Insomnia includes trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Difficulty sleeping leads to lower productivity, lack of energy and poor health. Stress and anxiety cause most sleep-related issues. Many studies show that being surrounded by nature helps lower cortisol level and blood pressure. It also boosts immune function and triggers relaxation. In addition, plants purify air by absorbing odours and molds that can impact breathing and lung health. Poor air quality from pollution, odors and molds can impact our breathing, thus making a good night’s sleep seem next to impossible. The good news is there are a variety of plants that can purify the air while you sleep – in fact NASA did a whole study on it!
Tips To Have Better Sleep
1. To ensure a better quality of sleep is to fill your home with beautiful flowers and plants. Not only do they look great and bring vitality and life to your living spaces, but they can have fantastic relaxing and purifying benefits – which in turn can promote a healthy sleeping pattern.
2. With stress and anxiety causing half of all insomnia issues, it’s a good idea to fill your home and bedroom with a variety of plants that have a calming effect. After all, studies clearly show that spending time in nature reduces stress levels.
3. If you have pets or children, make sure the plants you have at home are non-toxic. Toxic plants should be given away or kept in unreachable places.
4. Wipe off dust from the leaves of your plants every week. This will ensure that they can properly filter air.
5. NASA recommends between 15-18 air purifying plants for a 1800 square feet home. Make sure to place a few in each bedroom.
The Air-Purifying Plants Next To Your Bed For Better Sleep
Jasmine Image: Pinterest
This exotic plant has a gentle, soothing effect on the body and mind. It has been shown in one study to reduce anxiety levels, leading to a greater quality of sleep.
Not only that, but this research suggests that the positive effects of such a high quality sleep lead you enjoy increased alertness and productivity during the day.
With such beautiful pink or ivory blossoms, there seem to be no downsides to adding a Jasmine bloom to your boudoir!
Lavender Image: PC Wall Art
The most well-known of all plants when it comes to inducing sleep and reducing anxiety levels. Research backs up these claims, with lavender scents shown to slow down heart rate, lower blood pressure and levels of stress.
In one study, the smell of lavender reduced crying in babies, sending them into a deeper sleep; while simultaneously reducing stress in both mother and child – something all new mothers will be happy to hear!
In women, lavender has been shown to increase light sleep, and decrease rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep and the amount of time to wake after first falling asleep, with opposite effects in men.
While there are a host of lavender scented products on the market to help you get a full night’s rest (from scented sleep masks to lavender mattresses) why not go for the most natural and cost effective option – a beautiful lavender plant placed on your nightstand.
3. Snake Plant (Mother-In-Law’s Tongue)
Snake Plant Image: kazimingi.co.za
The Snake Plant is a hardy and easy to care-for plant which is one of the most recommended plants for improving indoor air quality
What’s great about this plant is that it emits oxygen at night time whilst simultaneously taking in carbon dioxide – something we naturally produce when breathing. All this leads to a purer quality of air and a better night’s sleep.
The Snake Plant also filters some nasty but common household toxins (namely formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene) from the air.
4. ALOE VERA
Aloe vera Image: Old Farmer’s Almanac
Listed as one of NASA’s top air-improving plants, the fantastic Aloe works much like the Snake Plant – it emits oxygen at night, making for a more restful slumber. It’s also one of the easiest plants to grow and maintain – it tolerates ‘neglect’ well and so doesn’t require frequent watering.
Dubbed the ‘plant of immortality’ by the Egyptians, it reproduces easily so if you buy one you’ll soon have an Aloe plant for all the rooms in your house. You can even pass on the gift of happy sleep to your family and friends! Keep it on your bedroom window as it does need a lot of direct sunlight.
You can also use the gel from the Aloe Vera leaves as a topical treatment for minor cuts and burns, insect bites, dry skin and lots more! It’s simply a must-have plant in every home.
Gardenia Image: iGarden
With glossy evergreen leaves and beautifully scented blossoms, Gardenias are a popular plant choice for bedrooms. Studies indicate that keeping one in your room may help you achieve a better quality of sleep, with claims that it may be as effective as Valium in relieving anxiety and promoting sleep.
However, gardenias can be tricky to maintain as they require a lot of attention in order to keep their luscious leaves and delicate flowers. Indoor gardenias should be kept in a bright room, but not placed in direct sunlight. But if you suffer with insomnia or anxiety, investing a little time in one of these beautiful blooms could be a cheap and healthier solution to taking pills!
6. SPIDER PLANT
Spider Plant Image: Decoist
The Spider Plant is also a champion cleanser of air. The NASA tests showed it to remove around 90% of the potentially cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde from the air. Since formaldehyde is found in common household products like adhesives, grout and fillers, it’s a good idea to keep one of these plants around.
In addition to cleansing the air, it will also absorb odors and fumes as well as sustaining oxygen levels in the room, promoting better sleep.
