Do plants in the bedroom help you sleep?
Indoor house plants look good and serve a purpose — they clean the air. But should they have a place in the bedroom and how do they impact sleeping?
On the plus side, plants generate oxygen, can smell sweet and promote happiness. However, they release carbon dioxide at night, possibly robbing the room of fresh air. Plus, their “grow” energy may not be optimal when you’re trying to get some shut eye.
Here’s a look at varying points of view on having greenery in the bedroom:
Clearing the air
There’s no dispute that indoor plants make for efficient air purifiers. They produce oxygen and eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOCs). From formaldehyde and benzene to other harmful chemicals in our air, almost all plants offer some form of cleansing power. Medical professionals have long known plants help heal patients when placed in their hospital rooms. “Working with terminally ill cancer patients, I try to get a plant in every patient room I can,” says Linda Straus, program director for Clean for Cancer.
What’s more, their nighttime emission of carbon dioxide is unlikely to counter-act their oxygenation benefits.
In fact, the amount of oxygen that bedroom plants use at night and the amount of carbon dioxide they emit is trivial according to A Moment of Science by Indiana Public Media, which produces educational programs for Indiana University . “Think about the earth as a giant bedroom and you’ll see that animals would be in pretty big trouble if plants used up a significant amount of oxygen every night,” according to the report.
The feng shui factor
Some followers of the ancient practice of Feng Shui believe living plants put out too much energy into the bedroom that may counteract the type of relaxed atmosphere you need for sleeping.
“Yes, plants can have great health benefits when in your home, creating clean air for the space, however, not in the bedroom,” says Jessie Kim, a Feng Shui consultant. “Bedrooms should be a calm and relaxing space that promote resting energy. Plants, since they become ‘active’ at night producing clean air, are seen as a ‘working’ energy, not conducive for resting.”
Yet other Feng Shui practitioners feel that plants, especially those with a relaxing scent, such as lavender, jasmine and gardenia, might actually help you sleep.
“As part of the wood element, green plants can add life energy, similar to the feeling of new beginnings in springtime as well as healing energy to a space. Because this energy is so great for resetting, relaxing and renewing, plants are actually a perfect addition to enhance the yin, calming energy of a sleep space,” says Anjie Cho, author of 108 Ways to Create Holistic Spaces: Feng Shui and Green Design for Healing and Organic Homes.
5 sleepy-time plants
Susan Brandt, co-founder and president of Blooming Secrets, a gardening website that provides personalized selections based on your location and level of gardening, recommends these plants for the bedroom:
- Snake Plants: These night aspirators give off their oxygen during the hours we sleep, which is thought to boost the chances of having a good night’s rest.
- Aloe Vera: One of NASA’s top air-improving plants, it’s easy to grow and maintain and emits oxygen at night.
- Bamboo Palm: This plant keeps airborne odors and toxins away and doesn’t need direct sunlight.
- Peace Lily: Its flowers give off humidity and suppress airborne microbes; however, keep it away from children and pets since it is highly toxic if consumed.
- Spider Plant: NASA tests indicate this champion cleanser removes up to 90 percent of the cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde from the air.
If you love bedroom plants and think they add relaxing energy, go ahead and decorate your sleep space with greenery. If you believe plants may prevent you falling into a deep sleep, remove them and see if it helps.
Written by Jennifer Nelson
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