ability to fall asleep so easily, and insomnia is something that even more people are suffering from these days than ever before. For those that are a bit more sensitive to their surroundings when trying to nod off, the colour of the room they’re in could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, keeping them alert despite the chamomile tea and pre-bed yoga session.

I’m not saying that the colour of your bedroom walls could be a miracle cure for insomnia. I’m definitely not saying that you should ditch the pre-bed yoga. However, colour is one of many small things you can change that will all add up and give you the best chance of drifting off and staying asleep.

If you’re looking to get some ideas, here are the top 8 paint colours in 2017:

  • Shadowy blue
  • Sunshine yellow
  • Stone grey
  • Soothing teal
  • Earthy combinations
  • Energetic orange
  • Pastel pink
  • Red wine

What colours are my best bet?


People generally agree that a soft shade of blue is the very best colour you can have in a room. Although we tend to associate this colour with feeling sad, it’s actually very comforting and calming.

Think blue skies and calm, azure seas, and how sleepy you suddenly find yourself when you’re on a beach.

The science behind it is that the same receptors in our eyes which govern our body rhythm are most receptive to shades of blue, according to the Edinburgh Sleep Centre.

Coming in close behind blue are moss greens, pale yellows and silvery shades.

When you think about it, this is all fairly intuitive. Soft and muted shades stimulate your eyes and brain less than bright ones do, leaving you more able to relax.

That’s not to say that absolutely everyone should go out and buy pale blue paint, however. If you love green, have a thing for yellow, or think a shimmery silver will work best for you, then those colours will make you feel happier and more at ease. Having a blue room definitely won’t be calming if you can’t stand the colour blue!

Lots of people, for example, tend to associate yellow with happiness and warmth. If you fall into that camp then yellow could help you stay calm and contented, as long as it’s a warm, muted shade and not an in-your-face, get-up-and-go kind of yellow.

What colours should I avoid?


It turns out that sleep’s biggest enemy is the colour purple. A survey done by the hotel chain Travelodge in the UK showed that people sleeping in a purple bedroom got the least amount of sleep, only 5 hours 56 minutes per night on average, whereas those in a blue room got 7 hours 52 minutes. Those numbers speak for themselves.

Some people like using bold colours for a dramatic feature wall, but you could quickly regret that design choice. Other bold colours like red are also not a good idea, as our brains automatically link red with danger. Although there’s a popular notion that red is a good colour for a seductive boudoir, it’s actually likely to put people on edge, rather than relax them and put them in the mood for, erm, sleeping.

Although the logic that bright and bold colours are to be avoided might lead you to think that white is a good idea, it turns out that a sterile white isn’t a good choice either. For the brain, all that light is just as stimulating as a primary colour is, and the fact that there’s no warmth at all to it won’t make your bedroom feel welcoming.

In fact, a study showed that people sleeping in a white bedroom will take work to bed with them three times a week! Hence why your office is probably painted white.

Even though the difference might seem tiny, an off-white or cream is far less stimulating and much warmer than a bright white.

One last thing to bear in mind when picking out that paint pot is that flat colours are better for the bedroom than glossy ones are, as the flatter a colour is the less light it reflects.

Why not give it a try?


If you’ve currently got a purple feature wall or were seduced by the idea of a red bedroom and you’re finding it hard to sleep, it might be time to redecorate. However, don’t expect miracles to happen overnight and make sure that you consider the lighting and the layout of your bedroom too.

Team that with not checking your phone last thing at night, reading a good book, using essential oils, having a cup of herbal tea and doing a bit of meditation, and you’re really maximising your chances of getting those coveted 7-9 hours a night that everyone’s after.

Get started on your painting project with the help of a local painter or handyman.

Author Bio:


Katie is a wellness expert who spends most of her time trying out new plant-based recipes, trail running, travelling and napping. When she’s not doing that she’s writing for Sleep Health Energy a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about enjoying top-to-toe health and getting a restful night’s sleep, which will leave you bursting with energy.