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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Bergmann, LCSW

The Benefits of Adult Coloring for Sleep

Free printable adult coloring printables below.

One of the latest trends in relaxation and mindfulness is adult coloring and there’s good reason people continue to buy adult coloring books and supplies. No relaxation strategy is a one size fits all solution; however, adult coloring appears to be an activity that is relaxing for many adults. Whether mandala coloring or coloring Disney characters, coloring printables can be fun and relaxing. Experts have found if you enjoyed coloring as a child, adult coloring is likely relaxing for you.

Many people are beginning to use adult coloring as a strategy to manage the distress of insomnia or sleep disturbances. Trying to sleep or ruminating about sleep at night can make the problem worse. Some are turning towards adult coloring as a relaxing, non-activating activity before bedtime or in the middle of the night when unable to sleep. You may find coloring a predictive pattern relaxing, satisfying, and providing a greater sense of control and mastery than a blank page. For many of us, adult coloring allows us to enter a mindfulness state as we focus our attention on our coloring and let go of other thoughts as we gently concentrate on the task at hand.

Benefits of adult coloring include:

1. Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Adult coloring pages can relieve stress similarly to the way meditation can reduce stress. Research has shown adult coloring has similar benefits to art therapy. When you’re focusing on the coloring, you are not paying attention to other things that may have caused stress throughout the day. It is harder to ruminate and become physically tense when coloring.

2. Worry Less

It’s hard to worry when we are actively focused on coloring. Adult coloring gently shifts our attention away from worries and onto the task at hand giving us a “worry break.” Coloring books relax your brain and quiet your mind. Focusing on a simple activity can be an effective way to shift away from intrusive thoughts.

3. Coloring can help you meditate

Coloring often helps people enter a meditative state of mind or “flow” state. Many people identify adult coloring as an easier way to use mindfulness than a meditation for anxiety or insomnia. Coloring has become a common choice among people new to mindfulness or those who struggle with meditation or other mindfulness strategies. This more active strategy has the added benefit of making it less likely for people to fall asleep while practicing.

4. Increase Creativity

Adult coloring can help us reconnect to our inner artist and get the creative juices flowing. In adulthood, most adults find they are using their imagination and creativity less than in childhood. Allowing time for a creative outlet like adult coloring can spark the imagination and increase our problem-solving abilities and innovative thinking.

Thinking about trying adult coloring? Check out these free printable adult coloring sheets!

Letting Sleep Unfold
Download PDF • 640KB

It Doesnt Have To Be Perfect
Download PDF • 564KB

In My Own Time
Download PDF • 554KB

Download PDF • 969KB

Progress Not Perfection
Download PDF • 947KB


Currey, Nancy A. and Kasser, Tim, (2005) Can Coloring Mandalas Reduce Anxiety? Galesburg, IL Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 22(2) pp. 81-85

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1 Comment

Emily Webb
Emily Webb
Aug 31, 2023

Adult coloring pages have gained popularity in recent years as a form of stress relief. It is interesting to note that research suggests coloring can have similar benefits to art therapy and meditation in terms of reducing stress levels. By focusing on the act of coloring, individuals are able to divert their attention away from the stressors of daily life, thus creating a sense of relaxation. This finding highlights the potential therapeutic value of engaging in simple, creative activities like coloring.

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