Pale and Interesting…for Sleep

It might not be your upcoming work review or the fight that you had with your partner or boss that’s keeping you awake at night—it could be your bedroom colour. 

What does the colour of your bedroom have to do with sleep quality, you may ask yourself.

The reason has a whole lot to do with your eyes, which have specialised receptors in the retina of your eyes—called ganglion cells— and are most sensitive to blue. Did you know that some sensitive blind people, can FEEL different colours – they sense the different vibrations that sighted people see as colour.

Ganglion cells are responsible for relaying information to the part of your brain that controls your body’s 24-hour rhythm, which, in turn, affects everything from performance to how you feel physically during the day.

Bedroom decorated in shades of blue/Photo: Annie Spratt by UnsplashThe colour blue is associated with feelings of calm which, when picked up by your ganglion cells and relayed to your brain, helps reduce blood pressure and heart rate, all of which help you receive a solid night’s sleep.

If blue doesn’t do it for you, try pastel pink, green or violet instead.  Green is particularly restful – it’s the colour of nature and a balancing colour (located exactly in the middle of the colour spectrum).  Green rooms backstage on movie sets or theatres were traditionally have been green for exactly that reason!

All three colours are considered cooling and can help to lower body temperature, preparing you for sleep.

Grays, silvers, and neutrals colours are also helpful as these cool colours have also been known to help lower blood pressure and heart rate.

If falling asleep isn’t the issue, but waking up is a problem, especially if your bedroom gets morning shade, it may be easier with the colour gold  (e.g. a flat gold, muted orange yellow with white) or muted yellow. These hues are bright enough to promote a sense of increased happiness and wellbeing without being overtly intense.

Avoid these Colours in the Bedroom

Bed room decorated in redRed is associated with activity, high-energy and even anger.  While it may promise a wild night with your partner, it may cause you frustration and irritability when it’s time to sleep.

Red is also known to increase blood pressure and even your appetite. If you love red, choose a red that is more matte, or add a hint of lilac or brown to soften it. You can get the drama without the irritation by adding it as an accent instead.


White isn’t necessarily suitable for the bedroom, either; white that reflects too much light or glare can be difficult to wake up to. You can add a light tint of another colour like gray to soften your white.

How to Add Restful Colour without Redecorating or Major Expense

Large pictures with the recommended colour can really change the energy in a room. A large piece in deep greens or blues will create a focus feature that you attention will be drawn to as you drift off to sleep. Like floating on your back, drifting away on a lake or in the ocean.

Add a decoration or object with your preferred relaxing colour in an area where it will be the first and last thing you see when you wake up or go to bed.

If your decor doesn’t sit well with these relaxing hues, but you still want the results, use sheets/blankets in your chosen colour(s). Even if they are not seen by you, the colours vibrate at a more harmonious rate for sleep.

If you have a different colour that makes you feel great and it is not listed above, use it.  In the end, the whole point is to make you feel good!

Have fun playing around with colour in your bedroom. If you need more than colour therapy, think about the other elements in your bedroom, like the amount of light or sound coming into the room that might be disrupting your sleep patterns.

Keep in mind, however, that simply painting your walls blue or changing your sheets to violet won’t be the only thing that helps you sleep well at night. Following a regular sleep schedule and obeying proper sleep hygiene rules are both essential to a good night’s sleep too.

In part 2, a look will be taken at a more portable means of colouring your world and improving your sleep.

Sources:, Decorated Life, Modern Colour Therapy by Sue Lilly