beige and white cat sleeping on its back on a bed with arms stretched overhead

Paint colours for a great night sleep

LIVE healthier | 4 MIN READ | 2018-02-09

When it comes to choosing a colour for your bedroom walls, the options are virtually endless. But while your heart may say red, your mind might be rooting for something a little more calming. Find out how you can pick a palette that gives you the update you’re looking for – and the best chance of getting a great night’s sleep. Here’s how to lock in your zzzz’s and get that shuteye you’re craving.

You’re getting sleepy, very sleepy

Painting a wall yellow

Close your eyes and imagine this: a big fluffy pillow, the perfect super-soft sheets, a firm mattress, just the right not-too-hot-not-too-cool temperature, blackout blinds and maybe even a warm bath before you jump into bed. Sounds kind of amazing, don’t you think? While all of these delightful things can set you up to knock you out, the colour of your walls may be the key to keeping you in your nocturnal bliss.

According to a survey conducted by Travelodge, these are the very best colours for restful sleep:

1. BLUE contributes to longer rest and is calm and soothing.

2. YELLOW creates a happy ambience in the bedroom.

3. ORANGE relaxes muscles.

4. SILVER mimics moonlight and lets the brain know that it’s night.

5. PINK adds to feelings of positivity and relaxation.

Choosing a muted blue, a pale yellow or a lovely shade of silver can give you the jumping off point you need to create your dream bedroom scheme – just add fresh linens and throw pillows and voilà! But who says you have to pick just one of the above? Let your creativity take over and maybe even go multi-stripe, like this example from HGTV. Just don’t blame us if you never want to leave your room!

Tossing and turning

Woman sleeping under soft covers

On the flip side, according to clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Breus, a sleep specialist in Scottsdale, Arizona, certain colours can contribute to fewer hours of restful sleep, a feeling of danger and increased blood pressure. Here are a few hues to lose:

1. RED quickens the pulse, which is not conducive to sleep.

2. PURPLE can stimulate the mind and imagination, energizing the body. It can also boost nightmares.

3. BROWN creates a gloomy feeling.

4. GREY can make you feel dreary and isolated, resulting in restless sleep.

Even the finish plays a role in the quality of your sleep. “Colors are softer and more atmospheric the flatter they are,” says interior designer Ellen Kennon. Who knew?

No matter which direction you go in, learning about how and why colour affects us is just plain interesting. Check out this article by Life Hacker about colour therapy and what combinations work best together.

HGTV has an awesome list of 50 inviting master bedroom colour schemes. Some of our favourites are: 

  • White, black and hazelnut: Hazelnut curtains with black, brown, and ivory linens create a cozy and relaxing environment. 
  • Champagne and Lavender: Calming lavender and champagne accent provide an ideal backdrop for ultimate relaxation. 
  • Dusty Rose: We love a great boho-styled room! This subdued shade of pink brings the perfect amount of colour to a space, pair it with some boho-styled furnishings and voilà! 
  • Pale yellow and periwinkle blue: Yellow symbolizes happiness, combined with a peaceful blue will have you feeling like you are by the ocean every time you step in. 

The science of sleep

Let’s be honest, it’s almost impossible to get a great sleep every single night. Outside factors like chronic stress, our health (cough! cough!), a new baby or snoring partner (cue the earplugs), and even what we eat have a huge influence on whether or not our downtime is restful.

So, just how much sleep do we need, anyway? This report by Stats Canada links insufficient sleep (short duration and poor quality) with a range of adverse health outcomes, like obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries… and the list goes on. If you needed a good reason to redecorate your room, you’ve got one.

Sleep on it

Before you go choosing a colour based solely on clinical research, sleep on it. At the end of the day, your bedroom should be your sanctuary – a place you feel safe, comfortable and at peace. And more importantly, you have to love it. So, if pink isn’t your thing, go with your gut and do what feels right.

Blue classic alarm clock in front of blue wall

Here’s one last tip: turn off your devices! Give your mind – and eyes – the rest they need, so you can shut down, check out and get the sleep your body needs to wake up feeling refreshed - and make the most of the day ahead. Sweet dreams!