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What Color Is Best For Sleep

Sleep is an essential factor for healthy physical and mental well-being. Not getting enough sleep can cause a host of consequences that can take a toll on a person’s physical and mental health, ranging from memory loss and depressed mood to more serious long-term consequences like cognitive impairment, poorer health decisions and decreased immunity.

Since sleep is so important, many studies have looked into what helps us get the highest quality of sleep. A key factor comes down to light – and more specifically, the intensity and color of that light. In this article, we will discuss the various colors and their associated properties, the research related to sleep quality and the impact of color on the body’s reaction to various light sources.

What Colors Affect Sleep?

Different colors of light create different effects on the human body due to its influence on the hormones serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is produced from bright daylight and is associated with alertness and wakefulness.

In contrast, melatonin is released in the presence of red or orange light and is known for its role in aiding sleep. Light intensity is also a key factor, with high levels of light having a more intense impact on hormones than low levels.

What Color Is Best for Sleep?

Overall, it’s recommended that in order to create the best environment for sleep, soothing colors such as blue and green are the best choices. By creating a bedroom that has a softly lit blue hue, it should create a calming atmosphere that will help the body to naturally relax and drift off to sleep. Studies have shown that blue light helps reduce stimulation when exposed to it just before bedtime, with one study showing that exposure to blue light before bedtime reduced cortisol levels.

Cortisol is a hormone that is associated with stress and has been linked to sleeping troubles, so reducing its presence before bedtime can help lead to a more restful night of sleep. Green light is also believed to be beneficial for sleep and the environment in general.

Researchers at the University of Continental, who studied the effects of green light on different areas of the brain, found that exposure to green light helped to create a calming effect and “showed a significant decrease in sympathetic nerve activity”. This decrease in activity is associated with relaxation, which can help contribute to better sleep.

What Colors to Avoid?

As well as recommending certain colors to promote better sleep, there are also particular colors that are best to avoid. White and yellow light, for example, are the most stimulating colors and should be avoided late in the evening. It’s best to avoid activities such as watching television or scrolling through a phone or computer in rooms that are lit with a yellow hue, as this can interfere with melatonin production and lead to difficulty sleeping.

Red is another color that should be avoided. Although it may seem counterintuitive, exposure to a red light before bedtime can be stimulating and interfere with circadian rhythms.

This is due to its association with morning light and can Therefore disruption the body’s natural production of melatonin.

What Light Sources Are Best For Sleep?

When trying to get the best night sleep, it’s important to consider the kinds of lighting that are most beneficial. Traditional light bulbs are likely to emit brighter light and can contain a mix of colors that may be too stimulating for sleep. On the other hand, dimmable LED lighting is the preferred option.

These lights offer a more soothing glow and can easily be adjusted to the level of light intensity that best suits the user’s needs. Alternatively, many of these lighting options also come in bulb designs that directly emit a blue or green light for an even better sleep experience.

The Impact of Light Sources On Circadian Rhythms

Lighting can also have a huge impact on the body’s ability to regulate its circadian rhythms, which is essential for healthy sleep and wake cycles. Bright light during the day helps to regulate the secretion of cortisol, which stimulates wakefulness and alertness, while dimmer light in the evening helps to encourage melatonin production, which can help with sleep onset.

When it comes to families with young children, it is also important to make sure that lights are dimmed during bedtime. This helps with the process of unwinding and allows children to get to sleep easily, while an overly bright environment can have the opposite effect.

The Impact Of Blue Light On Sleep

Blue-light emitting electronics and devices like laptops and smartphones are designed to mimic daylight, and this may affect melatonin production and delay the onset of sleep. For this reason, it’s important to use devices with a blue light filter that reduces the level of blue light exposure. Alternatively, avoiding using devices with blue light for several hours before bedtime can also be beneficial.

Using Color Therapy For Better Sleep

In addition to the types of lighting used, other options such as color therapy are also proving to be beneficial. Color therapy uses color wavelengths to help promote relaxation and reduce stress, which can help lead to better sleep.

To further promote a calming environment, light is often used in combination with music, aromatherapy and crystals to help reduce anxiety and enhance the overall sleep experience. This can be a great option for anyone who is struggling with insomnia or just needs a little extra help to relax and fall asleep.

Are Incandescent or LED Lights Better for Sleep?

When it comes to sleep-friendly lighting, incandescent or LED lighting is preferred. Incandescent lighting offers a softer, more natural glow and is less likely to interfere with circadian rhythms than LEDs, which can sometimes be too intense and imitate the effects of daylight. Therefore, LEDs should be avoided for the evening.


Overall, color can have a huge impact on the quality of sleep that a person gets. The best approach is to create a calming environment with blue, green and dim lighting, while avoiding bright yellow or red lights as they can stimulate the body prior to sleep.

It’s also important to avoid the use of electronic devices with blue-light and opt for a blue-light filter whenever possible. Additionally, incorporating color therapy with music, aromatherapy and crystals can also help to promote better sleep. Ultimately, it’s all about trial and error until you find the right combination of colors and light intensity that best suits your needs.

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