Encouraging a Good Night’s Sleep with Plants

“Natural” is a word which usually captivates our attention. When the day’s effects leave us feeling stressed and exhausted, the one reprieve is spending time enjoying the peace and beauty of a natural setting. You may be fortunate to live in a location surrounded by mature trees, filtered and direct sunlight, and bountiful areas of green grass. It takes a mere five minutes to feel nature’s effects of rejuvenation. Studies have shown that being immersed in nature boosts immune function and triggers relaxation, helps to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, improves mood and concentration, as well as encourages the body to sleep soundly. We have all had those nights and weeks where poor sleep has led to a lack of functioning and productivity. One solution is to bring the natural world indoors. We often hang plants in the sun-filled rooms; yet, there are a surprising number of plants that need little light and can purify the air by absorbing odors, molds, and toxic chemicals. While some plants can absorb as many as two harmful chemicals, there are plenty of “fighter” plants that can remove all five dangerous compounds, that is, ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, tricholoroethylene, and xylene. Rather than constantly hearing the hum of an air purifier nearby, consider adding a few of the following plants in your bedroom.

English Ivy

Contained within an attractive pot, English Ivy can thrive in cold rooms and low light situations, which make it perfect for any bedroom. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, English ivies are capable of removing toxins from the air. Allergy sufferers may not be aware of English ivy’s ability to absorb 94 percent of mold particles within 12 hours. While it may not be as strong as an air purifier, English ivy—and many other plants—can still greatly assist in this task. (One note of caution: To keep young children, and cats and dogs safe, please consider placing your ivy on a tall bureau or hanging it near the ceiling. English ivy is poisonous.)

Tip: If you enjoy cascading plants, consider adding a spider plant in your bedroom or bathroom. It can eliminate 90% of the formaldehyde found in your home.

Peace Lily

With its broad leaves and frequent white flowers, the Peace Lily provides a feeling of tranquility. It also has the power to absorb all five dangerous compounds within its pores. Preferring indirect light, it will indicate the need for water by drooping its leaves. The Peace Lily has easy care instructions. (If you have animals, it is wise to place your Peace Lily a few feet off the ground. Oxalates on the plant can irritate both an animal’s mouth and stomach.)

Variegated Snake Plant

With a variety of species, the snake plant’s leaves can be dark green, with or without stripes, or have yellow borders. For those who have difficulty watering plants, the snake plant thrives in periods of drought and can survive in low levels of light. By removing four harmful compounds from the air, the snake plant can help individuals with eye irritations, respiratory symptoms and headaches.

Sweeter Dreams

Lavender, Gardenia, and Jasmine are three plants which are noted to promote a good night’s sleep without actually purifying the air. Each one has a unique and distinct fragrance. Before choosing one of the three for a special place in your bedroom, it is wise to determine whether the scent within a confining room will be too sweet, overwhelming, or be a refreshing smell. Jasmine, for instance, is known for its soothing and calming effect. Studies have proven that Jasmine decreases anxiety and encourages a higher quality of sleep by bringing about the elimination of restless movement and disturbances.

Invasive Plants

Many of the plants listed are invasive species; therefore, if the size exceeds your expectation, the best solution is to divide and transplant into a smaller pot. If planted outdoors, the plant may take over, affecting the nutrient supply of insects and birds.

Sleep Well!

Deep breaths of clean air is one prescription to encourage sleep. Add the essence of lavender, gardenia, or jasmine to promote the perfect balance for a restful night. Consider adding a few air purifiers with one aromatic plant to each bedroom, including spare rooms. Tonight, you can boast a great night’s sleep by bringing aspects of nature’s splendor indoors!