What Color Makes You Sleepy?
We’ve all been there. You’re trying to sleep but you just can’t seem to drift off no matter how hard you try.
There are many factors that can affect your ability to fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.
One of these factors is light. The color of light can actually have an impact on how sleepy or alert you feel.
So, what color makes you sleep? Keep reading to find out!
Table of Contents
What is the most sleepy color?
The most sleepy color is amber, especially an orange-sunset red, as it is warm and rich and extremely calming. This color supports the Circadian Rhythm, probably because it reminds us of the natural sunset.
Studies have revealed that red increases production of melatonin and helps induce sleep, while blue lights have the opposite effect, decreasing the production of melatonin and throwing the sleep cycle off.
Therefore, when it comes to selecting light for your bedroom, opt for red or a warmer hue of yellow or white, with a light color temperature below 3000K. To help regulate the light intensity, you can choose a dimmable LED lamp.
Brainard GC, Hanifin JP, Greeson JM, Byrne B, Glickman G, Gerner E, Rollag MD. Action spectrum for melatonin regulation in humans: evidence for a novel circadian photoreceptor. J Neurosci. 2001 Aug 15;21(16):6405-12. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.21-16-06405.2001. PMID: 11487664; PMCID: PMC6763155.
What factors affect how color affects sleep?
Colors in the warmer spectrum, such as red, yellow and orange, tend to have a calming and soothing effect, and have been proven to help people fall asleep faster. On the other hand, cooler colors such as blue, purple and green increase passion and excitement, as well as blood pressure and heart rate. White is another color that is very popular in bedrooms, as it symbolizes serenity and can bring comfort and hope. Cooler colors have been found to reduce the amount of sleep a person gets in a night.
Brightness plays an important role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle. Studies have shown that the brighter the light, the more intensely it affects our emotions and sleepiness. The brightness of a light source will affect the intensity at which it stimulates our brain cells, which can lead to an increase in alertness and wakefulness.
When exposed to bright lights at night, our melatonin production is inhibited, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Therefore, it is important to keep the bedroom environment dark, or use dim lights such as red or amber, to promote sleep.
Different colors have different wavelengths, and our retinas contain special photoreceptors that are most sensitive to light in the wavelengths of 450 to 480 nanometers, which is blue light. Exposure to blue light suppresses melatonin, which is the hormone that controls our natural sleep-wake cycles, making it more difficult for us to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Red light, on the other hand, is the superior choice before bedtime as our photoreceptors are least sensitive to this color and it does not disrupt our circadian rhythm.
Additionally, there is some evidence that warm colors may be more conducive to sleep than cool colors. Therefore, the wavelength of light can have a major effect on how color affects sleep.
4. Combination of Colors
The effect of a combination of colors on sleep is affected by a variety of factors. Firstly, the colors chosen can influence our emotions and behavior, as evidenced by the science of chromatics, colorimetry or color science.
Through the color wheel, we can see how each color has a different effect on our feelings and actions.
Another factor to consider is the intensity of the colors used. Bold, bright colors, like red, can evoke feelings of aggression or anger and should be avoided for bedrooms. Instead, lighter, pastel colors should be used to create a more calming, soothing environment.
Having a clear idea of the bedding color scheme before choosing paint colors can help create a space that is conducive to sleep.
5. Light Sources
Light sources have a direct effect on how colors can affect our sleep. Bright white or LED bulbs can interfere with our natural sleep cycles, as these colors stimulate our brains and may cause us to wake up more than we want to. Therefore, it is important to take into account the type of light source if we want to promote the best sleep quality.
6. Light Sensitivity
Light sensitivity affects how color affects sleep by causing circadian rhythms to be disrupted. This is because the ipRGC cells in our retinas are sensitive to different colors of light, sending signals to the brain that tell it when it is daytime or nighttime. Not only the color of the light is important, but also its brightness and direction, as they can have an impact on our mood and mental state, as well as our melatonin production, which can affect how sleepy or wakeful we are.
7. Color Temperature
Color temperature plays an important role in how color affects our sleep. When the temperature is warmer, our body naturally begins to shut down, feeling that it is time to sleep. When the color temperature is cooler, our body doesn’t cool down as easily, and our sleep may be disrupted. Therefore, the color temperature of the environment and the type of light in the area can both affect our sleep.
