Do you keep any plants in your bedroom, adding a touch of natural color and beauty?
My personal favorite is a trailing spider plant that sits by the window. It’s an ideal plant for the bedroom, and fascinating to see new shoots slowly parachuting to the floor.
The plant kingdom is vast, so how do we know healthy bedroom additions?
NASA Plant Study
NASA conducted a fascinating study into plants, looking for those that emit oxygen rather than carbon dioxide at night.
They also found plants that act as natural air purifiers. So those can potentially help keep the air in your bedroom as fresh and oxygen-rich as possible.
You can see some of the specific plants they discovered below. But let’s first take a quick look at how the plants work their magic in the home.
How Plants Improve the Bedroom Conditions
NASA’s study suggests that having certain plants in your bedroom could improve your sleep, assuming your sleep is negatively affected by air quality.
But how does this happen?
Plants are natural, powerful air purification systems. Their ability to improve your sleep comes from the fresh air they provide, and in some cases, the pleasant and calming scents they emit.
Plants like lavender and valerian have long been treasured for their relaxing and calming properties. Studies have found, for example, that inhaling lavender can improve sleep.
The Polluted Air in the Home
Many typical synthetic building materials, household furnishings, and plastics can emit chemicals in gas form, known as off-gassing.
The same is true for everyday household products, such as cleaning sprays, shoe polish, or air fresheners.
In fact, more than 300 harmful compounds have been identified so far. Even at low concentrations, toxic emissions from these products can interfere with the quality of your sleep.
Plants can help remove these harmful components from the air. They absorb them through their leaves and disperse them into the soil through their roots.
The more plants in a bedroom, the more significant the reduction of air-polluting particles. But NASA advises a ratio of roughly one air-purifying plant for every 100 square feet.
Combine Plants for Best Effect
It’s best to have a mix of plants in the bedroom. The effectiveness of plants varies by time of day and light conditions. Having a mix of plants ensures that the air in your bedroom is being cleaned 24 hours a day.
So, what are the best plants to have on your bedside table? Below are some of the most useful plants identified by NASA in their clean air study.
The chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium) was found by NASA to be one of the most effective plants at purifying the household air. And their findings have since been replicated by other researchers.
Chrysanthemums thrive in lower light conditions (direct sunlight can age the plant prematurely). So its cleaning effects aren’t as strongly linked to daylight.
Because you’re (probably) not trying to sleep during the day, the chrysanthemum is a tremendous nighttime air cleaner.
It can clear residual particles such as benzene, produced when someone smokes in your house. It also helps with the off-gas emitted by household paint and printers. This makes it a great addition to any bedroom.
Medical researchers have also explored the broader applications of plants’ air purifying qualities. There’s growing evidence that these air-purifying effects can positively impact people recovering from operations.
The presence of peace lilies next to a hospital bed was associated with lower pain, anxiety, and fatigue ratings. So the peace lily appears to have benefits above and beyond aiding sleep. Do remember that lilies don’t mix well with cats and some other animals, so you might want to skip this one if you have pets in the home.
The snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is a widely grown perennial that thrives both indoors and outside. Different genus provides the owner with a beautiful variety of different shapes, patterns, and colors in their leaves. It requires little care and attention – you’ll only need to water your snake plant once every 2 to 3 weeks.
The snake plant was rated by NASA as being one of the best at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen at night, helping keep your bedroom air in optimal condition. Japanese researchers also found it can absorb many hazardous chemicals, such as chloroform, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, and xylene.
English ivy (Hedera Helix) is a vigorous climbing plant with rich, dark green leaves, useful for improving the air while you sleep. It thrives in lower light conditions and lower temperatures. You might picture English ivy covering the whole side of buildings, which would suggest that it’s an impractical plant to have in your bedroom. However, the plant grows well in hanging baskets, easy to manage and move between rooms.
English ivy has been found to absorb 60% of airborne mold in a room and over 90% of airborne fecal particles.
If you’re a fan of natural remedies, you may already be familiar with the versatile lavender plant (Lavendula). Unlike many other plants on this list, lavender plants aren’t particularly effective air purifiers. Instead, the idea is that they might help you sleep by releasing their distinctive aroma into your bedroom.
Lavender fragrance has been shown to decrease your heart rate and increase activity in regions of the brain associated with relaxation and sleep. So Lavender plants would make a great combination with air-purifying plants – giving you the benefit of both cleaner and more fragrant air.
Another low light plant that thrives indoors, the striking evergreen flamingo lily (Anthurium andraeanum), is both a beautiful plant and an effective air purifier. The flamingo lily should be kept out of direct sunlight and maintained at a consistent room temperature.
One note of caution: while it effectively removes toxins from the air, owners should keep it away from small children and pets. The foliage itself contains low calcium oxalate levels, which can cause irritation if it comes into contact with your skin.
The golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum, also known as devil’s ivy) is a cheap, widely available, and easy to maintain potted plant. NASA scientists found that golden pothos could remove benzene and carbon monoxide particles from the air, even in a stuffy room.
So it could be the right choice if you’re sensitive to the cold or can’t effectively ventilate your bedroom at night.
Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema) have been shown to have “a tremendous effect” on reducing unwanted, sleep-disrupting airborne particles.
However, unlike other plants on this list, its effects are most noted in strong sunlight. You may want to use Chinese evergreens in combination with other plants to balance out the purifying and air cleansing effects throughout the day.
In a study with rats, researchers found that inhaling valerian scent had a positive effect on sleep. Valerian was found to be the most effective of the 10 plants studied. Valerian on its own might not be enough to help you sleep, though. Unlike many of the plants on this list, it hasn’t been studied for its air-purifying qualities.
So it might work best in conjunction with some of the purifying plants on this list.
Dwarf Date Palm
The dwarf date palm (also known as Roebelenii) is an ordinary potted plant that naturally grows widely in the wild in Japan. Roebelenii has significant air-purifying powers, but researchers have also sought to examine the plant’s stress-busting effects.
One experiment measured stress-related enzymes’ levels in participants’ saliva. They found that they decreased in the presence of Roebelenii.
Which plants do you have in your bedroom?
Do you have any plants in your bedroom? Please share your plant choice and reason for picking them in the comments below.
Plants and Pillows Combination
If you combine some of these plants with a decent pillow I am sure you will get a good night’s sleep. Plants will purify the air and bring extra oxygen during the night while a good pillow will make sure your head is in an utmost relaxing position.