Thanks to middle school science, we all know that plants use carbon dioxide in photosynthesis and produce oxygen as a result of that process. But is that all they do?
For instance, did you know that in addition to removing carbon dioxide from the air, plants actually remove a number of pathogens and hazardous gasses as well? Or that when brought into your home, not only do they remove these harmful substances and increase the quality of your air, but plants help you sleep better too?
It’s true, plants actually can help you get better sleep by increasing your home’s air quality. So if you want to improve the air quality in your home but you don’t know where to start, keep reading for tips and answers to some of the most common questions, including:
- Do houseplants really purify the air?
- How can photosynthesis help you get better sleep?
- What are some alternative methods of air purification for the home?
- Why do plants help you sleep better?
- What are the best plants to help you get better sleep?
- What are some easy-to-care-for, beginner-friendly plants?
Do Houseplants Really Purify the Air?
In addition to helping you get better sleep, improving your indoor air quality can greatly improve a number of health issues and airborne allergies. And many studies have proven that having indoor plants is an efficient and cost-effective method for removing particulate matter, harmful gasses, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, formaldehyde, and ammonia from the air.
The quality of air in your bedroom and the rest of the house is worth paying attention to because, according to both the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB), indoor air pollution is ranked as one of the top five risks to public health. Some studies have even shown that the level of air pollution inside can be upwards of 10 times the amount of the pollution outdoors.
Considering how much poor air quality can affect everything from your health to your concentration and ability to retain information, improving the quality of your air is definitely worth looking into. Thankfully, there are a few different things you can do to help increase the quality of your air. The easiest, and often cheapest, option is to go down to your local Walmart, Home Depot, or nursery and pick up a few beginner-friendly plants.
Why plants? Because not only are they beautiful and often relaxing to be around, but with a little bit of water and care, they’ll continue to naturally purify the air around you through photosynthesis. Plus, many people have found that plants can indirectly help improve your mental well-being by decreasing cortisol levels. Aromatic plants can also make a great addition to daily meditation practices.
When plants absorb water and carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, hydrogen electrons are exchanged between the two, causing their molecular structures to change. This process turns water into oxygen and transforms carbon dioxide into glucose. And because plants only need glucose for energy, they release the remaining oxygen back into the air.
Of course, that’s not all that happens during photosynthesis. In addition to increasing oxygen levels, plants can also help to purify the air by removing toxins and allergens such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, air pollutants, and respiratory pathogens.
Alternative Air Purification Methods
Plants aren’t the only things you can add to your home to improve the quality of your indoor air and help you get better sleep at night. Air purifiers, humidifiers, and even dehumidifiers are all valid options depending on where you live and the quality of air and other environmental factors in that area.
Dusting and vacuuming regularly, especially if you have pets, can also greatly reduce the amount of pathogens and allergens in the air. That being said, if you continue to have trouble sleeping despite trying various ways to increase your air quality and improve your sleep habits, it may be worth discussing the issue with your doctor.
Why Plants Help You Sleep Better
Plants can be greatly beneficial for both your physical and mental well being thanks to their ability to purify the air and remove volatile organic compounds. Some plants are great for increasing humidity levels while others excel at removing toxins, so it might be worth doing some quick research before deciding which plants are right for your bedroom. And for the greatest benefits, try placing your plants on your nightstand or on a shelf by your headboard.
Researchers have determined that some of the best plants to help you sleep better include those with large green leaves and soothing scents. But of course, you should also take into consideration whether or not a plant is toxic if ingested, especially if you have pets or young children.
Low-Maintenance Plants So You Can Get Better Sleep
One of the most popular, if not the most popular, and easiest to care for plants for beginners is the spider plant. Not only do they quickly multiply so you can spread them throughout your house, but spider plants are especially good at removing particulate matter and many hazardous gasses.
When it comes to simple houseplants that can commonly be found in the plant section of your local home improvement store, what you’re looking for are ones that don’t require extreme humidity or frequent waterings. And maybe even a few that can thrive in low-light environments if you don’t have many windows in your bedroom. Aside from spider plants, some other easy-to-care-for plants (that are also hard to kill) include:
- Snake plants
- Varieties of pothos
- Aloe plants
- Areca palms
- English ivy
- Chinese evergreens
- Peace lilies (note that these and other lilies are toxic for pets)
Although herbs can be a little trickier than snake plants and spider plants, they offer an additional key benefit: soothing fragrances. Lavender, sage, mint, chamomile, and rosemary are just a few examples of soothing scents you can add to your bedroom. When inhaled, lavender has been shown to increase feelings of relaxation and help you get better sleep at night. It can also be as simple as brushing your hand against the aromatic leaves before climbing into bed so that the scent lingers with you.
The Bottom Line
Sleep is a precious thing, so whether you choose to add a few plants to your bedroom windows, tuck an air purifier in the corner, or take CBD PM before bed every night, the most important thing is that you find what works for you so you can get better sleep. Focusing on developing healthy sleeping habits and sticking to them every night can also help teach both your mind and body to relax as you get ready for bed.
Simple things like going to bed at the same time every night, reducing your caffeine intake during the day, and steering clear of electronics and blue light at least an hour before bed can all help you achieve a better quality of sleep. And while it’s true that plants help you sleep better, if you feel like the greenery in your room isn’t doing enough and you’re still having trouble drifting off at night, try adding a sound machine to help your mind find the right rhythm for sleep.
For more information on how houseplants help you sleep better, or for more in-depth guidance on how to get better sleep using CBD oil, keep an eye on our frequently updated blog. Looking to stay up to date on the latest supplement news and cbdMD’s upcoming special offers? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or chat with someone live today!