The Positive Side of Medicine

Put These Plants in Your Bedroom And You’ll Sleep Better

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Put These Plants in Your Bedroom And You'll Sleep Better

Put These Plants in Your Bedroom and You’ll Sleep Better

Have you tried a heap of techniques to get good sleep? Despite our earnest efforts, the Sleep Fairy can elude us. Here’s a happy news flash! Research shows Her Majesty favors plants. She’s captivated by their soothing qualities. We’ve compiled a passel of plants to corral her attention. They’ll magically lead to the ZZZs you need.

1.Peace Lily

(Botanical Name – Spathiphyllum)


The Magic

 – Peace lily’s flowers boost humidity. This eliminates airborne allergens. The moisture emitted by her blooms relieves an irritated nose and throat. Peace lily reduces mold spores by 60 percent. Her leaves absorb the spores, then transport them to her roots for food. Peace lily filters toxic chemicals present in grooming products. When peace lily is happy, she waves white flower flags.

RELATED ARTICLE: 6 House Plants that Clean Your Air

The Data

 – In 1989, NASA studied ways to clean air in space stations. The research resulted in a list of air-filtering plants. Peace lily received top billing for neutralizing six toxic chemicals:

  • benzene
  • formaldehyde
  • trichloroethylene
  • xylene
  • toluene
  • ammonia

Plant Care

 – Peace lily will thrive beneath a north or west window. She prefers indirect sunlight. Water when the topsoil is dry. If she’s thirsty, she’ll make it obvious by drooping. You can let her wilt slightly before watering. This will prevent root rot. Try to mist her leaves three times a week to mimic her native climate. Once monthly during spring and summer, you can feed her with a 20-20-20 fertilizer at one-half the recommended strength. Greenish flowers are a sign of over-feeding. In that case, halve the dose.

  • Peace lily renders peaceful sleep.

2.Snake Plant

(Botanical Name – Sansevieria)

Snake Plant1

The Magic

 – This plant is also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. She has a unique ability to emit oxygen at night while taking in carbon dioxide. Most plants do the opposite. Snake plant keeps working while other plants snooze. She cleans the air of ozone.

RELATED ARTICLE: Natural Air Purifiers

The Data

 – Ozone is an airborne gas. Ultraviolet lights, laser printers, and copiers are the culprits. Ozone can make it difficult to breathe. In 2009, a Penn State University research team studied the effect of the snake plant on indoor ozone. The results were published in HortTechnology.

A greenhouse was built with a charcoal filtration system to measure ozone levels. The gas was discharged and measured every five minutes. Ozone was quickly dissipated by the snake plant.

Plant Care

 – This mother-in-law is easy to please. She’s very tolerant of neglect. She withstands low light and prefers dry soil. Ideally, place her in a window facing east, west, or north. If your bedroom faces south, position her one foot from the window and to the side. You can also put Sansevieria beneath fluorescent light. Check the soil once weekly and water when completely dry. Add water along the side of the plant, avoiding the center of leaves. Feed once in the spring with a 20-20-20 fertilizer.

  • Mother-in-Law’s Tongue sasses back ozone.

3.Golden Pothos

(Botanical Name – Epipremnum aureus)


The Magic

 – Pothos will rid your bedroom of toxic vapors. She banishes volatile chemicals from adhesives, household cleaners, flame retardants, floor coverings, and building materials. Pothos also gives the boot to formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. She won’t get miffed if neglected.

The Data

 – Pothos’ cleaning ability was tested at a business center in India. The study was conducted over a 15-year period and published in September 2008. The Parharpur office building contains over 1,200 plants. It is rated the healthiest building in Delhi, India. Compared with workers at non-planted buildings, employees of Parharpur Business Center showed less incidence of:

      • asthma – 9%
      • eye irritation – 52%
      • headaches – 24%
      • lung impairment – 12%
      • respiratory conditions – 34%

The study also showed a significant reduction in employee sick days.

Plant Care

 – Pothos prefers bright, indirect light, but acclimates to low and artificial light. Allow her topsoil to dry out completely between waterings. Feed her once every three months.


 – Pothos is toxic to pets and children if ingested.

  • Pothos keeps air fresh and clean.

4. French Lavender

(Botanical Name – Lavandula dentata)


The Magic

 – The Sleep Fairy is enraptured by lavender. This flowering plant in the mint family dials down heart rate and blood pressure. Lavender calms crying babies and soothes them to sleep. She relieves anxiety, stress, and pain.

RELATED ARTICLE: Lavender Iced Tea! What’s Great About It

The Data

 – A 2005 sleep study at Wesleyan University monitored the brain waves of 31 subjects. When they inhaled lavender, it increased the length of their sleep. Those who breathed in lavender for eight minutes reported feeling more vibrant the next morning. A 2008 British study tested the effect of inhaling lavender on women with insomnia. Each nodded off more readily and reported improved quality of slumber. Two studies funded by Johnson and Johnson found that lavender helped infants cry less and sleep more deeply.

Plant Care

 – There are several varieties of lavender. French Lavender is best-suited to indoor cultivation. It adapts well to pot-growing and fits below a grow light.

