Effects of Color on Sleep
In 1666, Sir Isaac Newton discovered that when pure white light travels through a prism, it will separate into visible colors. He also found that every color is made up of a single wavelength and cannot be separated any further into different colors. This discovery led to a better understanding of what color is, and many more experiments. Today, color is defined as the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light.
Our brains react differently to each color as each produces a varying sensation. These sensations are how color can dramatically affect moods, feelings, and emotions. Color can be a very powerful tool used in influencing mood or physiological reactions and has even been associated with increased blood pressure and metabolism. If color is powerful enough to influence mood or increase blood pressure, then how much is color affecting our sleep? While there hasn’t been much research done in this area, there are some studies that give us valuable insights. A recent study conducted by Travelodge gives good insight into how much color can affect our sleep. Travelodge looked through the keyhole of 2,000 homes to investigate the influence of bedroom color schemes against the quality and quantity of sleep they are getting every night. Some major findings from the study:
- On average people sleeping in a blue room are getting seven hours and fifty two minutes sleeps per night. The color blue also helped to reduce blood pressure and heart rate, which are essential in achieving a good quality night’s sleep.
- The second most favorable color scheme for inducing a good night’s sleep is yellow. People who sleep in a yellow bedroom are getting an average of seven hours and forty minutes of shut eye per night. Yellow stimulates the nervous system which aids relaxation, while also creating a warm and cozy atmosphere.
- A green themed bedroom is the nation’s third most popular sleep inducing color – with sleepers getting on average seven hours and thirty six minutes of sleep. Green creates a restful, calming environment which helps relaxation which is essential in inducing sleep.
- A silver bedroom/decor is the fourth most popular sleep inducing color scheme – with individuals getting on average seven hours and thirty three minutes sleep per night. The metallic color makes a bedroom feel luxurious and glow like moonlight – this can trick the eye into believing it is night time.
- An orange bedroom is the fifth most popular sleep inducing color – with sleepers getting on average seven hours and twenty eight minutes of snooze time. Shades of orange add warmth to the room and help create a stable and reassuring atmosphere and can even help digestion too – especially if you have eaten a large or late evening meal.
- In contrast, the study also revealed the least favored bedroom color schemes for obtaining a regular good quality night’s sleep are purple, brown and grey resulting in about seven hours of sleep a night, or less. Using these colors in your bedroom is also more likely to promote vivid dreams or even nightmares; resulting in fragmented sleep and you feeling tired the next day.
This study is a good example of how room color can influence your sleep, mood, and even sets the tone for your living environment. Therefore, it's important to choose a bedroom color and decor that will help you relax and induce sleep.
Elliot, Andrew J., and Markus A. Maier. "Color and Psychological Functioning." Current Directions in Psychological Science 16.5 (2007): 250-54. Web.
Travelodge. The Secret To A Good Night's Slumber Is To Sleep In A Blue Bedroom. [Press release] 17 May 2013. Web. 8 Oct. 2014.
Whitfield, T.W., & Wiltshire, T.J. (1990). Color psychology: A critical review. Genetic, Social & General Psychology Monographs, 116, 387–412.