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The Colour Effect: The best colours for sleep

We’ve all been there. Too hot, too cold, too fidgety, too uncomfortable. You lie awake at night conscious that you’re not asleep, often making the problem worse.

Our bedrooms should be a sanctuary, and difficulty sleeping is the last thing you want.

But did you know that colours can help settle your brain for bedtime and put it in sleep mode?

What is sleep trouble?

40% of adults will experience sleep issues at some point in their lifetime. 

A minor sleep issue can turn into a disturbance within three months. If that disturbance continues for another three months, it can grow into a sleep disorder. So it’s vital to act soon when early symptoms appear before it turns into chronic insomnia and requires specialist treatment.

There are several factors that can affect how you sleep at night, including:

- Exposure to blue light (like phones or laptops)
- Excessive alcohol or caffeine
- Stress

Poor sleep hygiene (habits that promote a good night’s sleep) and a bedroom you can’t switch off in can both trouble your sleep. 

While counting sheep is one way to help, colour can make falling asleep easier too.

We’ve partnered with sleep experts and colour psychologists to create a colour palette that turns your bedroom into an oasis.

We spend a third of our lives in bed, but all too often, we overlook the importance of what a bedroom actually means in getting great sleep. It’s a place away from the distractions of life and a place to go for peace, quiet and to be ourselves – we often have a great emotional attachment to our bedrooms.

Lisa Artis
Deputy CEO, The Sleep Charity

Colours for sleep

To give your brain the best chance of switching off, your bedroom should mimic the colours of twilight. Think dark blues, purples and sea greens, all to create a cosy and safe space.

If you don’t like dark colours, choose a mid-colour that’s a shade or two deeper than usual. This means you have a space that you love and can relax in too.

Complex shades also work well. These are colours like blue-green, deep purple-red and red-tinged blue. We’ve made it easy for you to find these shades. They sit between colours on our Colour Rack and towards the right side of each row of colours on our website. 

To get you started, we’ve created a colour palette for you that promotes blissfully healthy sleep.

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How to use this palette

You want your bedroom to feel like a cosy cocoon, and one way to do that is by painting the ceiling as well as the walls. Whether you used two different tones of the same colour or one daring block colour, continuous colour is soothing and calming.

Colour is uniquely placed to prepare our subconscious for rest and sleep. Nestling within warm-based mid-tones allows us to let go, helping us feel more relaxed and grounded. When we choose a softly indulgent shade from the colour family that we love, we can create a deeply connected private space.

Justine Fox
Applied Colour Psychologist, Calzada Fox

Tips for a good night’s sleep

Building good habits and a routine before bed goes a long way to restful sleep.

First, make sure your bedroom is free from noise and distractions. Keep your laundry, phone, and other stress-inducing elements (like laptops and to-do lists) out of the room.

Second, create a space that you want to spend time in. Buy bedding that you love and choose lamps and finishing touches that contribute to a chilled out atmosphere.

Finally, create a bedtime routine. Before going to bed, read, meditate or relax away from screens to get you in the mindset for sleep.

Combine these behaviours with a calming colour scheme, and you’ll have a bedroom designed for a great night’s sleep.

Get more expert colour advice

For more expert advice on creating a tranquil sleeping space and colour inspiration, download The Colour Effect: Trouble Sleeping digital guide.

Download free guide

About the experts

Lisa Artis, Deputy CEO, The Sleep Charity

Lisa has worked in the realm of sleep for more than 10 years. A qualified children’s sleep practitioner and experienced sleep advisor, Lisa is responsible for the strategic and operational aspects of the charity. She is pivotal to the charity’s campaigning around the importance of sleep to health and wellbeing, as well as advocating sleep on the Public Health agenda.

Lisa is a member of the British Sleep Society and sits on several steering groups around sleep. She has a keen interest around adult sleep, workplace wellbeing and the link between sleep and mental health with qualifications in Mental Health Awareness and Children’s Mental Health Awareness as well as being a Youth Mental Health First Aider. Lisa has a love of learning and has also received a diploma in cognitive behavioural therapy, is a CBTi certified clinician and a RSPH Health Champion.

Justine Fox, Applied Colour Psychologist, Calzada Fox

Justine is a consultant with a unique understanding of applied colour psychology, colour trend, insights and colour ergonomics with future thinking. Her multi-disciplinary perspective on colour creates engagement with people through product development, social content, publications and immersive installations. 

Calzada Fox’s multidisciplinary background covers architecture, citizen experience, branding and graphic design. Their driving philosophy is that the power of colour goes beyond aesthetics and should be explored for its ability not just to enhance, but to add value and impact to specific projects in specific locations. Sometimes colour is quiet and sometimes it is vibrant, but it is never about us, it is always about the place, the people and the story.

If you need more information about getting a healthy night's sleep, or to seek professional advice, visit the NHS website.