The trick to growing lavender indoors is providing adequate light. A south-facing window is ideal. Artificial light can also stand in for sun. Place lavender six inches below fluorescent tubes. Use high-output T5 or compact fluorescent lights. Another option is high intensity discharge (HID) lamps. Position lavender 2-4 feet below these lamps. The distance varies by wattage. Keep the lights on for 14 hours a day.

Allow soil to dry between waterings. Then soak thoroughly. Feed every two weeks from spring through fall, using a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

  • Lavender’s fragrance will waft you off to dreamland.

5.Spider Plant

(Botanical Name – Chlorophytum comosum)


The Magic

 – This lovely lady quells fumes and unpleasant odors. Ribbon-like leaves absorb formaldehyde. This carcinogenic chemical is emitted by carpets and furniture. Microscopic openings in her leaves serve as air filters. They absorb mold spores and carbon monoxide, preventing headache, wheezing, and brain fog.

The Data

 – One study found that a single spider plant in a closed chamber can remove 85 percent of formaldehyde within 24 hours. Translating this to home use, one plant can filter a room of 200 square feet.

Plant Care

 – Spider plant needs bright, indirect light and frequent watering. Keep her soil slightly moist to the touch. Fret not if she gets pot-bound. She actually enjoys snug quarters. This fosters the production of tiny white flowers. She especially likes cascading from a hanging basket. Give her a new home when she pushes over the top of her pot. Fertilize twice a month during spring and summer.

  • Spider plant will help you breathe easy.

6.Aloe Vera

(Botanical Name – Aloe barbadensis)


The Magic

 – Similar to the snake plant, aloe will supply you with oxygen at night while absorbing carbon dioxide. She eradicates formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. Gel from her leaves soothes burns. Aloe can handle neglect.

RELATED ARTICLE: 10 Health Benefits of Aloe Vera

The Data

 – The green construction company Earthship reports that one pot of aloe is equivalent to nine air purifying machines!

Plant leaves produce oxygen atoms known as negative ions. You know the exuberance you feel at a waterfall, beach, or mountainside? That’s from oxygen atoms. Inhaling them increases the happy hormone serotonin. Negative ions also clear the air of dust, mold, pollen, odor, bacteria, viruses, pet dander, and cigarette smoke. They stick to positively-charged particles, making them too heavy to remain airborne. Pollutants drop to the floor or cling to a nearby surface, so you don’t inhale them.

Plant Care

 – As a succulent, aloe loves sunshine and prefers a southern exposure. She stores water in her fleshy leaves, so water her sparingly. When soil pulls away from the side of her pot, it’s time to quench her thirst.

Enlist the aid of aloe if you’re kept awake by a cut, burn, dry skin, or insect bite. Using a knife, cut a leaf from the base of your plant and slice it lengthwise. Peel the leaf outward to access the gel. Then smooth it on your skin. Ah!

  • Aloe confers comfort and contentment.

7.English Ivy

(Botanical Name – Hedera helix)

English Ivy1

The Magic

 – English ivy neutralizes benzene, a carcinogen present in lacquer, paint, furniture wax, detergents, ink, and cigarette smoke. She’s the queen of formaldehyde absorption. Her leaves relieve asthma and allergies. This British beauty is easy to grow.

The Data

 – A 2005 study performed by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology showed that English ivy can remove 78 percent of airborne mold in 12 hours.

Plant Care

 – Bright, filtered light is English ivy’s cup of tea. She will tolerate low light, but her leaves won’t be as green. She likes her soil on the dry side, so let her topsoil dry out between waterings. Feed her once monthly during the spring, summer, and fall with a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer. She’s fond of hanging baskets.


 – The leaves of English ivy are poisonous to children and pets, so keep your plant at a safe distance.

  • English ivy protects against congestion.

8. Chinese Evergreen

(Botanical Name – Aglaonema crispum)

Chinese Evergreen1

The Magic

 – Chinese evergreen is very generous. She releases copious amounts of oxygen into the air. She also neutralizes benzene and formaldehyde. A diligent bedroom buddy, she quickly soaks up chemical vapors. The heavier the concentration, the harder she works. Chinese evergreen is a cinch to grow.

RELATED ARTICLE: 10 Foods and Suggestions to Improve Your Sleep

The Data

 – Chinese evergreen can remove roughly 90 percent of airborne pollutants in 24 hours.  Moisture released by her leaves calms allergies. She suppresses airborne microbes.

Plant Care

 – Chinese evergreen fares well in medium and low light conditions. She’s happy with artificial light that’s sufficient for reading. She doesn’t like cold feet or drafts. Keep her comfortable with temperatures above 60°F. Allow topsoil to dry between waterings. Feed monthly with a 20-20-20 fertilizer during spring and summer.

  • Wake up refreshed with the help of Chinese evergreen.


Eight first-rate plants that entice the Sleep Fairy are:

1. peace lily
2. snake plant
3. golden pothos
4. French lavender
5. spider plant
6. aloe vera
7. English ivy
8. Chinese evergreen

The key to happy houseplants is proper light and water. Assess your bedroom conditions to choose compatible plants. Then slip under the covers for pleasant dreams. The Sleep Fairy is bound to come!

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