Headaches are a very common ailment that most people experience from time to time. They can range from mild to severe and debilitating. While there are many different medical treatments for headaches, some people find that environmental factors like light and colour can also impact headaches.
How Light and Colour Affect Headaches
The lighting around you can play a big role in determining the severity of a headache or migraine. Bright lights, flickering lights, and glare can all make headaches worse. This is because light sensitivity is a common symptom for many headache sufferers. Exposure to certain colours and contrasts can also trigger headaches in some people.
The colour that surrounds you has an effect on your mood, emotions, and physical symptoms like headaches. Colours also impact your brain waves and certain colours like red seem to promote alertness while blue is calming. For those prone to headaches and migraines, cool, muted colour tones tend to be gentler while bright, warm colours may exacerbate pain.
Best Colours for Headache Relief
While colour preferences are somewhat subjective, many headache and migraine sufferers find relief with these colours:
Green is thought to be one of the most universally soothing colours. It represents nature, renewal, and harmony. Looking at the colour green first thing in the morning may help set a peaceful tone for your day. Having green around you can potentially ease headaches by promoting calming feelings.
Cool, muted blues are excellent headache colours. Blue light has been shown to suppress melatonin which can influence headaches. Looking at calming shades of blue can potentially lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, and reduce strain on the eyes making it an ideal colour for tension headaches.
The soft purple shade of lavender has long been associated with relaxation, serenity and balance. Surrounding yourself with lavender can help induce feelings of calm and potentially prevent headache triggers like anxiety and stress. Lavender essential oil is also commonly used to treat headaches.
While brighter pinks can be stimulating, soft pink hues are thought to instill comfort and gentleness. For headaches, muted pinks are likely preferable over neon versions of the colour. Pink’s sense of ease and lightness may help improve headaches.
Worst Colours for Headaches
On the other end of the spectrum, these colours may intensify headaches for some people:
Red is stimulating – great for boosting energy, motivation, and excitement but not ideal when you have a headache. Bright reds can increase anxiety, raise blood pressure and strain the eyes leading to more headache pain.
Like red, orange is vibrant and intense. It signals energy, adventure and socializing – all things that require exertion. When experiencing headaches or migraines, orange environments can overstimulate the senses.
Bright, bold yellows tend to promote feelings of happiness and cheer. However, they also stimulate the senses, capture attention, and activate the mind which can exacerbate existing headaches.
Crisp, bright whites can encourage alertness and productivity. However, white walls and lighting can also amplify headaches. Bright whites strain the eyes and require effort to process visually.
Tips for Using Colour to Relieve Headaches
Here are some simple ways to incorporate headache-friendly colours into your surroundings:
- Paint one accent wall in a soothing hue like seafoam green or pale blue
- Choose headache-relieving colours for throw pillows, throws, carpets, and other décor
- Select muted colour palettes for clothes, sheets, and blankets
- Dim bright overhead lights and use lamp lighting with soft bulb colours
- Wear tinted glasses or sunglasses that filter out harsh light
- Keep headache relief essential oils with calming scents nearby to smell
- Drink water from coloured bottles or cups to hydrate
- Use blue light filters on screens and devices that emit LED light
For many headache and migraine sufferers, environmental factors like lighting and colour can impact pain levels. Making simple colour adjustments like using cool blue and green tones, limiting bright reds and oranges, and dimming glaring whites may help provide headache relief. Experiment to find the best colours and lighting for your space to create an environment tailored to reducing headaches.
|Colour||Effect on Headaches|
|Green||Soothes and calms|
|Blue||Reduces strain on eyes|
|Lavender||Relaxing and balancing|
|Pink||Gentle and comforting|
|Red||Stimulating and straining|