10 Plants that Help You Sleep Better

Everyone is aware of the significant negative effects that result from a lack of sleep. Poor sleep may often lead to health problems, lack of energy and lower productivity. There are a number of natural remedies for insomnia and also ways to improve the quality of your sleep. One little known suggestion is to use plants that help you sleep better.

There are two well-documented reasons that plants will help you sleep. First, they can help you physically by cleaning the air and increasing the oxygen. Secondly, plants can lower your stress and improve your mood which also helps you sleep better.

Plants Can Purify the Air You Breath

There have been scientific studies that prove the indoor air purifying abilities of many plants. Some of these plants also have the ability to increase oxygen especially at night when you spend the most time in the bedroom. It is logical to surmise that if you are breathing cleaner and more oxygenated air this will improve your sleep. What are the plants that help improve sleep? Following are 10 of the best plants to improve sleep. Notice that two of these plants are succulents!

Plants that Help You Sleep Better

Lavender (lavandula angustifolia)

For decades Lavender aromas have been used for relaxation and sleep improvement. It consistently displays the ability to reduce anxiety levels. It often does this by lowering blood pressure and slowing down the heart rate. [1] Lavender has been shown to reduce the time it takes subjects to fall asleep. [2] Another report concluded that Lavender helped reduce the crying of babies and helped improve their deep sleep. [3]

Lavender is typically grown outdoors because it is challenging to maintain as a houseplant. The key is to make sure it has full sun and water it only when the soil is fully dry. The English Lavender, lavandula angustifolia, variety has the strongest fragrance so possibly the best health benefits. However, the French Lavender, lavandula dentate, has a somewhat less potent aroma but it does well as an indoor plant.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera (a succulent) is one of the best plants to purify air and it also does something else that helps your sleep. While taking in carbon dioxide it simultaneously emits significant amounts of oxygen during the night while you are sleeping. Many studies prove that increased oxygen provides a better more restful slumber. [4]

Aloe vera is extremely easy to care for but it will need to be placed where it gets some sunlight every day.

Snake Plant (sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake Plants are also sometimes called Viper’s Bowstring Hemp and Mother-in-Law’s Tongue.

Just like the Aloe vera, the Snake Plant (a succulent) produces extra oxygen at nighttime leading to improved sleep. It is one of the best plants for oxygen.  Snake plants are also beneficial since they help clean the indoor air of trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and benzene. The natural process just described contributes to purer quality air.

Snake Plants are also known for being very easy to maintain.

Jasmine (jasminum polyanthum)

How does Jasmine help you sleep better? Jasmine helps you get a deeper and more restful sleep by helping lower feelings of anxiety. [5] Some people report that Jasmine has a gentle soothing effect on both the mind and the body. Another interesting feature of Jasmine is that its sweet aroma is strongest at night when you want it the most.

Research also points to Jasmine helping improve alertness and thus increasing productivity during the daytime.

Many describe Jasmine as having a refreshing delicate aroma. Others, however, feel it can be overpowering. You may want to try it out in another room before you put it in your bedroom since it could actually disrupt your sleep if it seems too strong.

Your Jasmine houseplant should receive about 4 hours of direct sunlight from spring through fall.

Valerian (valeriana officinalis)

Valerian is also sometimes called Garden Valerian, Setwall, All-Heal and Garden Heliotrope.

Inhaling the scent of valerian has been shown to help you fall asleep quicker and it will also improve the quality of sleep. [6]

In the 2nd century, a physician named Galen pioneered the beginning of careful scientific medical research. Interestingly he prescribed a tea or tincture of valerian root for insomnia.

Valerian will need full sunlight for about six hours each day.

Gardenia (jasminoides)

Gardenias are one of the plants that help you sleep better.

Gardenia houseplants will help improve your sleep.

Gardenia plants have conclusively proven effective in treating insomnia and aiding those who sleep poorly. [7] Another study came to the startling conclusion that aroma from Gardenia jasminoides was just as efficient as Valium for relieving anxiety as well as promoting better sleep. The results were so impressive that Professor Hatt stated, “Applications in sedation, anxiety, excitement and aggression relieving treatment and sleep induction therapy are all imaginable. The results can also be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy.” [8]

We should caution you that healthy Gardenias are a challenge to maintain. They need constant indirect sunlight and regular attention. They do best with high humidity. Some people like them so much they just plan on getting a new plant every few months rather than attempting to keep them alive indefinitely.

Golden Pothos (epipremnum aureum)

Golden Pothos are also sometimes called Hunter’s Robe, Taro Vine, Ivy Arum, Silver Vine, Money Plant, Devil’s Vine (because it is difficult to kill) and Solomon Islands Ivy.

