Stress & Anxiety | Written by: Jessica Chen

Should You Keep Plants in Your Bedroom?

When looking up bedroom inspo on Instagram or Pinterest, it’s common to see beautifully decorated spaces adorned by plants. Think of those bedrooms with a big bed with white sheets, surrounded by plants that give the room that perfectly social media-ready, all-natural ambience. 

However, while the pictures look amazing, how practical is it to have plants in your bedroom?

If you’ve been thinking of adding some plant life to your sleeping space, here are some things to consider before heading to your local flower market:

The Benefits of Keeping Plants in Your Bedroom

If you’ve been feeling inspired by pictures of plant-filled bedrooms on social media for purely aesthetic reasons, you might be surprised at the potential health benefits that these bedroom plants can also bring to your life. 

1. They filter the air

You may remember from science class that plants undergo photosynthesis, where they use energy from sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen. 

Because of this process, plants have the ability to filter the air, an ability that even NASA acknowledges in a 1989 clean air study that looked into if indoor plants can reduce air pollutants. 

This ability to purify the air is actually really important since houses may contain building materials or machinery that generates air pollution. By keeping plants in your bedroom, you’ll have a filtering system in place that produces cleaner air for you to breathe, and may even help fight allergies

2. They reduce stress levels

With stress being the root of many physical and mental issues that people face nowadays, anything that reduces stress levels is a welcome change. 

According to a study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, interacting with plants caused a group of young men to feel “more comfortable, soothed, and natural”. 

This means that tending to plants in your bedroom has probable mental health benefits, and can help you wind down after a stressful day. Even the simple act of touching plant leaves was seen to provide some stress relief.

3. They regulate humidity

Many people spend most of their lives indoors. Because of this, we often find ourselves in rooms with dry air that’s been cycled through ventilation systems. Usually, these systems strip the air of both heat and moisture, which causes discomfort in the form of dry skin or eyes.

However, plants counteract this effect. Because plants transpire, a process where plants release water vapor into the air after absorbing water from the soil through its roots, they have the ability to re-infuse the air with moisture. 

By keeping bedroom plants, you can alleviate your symptoms and ensure that the air in your room has a proper amount of humidity, even if you run the air conditioner all day.

4. They dampen noise

If you’ve gone hiking in the woods, you’ve probably experienced the peace and quiet that being in the midst of plant life brings. Even if the woods are located near a major roadway, you can barely hear the hustle and bustle of civilization. This is because the trees and foliage have absorbed the noise. 

Plants also help with sound deflection. In a room contained by rigid walls, sound bounces off them, which creates a noisy environment. Plants create a flexible surface that allows the sound to vibrate and convert to another form of energy, greatly reducing the noise in a room.

With these important noise dampening properties, by having plants in your bedroom, you create a quiet environment that helps you sleep.

The Cons of Bedroom Plants

Despite all these advantages to bedroom plants, there are some downsides to having them as well. These concerns are important to keep in mind as you’re deciding whether bedroom plants are a good idea.

1. They can be high maintenance

Similar to taking care of a pet, plants are living organisms, too. That means that, depending on the plant, you may have to pay close attention when tending to it. 

Some plants, such as irises, require a lot of water, which means that you’ll have to remember to consistently water it. Others require a specific environment, such as a certain level of humidity, temperature, soil, or light, to thrive. So before buying your new plant, remember to do your research, so you know what the plant needs.

2. They can be dangerous to your pets

If you’re a cat or dog lover, you may want to stay away from keeping houseplants. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), consuming basically any plants could potentially cause vomiting or gastrointestinal issues for cats or dogs. 

This means that if you own pets, it may be best to forgo the bedroom plant trend to avoid accidentally poisoning your furry friends.

Houseplants that are known to be poisonous to cats and dogs are: the sago palm, tulips, azaleas, and lilies.

3. They can attract insects and bugs

Since plants are part of the natural world, it’s not hard to imagine that they can also support life. When bringing plants home from the market or nursery, check your new succulent for hidden insects and bugs. 

Pests such as fungus gnats and spiders love hiding among the leaves, and may even lay eggs there that will eventually mature to escalate infestation levels further. 

A good way to prevent bugs and insects from taking over your home is to hose down your plant right when you take it home. But for those who are absolutely terrified of critters, to be absolutely safe, just don’t bring a plant home at all. 

4. They can affect your sleep

In science class, you may have learned that plants “breathe out” oxygen as part of photosynthesis. However, what most might not know is that certain plants actually respire carbon dioxide in the nighttime due to the lack of daylight. 

As explained in this article, if your bedroom is filled with plants that breathe out carbon dioxide at night, it may cause you to have too much carbon dioxide in your blood, triggering hypercapnia so your body can gain enough oxygen. 

Because of hypercapnia, you may find yourself taking shorter breaths and turning in your sleep, which affects your sleep quality and may even suddenly wake you up in the middle of the night.

Luckily, not all plants exhale carbon dioxide after dark. But to avoid unwittingly giving yourself bad nights of sleep, research a plant’s breathing patterns before purchasing it for your bedroom.

Best Bedroom Plants for Your Circumstances

If you feel that bedroom plants are the right move for you, you may be wondering what are indoor plants you should get. After all, not all plants are the same, and some may not be suitable for your living situation.

To help you out, here are the best plants to buy, depending on your living arrangements:

Best bedroom plants for low light

  • Snake Plant
  • Pothos
  • Maidenhair Fern
  • Elephant's Ear
  • Cast Iron Plant

Best bedroom plants for oxygen at night

  • Spider Plant
  • Peace Lily
  • Aloe Vera
  • Orchids
  • Neem Tree

Best bedroom plants to purify air

  • Areca Palm
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Boston Fern
  • Bamboo Palm
  • English Ivy

Best bedroom plants for small spaces

  • Air Plant
  • Anthurium
  • Chinese Money Plants
  • Jade Plants
  • Coffee Plant

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