What are the best colors for light to help you sleep?
1. Amber Light
Amber light is a great choice for better sleep since it helps us feel calmer and promotes the secretion of melatonin which is the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycle. This warm amber-spectrum light has no negative effect on melatonin secretion, unlike devices such as laptops, TVs and smartphone screens that emit a high level of blue light that disrupts melatonin production.
Amber light uses the same wavelength as the light of candlelight thus provides enough light to read and see during the night and give off a relaxing, sunset deep orange to red glow. The combination of both amber and red light bulbs used throughout the house can provide a nice warm and relaxing atmosphere that helps promote natural melatonin secretion, muscle relaxation and better, more restful sleep.
2. Red Light
Red light has a number of positive effects on sleep. It is believed to help increase production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel sleepy, while also decreasing the amount of sleep inertia we experience, which makes us feel confused and hazy after waking up. Additionally, red light helps in night vision, providing enough light to read and see clearly without straining the eyes.
3. Warm Colours
Warm colors can be very relaxing and help promote sleep. Some of the best colors to use in a bedroom environment are
- soft yellows,
- light oranges,
- and faded yellow.
These colors are associated with tranquility and peace, and create an atmosphere ideal for sleeping. Soft yellows can replicate a sunny day, and ivory, tan, and beige may be reminiscent of a sandy beach. Light oranges like terracotta, on the other hand, provide a warm tone that can help you relax and drift off to sleep. Brighter hues of these colors should be avoided as they can stimulate energy and cause wakefulness.
Strong and bright Red, although a warm color, should be avoided in the bedroom as it is quite intense and can be provoking. A lighter alternative such as a light pink can provide a pop of color while still promoting a peaceful sleeping environment.
What are the worst colors for light to at night?
1. Bright Red and Blues
The worst colors for light at night are blue and green, as they are harsh on the retinas and can disturb sleep. Warmer colors, such as red, orange, and yellow families, are thought to be more conducive to sleep. However, too much red can be overstimulating, so it is best to opt for lighter shades of pink.
2. Yellow and Green Lights
The consequences of using yellow and green lights at night are significant, as exposure to these colors can disrupt our body’s natural sleep cycle and suppress melatonin production. Yellow and green lights are found in electronic devices such as computers, tablets, cell phones, and LED televisions. Studies have shown that blue-green light is most disruptive when it comes to our internal clock, as it signals to our brain that it is daytime.
Children are especially sensitive to yellow and green lights
Children are especially sensitive to yellow and green lights and can suffer more melatonin suppression when exposed to them than adults. As such, it is important to take extra care when choosing a nightlight for them.
While brief exposures to yellow or white light may be okay for infants, experts generally advise using red-orange hued nightlights that won’t disturb their circadian rhythm.
3. Harsh Fluorescent Lights
Definition: Fluorescent lighting is a type of lighting that consists of a tube filled with a gas, which when energized, produces a bright light.
Fluorescent lights are often associated with a harsh cool-toned light that can negatively impact your sleep and disrupt your circadian rhythm. Exposure to blue light can suppress melatonin production and cause fatigue, while exposure to yellow light can further suppress melatonin levels, especially in children. Long-term exposure to artificial light at night has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer.
4. LED Lights
LED lights can be problematic for nighttime use due to the fact that they can produce a lot of blue light, which can disrupt sleep production and confuse natural circadian rhythms. This is because blue light suppresses melatonin production and causes us to remain alert and wide awake when we should be winding down and preparing for sleep.
LED lights can emit light in hues that the sun does not, which can have an impact on animal and plant behavior. To avoid these problems, people are advised to use lights that emit red or amber wavelengths instead of blue light.
Red light is the least likely to suppress melatonin production and disrupt sleep. If you can only sleep with light then LED bulbs that only emit red light, rather than just being red in color, are recommended for best results.
5. Light from Electronic Devices
The blue light emitted by electronic devices has been found to suppress melatonin production, which can interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythm. This can lead to difficulty falling and staying asleep, resulting in fatigue and difficulty functioning during the day.
In addition, the blue light from devices has been found to have an influence on animal and plant behavior since LED lights can create hues that the sun does not.
To reduce exposure to blue light, people should unplug from devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime and activate warm filters or night lights for late-night working or scrolling in bed.
