Grow Greenery for Good Sleep
Houseplants are more than just decorative accents. These natural household helpers reduce carbon dioxide and dust levels, and they look great while doing it. Just pick one or two of the sleep-promoting candidates that follow, and see if a little bit of greenery by your bedside will give you a more restful night.
Jasmine makes an attractive accent plant, but it's more than just a pretty face. Studies show that the scent of jasmine actually improves the quality of your sleep and increases your chances of waking up with a better attitude and less anxiety.
The peace lily is beloved for its graceful beauty and easy care requirements, but it's a smart bedroom pick for its ability to reduce the microbe count in your home’s air, which in turn can relieve allergy symptoms. And don't you think that a little respite from wheezing, sniffling, and a dry, itchy throat will make for a better night’s sleep?
Related: Allergy-Proof Your Home in 7 Steps
Aloe vera has long been known for its ability to heal burns and rashes, but it has one other secret health property: It promotes better air quality. Aloe vera emits oxygen at night instead of during the day, giving the air around it a boost that could benefit your sleep. Plus, it's tolerant of neglect, making it a good choice for newbie houseplant owners.
Inhaling the sweet scent of valerian flowers, according to one study, may help you fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. If you want to keep a valerian plant in your bedroom, be sure it will get at least six hours of sunlight a day—it needs full sun to stay healthy.
More commonly seen creeping up the facades of old brick buildings than resting on bedside tables, English ivy may seem like a strange choice for indoor gardeners, but there's good reason to keep this ground cover in your bedroom. Ivy can drastically reduce the airborne mold in a room in just hours, which is great news for allergy sufferers in search of better sleep. If you need another reason, English ivy is a forgiving plant that requires only moderate exposure to sunlight.
Gerbera daisies bring cheerful color during the day, and at night they emit oxygen and absorb toxins and carbon dioxide from the air. These flowers have long been recommended for people who suffer from sleep apnea and allergies. Although gerbera daisies require more maintenance than other sleep-promoting plants, the benefits they provide could make the extra care well worth it.
Rosemary has a strong, heady aroma that is known to reduce anxiety and stress, a quality that could make the hours you spend sleeping more peaceful and satisfying. Keep one in your bedroom, and it won’t be too inconvenient for you to snip a sprig or two for a recipe when you're cooking dinner.
Whether you call it mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata), neither one sounds like something you want in your bedroom as you drift off to sleep. However, its air-cleaning properties may make you reconsider whether you want it next to your bed. According to NASA’s 1989 Clean Air study, mother-in-law’s tongue can help remove formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air. What’s more, its tall, upward-growing leaves make for attractive decor, and short of overwatering it, it’s pretty hard to kill.
Like mother-in-law’s tongue, spider plant ( Chlorophytum comosum ) is hardy and easy to maintain. It, too, improves indoor air quality by removing formaldehyde, cigarette smoke, ammonia, and benzene, among other pollutants from the air we breathe. A 2014 study found that spider plants also accumulate particulate matter, further cleaning the air we breathe. It’s safe in households with pets and can live in either bright light or less sunny indoor spots. The spider plant gets its name for the “spiderette” offshoots that hang from the main plant. Occasional pruning will keep the spider plant from becoming too unwieldy.
Low-maintenance bamboo palms (Chamaedorea seifrizii) thrive outdoors in USDA zones 10 and 11. Indoors, they grow from 4 to 8 feet when mature and will bring a tropical vibe to your bedroom. This plant is a great choice for a sleeping space because it filters toxins such as xylene, chloroform, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde out of the air. Since it prefers indirect light to full sun, there’s no need to ditch your blackout curtains, either. According to the ASPCA, bamboo palms are nontoxic to dogs and cats.
Gardenias, or Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides), need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day, so keep the curtains open and park this potted flower near a sunny bedroom window. One study found that this flower’s intoxicating smell had the same anxiety-reducing effects as some barbiturates. This might be a good bedroom addition for those who have trouble sleeping or to help boost your mood.
Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) is a large potted palm that’s native to Madagascar and thus likes to be kept moist and humid indoors. Multiple cane-like stems grow from its base, topped by narrow, feathery fronds. As a houseplant, the areca palm reaches a maximum height of about 10 feet and won’t flower. What it will do for you is produce oxygen and absorb the pollutants toluene, xylene, and formaldehyde from the air you breathe.
Thanks to the way its leaves cascade over its growing container, golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), also known as devil’s ivy, is a good choice for those who want to hang plants in the bedroom. Pothos can help remove pollutants such as benzene, toluene, and formaldehyde from the air, according to NASA’s study, and it increases air humidity—great for sleeping spaces with dry air.
Suitable for low-light conditions—and for those without a green thumb—Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) is a terrific addition to a novice plant grower’s bedroom. It removes benzene and formaldehyde from the air, and it grows slowly so it’s usually small enough to keep on your nightstand. This plant is toxic to pets, so best steer clear and choose different bedroom plants if your animals sleep with you.
Related: 12 Easy Herbs to Grow on Your Windowsill
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