The difference between waking up exhausted versus well-rested may actually depend on the color of your bedroom walls, says a new study by Travelodge UK.

Looking for new color options for their hotel chain, Travelodge UK discovered that the best quality sleep can be induced using soothing, calming color choices with blue being at the top of the sleep color chain.

Yellow and green also received high marks for creating a restful environment. The warm, life-giving quality of yellow is one of the things that make it a very healing hue. Green is a balance of both ends of the color spectrum. It evokes both warmth and coolness. A color ever-present in nature, it nurtures both body and soul.

Large doses of reds or purples would not be useful when trying to design respites for the end of your day. These colors are far too stimulating. Thinking warm browns in your sleeping space? Think about adding tan, aqua or another inviting color. Too much brown can create sad, depressed feelings according the study– the antithesis of the mood you are trying to achieve.

Ellen Kennon, creator of Full Spectrum Paints agrees, “ Nature-based colors are the most restful”. Her paints are “blended from the 7 colors of natural sunlight and closely mimic nature’s elements such as sky, water and stone, with infinite color and variation.” Here are a few full spectrum bedroom-perfect blues and greens.

Mary Lawlor of Kelly-Moore Paint added, “Soothing greys that mimic moonlight are said to cue the brain to know that it’s nighttime, and time for sleep have been found to promote good sleep and motivate exercise too.” She recommends these five sleep-inducing colors from their The ColorStudio Collection.

Wondering why color would have an affect on you even when your eyes are closed?

Human-based researcher, Deborah Burnett, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine wondered the very same thing. She has been studying cases to identify why color and light have such a strong effect on both our quality and quantity of sleep. She suggests that there is a process of getting to that deep restful zone – the time the body preps itself for sleep. During this ‘prep stage’ our body uses its “external or environmental cues including color and light, to synchronize, our biological rhythms to the earth’s 24-hour light/dark cycle”.

Research also shows that our bodies respond differently to light, and thus color at different times of day. When we are in sync with the rhythms of the earth, known as circadian rhythms, our body is energized by the bright white of early daylight. We then respond with relaxation to the dim evening lights. By the time we are ready to lay our head on a pillow, our body is already craving darkness.

How do you create an environment that supports the darkness your body desires and helps you to begin your day with a bright, energetic start?

Burnett thinks green is a ideal choice in the bedroom. She suggests deep Sage. Mid-tone neutrals are good color options for your sleeping space, as well. She suggests avoiding high contrast colors in your space. Paint ceilings a shade lighter than walls, rather than stark white. These same rules apply for trim on walls and windows.

Whatever color you choose for tranquility in your bedroom, keep the design quiet, calm and soothing. Pay close attention to your body’s natural reactions to color and light then follow its lead.

You might also like: Infographic: Missing Out On Sleep? Your Bedroom Wall Colors Could Be To Blame

Travelodge-Bedroom Colour Infographic
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Kate Smith
Kate Smith is an optimistic, expressive, artist, designer, writer and color fanatic. With her warm and witty style, Kate teaches you to clearly see, understand and be inspired by color. Then she guides you step-by-step to develop your own unique color sense-ability and achieve results you never dreamed possible.
  • TexasNightOwl says:

    Interesting because our eyes have special sensors that detect blue and cause a reduction in the generation of melatonin. Studies show that blue makes sleep difficult because our brain thinks it is day time. Yellow-greens have shown to be better for inducing sleep.

    • Kate Smith says:

      Yes, I a similar thought TexasNightOwl. Perhaps blue has become so connected with the idea of calming that people expect it to be true and our expectations have a strong power over what we perceive.

  • Sunny says:

    Interesting concept that our bodies respond to the light during the day – morning light wakes us up, afternoon light keeps us going, and evening light (or lack thereof) slows us down. I would think , though, that a brighter, cheerier color on the bedroom walls for the morning would inspire us to get up and get going. Somebody should invent some sort of lighting system that would change the perceived color of a bedroom, so it could be cheery in the day, and toned way down for the evening!

    • Kate Smith says:

      Yes, Sunny, wouldn’t it be great if there was a lighting system that followed the natural rhythms and allowed us to wake up rested and ready to go every morning. Then the only thing we would have to do is get into bed at a reasonable hour every night.

  • Fun infographic & guess I’ll stick with my green bedroom

    • Kate Smith says:

      That sounds like a restful idea, Tina!

  • Peggy Pf says:

    My room is in the right family of colours, but it is a bright teal. I mostly do my unwinding at the end of the day in my living room, which is a warm golden color, reminiscent of candle light.

    I do love Sunny’s idea above. I have a friend who is an L.E.D. artist and has bathed the interior of his home in ever changing color. The only drawback is LED light doesn’t work as well in the day and reflects best off white walls. So, if you’re not using your lights, or have the blinds open to let in the sunshine, your house would look rather boring.

    • Kate Smith says:

      I like the idea of a color changing room, too.

  • I think this is a great study. However, colors need to be personalized for everyone. When I moved into my house, the bedroom was painted a bluish gray. I hated it! I painted it pale yellow as soon as I could, and later an even paler warm, creamy color. It faces east, and gets glorious morning sun, and the walls just glow. At night, I like to read in bed, and it’s light and cozy. The main thing that makes it calming though, is that the walls, ceiling, and trim are all the same color. I’ve been amazed at how lowering the contrast in the room makes it feel serene. It rests my eyes. I wish more people were willing to try it.

    • Kate Smith says:

      Thanks for the comment, Diane. I agree that color is best when it fits the room, design, mood, AND person.

      Great observation! Also, you are so right about low contrast being more relaxing. This is one of the many concepts I teach in the Module on Creating Mood in my Color Consultant Certification course.

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