Plants help you sleep better - Fact or fiction?

In the quest for the perfect night’s sleep, we’ve stumbled upon research suggesting that plants can help you sleep better.

But can the cactus beside your bed really help your slumber?
It all comes down to air quality.

What causes an unhealthy indoor environment?

The ozone level is too high

    Unhealthy indoor air quality can cause many people to get sick. It affects your ability to breathe easily and can irritate the lungs and bronchial system. In the workplace, air quality issues can also make us less productive.

    There’s even evidence that people die because of the quality of the air in their homes or workplaces.

    One reason many indoor environments are ‘unhealthy’ is because they have a higher than average ozone concentration. Ozone is a colourless, toxic gas which infiltrates buildings via outside air pollution.

    Ozone-emitting equipment like photocopiers, laser printers, ultraviolet lighting, and some electrostatic air purification systems, also contribute to higher indoor ozone concentrations.

    Reactive chemicals are also the bad guys

      There are many commonly-used products that affect human health. Many of these products contain chemicals that react to ozone in the air you breathe. They include soft woods, linoleums, certain paints, polishes, cleaning products, soiled fabrics, and soiled ventilation filters.

      There are other products which oxidize when in contact with ozone, and are known or suspected to adversely affect human health. They include formaldehyde, acrolein, hydrogen peroxides, and fine and ultrafine particles.

      How can you improve the air quality in your home or workplace?

      Plants cut indoor air pollution

        Turns out, plants are the good guys when it comes to filtering out unwanted air pollutants. They’re also cost-effective compared to other available air-filtering devices.

        Plus, they’re readily available and, for most of us, easy to grow and maintain.

        Research has proven that certain common houseplants can make a real difference.

        A famous 1989 study by NASA looked at the effect of plants on air quality. The study showed that plants had a major role in the removal of organic chemicals from the air.

        The plant species used in this test were:

        • Bamboo palm
        • Chinese evergreen
        • English Ivy
        • Gerbera daisy
        • Janet Craig
        • Marginata
        • Mass cane/Corn cane
        • Mother-in-Law's tongue (snake plant)
        • Pot mum
        • Peace lily
        • Warneckei
        • Ficus

        This research showed that virtually all the plants tested had a significant role in reducing the effects of air pollution. The researchers found that the leaves, plant roots and the microorganisms in the soil, all played a part in filtering the ‘bad’ stuff from the air.

        Low air quality leads to poor sleep quality

        A more recent study revealed that pollution has a real impact on the quality of your sleep. They found that people living in areas of high pollution were 60% more likely to have poor sleep quality.

        The health effects of having poor quality sleep are serious.

          The risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer increases, the ability to concentrate decreases, people experience mood changes, weight gain, a lower immunity and even depression.  

          So, break out those ‘green thumb’ tendencies! Decorate your home and office with green plants, breathe deeply and sleep better.