Valerian Image: AliExpress.com
The Valerian is a perennial flowering plant with sweetly scented pink or white flowers that bloom in the summer.
While the blossoms were used as a perfume in the 16th century, the root has been used as a tea or tincture since ancient times, with Roman physician and philosopher Galen prescribing it for insomnia. Newer research has shown that Galen was right in his prescription of Valerian Root – simply inhaling its scent will help you fall asleep quickly, and will ensure you enjoy a better quality of slumber.
In addition to keeping one on your bedroom window (it needs full sun for 6 hours a day), why not add a few of the petals to your bathwater to help you drift off?
8. ENGLISH IVY
English Ivy Image: Lonny
Another one of NASA’s top plants for purifying the air, English Ivy is simple to grow and only needs moderate exposure to sunlight.
Studies have shown that this leaf can improve symptoms of allergies or asthma – which all sufferers know can seriously impact both the quantity and quality of sleep. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reported that, in a 2005 experiment, English Ivy removed 94% of airborne feces and 78% of airborne mold in just 12 hours! As mold can affect our breathing, it’s definitely a plant to have on hand for a great night’s sleep.
This evergreen vine looks great in an indoor hanging basket, or placed on a ledge where the leaves can trail down. It’s toxic to kids and pets though, so make sure to keep it out of reach!
9. PEACE LILY
Peace Lily Image: The Garden Helper
Not just pleasing to the eye, the Peace Lily is another of NASA’s superstar plants, helping to filter out harmful benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde toxins.
The moisture given off by these striking flowers can boost a room’s humidity by up to 5%. This suppresses airborne microbes which can lead to allergies, and also helps relieve those irritating dry noses and throats that keep you awake all night.
A nice shady position (out of the reach of pets and children) and weekly watering is all the Peace Lily needs – that’s not too much to ask in return for a great night’s sleep.
10. BAMBOO PALM
Bamboo Palm Image: Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery
Also known as a Reed Palm, this small plant is a fantastic air purifier. Ditch your chemical-laden air fresheners in favor of a few of these pretty palms and say goodbye to airborne smells and toxins.
Not only will you be able to enjoy your home’s pure, fresh air during the day, but you’ll enjoy a fantastic night’s sleep too.
Given its exotic origins, the Bamboo Palm will bring a tropical, warm feel to your bedroom. It’s fairly easy to care for – just keep the soil moist (but not wet) and place the plant in indirect sunlight.
11. GERBERA DAISY
Gerbera Daisy Image: Pinterest
These bright and cheerful flowers couldn’t help but put you in a good mood! With pink, orange, yellow and white, they should be a welcome addition to any room – and not just because they look good.
They also release oxygen at night, which helps you breathe easy while you snooze. If you suffer from apnea or allergies, then these daisies are definitely recommended.
A word of warning to the novice gardener – as they are prone to fungal diseases Gerbera Daisies need extra special attention, particularly in relation to watering and light levels.
12. GOLDEN POTHOS
Golden Pothos Image: Pinterest
Golden Pothos Image: lowes.com
With its marbled, heart-shaped leaves, the Golden Pothos is another exceptional air purifying plant according to NASA.
Those with a busy schedule will particularly welcome this ivy-like vine. Not only will you have a better quality of sleep but you need not worry too much about nurturing it – a couple of hours of morning sun and a little water once a week is all it requires.
It makes a great hanging plant too – which curbs its invasive nature and keeps its mildly toxic leaves out of the reach of pets and children.
13. CHINESE EVERGREEN
Chinese Evergreen Image: Pinterest
Low-maintenance plants that still give great benefits.
Chinese Evergreen is one of the more popular houseplants because it can withstand multiple environmental conditions (no water, no light, low levels of humidity) better than the majority of other house plants. They have long, pointy dark-green leaves with patterns of white, grey and cream throughout the leaves, which give it a distinctive look, and they usually grow anywhere from 2 to 3 feet.
Chinese Evergreen plants help you sleep because they’re effective at cleaning the air that’s riddle with air pollutants and toxins. These toxins can cause a number of diseases and harm your respiratory system, so it’s important to have clean air to prevent these illnesses and help you sleep at night.
Even though they can withstand harsh conditions, they prefer to sit in indirect sunlight and temperatures no lower than 60 degree F. They also prefer well-drained soil and moderate amounts of water, making sure to not drench it and cause root rot.
Sage Image: thesleepjudge.com
Sage has been used for hundreds of years, not only for the flavor that it brings, but also because of its medicinal properties. It leaves are coloured green with a hint of grey, and they’re commonly used in meals (especially towards Thanksgiving time), as well as in teas and essential oils. Sage is so popular and well-known, that even the Greeks and Romans used it for its medicinal properties, including in the treatment of ulcers.
