Poor sleep can be caused by a number of things, like stress, too much caffeine and even late night cell phone usage (but let’s face it, when else are you going to catch up on your Facebook timeline?). This might be why the National Sleep Foundation found that lack of sleep is affecting more Americans than ever before – 130 million be exact. Believe it or not, there are actually a number of plants that have been proven to help induce sleep.
Simply smelling the flower has the ability to leave you feeling tired and groggy. After testing the effects of gardenia on mice, a German study found that these flowers had the same effects as valium on a neurotransmitter in the brain known as GABA. Many people in Europe have even began supplementing their sleeping pills with gardenia flowers.
Odors have been found to have a powerful effect on our central nervous system. Jasmine’s aroma has been proven to help reduce anxiety – helping you to achieve a deeper, more restful sleep. Not to mention, its delicate pink and white flowers will brighten up any bedroom during the day.
Its beautiful, natural coloring isn’t the only thing that will leave you feeling calm and relaxed at night. As one of the most popular scents in hand lotions, body mists and soaps, the smell of lavender can help reduce anxiety by slowing down your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. Other studies have shown that the plant’s scent can decrease rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep and the amount of time it takes to wake up in the morning.
For those who don’t exactly have a “green thumb,” aloe vera is the perfect solution for insomnia. The plant is low maintenance because it requires few waterings, can remain in the same pot for years and doesn’t need much sunlight. One of the reasons people have such a hard time sleeping is because their room is “stuffy” at night. This is especially common in the winter when houses are closed up for months. Aloe vera emits large amounts of oxygen at night, which can help combat insomnia. NASA even named aloe vera on their list of best indoor plants to improve air quality.
Not only is it a beautiful addition to any room, the peace lily is also on NASA’s list of top indoor plants. Peace lily can help filter out harmful chemicals that are found in common household cleaning products, like benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde. This plant is especially useful in the winter when a home’s humidity can be at an all time low. The moisture given off from the leaves of a peace lily can improve a room’s humidity levels by as much as 5%. This can reduce the odds of waking up congested, with a sore throat or suffering from allergies.
Another plant that is easy to care for and has great health benefits is the snake plant. This plant only needs to be watered twice a week, and also requires very little sun – making it perfect for small apartments and alcoves. Studies have shown that high oxygen levels can contribute to a better night’s sleep. Like most other plants, snake plant pulls carbon dioxide from the air and converts it into oxygen. Best of all, snake plant also cleans airborne toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene.