If you’re sleep deprived, you may experience lack of energy, lower productivity, headaches, poor health and poor concentration.
The most common cause of sleeplessness is stress and anxiety, so learning ways to keep these to a minimum is crucial if you want to get a good nights rest.
Many studies show that being surrounded by nature helps lower cortisol levels and blood pressure (1). It can also help boost immune function and levels of relaxation (2).
Keeping plants indoors also helps purify the air you breathe. Back in the 80’s, NASA studied the ability of houseplants to clean air, and out of fifty houseplants, they found a majority of them helped filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like odours and moulds.
The below 10 plants can improve the air in your bedroom at night, and subsequently give you a better nights rest. They also can help bring about feelings of relaxation, and simply looking at them can reduce cortisol levels (and therefore lower anxiety and blood pressure).
Be sure to wipe off dust from the leaves of your plants every week, so that they can properly filter air. Make sure to place a few plants in each bedroom. NASA recommends between 15-18 air purifying plants for a 1800 square foot home (3).
Results published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry from professor Hanns Hatt’s work found that jasmine increased the GABA effect by more than five times and acted as strongly as sedatives, sleeping pills and relaxants (4). Inhaling jasmine transmits messages to the brain to calm down, and “chill out”, so that you can have a deeper, more restful sleep.
Keeping a lavender plant on your bedside table will be sure to lull you into a deep sleep. It is the plant with the most well-known sleep-inducing aromas, and is known to slow down heart rate and lower blood pressure and stress levels (5). Lavender also decreases rapid-eye movement during sleep and reduces the time it takes to fall asleep (6).
3. Snake Plant
What’s great about the snake plant is that it emits oxygen at night while simultaneously taking in carbon dioxide – something we naturally produce when breathing. This will naturally help improve the quality of your sleep, as studies have found that increased oxygen levels lead to better sleep (7). Snake plants also filter nasty common household coins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene.
4. Aloe Vera*
Similar to the snake plant, aloe very emits oxygen at night, making for a more restful sleep. It is also very easy to take care of, and if you forget to water it, it won’t die on you. Keeping aloe vera in your house is also useful if you happen to get cut or burnt. It also alleviates dry skin and provides relief from insect bites.
This lovely smelling plant is effective at treating insomnia and poor sleep (8). A recent study found that it was just as effective as Valium in relieving anxiety and promoting sleep (9). The plant itself is somewhat difficult to care for, so it may not be the best for those without a green thumb.
6. Spider Plant
Spider plants can clear up to 90% of formaldehyde from the air, according to the NASA study. Aside from cleansing the air, the spider plant will help sustain oxygen levels in the room, promoting better sleep.
Valerian root is still traditionally used to help calm and sedate, as well as treat insomnia. The plant itself is useful, too. Simply inhaling its scent will help you fall asleep quickly, and will ensure you enjoy a better quality sleep (10).
8. English Ivy*
This beautiful trailing plant has been shown to improve symptoms of allergies or asthma (11), which can significantly help improve the sleep quality of those suffering from these ailments. English ivy has also been found to clean up to 94% of airborne faces, and 78% of airborne mould (12), which when removed from the air, can promote a good night’s sleep.
9. Peace Lily
Similar to the english ivy, the peace lily helps relieve allergy symptoms, which can relieve the irritation of dry noses and throats that may keep you up all night. It can increase humidity in a roomy up to 5%, thanks to the moisture of its flowers. This plant can grow quite big, so be sure to give it the space it needs!
10. Golden Pothos*
The golden pothos is a hanging plant that requires not much attention. It can remove over 70% of airborne benzene in as little as 24 hours, and air filtration occurs in the soil. This is a great plant to place near a window so that it can filter any air coming indoors. Reducing airborne pollutants from your room will automatically guarantee a better quality sleep.
*Keep in mind that toxic plants should be kept in unreachable places if you have pets or children.