A good night’s sleep—not only is it something we need, it’s something we crave. If you often find yourself awake, tossing and turning at night despite yearning for sleep, you’re not alone: according to the National Sleep Association, between 50 and 70 million US adults suffer from a sleep disorder. In fact, lack of sleep is such a prevalent issue that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently called insufficient sleep a “public health problem.”
Several factors can keep us from getting the rest we need, including insomnia, anxiety, stress and poor air quality. Luckily, there are many natural remedies that can help facilitate the rest we need. Simply introducing certain plant species into your bedroom can help reduce stress, boost your mood, and promote a more restful sleep. Below we’ve compiled a list of the 15 best bedroom plants to help you get a good night’s rest. Since what works best is different for each person, we’ve listed them without a specific order.
Several studies have found that jasmine’s sweet aroma has sleep-inducing and sleep-enhancing properties, making it one of the best plants for the bedroom.
According to one study conducted by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush West Virginia’s Wheeling Jesuit University, inhaling jasmine’s scent before going to sleep can lead to greater “sleep efficiency,” with the subject getting more restful sleep characterized by reduced sleep movement. Subjects who smelled jasmine before they went to bed woke up feeling more refreshed and had more energy and improved mental performance the next day.
A popular flower known for its fragrant blooms and small, star-shaped flowers, Jasminum polyanthum, or “Winter Jasmine,” is the species typically grown indoors. During the summer and spring, jasmine should receive direct sunlight; around winter, sunlight can be indirect. The soil should be porous and remain moist year-round, but not soggy. For restless sleepers who lack a green thumb, jasmine’s popular scent is often used in essential oils.
Another great bedroom plant is lavender, which was was named one of the best scents for sleep and relaxation by the National Sleep Foundation for its ability to decrease the heart rate and blood pressure, relax the mind and improve sleep quality.
Other studies have found that the addition of the lavender fragrance to your bedtime routine can also increase energy in addition to improving overall sleep quality. A Wesleyan University study found that participants who smelled lavender before going to bed saw an increase deep or slow-wave sleep (SWS); subjects also reported high energy the morning after lavender exposure. Another study conducted at the University of Maryland had similar results: it found that putting a lavender plant in the bedroom facilitates better sleep, boosts mood and reduces anxiety.
The lavender plant, characterized by long stems with no leaves and purple buds, is a sophisticated addition to any bedside. To grow lavender in your bedroom, place it on a windowsill in direct sunlight and lean, dry soil. Or take advantage of lavender’s sleep-inducing properties by spraying pillows with lavender essential oils.
Part of NASA’s Clean Air Study, the snake plant is well-known for its ability to remove common chemicals and toxins from the air.
Conducted by NASA in association with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, the Clean Air Study examined the ability of several common indoor plants to remove toxic chemicals from the air. The snake plant was found to naturally filter out the toxins benzene, formaldehyde, trichlorethylene and xylene. In addition to purifying the air, the snake plant converts carbon dioxide to oxygen at night, instead of during the day, increasing the amount of oxygen in the air during sleep hours.
Also known as sansevieria trifasciata and the “mother-in-law’s tongue,” the snake plant is a resilient indoor plant that grows upright with thick, stiff leaves. It’s an ideal bedroom plant because it is is tolerant of all levels of light and irregular watering, meaning it can grow almost anywhere.
Another air-improving bedroom plant, aloe vera is effective at removing benzene and formaldehyde from the air.
In addition to its air-purifying abilities, aloe vera has several medicinal purposes, and is commonly used to sooth pain from burns. A small succulent with thick, serrated leaves that grow outward from the center, aloe vera can survive in indirect sunlight or artificial light and is easy to care for as long as it is not over- or under-watered.
Another plant that helps you sleep is the gardenia. Several studies have demonstrated the gardenia’s ability to soothe and promote sleep; in fact, its fragrance is so effective research has found it may be effective in treating those with sleep disorders.
According to a study conducted by researchers at Heinrich-Heine Universität and the Ruhr-Universität in Germany, two fragrances emitted by the flower have the same ability to soothe, relieve anxiety and promote sleep as popularly prescribed barbiturates and propofol. Additional research published in Phytomedicine found that one of the pigments in the flower, crocetin, improved the sleep quality of two dozen men who suffered for sleep-associated problems.
A sophisticated flower with white, glossy blooms that spiral inward, the gardenia makes a lovely addition to any bedside table. Gardenias are sensitive and require specific conditions to thrive, including bright, indirect sunlight; a cool environment; humidity; and regular watering. Gardenia essential oils and tea are also effective sleep aids in place of a blooming plant.
The spider plant is another one of NASA’s air-improving plants, capable of removing headache-inducing chemical xylene from the air.