The Golden Pothos is an excellent example of a plant that can help improve sleep by cleaning the toxins from the indoor air. In just 24 hours it has been shown to remove up to 9000 micrograms of the formaldehyde in a room. In that same time period it will remove over 70% of the toxin benzene.

Golden Pothos plants are relatively easy to care for on a weekly basis. They thrive on just 2-3 hours of morning sunlight. Water them just once a week when they are dry. They work well in the bedroom as a hanging plant. It is also good to hang them if you have children or pets since the leaves are mildly toxic.

Spider Plant (chlorophytum comosum)

Spider Plants are also sometimes called Airplane Plant, St. Bernard’s Lily, Spider Ivy and Ribbon Plant.

Spider Plants are great at removing chemicals such as formaldehyde from your indoor air. Formaldehyde is a serious potential carcinogen and is found in essentially all indoor environments.

Spider Plants will simultaneously cleanse the air, absorb fumes, eliminate odors and sustain oxygen levels of the bedroom. All of these things will obviously help promote better sleep.

Spider Plants are one of the easiest houseplants to maintain. They like bright indirect sunlight and be sure there is good water drainage.

Peace Lily (spathiphyllum)

The Peace Lily is also sometimes called Spath.

A Peace Lily plant helps you sleep better in a slightly different way than some of the other examples. It is one of the best air purifying plants. Yes, it is very efficient in removing formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene from the air but it also does something else. A Peace Lily can increase humidity by 5% in your room. This is just enough increased humidity to help suppress airborne microbes that cause allergy problems. It is very difficult to sleep well when you are also battling allergy symptoms. The extra humidity may also help those that regularly deal with dry sinuses and throats that can disrupt your sleep.

Peace Lily’s do fine in a somewhat shady area. Provide water no more than once a week. This is another plant that you should keep away from children and pets.

English Ivy (hedera helix)

English Ivy is also sometimes called European Ivy.

Just like the Peace Lily, English Ivy plants improve the symptoms of asthma or allergies. [9] It stands to reason that when breathing problems are reduced or eliminated that a person will get a much better night’s sleep. Additionally, a 2005 report by The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology determined that English Ivy can clean 94% of airborne feces as well as 78% of mold in just 12 hours. [10] Mold is known to seriously affect the quality of a person’s breathing.

It is simple to grow and maintain English Ivy. They can still thrive with very little natural light. These plants work well hanging or on a shelf. Keep them out of the reach of children and pets.

So we have covered the specific plants that physically and biologically help improve sleep by purifying the air and increasing oxygen. What is the second way we mentioned that having plants can help improve sleep?

Being Surrounded by Plants Improves Your Mood and Lowers Stress

So plants can help you in physical, biological ways to sleep better. However, there is a second way that plants can help us improve our sleep. A number of studies have determined that surrounding yourself with nature (which includes plants as the primary aid) helps you mentally and emotionally in many ways. Having plants in your home or office will lower your cortisol levels and also lower blood pressure. These plants induce relaxation and boost immune function.

In this report, researchers in Japan summarized numerous studies that had been done from 1992 through 2014. The studies determined the amazing beneficial effects of spending time in the forest. What were the results of this study?

Being Surrounded by Plants Improves Your Health and Mood

  • Cortisol levels decreased 12.4%
  • Sympathetic nervous activity decreased 7.0%
  • Systolic blood pressure decreased 1.4%
  • Heart rate decreased 5.8%
  • Parasympathetic nervous activity enhanced by 55.0% (This indicates a relaxed state)
  • Natural killer cell activity was improved by 56% (This indicates enhanced immune function)

Overall, the many studies have consistently proven a significant physiological relaxation effect. These results have also been duplicated using indoor stimulation to imitate the natural forest. Do these benefits last? The natural killer cells maintained an amazing increase of 23% for one entire month even after subjects returned to urban life. Japanese researchers have been so impressed by these studies over the years that they call this health phenomenon “forest medicine”.

Candice Shoemaker, Professor of Horticulture and Human Health stated, “Studies have shown that seeing nature and taking care of it can improve one’s mental health.”

In addition to individual health issues, there are certain groups that commonly have problems with their sleep. For example, it is typical for groups like college students and older people to have difficulties getting enough sleep or they sleep too poorly to get the health benefits.

It would be a simple thing to try using some of these plants to improve your sleep. As numerous studies have shown, plants may help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and experience a much better quality of sleep.

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References:

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22612017

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16298774/

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18053656

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15182511

[5] http://www.wju.edu/about/adm_news_story.asp?iNewsID=539&strBack=/about/adm_news_archive.asp

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16857858

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20537515

[8] http://aktuell.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/pm2010/pm00222.html.en

[9] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711304702196

[10] http://www.webmd.com/allergies/news/20051107/english-ivy-fix-allergies