Just like room temperature, noise levels and lighting, the color of your bedroom can also significantly impact your ability to sleep.
“Colors reflect wavelengths of light into your eyes that affect your biorhythms (like the circadian rhythm and diurnal rhythm) and body clock,” says Suzy Chiazzari, color therapy consultant and founder of the Holistic Design Institute. “Light vibrations [from the colors] also affect all your primary functions as well as your mood and emotions. So the colors you are exposed to before you close your eyes has a direct impact on the quality of sleep you enjoy,” notes Chiazzari.
Below, color and sleep experts reveal the best colors to surround yourself with for restful sleep and refreshed body and mind:
The best bedroom colors for sleep
- Blue: One of the best bedroom colors is blue as it’s associated with calm and relaxation. “The brain is more perceptive to the color blue than any other color thanks to special receptors called ganglion cells, located in the retinas,” says Geoff McKinnen, certified sleep coach at Amerisleep. Ganglion cells collect information from visual surroundings and turn this information into chemical signals to the hypothalamus—a part of the brain responsible for producing hormones, like melatonin and cortisol,” explains McKinnen. Since blue is a non-stimulating color, “when you see blue, the hypothalamus produces more melatonin and less cortisol. In contrast, a red room stimulates the brain and produces more cortisol, resulting in poor sleep quality,” he adds.
- Yellow: Softer shades of yellow alleviate stress and create a tranquil environment so you can sleep peacefully, says McKinnen. This is because the muted tone imitates sunshine. However, brighter hues should be avoided for the bedroom as they boost energy, he points out.
- Green: Green is another excellent color choice for promoting relaxation. “Similar to a blue room, a green room helps you feel calm and peaceful because green is a non-stimulating color,” says McKinnen. For best results, go with green colors that have blue tones as warm tones like yellow may cause you to feel energetic instead of helping you unwind, suggests the sleep coach.
- Silver: Silver is a great choice if you prefer neutral colors. “Unlike dark grey tones, silver induces calm,” says McKinnen. However, make sure you choose a flat or matte silver paint as they are less invigorating and absorb light. Glossy paints, on the other hand, reflect any bright light—making it difficult to doze off, notes the sleep expert.
- Orange: Light orange colors, including tan and beige, have a warm tone reminiscent of a sandy beach—thus creating a welcoming space in your bedroom. “Choose orange colors with brown undertones, like terracotta. Avoid bright orange colors because they are invigorating to the brain,” McKinnen suggests.
- Pink: While it may not seem like a good color for the bedroom because of its red tones but soft, natural pink is a good option as it gives off a tranquil feeling, says McKinnen. Steer clear of pink hues with bright red tones though as they could stimulate alertness— increasing your chances of restless sleep, he adds.
“When it comes to sleep, it’s a good idea to not overdue exposure to more stimulating colors right before bedtime,” says Constance Hart, color therapy expert and founder ofConscious Colors and Color Aroma.
A good thumb rule is to stick with neutral or pastel shades for a soft, welcoming atmosphere, says McKinnen.
“These cooler and more neutral tones are less visually stimulating so they are more restful to the body and mind,” adds Chiazzari.
The worst bedroom colors for sleep
- Purple: Avoid painting your bedroom purple as it boosts alertness, says Chiazzari. In addition, the color purple has been found “to stimulate the unconscious mind—thus promoting vivid dreams that some people may find disturbing,” notes the color therapist. However, “if you’re set on painting your bedroom purple, consider choosing a muted shade, like lavender, because of its cool undertones,” suggests McKinnen.
- Brown: This is another color that doesn’t exactly give a cozy vibe to the bedroom. “Brown is a gloomy color. It increases subconscious feelings of sadness, causing restlessness instead of promoting sleep,” says McKinnen.
- Dark Grey: Although dark grey is a good accent color, painting the walls this dark shade and adding grey bedding creates a somber atmosphere, says McKinnen. Like brown, this color typically evokes negative emotions, agrees Chiazzari.
- Red: Red is an invigorating color that stimulates alertness and increases heart rate. Moreover, one study found that the color red also increases brain activity—something you don’t want when you’re trying to relax and fall asleep, says McKinnen.
Other bright hues from the warmer end of the spectrum, for example, hot pink and bright orange are also not ideal for the bedroom, says Chiazzari.
“If your bedroom walls are painted in these bright, activating and energizing colors, you may have a hard time winding down at night,” says Hart.
“However, all color palettes can always be balanced,” notes the color therapy expert. “If you do prefer colors from the more stimulating color palette, you can balance them with colors with cooling, more calming rays of blues and violets,” says Hart. She recommends considering a few accent pillows or a bed throw in neutral or muted colors to offset strong stimulating colors in the bedroom.