Sage is said to help with the overall health of the body, and also helps to prevent cognitive diseases, inflammatory problems, skin conditions, digestive problems, and many more. Many people have also claimed that sage acts as a sedative, which will help you to fall asleep faster. However, it can be a little too relaxing if taken in conjunction with a sedative drug, so be careful in those circumstances.
It’s important to remember that when you’re growing Sage indoors, they require lots of light so place them next to a sunny window or you can use fluorescent lighting to help the process. Water the plant when necessary. If the top of the soil is still moist, let it dry out before watering it again.
15. ANGEL-LIKE GARDENIA
Angel-like Gardenia Image: thesleepjudge.com
Another plant that produces smooth leaves with white, elegant, glossy flowers that emit a specific fragrance; a perfect addition to any bedroom that needs a little bit more “oomph”. Gardenia plants are native to Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. They’re relatively compact plants, growing anywhere from 2 to 8 feet tall, and extracts of the Gardenia are commonly used in essential oils and tea.
Gardenia is particularly useful due to its antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also commonly used for its natural sedative-purposes, which will help you fall asleep faster. One study showed that one of the carotenoids found in Gardenia, called Crocetin, improved the sleep quality of 21 men that suffered from problems associated with sleep, with no additional side effects.
Growing Gardenia requires bright, indirect light and high humidity levels. The indicator that the humidity levels aren’t high enough is when the flowers begin to droop. To fix this, you can spray them with water regularly. Water them regularly to keep the soil moist, but making sure not to over water them.
16. ARECA PALM OR BUTTERFLY PALM
Areca Palm Image: Homebase
It is a tropical air cleaner. Areca Palm is one of the easier palm trees to grow indoors. It’s relatively tall, growing anywhere from 6 to 7 feet, so it’s definitely a plant that stands out of the crowd and draws attention. Areca Palm plants have yellow/greenish leaves and will add a tropical feel to your home; they look like a miniature version of the palm trees you may have seen on the side of the roads in Beverly Hills.
The Areca Palm is one of the most efficient plants at purifying the air. It has the ability to remove harmful toxins from the air, preventing any air-pollution related diseases while you sleep. They’re also known as one of the most effective natural air humidifiers.
This plant requires bright, indirect light – the more direct the light intensity is, the more yellow the leaves will be. They require regular watering in spring and summer so the soil is kept moist, but in winter and autumn you can allow it to dry between watering sessions.
17. FICUS BENJAMINA
Ficus Benjamina Image: thesleepjudge:com
If you’re not a fan of exotic palm trees that demand attention, or plants that produce daisy-like flowers, and you’re just looking for a normal tree with dark green leaves and a single trunk that helps improve air quality – Ficus Benjamina (also known as Weeping Fig tree) could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Ficus Benjamina is an air-pollutant combatant that excels specifically at fighting the toxins formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. One study conducted by the Department of Crop Science showed that the Ficus Benjamina extracts contained significant amounts of antioxidants and also showed antimicrobial activity, suggesting that it also holds antimicrobial agents.
To grow Ficus Benjamina indoors, it requires bright and indirect light as well as temperatures above 70 degrees F. They also prefer high humidity levels and moist soil, so water them regularly but being careful not to overwater them to avoid root rot. The leaves can begin to droop; this is an indicator that the Weeping Fig tree is stressed and it requires a bit more attention. This can happen for a number of reasons including low humidity levels, not enough light, and watering them too much or too little.
Calamus Image: Essential Oils
Different types of Calamus (also known as Sweet Flag) can be found in Japan, China, Europe, Australia, and the northern parts of USA. It’s commonly known for its medicinal properties, aiding in the treatment of Asthma, Colds, Headaches, Insomnia, and other sicknesses. It can be extracted into tea, as well as used as a bath additive or alcohol rub.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Calamus is used to combat illnesses such as dizziness, epilepsy, and abdominal pain. In folk medicine, it was used to calm the nerves of the patient, this is because of the effect sedative effect of the main component of Calamus Oil, called Cis-Isoasarone.
Calamus bloom towards summertime, grow anywhere from 3 to 6 feet, and prefers moderate to full sunlight. You’ll most likely find Calamus in Water Gardens as they prefer moist soil, so make sure that if you get a Calamus plant, you regularly water it.
19. HOP CONES
Hop Cones Image: Suregork Loves Beer
If there was a plant that improved the quality of your sleep whilst sprouting waffle clones, that’d be awesome too. Unfortunately, this plant doesn’t do that.
Hop Plants produces Hop Cones, and Hop Cones are commonly used to flavor beers alongside with fruits and spices. They can grow in any moderate climate as long as they’re cared for and properly looked after, and they’re most commonly found in USA, Asia, England, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany.
