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Feeling tired? Maybe a little down or depressed? Perhaps the day's tasks seem too arduous to tackle.
It could be down to the type of sleep that you had last night. It can make a huge difference to how you function during the day. It is an ambition of a high proportion of the population to achieve quality sleep. But how do we do it?
Here, Phil Lawlor, a sleep expert from mattress specialists Dormeo, takes a look at why plants are the perfect natural aid for rest and recommends some of the most effective species.
If you are having trouble sleeping, you're not alone in these troubling times. There are a number of things that might be causing you problems and, because getting quality rest is vital for your health, it's important that any issues are resolved quickly.
While it's easy to turn to regular sleep aids, it's also worth looking at your bedroom environment to see if you can make any improvements.
One way of boosting your home for better sleep is by adding plenty of house plants. While it may not be the first idea that springs to mind, surrounding yourself with greenery can have some surprising benefits. Below, I'm going to explain some of these benefits, as well as recommend some plant species that are particularly suited to improving your rest.
Why are plants a natural sleeping aid?
There are two major ways that having plants in your home can aid sleep. Firstly, they are very good at removing pollutants from the air that can adversely affect the quality of your rest. A famous NASA study found that certain plants were effective at filtering impurities and outputting increased levels of oxygen. Considering that indoor air quality is linked to a variety of health conditions that affect sleep, including sleep apnoea (study) and asthma (Asthma UK), it's easy to see the health benefits.
In addition, having plants in and around your bedroom can be a boost to your mental health. One piece of research found that people more exposed to air pollution were more likely to suffer from mental health conditions, so having better air quality in the room where you spend at least a third of your day might help to make things easier. The mental health charity Mind also recommend spending time in green spaces to improve your mood, reduce stress, and to feel more relaxed.
Which plants are good for my sleep?
While many plants will improve the air in your bedroom, there are some species that are well-known for their fantastic ability to boost oxygen and remove impurities. Here are five species that will make excellent additions to your home.
The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) is a great oxygen booster and was identified by NASA as being able to filter out impurities like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and benzene. What's more, it is one of the easiest species to take care of, with only indirect light, some well-drained soil, and a spot that doesn't get too hot, as well as weekly watering, required for a spider plant to thrive.
Sticking with plants named after creatures, the rattlesnake plant (Calathea lancifolia) is also famous for its capability to output cleaner air. In addition, it has the fascinating ability of opening and closing its leaves from day to night. The rattlesnake plant does not like direct sunlight, so be sure to choose a semi-shaded spot. It requires some care when watering — make sure the soil is not dry, but water in moderation. It also benefits from humidity, so take care to spray the plant every now and again.
The rubber plant (Ficus elastica) is another species that was highlighted in that famous NASA study for its ability to boost oxygen levels and filter impurities. The species is a medium to high light plant, but should not be put in direct sunlight. Try to keep a balance with watering every one or two weeks, ensuring the soil is never dry but also never swamped.
Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is yet another plant that was tested by NASA and was found to be able to filter out carbon dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene, as well as elevate the oxygen level. It has beautiful, heart-shaped golden lime leaves that you will need to mist every now and again to replicate the humid jungle. It should also be kept out of direct sun and its soil needs to be kept from being dry, though the roots should never be left in standing water.
The snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata), also known as mother-in-law's tongue, is a fantastic house plant for boosting air quality. This is because it was identified as being able to filter carbon dioxide, benzene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene, on top of being able to increase oxygen levels. They're one of the toughest plants and only need water once the soil is dry — this can be every 2–8 weeks! They prefer medium light but will still grow in low or high light conditions.
Hopefully, this article has highlighted how house plants can help you to sleep and I hope you find these recommendations useful.
Fill your bedroom with plants and you'll be sure to benefit.