Why do warm colors help you sleep?
Warm colors, such as red, orange, and yellow, are known to have a calming effect on the body and mind, and can help promote better sleep. This is mostly due to the fact that they have a wavelength closer to the red end of the visible light spectrum, which has been proven to be more soothing to the eyes and less harsh on the retinas.
Being in natural light improves mood, increases happiness
Being in natural light has been shown to improve mood and increase happiness due to the powerful, and often positive, effect it has on mental health, physical health, and overall well-being. A survey of 1,600 office workers found that access to natural light was the most desired perk in the workplace, and half of the respondents reported that limited or no natural light in their workspace adversely affected their mood, productivity, and sleep.
A study also showed that female workers in an office without natural light had higher levels of stress hormones, lower melatonin levels, and increased symptoms of depression. A recent large study of 500,000 individuals in Great Britain also showed that each additional hour spent outside in natural light was linked to a decrease in the risk of developing long-term depression, as well as reduced use of antidepressants, improved mood, and greater feelings of happiness. That is why it is important to sleep outside a few times in a year.
Best bedroom colors for sleep
When it comes to deciding on the best color for your bedroom, it’s important to consider how it will affect your sleep. The most restful colors for the bedroom wall are blues, yellows, greens, silvers, oranges, pinks, and whites. These colors reduce stress and promote a sense of calmness, making them ideal choices for creating a bedroom atmosphere that encourages relaxation and rest. Blue is especially beneficial as it is a calming color that helps to induce feelings of tranquility and peacefulness.
Additionally, yellow is another favorable color for inducing a good night’s sleep as it is an upbeat and pleasant color that provides good vibes and happy energy.
To maximize the effects of these colors, opt for lighter shades, such as pastels. Therefore, to help you sleep better, the best colors for your room are blues, yellows, greens, silvers, oranges, pinks, and whites.
How does color affect sleep?
Light plays a role in the quality of sleep. While natural sunlight can be beneficial during the day, at night it can be disruptive, keeping us awake and impeding our ability to sleep. Similarly, colored lightbulbs can also be disruptive, with some colors that may be stimulating and others that may be calming.
In conclusion, color and light play a major role in how well we sleep. By choosing the right colors for your bedroom and using the correct lightbulbs, you can create an atmosphere that is conducive to quality sleep.
What color light bulb is best for sleep?
The best color light bulb for sleep is amber. Amber light bulbs for sleep produce a wavelength of light that’s similar to the setting sun and helps your body ease into its sleep cycle more naturally.
Reddish light wavelengths force your body to release more melatonin- a sleep hormone- which makes you feel drowsy and prepares your body for sleep. Warm light with a yellow or red hue is also best for bedside lamps.
How does the secretion of melatonin affect sleep?
The secretion of melatonin is a key factor in determining our sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is a hormone secreted in our bodies that helps regulate our circadian rhythms or body clock. It is naturally produced by the body in response to darkness and helps us to fall asleep. The presence of light, especially blue light, can disrupt the production of melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep. Studies have also found that colors close to red on the light spectrum, such as orange and yellow, may help to stimulate melatonin production, making it easier to fall asleep.
What is the role of color in creating a calming atmosphere?
The role of color in creating a calming atmosphere cannot be underestimated. calming colors can be incorporated into bedroom decor, such as walls, bedding, art, and curtains, to create a tranquil environment. Brighter hues should be avoided, as they can have an energizing effect, while pastel and muted shades are preferable.
What type of bedding and accessories work best for sleep?
You should look for bedding and other accessories in colors that are conducive to sleep, such as light blues, yellows, and neutrals. Darker colors, as well as eggshell and glossy finishes, should be avoided. You should invest in a supportive mattress and pillow that will help your body relax and sleep better. Sleeping with a weighted blanket can also have a calming effect, reducing anxiety and helping you relax.
Finally, it is important to eliminate excess light by using heavy, dark curtains to block out street lights and early sunrises. If no curtains are possible you can try a weighted sleep mask for making you bedroom a bit darker
What color led light helps you sleep besides red?
Besides red, other colors of LED light that can help you sleep better are light yellow, pink, and other colors that are closer to red than blue. These colors can help improve our overall mood, reduce stress, and increase melatonin production. Both of these colors are beneficial for a better night’s sleep.
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