Many Hop Pickers have reported feeling slightly sedated during the picking of Hop Cones, which is why it can be effective for sleep-inducement; they’re most commonly used in combination with Valerian to combat insomnia. There’s a chemical in Hops that induces sleep called Methylbutenol, making it an effective addition to your bedroom. Multiple studies have shown the effectiveness that Hops has in conjunction with Valerian – the majority coming to the conclusion that Hops can be used as an effective sleeping agent.
Hops require lots of sunlight and water, so place them in an area that receives plenty of sun and when it gets extremely hot, it may require water on a daily basis. They also prefer well-drained, rich soil to grow to its fullest potential.
Chamomile Image: The Spruce
If you’ve come across Chamomile, it was most likely in one of your last cups of teas.
Chamomile are actually a group of daisy-like plants that have long stems that bloom white flowers with yellow centres, which make them a common addition to gardens and lawns due to its decorative and attractive appearance.
The two most common types of Chamomile are Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile; the main difference between the two is that Roman Chamomile are much smaller than German Chamomile which can grow up to 1-2 feet tall.
Chamomile is an ancient herbal remedy that isn’t anything new to the world – it was commonly used in Egypt, Greece and Rome for medicinal purposes.
The Chamomile has been used to induce sleep for a number of years. The main reason it helps with sleep is because of its ability to sedate the user, which is due to the flavonoids. One study showed the effect that chamomile tea has on patients with cardiac disease. They reported they ten of the twelve patients went into a deep sleep after drinking the tea.
If you’re growing Chamomile, it grows best in cool environments and under shade (with that being said, it still grows in direct sun) and in dry soil. Once it’s grown, it needs little watering and fertilizing.
Rosehip Image: Pinterest
This can be mistaken for cherry tomatoes, its color and size makes it look like you just want to throw them in a chicken salad with some iceberg lettuce.
Rosehips are the fruits that spawn from certain rose bushes, most notably the Wild Dog Rose. They contains the seeds of the rose plants, and they contain high amounts of Vitamin C (50% higher than oranges), making them excellent at improving the health of your immune system. This probably isn’t the first time you’ve seen rosehips – they’re most commonly used in tea, jams, sauces, and soups.
Rosehips also contain properties that are beneficial for the body other than having high amounts of Vitamin C – many people use it as a laxative because it is shown to relieve kidney disorders and constipation. It’s also contains antioxidants, specifically carotenoids, polyphenols, and flavonoids. These antioxidants have shown to help against preventing cancer and cardiovascular diseases, as well as the flavonoids aiding with sleep quality.
22. PASSION FLOWER
Passion Flower Image: The Complete Herbal Guide
Just like the Gerbera Daisies, if you’re wanting to add some bright color to your bedroom, the Passion Flower is for you. The Passion flower was discovered in 1569 by Spanish Jesuits that saw the flower as a symbol of Christ’s’ passion. The flower can come in number of colors including blue, purple, red, white, and yellow.
But this isn’t just a plant that’ll add some liveliness to your room, the Passion Flower is known for a common counter to sleep problems that are related to anxiety or nervousness, specifically Gastrointestinal Upset and Insomnia. One study showed the effectiveness of Passion Flower extract against Oxazepam (a drug that’s used to relieve anxiety). The results showed that the Passion Flower extract was as effective as Oxazepam in relieving anxiety with the advantage that it didn’t hinder job performance of the participants (something that Oxazepam users suffered from).
Passion flowers require full sunlight and well-drained soil – for this reason they’re usually grown outside along a fence. But since we’re using this plant to induce-sleep, you can just let the Passion flower sit next to a window with direct light.
23. BOSTON FERN
Boston Fern Image: Banggood
The Boston Fern produces droopy, green ferns that add style to the room due to its unkempt look as it drapes over a pot or basket. They’re relatively easy to maintain, and studies have shown that it’s a reliable air-pollution combatant, specifically against the toxin formaldehyde – this will help to improve the quality of the air as you sleep so that you aren’t prone to any sicknesses caused by air pollution.
Boston Fern aren’t as easy as the other plants; this one requires a bit more attention. This plant needs to be placed in a spot with indirect sunlight – if the fern is placed in direct sunlight, you run the risk of drying out the ferns. They also need to be placed somewhere with high humidity – to help with this, you can sit the pot on a tray of pebbles with water as well as lighting spraying the ferns with water. One way that the fern indicates it needs more humidity is if the ferns start turning a yellow colour.
As with the other plants, they do need regular watering, but not too much so that you avoid rotting the plant.
When Adding Plants to Your Home:
- Always check if they are toxic to children and animals to ensure they are suitable for your family.
- Remember to wipe the leaves every week or so to ensure the plants can effectively do their job – just look at it as the equivalent of changing the filter in your air purifier!
- Choose a good mix of those that purify the air and those that induce sleep through their scent for optimum results.
- NASA recommend between 15 and 18 air-purifying plants in an 1800 square foot home, with a few of these in each bedroom.