Everyone needs adequate sleep to recuperate from the day.

A lack of sleep contributes to health issues such as stress, poor concentration, hypertension and obesity, as well driving and occupational injuries, and fatalities in the workplace.

Working carers and the people they care for need restful sleep more than most people.

So which colours should be used, or avoided, in the bedroom to ensure you get a decent kip?

This question has been researched in depth by the international tourism and hospitality organisation Travelodge, which looked into 2,000 homes to investigate the influence of colour on quality of sleep.

They found that people sleeping in rooms decorated in tranquillity-inducing colours such as blue, green or yellow, received the best night’s sleep.

The survey found blue was linked to calm, soothing feelings. Blue slows the heart rate and reduces blood pressure. The colour of ocean and sky, blue is perceived as a constant in our lives. As the collective colour of the spirit, it invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming.

The Travelodge study showed that people sleeping in a blue bedroom got seven hours and 52 minutes of restful sleep per night – more than anyone else. Another benefit of blue was that it somehow enabled people to wake up feeling happy and positive, too.

Sleep scientists explain that there are specialised receptors called ganglion cells in the retina part of our eyes, which are most sensitive to the colour blue. 

These receptors feed information into an area deep in our brain that controls our 24-hour rhythms, and affect how we perform and feel during the day. That interaction between light, sleep and wakefulness is supremely important.

When you walk into your bedroom, you want it to be a transition into a really relaxing, restful space compared to the living and kitchen areas of your home.

Blue, green and yellow work best

While blue is the best colour choice, green and yellow are also winners in the sleep stakes, with those choosing these colours clocking up roughly seven hours and 40 minutes of sleep each night.

White, often touted as the calmest and most neutral of the colours, was in fact found to be a very active colour in the Travelodge study. People with a white or cream colour scheme in their bedroom took work to bed with them typically three times per week and often had their computers in the bedroom. If they were not working, they were shopping online, like people with bedrooms in shades of grey.

Silver rooms were also highly energising, inspiring people to undertake exercise in the bedroom.

Grey and brown got the thumbs-down generally for being too dreary and depressing. A grey colour scheme reduced nightly sleep to an average six hours and twelve minutes per night while a brown colour scheme reduced nightly sleep to about six hours and five minutes.

Avoid purple bedrooms if you want to sleep

Surprisingly, the worst colour for bedrooms was deemed to be purple because it was found to be too stimulating to the brain, making it difficult to switch off and fall asleep after a busy day.

Although many people think purple creates a sense of luxury in the bedroom, it was shown to actually reduce the number of hours of sleep people attain. People sleeping in purple bedrooms typically got less than six hours of sleep a night. 

Purple has a strong connection with the more artistic and spiritual community, being a colour reported to stimulate creativity and the unconscious mind. Therefore, sleeping in a purple room might be more likely to promote vivid dreams or even nightmares, resulting in feeling tired in the morning.

The study also found that colour affects other bedroom activities. Couples who sleep in a bedroom that is decorated in warm caramel colours make love on average three times per week. But those who sleep in a red bedroom make love just once a week.

Frances Whitley, Travelodge In-house Interior Designer said: “Room colour does influence your mood and set the tone for your living environment… Therefore, it’s important to choose a bedroom décor that will help you relax and induce sleep.

“People are no longer happy with everything being the same colour… Tastes are also moving away from dark shades. Today hotel users want a clean, fresh and calming colour scheme.”

Colour scientists say that intense, bright colours in the bedroom, and gloss or semi-gloss paint finishes (rather than light-absorbing flat paint finishes) have the effect of visually increasing the amount of energy in the room. This works against resting or relaxing because you feel really stimulated. Naturally you should avoid electric or bold blues and greens. These will definitely not have a calming effect.

If you are a shift worker or have trouble sleeping, try using a blue colour on your ceiling instead of white. This may make it easier to fall asleep – especially in the daytime.

How much sleep does each colour give?


7 hrs 52mins


7 hrs 40mins


7 hrs 36 mins


7 hrs 33 mins


7 hrs 28 mins


6 hrs 58 mins


6 hrs 43 mins


6 hrs 12 mins


6 hrs 05 mins


5 hrs 56 mins