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Study: Blue Paint Best for Sleep

Monday, May 20, 2013

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Bedrooms painted blue produce a better and longer night’s rest, a new study suggests.

Purple, gray and brown hues, on the other hand, were found to be less conducive to sleep, according to Travelodge, a UK hotel chain that conducted the survey.

blue paint
Ahybusybee / Wikimedia Commons

Bedrooms painted blue were correlated with an average of seven hours and 52 minutes of sleep per night, according to the UK study.

Blue has long been associated with the feeling of serenity, tranquility and calmness, according to color psychologists and color experts.

The study looked at 2,000 homes across England. A copy of the study was not immediately available for review.

More Zzzs for Blue Bedrooms

The study found that, on average, homeowners sleeping in a blue room were getting seven hours and 52 minutes of sleep per night, compared to a little under six hours for those resting in a purple bedroom, according to an article on the study in the Daily Mail.

“This is an amazing result, as there are specialized receptors called ganglion cells in the retina part of our eyes, which are most sensitive to the color blue,” said Chris Idzikowski, a sleep expert from the Edinburgh Sleep Center, according to the report.

Psychonaught / Wikimedia Commons

Ganglion cells in the retina are most sensitive to the color blue, a sleep expert says.

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

Following blue, other colors that were found to be most relaxing were yellow (linked with seven hours, 40 minutes of sleep) and green (seven hours and 36 minutes).

Purple Provocation

While purple can convey a sense of luxury and creativity in the bedroom, it does not deliver the desired effect when it comes to sleep. The color is mentally stimulating, the report says, citing the study.

“[S]leeping in a purple room is more likely to promote vivid dreams or even nightmares; resulting in you feeling tired in the morning,” researchers explain.

The study reported that gray and brown colors stimulated rather than soothed. Sleepers in brown rooms averaged six hours and five minutes of sleep; in gray rooms, six hours and 12 minutes, the study found.

Paint Color Expert Weighs In

The results of the study don’t surprise a color expert on this side of the pond.

Scott Wylie / Wikimedia Commons

Nature-inspired hues, like green and yellow, were found to be best for sleep.

“Blue is certainly a very calm and relaxing hue and is often seen as a refuge color from the exterior or ‘harsh’ environment,” said Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert with the Paint Quality Institute.

Zimmer also observed that the top three colors found to produce the most sleep duration were “nature inspired” shades.

“Nature-inspired hues often provide a sense of peace and relaxation.”

However, she added: “One caveat, when painting a bedroom with yellow: It should not be too bright!”


Tagged categories: Color; Color + Design; Color selection; Color trends; Design; Interior design; Interior Wall Coatings; Painting Contractors

Comment from James Martin, (5/22/2013, 3:20 PM)

I think trying to make assumptions about color is pretty much a fool's errand. What blue for starters? Anything in the full spectrum of blue? Bright blue, muddy blue, light blue? and who lives in these houses where the people sleep better? Better than what? Did there sleeping intensify when the painted the room blue? Truth be told, there is almost real solid research into the effects of color, mostly just a lot of inferences, and conclusions drawn haphazardly. Given the nature of color I doubt that there ever will be any. It's a tough, we all know color effects us emotionally but try to prove just how and why and to what end is not and easy thing to do. And you know this doesn't even factor in cultural differences where in some cultures as a color may be seen as creating just the opposite reaction in another culture. For example white in the west vs White in the East. I'm really a little tire of listening to people toss around color speculation as fact. There are no facts when it comes to color. why not just be intuitive about it and enjoy playing with it. a

Comment from Frank H. Mahnke, (5/31/2013, 6:07 AM)

As to the blue inducing better or more sleep, the reality is when the lights are out no color is seen. As to Mr. James Martin's comments, some are totally incorrect from a scientific standpoint. Using color intuitively without purpose is counterproductive in the workplace, hospitals, industry etc. etc. The human reaction to the environment consists of psychological, physiological, neuropsychological, visual ergonomic and emotional aspects. That has been proven beyond doubt for decades. As the President of nine IACC Academies internationally that accredit designers in the field of color, environment and human reaction I will gladly enlighten anyone on this subject.

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