A guest post by Myra Campbell

Myra Campbell is a researcher for the sleep science and health organization Tuck.com. Her passion for art and design brought her into the field. She began by researching how to create a relaxing bedroom and learned that great design can help improve our health and well-being. Myra lives in southern California and shares her queen-sized bed with two rescue dogs.

 

Color has an impact on the mind and body, setting the mood for a room. It can enliven and excite or calm and soothe. Because of the sometimes powerful emotions color can create, color choice can either help or hinder attempts to get a full seven to eight hours of sleep. Armed with the right knowledge, you can use color to create a sleep sanctuary where the mind and body can escape from the stress and pressure of everyday life.

Neutral and Earth Tones

Neutrals never go out of style. White, grays, and earthy beiges are still among the most popular paint colors for the bedroom. They don’t stimulate the brain, so they keep things calm and restful. The brain triggers the body’s sleep-wake cycle by adhering to the body’s natural circadian rhythms. If the brain gets the wrong signals, the cycle may not be started at the right time. You want to create an atmosphere that supports the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Neutrals do that and let the brain do its job.

Better with Blue

For those who want more color, blue is the most calming, sleep-inducing option. Special cells in the eyes called ganglions relay information to the part of the brain that controls the circadian rhythms. When the ganglions sense blue, they send signals to the part of the brain that sends feelings of calm to the rest of the body. Blue has been shown to reduce both blood pressure and heart rate, both of which help the body fall asleep.

Maybe Green Too

Blue isn’t the only color that calms the mind. Green, with its strong ties to nature, has a similar effect as it’s associated with tranquility and health. With any color, the walls don’t have to be painted green to get the benefits of the color. Plants and nature photos or paintings can have a similar effect. The more nature you invite into the room, the more calm and serene the bedroom becomes. You might also consider a blue with green undertones for something a little different with benefits of both colors.

Keep It Light and Cool

If blue and green aren’t a preferred color scheme, pastels and light, muted tones in other cool colors can keep things calm as well. Light colors don’t stimulate the eyes, which helps the mind remain calm and reduces excitement. Dark colors can stimulate strong emotions that are counter to the purpose of a bedroom. For example, red stimulates the appetite and purple stirs creativity, neither of which you want at bedtime.

Good Sleep is More Than Color

While the color of your room can have a big effect, sleep hygiene, all the habits that surround good sleep, plays a vital role in getting adequate rest. A supportive mattress and pillow can minimize aches and pains. Along with a comfortable bed, the bedroom should be kept cool, quiet, and dark. Once the right atmosphere is established, other habits to promote better sleep include:


  • Keeping a consistent bed and wake time

  • Establishing a bedtime routine

  • Avoiding stimulants within four hours of bed

  • Turning off screens at least an hour before bedtime

  • Eating an early, light dinner to prevent discomfort

  • Exercising regularly, so the body is tired at night


Better sleep comes from creating a sleep sanctuary in conjunction with developing good sleep hygiene. When the two work together, the chances of getting a full night of high-quality sleep increase significantly.

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