Plants have long been used to promote and assist sleep in their different forms, from relaxing teas such as chamomile to essential oils like lavender. But it’s not just complex concoctions that aid sleep: plants themselves can help you slumber just by being placed in the same room. And with house plants being one of the biggest interior trends of the year, do you need another excuse to introduce some greenery to your bedroom?
As well as looking and smelling divine, the exotic jasmine flower is well-known for its ability to soothe the body and mind. One study concluded that it leads to reduced anxiety levels, which goes hand in hand with better sleep, while the sweet scent is used in essential oils for relaxation. The plant itself is easy to keep – simply place one in a pot on your bedroom windowsill and watch the pink or ivory flowers blossom.
2. Aloe Vera
If it’s on NASA’s list of air-improving plants, you know it’s a good one – and that’s certainly true in the case of the Aloe plant. This miracle worker emits oxygen at night, aiding sleep and improving air quality at the same time.
For anyone who struggles to keep their houseplants alive, it’s also a hardwearing plant that doesn’t need a lot of attention. Simply place somewhere sunny in your bedroom and water occasionally. You can even use the gel from the leaves as a treatment for insect bites and dry skin.
3. Spider plant
Like the Aloe, the spider plant passed the NASA test with flying colours. It’s best known for its air-purifying qualities – in one experiment, it was shown to remove 90% of formaldehyde (a chemical found in household products like adhesives and fillers) from the air. It’s also been shown to absorb odours and fumes and sustain oxygen levels, which means you’ll sleep better and be healthier, too.
4. Peace lily
The much-loved peace lily is a staple in any houseplant-lover’s home, thanks to its multitude of health-giving properties – and how easy it is to look after. The miracle worker filters out harmful toxins like benzene and formaldehyde, but it’s also great for allergy sufferers, boosting the humidity of a room and suppressing the airborne microbes that lead to allergies. It also helps soothe dry throats and coughs, leading to a peaceful, uninterrupted sleep.
5. Snake plant
Also known as the ‘Mother-in-Law’s Tongue’, the snake plant is a natural air purifier that, like the Aloe Vera, emits oxygen at night and boosts your quality of sleep. It’s also a great aid against toxins emitted by household products like formaldehyde, which can lead to respiratory problems if you breathe too much of it in.
We couldn’t write about nap-inducing household plants without mentioning lavender, the holy grail of sleep. The plant itself is easy to keep – all it needs is warmth, sunlight and occasional watering – but if the scent is too much for you, its essential oil is a great sleep aid. The scent lowers heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels and the oil is often used in aromatherapy and relaxation treatments, but it’s also available to buy for your home. Simply add a few drops to your bath or on your pillow and enjoy a more relaxed, stress-free sleep.