Breathing in and breathing out – the very core of life itself. The air we breathe indoors can have a significant impact on a lot of different aspects of our health, but most importantly, it can affect our beauty sleep. Just think about it for a second. All the cars, factories and a dozen other things all generating polluted air that gets in through your window. We should even consider man himself as a source of indoor air pollution, mainly when he dwells in a closed off, poorly ventilated area.
Well, now that we’ve got you all concerned about maintaining your sleeping hygiene, it’s prime time to ask us what you can do to help purify the air in your bedroom naturally. It’s simple, actually. Instead of putting your phone on the nightstand, put a houseplant on it! Certain houseplants not only help you maintain fresh air in your environment, but they go a long way in calming you down, thus helping you fall asleep faster. The list we’ve prepared for you below will go over the top 10 houseplants that induce sleep and act as “natural” sleeping aids. Reading this will give you into why and how can certain houseplants help you in your quest towards better sleep.
Without further ado, let’s give it a whirl.
How did we figure this out?
Among the first studies to embark on an expedition to discover what houseplants can do for our environment and overall health was the NASA study done in 1989. They thought of it like this – if a man’s bare existence on this planet depends upon an intertwined connection with nature and the ecological system, then problems will occur when a man starts living the “civilized” life and isolate himself in solitaries and buildings. They sought out a solution, and that came with the bright idea to test houseplants as a possible way of improving indoor air quality and remove traces of organic pollutants from the air. The study went great, and they concluded that houseplants are one of the most promising means of alleviating in-door pollution, be it cigarette smoke or any other airborne pathogen. NASA well reminds us of our dependence on plants for our continued prosperity and well-being on our planet.
Following in their footsteps to uncover more benefits houseplants have on our health, the Journal of Physiological Anthropology wrote an article on the never-breaking link between indoor houseplants and mental health. Since the technological revolution allows us to connect and remain connected with each other through a computer environment, we tend to forget that being in interaction with nature is the key to overall holistic health. Moreover, our 24-hour access to technology causes a great deal of psychological stress, causing fatigue, anxiety, and faulty sleeping patterns. Since the interaction with plants helps relieve the psychological symptoms of hectic lives we lead today, they will also help you get better and calmer sleep.
If we add a study that set out to prove that houseplants can improve the rehabilitation process in patients recovering from surgery, we are confident you won’t have any doubts of introducing plants to your bedroom that not only calm you down, but induce sleep as well. The study found that patients that had the pleasure of interacting with a houseplant or two reported a range of benefits – from less pain and anxiety to positive feelings and better sleep.
Now that we’ve sorted out that houseplants not only aid in repelling indoor pollution but induce sleep too, we believe it’s time to list out the top 10 plants that just might help you get rid of any sleeping issues and the stress bad sleep comes with.
Top 10 Plant that Induce Sleep
We know – the feeling that you get from a restless night is quite aggravating. You try so hard to fall asleep. You twist, and you turn in your bed, and just as you finally reach a dream-like state, you wake up again. If that happens all too often, we suggest you try putting a lavender plant on your nightstand. Appreciated for its pleasant scent and calming effects, lavender is a kind of houseplant that can induce sleep and help you towards insomnia-ridden, good ol’ beauty sleep.
In fact, a 2013 study in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine explored the idea that lavender aromatherapy can significantly impact the quality of your sleep for the better. What they found is that lavender has a number of therapeutic properties, from helping you to relax to treating infections, burns, insect bites, and much more. To top that off, growing evidence suggests that lavender oil may be an efficient cure when it comes to mental health, and even treat several neurological disorders. Finally, we come to the million-dollar conclusion – lavender not only induces sleep and helps fight off restless nights and insomnia, but it will do a thing or two to stabilize your mood as well.
While true scientific evidence that valerian helps you sleep still eludes us, this plant boasts a long history of usage for its sleep-promoting effects. Going back thousands of years to Galen’s practice in Ancient Greece tells us he personally prescribed valerian to treat insomnia. It doesn’t stop there. Valerian has been part of our culture as a plant that promotes quality sleep. Actually, it is being used as part of all sorts of different dietary supplements and herbal remedies you can find on the market today.
While it seems valerian is popular with the people as a plant that promotes quality sleep, a study in Sleep Medicine Reviews’ journey states that valerian is safe to use, but not nearly as effective as we thought it to be. On the other hand, the study in Chemical Senses’ journal wanted to determine would the plant have a beneficial effect in inducing sleep if used as an odorant and inhalant. While the study doesn’t say if the plant helped people fall asleep quicker, it says a thing or two about helping people sleep better.
