4 Ways Indoor Plants Improve our Home and Health
1. They Improve Indoor Air Quality
Did you know indoor air is two to five times more polluted than outdoor air? According to the EPA, sources of indoor air pollutants include, asbestos, VOCs, formaldehyde, and more.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases emitted from certain solids or liquids. They are found on common household items like paints, solvents, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, moth repellents, air fresheners, disinfectants, and even your dry-cleaned clothing. Asbestos is a mineral found in rock and soil that is often used in building materials due to its strength and heat resistance. It is most commonly distributed during renovation projects when cutting materials.
Although you should eliminate sources of indoor air pollution, another great way to purify the air is with the use of indoor plants. Indoor plants purify the air by absorbing pollutants through their leaves and increasing oxygen levels. Some of the best plants to add to your living space are ferns, golden pothos, and aloe vera.
Another great way to keep the air pure is to ventilate your home often. Open windows and doors to promote airflow.
2. They Help You Sleep
Like thieves in the night, unseen toxins found in many household products can rob you of your sleep and harm your health in debilitating and sometimes dangerous ways. In addition to cigarette smoke, mold, air-borne bacteria, and dust, toxins emitted by many household products mix with the air you breathe and wreak havoc on your body and mind.
Adding potted plants to your bedroom removes toxins and increases oxygen levels, making the space a healthier place to sleep.
Blood oxygen levels range from 94% to 98%. A drop in blood oxygen levels can cause arousal from sleep. Research indicates that low oxygen levels are linked to restless sleep that leaves you feeling sleepy in the morning. Additionally, when oxygen levels start to drop, carbon dioxide levels build up in the blood. This can lead to morning headaches, fatigue, and sleepiness during the day.
Some of the best plants for improved sleep are English ivy, marginata, chrysanthemum, and Chinese evergreen. And just for the record, a good night’s sleep goes far beyond adding plants to your bedroom. Make the entire space conducive to sleep by decluttering, sleeping on a supportive mattress, and blocking out light.
3. They Reduce Stress
Speaking of restlessness, did you know that plants have the power to calm you?
Research suggests that plants have the ability to stave off stress, elevate mood, and improve cognitive function.
According to a study by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, interaction with indoor plants (like touching and smelling) can reduce physiological and psychological stress. In fact, even the soil can help keep stress levels down. This is because soil contains microbes called "outdoorphins" that serve as natural antidepressants.
“Outdoorphins” boost your mood by releasing cytokines, which leads your brain to produce more serotonin. If soil has the power to cheer you up, you should seriously consider adding some to your home!
Although being outside would be more effective (due to increased exposure to those microbes), being around houseplants can be beneficial too. Some of the best plants for soothing your mind are lavender, jasmine, valerian, gardenia, and rosemary.
4. They Absorb Noise
Privacy hedges have long been used for blocking noise from busy streets. But as it turns out, indoor plants can help absorb some of the racket too. One study found that plants and their leaves absorb refract or reflect background noise, thereby making the environment more comfortable for the occupants (another reason to add them to your bedroom).