Improve Your Sleep Environment Part 3: How Your Memories Impact Your Responses to Color


In this ongoing series about ways to improve your sleep environment, I’m exploring how we experience color. Last time, I looked at trends in how colors influence emotion. Today, I want to emphasize the other side of the same coin – we are each individuals with unique experiences. That means what makes one person feel relaxed may make another feel anxious. There is no single solution when it comes to picking soothing bedroom colors — it has to be personal.

Color and Personal Experience

In my last blog, I cited a color study by Naz Kaya and Helen H. Epps, experienced collaborators in research on emotion and color. The same study explored the unique sympbolism people attached to the same colors.

For one person a reddish-purple color brings to mind red wine and relaxation at the end of the day. For another, that same color might trigger memories of a particularly hideous bridesmaid’s dress and a visceral moment of embarrassment. Red can mean “evil, Satan, and blood,” or “Valentine’s Day and the shape of a heart.” It’s all about perspective.

Picking Your Colors

Go with your preferences when designing your bedroom – you’ll be experiencing your own unique response to color every time you walk into your nighttime sanctuary. Remember that cool colors most often trigger relaxation. If you’re really tied to the idea of warm colors, consider going for yellow walls, or yellow accents in a white room. You’ll be more likely to wake feeling relaxed but alert, as if enjoying the morning sunshine.

Our experience of color in the present is closely tied to our life experiences in the past. Experiencing color is experiencing memory. Color can carry symbolic meanings that are unique to each person that views the color.

Keep it simple, and make it yours. Your bedroom should “feel like you” when you walk in, so you’re right at home and ready to relax. Colors that trigger feelings of peace for you, combined with open spaces and minimal clutter to make your room feel airy, will help you drift off comfortably.

Author Bio: +Michelle Gordon is a sleep expert who researches and writes about sleep and health, and is an online publisher for the latex mattress specialist