While we are unable to take sides at this moment and tell you who’s right and who’s not, we’ll tell you this much – It certainly won’t hurt your sleep one bit to have valerian on your nightstand.
According to a study in the journal Molecular Medicine Reports, chamomile has amazing medicinal properties. The plants’ dried flowers are rich in terpenoids and flavonoids, which give it its medicinal properties. The herb is used to treat various ailments, such as insomnia.
Chamomile has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries. Since the most popular use of chamomile is stress and anxiety management, the very soothing nature of this plant can help increase the levels of serotonin and melatonin in your body. And we all know what happens when we have a high melatonin count, don’t we? Right you are! When it’s given as an aqueous extract, it goes a long way in inducing sleep, thus treating insomnia and irregular sleeping patterns. It will help you sleep no matter the form of it, actually. Prepare it as a tea, use it as aromatherapy – you will experience the calm chamomile comes with.
- Aloe Vera
If Ancient Egyptians claim Aloe Vera to be ‘the plant of immortality’, we wholeheartedly believe them. Known for its multiple medicinal properties, this plant is well, just ancient. It’s been around for thousands of years helping us overcome our maladies.
The interesting thing about Aloe Vera is that it doesn’t directly do anything to help induce sleep. What it does do is purify the air around you, and it does that extraordinarily well. This plant will act as your bodyguard against the harmful toxins that float around you, thus improving the quality of the air while you sleep.
To back this up with some science, we’ve consulted an article that explored how aloe vera impacts the sleep of rats. The article showed that this plant has some sedative and hypnotic effects in rodents. More importantly, the article contains a reference to another research where topical moisturizer made from this amazing plant was used to treat patients with skin conditions. Interestingly enough, all the people in the study said their sleep improved by 100 percent.
Who knew we could fight insomnia with fresher air?
- Chinese Evergreens
Since Chinese Evergreens are popular amongst houseplants, we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s already sitting in your living room’s corner. But, did you ever think about moving it into your bedroom if restlessness and insomnia ever creep in on you?
Studies show that Chinese Evergreens do great in purifying the air in your environment. As we discussed it earlier in this post, the better the quality of the air we breathe in our bedroom, the better we can sleep. Following this line of logic, Chinese Evergreens are another type of houseplants that help induce sleep.
- English Ivy
Not only does English Ivy climb mountains to purify the air of toxins, but it will also go the distance to reduce mold spores in the air. While people with allergies will undoubtedly want this plant in their home, people looking to improve their irregular sleeping patterns and insomnia will also see a lot of benefits from it. Since it can be conveniently placed in smaller areas out of reach, English ivy makes for an ideal bedroom companion.
- Peace Lily
Rated as one of the best houseplants for purifying the air by NASA, Peace lilies detoxify the air of pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene. It’s actually been found that this plant can improve air quality by as much as 60 percent.
To top it all off, Peace lilies will bloom even if they don’t get enough light, making them an excellent choice for bedrooms with smaller windows.
- Snake Plant
Being another plant that’s used to purify the air and improve indoor air quality, the Snake plant is a sturdy, easy to care for plant. The way it works when it comes to helping people sleep is that it releases oxygen at night time while simultaneously absorbing carbon dioxide. Last, but not least it filters air pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air. All of this helps you breathe easily, therefore adding it in your bedroom will go a long way in establishing regular sleeping patterns and better sleep.
- Golden Pothos
NASA’s study on how to tackle indoor pollution that decreases the air quality in your house, clearly states Golden Pothos as one of the houseplants your sleep can benefit from. Not only does it purify the air, it looks amazing and is easy to care for. You only need to water it weekly and give a few hours of sunlight a day. With its ability to produce oxygen at night, it can help you breathe better, thus sleep soundly and with a smile on your face.
- California poppy
California poppy has been traditionally used as an analgesic, sedative and sleeping aid for a while now. The study in European Medicines Agency’s journal backs the tradition up and indicates that this plant can be used in the management of chronic pain and as a hypnotic-mild-sedative for the management of pain-related insomnia. With its various therapeutic properties, we deem this plant as one of the best plants to have on your nightstand.
Well, this concludes it. These are the best plants to aid you in your quest towards better sleep. Whether you choose just one or all then to have in your bedroom, we are positive on the fact that they will have a beneficial effect on your nighttime journey to dreamland.
Tanya is a professional writer and editor with a B.A. in English from the University of Chicago. Tanya has been fighting insomnia for most of her adult life, and she knows firsthand how vital a good night’s rest can be for people with sleep problems.