From the plants that will help you breathe easy at night and the famously soporific scent of lavender to the beautifully fragrant flower that scientists claim is as potent as prescription sleeping tablets – we’ve rounded up the best houseplants for sending you off into the land of nod for a restful night’s sleep.
Forget popping pills and pop one of these on your bedside table instead…
Lavender has been used in aromatherapy for centuries as a natural sleep aid – and you only have to breathe in a noseful of this pretty purple-flowered plant to experience its instant calming effect. But you don’t need to take our word for it. There is plenty of scientific evidence to support the link between lavender and relaxation. Read more about lavender and get your hands on some now while it’s still in season.
Gardenia is not only a favourite among perfumers, who clamour to include it in their fragrances and scented candles – it’s also a popular choice for its sleep-inducing abilities. One study found that a whiff of Gardenia could be as potent as a prescribed dose of Valium.
Dry air can lead to a dry nose and throat – making it difficult to breathe comfortably when you’re trying to drift off. This is especially problematic if you have a cold or suffer from sinus trouble – and can be exacerbated by central heating (in winter) and air-conditioning (in summer). Cue the areca palm. Releasing moisture into the atmosphere, it eradicates dry air. It also purifies the air, removing toxins and carbon dioxide.
Mother-in-laws and snakes might not exactly be synonymous with sleep and relaxation – but ironically, the mother-in-law’s tongue (also commonly known as the snake plant) could be the ideal bedtime companion. This elegant plant with lush, glossy leaves emits oxygen through the night, while taking in carbon dioxide. It also filters nasty common household toxins, like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene, from the air.
Aloe was named by NASA as one of the top air-purifying plants – working much like mother-in-law’s tongue to give out oxygen during the night. It’s also super-easy to look after so ideal for sleep-deprived types with busy lives. Find out more about the aloe in our guide.
Read more about plants that purify the air and filter out common household toxins.