Health & Fitness

Should You Keep Air-Purifying Houseplants in the Bedroom?

January 20, 2022
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If trees are considered the Earth’s lungs, can houseplants act the same at home on a smaller scale?

Many green advocates recommend keeping indoor plants as natural air-purification systems. In turn, the plants supposedly improve your health and even sleep. But you may wonder: do houseplants really clean the air you breathe? Will they work in the bedroom where most of us now live, eat, and rest?

Thankfully, they do, and you don’t need a green thumb to keep them at home. With a little care and attention, you can have air-purifying plants that boost mood, reduce stress, improve air quality, and encourage restful sleep. By the end, check out our list of plants that will be perfect for your bedroom!

Bedroom plants give 4 key health benefits

1. They boost mood.

Indoor plants, even a low-maintenance plant such as a succulent, have long been known to improve overall health. Notably, they lead to positive effects on your temperament or mood.

Based on a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, interaction with plants like potting, touching the green leaves, and smelling their scents made participants feel calmer and more relaxed afterwards compared to their state after completing a computer task. Blood pressure data also showed that levels were lower after plant interaction. This brings us to the following key benefit.

2. They lower stress levels.

Since plants lead you to a more soothed state, plants have also been known to reduce stress and anxiety. In a study published in HortTechnology, researchers introduced plants in workplace environments, which often stress hubs. Participants then intently gazed at the plants as a break from work or actively took care of the plants.

Having a plant or two in your bedroom will make you experience less stress and anxiety, especially when you take care of the plants. The intentional gazing saw a slight reduction in stress and anxiety, but active care led to a 37% reduction. Wellness counsellor Joey Doherty also explained that the soil of houseplants has microbes that act as natural antidepressants.

3. They clean air and remove pollutants.

Contrary to popular belief, plants don’t produce carbon monoxide. Instead, plants filter indoor air through green leaves and trap harmful toxins. These harmful chemicals in the air may include benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, and trichloroethylene. In addition, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen and water vapour.

As a result, you may enjoy clean air and comfortable humidity levels from some simple bedroom greenery. The cleaner air may also minimise your chances for allergic reactions, colds, and headaches.

4. They help with a good night’s sleep.

With all the health benefits that houseplants bring, these indirectly help you sleep better. Sleep quality improves drastically along with the quality of life. The healthier you and your lifestyle are, the better you sleep.

However, some plants help you fall asleep quickly yet lack air-purifying capabilities. If you keep both sleep-inducing and air-cleaning plants, this shortage won’t be an issue. You’ll enjoy benefits from both kinds.

How to keep and nurture houseplants in the bedroom

Learn and meet their needs

Now that you know how beneficial plants can be to your health and sleep, how exactly do you care for them? You don’t have to be a gardener to care for a houseplant. All you need is a little research on your chosen plants and find out what they like.

It all depends on your type of plant. In general, even low-maintenance plants need sunlight, water, and good soil. However, some plants prefer indirect sunlight compared to direct sunlight. Others prefer low light conditions. In the meantime, some will want their soil moist with water all the time, while others will like a little water only.

Place them close to the bed

This tip isn’t quite needed to take care of houseplants but to enjoy them to the fullest, you can place them on a bedside table. You can also keep them in hanging baskets near your bed. They will breathe in carbon dioxide and release oxygen effectively by being near you. If you keep sleep-inducing plants, their scents will also lead you into deep sleep faster. With all this, what are some of the best bedroom plants to have?

Top 3 air-purifying plants for the bedroom

English Ivy

This fast-climbing plant comes from Europe and Western Asia. Research released at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Anaheim, California, USA, found that English Ivy removed as much as 94 per cent of faecal matter and as much as 78.5 per cent of mould particles from the air after 12 hours, making it an effective air-purifying plant.

English ivy is relatively low maintenance, but it can grow fast, so propagate it or trim it after some time. It likes its soil moist and indirect light only. Watch out if you have pets or children since the leaves are poisonous.

Snake Plant

The snake plant has as many as 70 species, but you’ll commonly encounter the mother-in-law’s tongue species. Please take note that it’s also poisonous for humans and animals. It’s known to remove harmful toxins from the air and release oxygen at night. It’s a very tolerant plant, so it only needs low light conditions, making it a great indoor plant. It also lives on little water. Be careful not to overwater it since it may cause root decay.

Aloe Vera

Famous for its skincare and medicinal properties, the aloe vera plant also purifies the air. However, compared to the previous two plants, aloe vera likes a lot of sunlight. It also needs generous amounts of water every two weeks. It is toxic to animals, so take care of any pets.

Top 3 fragrant plants to induce sleep

Lavender

Lavender not only smells good, but the lavender plant effectively induces sleep too. Based on numerous studies, lavender helps you relax and eventually sleep through aromatherapy. It may be pretty demanding to nurture, however. It will need lots of sun, lots of water, and well-draining soil. It is also poisonous to pets.

Gardenia

The white flowers of gardenias are native to China and Japan. German research found that gardenias significantly affect the neurotransmitter GABA. The latter is responsible for excitement in the brain, but chemicals in gardenias help you fall asleep. In fact, gardenias may act as strongly as some chemical sedatives.

Gardenias thrive under four hours of bright but indirect light at most. It also likes high humidity levels, so spray water occasionally, especially if you live in a low humidity area.

Jasmine

Commonly used for teas and essential oils, jasmine acts as a sleep-inducer, too, sometimes far more effectively than lavender! This discovery came from a Wheeling Jesuit University study in 2002 that had participants smell jasmine. They reported less anxiety, deeper sleep, and even better performance in cognitive tests.

However, not all jasmine plants are created equal. Only a few plants are fragrant, and they need a maximum of four hours of direct sunlight during spring and summer. During winter, indirect sunlight is preferred. It also thrives in porous soil that needs to remain moist.

Comparison table of the best bedroom houseplants

 Sleep-Inducing ScentAir PurifierNeeds Direct SunlightDanger to PetsDanger to People
English IvyNoYesNoYesYes
Snake PlantNoYesNoYesYes
Aloe VeraNoYesYesYesNo
LavenderYesNoYesYesNo
GardeniaYesNoNoNoNo
JasmineYesNoSpring and Summer onlyNoNo

Enjoy better health at home with air-cleaning houseplants

Just as how forests act as the air-purifiers of the world, houseplants can also be organic air purifiers for your room. You can then enjoy all the health and sleep benefits they bring so long as you meet the plants’ needs and keep them healthy in return. Pick any one or a combination of the recommended plants above, and you can be on your way to clean air in the bedroom.


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