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Can Plants and Herbs Treat Insomnia?

blog image - SPIDER PLANTIn the distant past, nurses in hospitals used to take the flowers and plants (given to their patients by visitors) out of the rooms and wards at night because it was felt they would compromise their air as the patients slept.

But plants and herbs can be soothing and calming

They even improve the quality of your sleep or help to prevent insomnia.
  • Healthy plants are a source of cleaner air. This is because as they release oxygen during the day, they raise the air quality. In fact, there are even some plants that produce oxygen in the night too and these include snake plants and bromeliads, aloes and orchids.
  • Most plants are great at removing toxins from the air including those toxins found in homes. Examples are formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, ammonia, acetone and ethyl acetate. The good news is that house plants can actually absorb such toxins through their leaves, converting them to harmless substances. According to studies, just one spider plant in a closed room with formaldehyde can remove 85% of the toxin within twenty four hours. Those plants most effective in absorbing and removing indoor toxins include Chinese evergreen, dracaena, orchids, golden pothos, Norfolk Island pine, red emerald philodendron, spider plant, schefflera and snake plant.
  • Another advantage of house plants is that they can purify animal bio-effluents including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane, alcohol and others and especially effective are: Peace lilies, parlor palms and chrysanthemums.
  • The moisture given off by all house plants helps to counteract the formation of airborne microbes so as to diminish the allergens in rooms, especially the bedroom.
  • Still relevant to insomnia, the presence of greenery in bedrooms and other rooms adds a pleasing look to promote both relaxation and ultimately, sleep.
  • One plant in particular has a positive effect on your quality of sleep, decreasing anxiety and improving the attitude after waking up. This plant is Jasmine such as Jasminum polyanthum which grows as a vine with sprays of tiny, trumpet-like flowers. The smell of Jasmine doesn't make you sleep more, instead it makes your sleep time count for more – high quality sleep with less moving and disturbance. Inside, Jasmine is an easy to care for house plant. Another Jasmine variety to look out for is Jasminum sambac while the Gardenia is 2nd in the “helping to get a good night's sleep” stakes.

But the advantages of house plants are negated if the plants are sickly, wilting and generally neglected

House plants need to be healthy and well cared for if they are to do their job. Trim off any dead leaves. Clean off any dust on the leaves to prevent clogging with some cotton wool balls and warm water or a spray bottle of water. Feed regularly with an organic fertilizer and do not over water. Over watering is more often the cause of indoor plants dying than under watering. Unhealthy house plants are perfect invitations for insect infestations which produce mold spores that are highly allergenic. To ensure that your house plants give you better sleep, keep them free of insects or mites as these are easy sources of allergies and breathing spasms but never use chemical insecticides. Look for a natural, organic product if needed. If allergies are a problem, do not choose plants that shed pollen. Houseplants in the bedroom absorb odors and fumes, replenish the air with oxygen and humidity while keeping the temperature cool and sustainable for an overall better night's sleep.