Scientist reveals how to sleep better in the heat – and it’s nothing to do with a fan!

Should we be turning to paint brushes rather than reaching for fans?

As summer temperatures are set to soar we're always looking for ways to stay cool, especially when trying to sleep in the heat. Scientists have revealed a key factor in ensuring a good night's sleep is in fact the colour on our walls.

We know that colour can affect your sleep, in the sense of creating a calming environment. But we didn't consider how it helps even more so during a heatwave?!

Leading paint brand Valspar collaborated with Professor Charles Spence in a bid to find out how colours can affect the perception of human body temperature, revealing that painting walls in a deep shade of blue will help us feel up to three times cooler.

See the science behind it: Experts say you’ll sleep better if your bedroom is blue

Best colour to paint bedrooms – to feel cool

bedroom with double bed and bedside table

(Image credit: Night Swim by Valspar)

For the study 157 participants were placed in three separate rooms, each set to the same ambient temperature of 18°C. They were asked to record the temperature they felt in each of these rooms.

Interestingly, the study found that despite each room remaining at the same temperature, over a quarter (28 per cent) felt coolest when in the navy blue room. With some even claiming that they felt up to three degrees cooler than the actual room temperature.

Inspiration: Blue bedroom ideas – see how shades of blue can create a restful retreat

cosy bedroom idea with deep blue pallete and wooden furniture

(Image credit: Future PLC/Adrian Briscoe)

’Taking inspiration from the primary colour spectrum, each shade used in the study was specifically chosen to test the effect of the senses’ explains Professor Charles Spence, head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory.

‘This illustrative study goes some way to showing that our senses are intrinsically linked. And that the colour our walls are painted can really impact our thermal comfort.’

The other Valspar shades used within the study were Manzanilla Olive; Blue Moon Glow; Coral Bloom; Ochre Mountain; Pink Ribbon Care and Royal Velvet (blue).

‘We commissioned this research because we understand how hard it is to choose paint colour for the home’ says Jane Ryder at Valspar. ‘By testing participants’ reactions to individual colours, we were able to give them a deeper understanding of the affect these have on their senses. Therefore helping them to be more colour confident when selecting a new paint.’

More: Bedroom colour schemes to brighten a home – from serene green to crisp white

Is the hot weather enough to make you feel blue for your bedroom?


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.