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How houseplants can help you get a better night's sleep

Phil Lawlor is a full-time Sleep Expert from memory foam mattress and bedding retailer Dormeo. In this article, he'll be telling us all about how plants can improve our sleep, along with which types of plant are best for the bedroom.

We all know we should be getting the recommended 7–9 hours of sleep a night but, all too often, life just gets in the way. Although there's no magic cure for insomnia, there are a number of things you can do to help yourself drift off, like creating a better environment for sleep by harnessing the power of plants. In this post, I'll explore the reasons why houseplants can be so beneficial for our sleep, and share four of the best types of plant for the bedroom.

How do plants aid sleep? What the science says 

 house plants for bedroom

If you already own a houseplant or two, then you'll be well aware of some of the benefits that they can have. For one thing, they're beautiful to look at, adding style and a pop of colourful greenery to your living area. They also have a positive effect on your mindset: having your own patch of nature can be very calming, and the act of caring for a plant can be a very soothing and satisfying experience, too.

But houseplants have another impressive benefit that you might not have known about. Research has shown that some plants are also very effective air purifiers, removing harmful toxins and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, and producing fresh oxygen. In fact, a famous study carried out by NASA in the 1980s found that certain plants were incredibly effective at filtering harmful compounds from the air, particularly nasties like benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. It’s thought that better air quality is conducive to getting a good's night rest so, by making the air in your bedroom cleaner and healthier using plants, you could just drift off more easily and sleep more soundly.

On top of all this, some plants also produce soothing fragrances, which can help us to relax and switch off after a stressful day. Some varieties — such as valerian, lavender, and chamomile — can even be brewed into a herbal infusion to help us drift off. 

The four best plants for the bedroom

House plants for bedroom

Almost all plants can help to clean and purify the air, but some plants are better at this than others. If you're keen to start enjoying the benefits of having houseplants in the bedroom, then any of the four types I've shared below will be a great place to start.

Snake plants
The NASA study found that snake plants are one of the best plants for air purification. They're night aspirators, which means they're most active at night and will filter toxins and produce fresh oxygen while you’re asleep. In addition to being great for the air quality in your bedroom, they're also striking looking plants with long, dark leaves that grow straight upwards, meaning they're a good choice for narrow spots. Snake plants prefer indirect light (so position yours away from any windows) and don't need to be watered very often: once a week should be plenty.

house plants for bedroom

Lavender

Lavender is one of the most soothing, relaxing scents around, and has been used as a sleep and relaxation aid for many years. And, while you can buy lots of pillow sprays and scented candles, there's really nothing better than the smell of a living lavender plant. So, placing a small pot of lavender in your bedroom is sure to help you get a better night's rest. This plant likes warmth and light, so a sunny windowsill is the best position for it.

Peace lilies

Another air purifying superstar from the NASA survey, peace lilies are very effective at filtering harmful toxins and pollutants from your bedroom. Plus, with their glossy leaves and white blooms, they'll add style and colour to your space, too. It's also thought that these plants can act as natural humidifiers, which can improve the air quality even further. Peace lilies prefer indirect sunlight, and don't like to be overwatered, so let the soil dry out a little between watering.

Golden pothos
Sometimes called "Devil's ivy", this attractive plant is another effective air purifier with long trails of marbled heart-shaped leaves. It grows best in a hanging pot, which means it's a great choice if you don't have much floor space to accommodate a plant. They're also easy plants to care for, preferring a little sunlight and watering once a week.
If you often struggle to drift off to sleep, why not add a few houseplants to your bedroom? Not only will this help to improve the air quality and provide a better sleeping environment, but they'll add a touch of greenery and style to your space, too.

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