There’s a reason smiley faces are a bright cheery yellow and angry faces are a burning red. Color has a powerful effect on our mood, and our mood in turn affects our ability to sleep.
When we’re stressed, anxious, or angry, it’s harder to fall asleep. But when we’re feeling calm, restful, and relaxed, sleep feels like a logical next step.
Here are the best colors to paint your bedroom to get you in the mood for sleep.
Blue: the best bedroom color for sleep
Hands down, the best bedroom color for sleep is blue. Blue is a calming color and calm is conducive to sleep. More than that, your brain is especially receptive to the color blue, thanks to special receptors in your retinas called ganglion cells. These are sensitive to blue more than any other color, so when they see it they send a message to your brain that you’re in a calm environment, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
According to a Travelodge survey of 2,000 Britons, those who have blue bedrooms enjoy an average of 7 hours and 52 minutes of sleep each night. That’s way more than most Americans, considering the CDC found that a third of American adults get fewer than 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Painting their bedroom blue may be a step towards fewer sleepless nights.
Another benefit to a blue bedroom? Nearly 60% of the blue bedroom owners in the Travelodge survey also reported waking up feeling happy on a regular basis.
Other great bedroom colors for sleep
Not everyone loves blue, and that’s fine. There are plenty of other colors that promote a restful night’s sleep:
- Yellow: At 7 hours and 40 minutes of sleep a night, survey participants with yellow bedrooms came in at a close second for most time spent asleep each night.
- Green: Green bedroom owners enjoyed 7 hours and 36 minutes of sleep each night. They also showed a higher tendency to wake up feeling upbeat and positive.
- Silver: For those who prefer something a bit less colorful, silver offers an option. Survey respondents with silver bedroom got 7 hours and 33 minutes of shuteye each night.
- Orange: Orange is a warm, relaxing color that some believe helps with indigestion. Orange bedroom owners enjoyed 7 hours and 28 minutes of sleep on average.
The worst bedroom colors for sleep
Are there any colors you should avoid painting your bedroom walls? According to the Travelodge survey, the answer is yes. People with gray, brown, or purple bedrooms regularly slept unhealthy amounts of fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night.
- Purple: At 5 hours and 56 minutes of sleep, purple is the worst color for sleep. It’s a mentally stimulating color, boosting your creativity and contributing to more vivid nightmares.
- Gray: Although it’s not bold like purple, gray makes the list for its ability to depress and uninspire. Survey participants with gray bedrooms only slept 6 hours and 12 minutes per night.
- Brown: Like gray, brown is drab, gloomy, and anything but cozy. It tends to create a sense of restlessness instead of calm.
- Red: Red is a passionate, energetic color that can increase your blood pressure and inspire you to move faster. Neither of these are physical sensations that promote sleep.
What else should you consider when painting your bedroom for sleep?
Whatever color you choose, use the lighter, pastel, or muted shades of the color. Neutral, earth- or skin-based tones are calming, and promote positive energy flow according to feng shui.
A color that is too bright or bold will stimulate you, creating a sense of alertness instead a sense of relaxation. Save the statement walls for your living room and keep your bedroom serene.
Use a flat paint instead of an eggshell or glossy finish. Glossy finishes reflect light, while flatter paints absorb more color and feel softer.
Also take care what colors you choose for your bedroom accents. They should complement each other and be parallel to each other on a color wheel, rather than contrasting. Contrasting colors stimulate your eyes and mind.
Once you’ve got the bedroom color picked out, it’s time to cater to your other senses. Find out the best scents, sounds, lighting and more for your bedroom in our guide to the creating the best bedroom environment for sleep.