The Psychology of Colour in the Bedroom

The National Sleep Foundation (NSA) recommends that the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. However, a recent survey conducted by Atomik Research found that more than half of their 5,002 participants reported only getting between 5 and 7 hours of sleep each night.

Making sure we find time to get in those zzz’s  is one of the most important things we can do. Sleep allows us to give our body and mind time to restore and repair. Not only this, but recent NHS findings suggest that sleeping well has been linked to boosting the immune system, preventing diabetes and even reducing our chances of suffering from heart disease.

So why are we still not getting enough sleep? And what does colour have to do with it?

We’re surrounded by colour in our day to day lives, so finding out about how colours affect our moods, behaviours and performance can help us to shed more light on why we’re struggling with sleep and what we can do to optimize the colour schemes in our bedrooms.

In this guide, we discuss the impact that being exposed to different colours before bed can have on our sleep. We share some of the best and worst colour schemes to have in your bedroom to help you get the perfect night’s sleep.

Best Colours for Sleep


Shades of blue are typically classified as being cool colours. They’re widely known for promoting tranquility and peace, which is perfect for wind down time before we hit the hay. Blue has been proven to relax us, calming our mind and body and even lowering blood pressure. According to Dr. James Gangwisch of Columbia University, our blood pressure decreases significantly during sleep. Therefore, being exposed to the colour blue at bedtime should allow us to get our heart rates closer to that sleep-like state, helping us to get one step nearer to that dreamy 7 to 9 hours of slumber.


Green is another great colour choice for bedding and for the bedroom. Not only do shades of green promote balance and relaxation, but they also help to reduce eye strain, therefore making us more comfortable at night. This has been scientifically proven, as research suggests that our eyes focus the colour green directly in the retina, which therefore makes the colour much easier to see in comparison others, and therefore is less likely to strain our eye muscles.


To try and get a better understanding of how the colour of a bedroom can affect our sleep, the hotel brand Travelodge conducted a study in 2013 which surveyed 2000 homes across the UK. The results showed that people who slept in bedrooms with yellow colour schemes slept for an average of 7 hours and 40 minutes per night, which is well within the NSA’s daily recommendation. This is likely to be caused by yellow’s ability to create warm, cheerful tones in the bedroom, allowing us to feel comfortable and at ease as we doze off into the land of nod.

Worst Colours for Sleep


As we know, red is most commonly associated with danger and passion and is the most emotionally intense colour of them all. The colour red is extremely stimulating, with research suggesting that red has the opposite effect of the colour blue; raising our blood pressure and speeding up our heart rates. This is the last thing we need before bed, as an increased heart rate can often make us feel more alert and therefore less relaxed and ready for sleep.


Painting your bedroom purple may make you feel like royalty and bring a touch of luxury to your surroundings. However, purple has been found to be one of the worst colours for sleep quality. In the Travelodge study we discussed earlier, participants who slept in purple coloured bedrooms had the least sleep of all, only getting an average of 5 hours and 56 minutes per night. This may be down to the colour’s tendency to promote creativity, perhaps over stimulating the brain when it should really be switching off.

We hope that these guidelines have been useful in helping you to consider how the colour of your bedroom may be influencing your sleep quality. But before you buy a huge tin of blue paint, do remember that the colour of your bedroom is your personal preference, so finding a colour that best suits you is most important.

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