Additionally, the spider plant was the most effective indoor plant in the Clean Air Study at removing formaldehyde; tests showed it to remove approximately 90% of the harmful chemical from the air.
A resilient plant with ribbon-like leaves that can reach up to three feet, the spider plant is also easy to care for. It requires bright, indirect sunlight and consistently moist soil. Hanging in the bedroom near a window that receives indirect light is ideal.
The valerian is another ideal plant for the bedroom due to its ability to relax and promote restful sleep.
The root of the valerian flower is often used as a natural sleep aid in tea, so it’s no surprise that keeping one close to your beside can help enhance sleep quality. According to research published in Current Neuropharmacology, the valerian has over 150 chemical constituents that help relax the central nervous system. Because of these properties, valerian extract has been found to have positive effects when treating patients with insomnia.
A flowering plant with compact blooms, indoor valerian plants require approximately six hours of sunlight a day and need water regularly to maintain a moist, but not soggy, soil consistency. Once the valerian has bloomed, you can dry it for further use (in teas and food).
Another popular bedroom plant effective at filtering out airborne toxins is the English ivy.
According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, English ivy is effective in removing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and ammonia. from the air. Additionally, research presented at an annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that English ivy is proficient in removing mold from the air; in the study, the plant removed 94% of airborne faeces and 78% of airborne mold in 12 hours.
A leafy houseplant that grows like vines, English ivy grows best under medium to bright filtered light and needs water regularly.
The peace lily is another NASA-certified air-cleansing plant. In the Clean Air Study, it was shown to remove benzene from the air, as well as breakdown formaldehyde and carbon monoxide through the pores on its leaves.
An elegant plant with waxy white flowers and dark green leaves, the peace lily is a beautiful species perfect for adding a touch of style to the bedroom. Unlike the fickle gardenia, the peace lily both beautiful and resilient. It can thrive in low light conditions and only needs water when it begins to droop, about once a week.
Like the peace lily, the golden pothos improves the quality of the air by removing harmful toxins, specifically benzene, formaldehyde and xylene, making it easier for you to sleep at night.
The golden pothos, easily recognizable by its bright green and yellow leaves, is a common, easily maintainable houseplant. The golden pothos is an ideal plant plant for the bedroom because it can thrive in low, indirect or filtered light, and only needs water when the soil is dry.
The passion flower is one of the best bedroom plants for restless sleepers who suffer from anxiety or depression; research has shown it has calming effects similar to those in anti-anxiety medications.
In addition to giving your home an exotic feel, the passion flower is often used to reduce to reduce insomnia and anxiety by increasing the levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. In fact, one study found that Passiflora incarnata extract may be as effective has relieving anxiety as the prescription drug Oxazepam.
A distinct, tropical-looking species, the passion flower requires full sunlight and well-drained soil to thrive; it is best placed near a window that receives direct sunlight.
A well-known plant that helps sleep, chamomile is an ancient herb commonly used to treat insomnia.
According to a study published in Molecular Medicine Reports, chamomile is often used as a mild tranquilizer and sleep-inducer, and is effective in treating insomnia and inducing sedation.
In addition to its calming effects and ability to reduce anxiety, a University of Pennsylvania study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that chamomile also can provide antidepressant activities in subjects who are anxious or depressed.
Chamomile, with its long green stems and white blooms, is similar in appearance to daisies. it grows best in cool environments that receive approximately four hours of sunlight a day, and requires little watering. Traditional preparations such as chamomile tea are also effective in inducing sleep.
Yet another plant in NASA’s Clean Air Study, the bamboo palm rids the air of several harmful chemicals, including benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.
A striking plant with stalks that can grow between four and 12 feet and leaves that span up to five feet, the bamboo palm is a perfect addition to a sparse bedroom. Bamboo palms are easy to maintain: they can grow in low lit areas (although they thrive in indirect or bright light) and only need water when the soil feels dry.
Like the snake plant and the aloe vera plant, Gerbera daisies produce oxygen at night, giving off a higher oxygen level during sleeping hours. They also help removing formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene from the air.
A beautiful addition to any windowsill, Gerbera daisies are single or double-petal flowers that bloom in a variety of colors including yellow, orange, pink, white and red. Gerbera daisies can be temperamental to care for. They require full, direct sunlight but cool temperatures, and need water regularly.
The Chinese evergreen is effective at removing toxins, specifically benzene and formaldehyde, from the air.
The Chinese Evergreen has dark green, pointed leaves with patterns of white, cream or red, and can thrive in minimal light, making it a perfect addition to the bedroom. Chinese evergreens thrive in indirect sunlight and consistently moist soil.
General research, plant care, sleep help:
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