Thought your common-day house plant was just another accessory to help you to re-create a Pinterest bedroom paradise? Think again. From English Ivy to rosemary, here’s our list of the best plants and flowers to buy to improve your quality of sleep.
Whether it’s a night camping under the stars in the English countryside, or buying a bunch of flowers at a local street market on a Sunday morning, we’ve all experienced the power of flora and fauna to help open up the senses, energise the mind and body, and look seriously pretty on Instagram.
However, if you’re someone who suffers from insomnia, feels groggy, or bunged up in the morning, have you ever considered how your favourite potted plant could be the answer to your sleep problems?
‘The antecedent to all living things is the air we breathe,’ says psychologist and sleep expert Hope Bastine.
Not only do plants and flowers help filter out carbon dioxide pollution for oxygen (which helps keep us alive), they also eliminate chemical toxins (benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene etc) and their effects found in our homes.
‘The beauty of plants is that they have a natural filtration system build in them designed to purify,’ explains Bastine. In turn, they can do wonders for a good night’s sleep.
As a result, we sat down with Bastine and Mairead Curtin, co-owner of London florist Rebel Rebel, to find out which plants and flowers to invest in for some much-needed shut eye.
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Properties to aid sleep? In much the same way as lavender, jasmine is an incredibly calming plant.
According to Bastion, a study from Wheeling Jesuit University, West Virginia found that inhaling the aroma of jasmine overnight ‘lowered anxiety and even demonstrated next-day higher cognitive test results.’ Better yet, it’s an aphrodisiac.
When it the best time of year to buy this flower? Summer and winter.
What care does it need (watering, direct sunlight etc)? Jasmine is an outdoor plant but it can be kept alive indoors for a couple of weeks. However, Curtin advises: ‘It’s best then to plant jasmine in the garden because it dries up indoors.’
Where is the best spot in the house/bedroom to place it etc? ‘Planting it outside your bedroom window to trail up and drift the scent through the window is the perfect answer,’ she adds.
2. Japanese Peace Lily
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Properties to aid sleep? Not only is the Japanese Peace Lily beautiful, but Bastion notes that NASA has found the plant is able to rid a house of most of harmful toxins like benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. ‘It can also increase the moisture in the air of a room by five per cent,’ she says.
When it the best time of year to buy this flower? Spring.
What care does it need? ‘If you’re sleeping cave is well shaded from the sun, the Japanese Peace Lily loves low light and only needs weekly water,’ says Bastion.
Check the pot every three days and add a little water when you notice the plant is dropping slightly.
Where is the best spot to place it? While peace lilies are pretty easy to look after, Curtin warns: ‘It’s toxic to pets and humans, so don’t eat it!’ As a result, it might be wise to place it on a high shelf away from your pillow/animals.
Properties to aid sleep? The ‘super trendy’ anthruium, as Curtin describes it, is one of the best air purifiers you can get.
‘Anthruim’s natural air filtration system removes the most common household toxins ammonia, xylene, formaldehyde that cause allergic reactions and heart problems,’ explains Bastion.
When it the best time of year to buy this plant/flower? Spring and summer.
What care does it need? ‘It’s fairly easy to keep’, says Curtin. However, only water it when the soil is dry to the touch and keep it out of direct sunlight.
Where is the best spot to place it? It comes in all sorts of colours including a rather garish red,’ she adds. So, you might want to consider how it works with the overall colour palette in your house.
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Properties to aid sleep? When you think of flowers and sleep, you’ll no doubt immediately think of the soft lilac hues of lavender.
Bastion says the National Sleep Foundation has found that aromatherapy scents such as lavender activate the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce blood pressure and heart rate, creating a calming effect on the body.
When it the best time of year to buy this flower? Late spring and early summer.
What care does it need? Plant the lavender in full sunlight and well-drained soil. ‘English lavender is happier indoors than French,’ notes Curtin.
Where is the best spot to place it? Above or near the bed.