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The Secret to Sleep

Posted on by Kathryn O'Hara

Bedroom shops and home retailers like John Lewis talk about bright, colourful, patterned bedrooms and how they bring an element of fun and excitement for children. That might be good for the kids who play in their bedrooms, but what about your bedroom? What colours and patterns should you decorate with to create a place of serenity where you can relax and recharge your batteries?

Which colour group?

In theory, there are two colour groups: ‘cool’ and ‘warm’. Warm colours like red, orange and yellow are well suited to the ‘social’ rooms in your house- the rooms you use whilst spending time with the family, watching TV, entertaining guests or cooking. Warm colours like red can raise a rooms energy level, encouraging conversation and appetite- which is why it is considered a good colour for the dining room. Black is considered a warm colour whilst white is seen as cool. 

Cool colours are better suited to bedrooms. Blues and greens have calming effects and help you to relax, telling your brain that it’s time to rest and getting you prepared for sleep. Soft shades of blue are said to bring down blood pressure and slow the heart rate- ideal for when you’re getting in to bed to switch off and get some well earned rest. Avoid dark blue as your main colour, it can have the opposite effect and induce feelings of sadness. For the bedroom, stick to light, soft shades of cool colours and you’re well on your way to creating the perfect sanctuary. 

Where to start?

Neutral colours make a good base for any room. For a bedroom you may want to choose the cooler neutrals like stone, beige and taupe. You can use cool neutral colours in social rooms when they’re accompanied by warm pops of colour, or you can choose the warmer neutrals here like a red milk chocolate shade. 

What now?

Next, pick a colour that you like. For a bedroom, look at the cool side of the colour wheel and build a palette sticking to one colour set. Be careful that you don’t deviate from this palette, or you will end up with some obscure colour combinations that could change the ambience of the room. Avoid covering the entire room in one bright colour, instead, use the neutral base and add small amounts of colour. 

A general rule of thumb is to avoid mixing warm and cool palettes in any one room. Unless of course you want to create something a little different and funky, after all warm and cool colours do complement each other (think red and green and Christmas), but I would keep these experiments to a social room and focus on creating a restful environment for the bedroom. 

Although purple/violet is on the cool side of the spectrum, it may not be the best colour for a bedroom if you want a good night’s sleep. Budget hotel chain Travelodge conducted a survey and found that participants got the best night’s sleep in a blue room, closely followed by moss green, pale yellow and silver. Purple was the least restful with participants getting, on average, almost 2 hours less sleep than those in a blue room. 

Finishing touches

So you’ve chosen your cool, calm and relaxing colour for the bedroom, now you need accessories and furnishings to match. Stick with your selected colour palette and don’t cram too many things in there. Choose good curtains or blinds that keep the light out if you prefer a completely dark environment. Keep the bedroom de-cluttered and consider removing distractions like TV’s and tablets. Watching TV before bed will not allow you to rest, instead, try turning off electronic devices a few hours before bed and engage in conversation with a partner or read to help you to wind down. 

One of the most important elements of a bedroom is of course, the bed. Having the right mattress plays a key role in the quality of sleep you get, so take your time deciding and make sure it’s right for you. If you are looking to replace your bed or mattress, have a read of this checklist to keep in mind when you’re looking for a new bed

The good sleep manual

A Guide to a better night's sleep for Chronic Pain Suffers

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This is an issue we are hoping to solve, through some easy steps to follow around health, lifestyle and diet, to ease you into a better night’s sleep.


We have been fortunate enough to get some valuable help from 2 contributors who suffer themselves from Chronic Pain and have been keen to share their tips and personal journey towards a comfortable and refreshing night’s sleep.

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