Can indoor plants be kept in the bedroom?

Can indoor plants be kept in the bedroom

Houseplants bring brightness and life to wherever they are placed. They are super boosters of mood, enhance creativity, reduce stress levels and increase productivity.

Apart from all this, indoor plants bring tranquillity, maintain indoor humidity levels, produce oxygen and naturally filter air pollutants. They are quite a multi-tasker taking care of you inside out.

Despite these vast positive benefits, when it comes to keeping plants in the bedroom, there is divided opinion.

One of the common misconceptions is that you can not keep indoor plants in your bedroom. While it’s true that many plants release carbon dioxide at night, there are also some plants that are safe to keep in the bedroom.

In this article, let me tell you all the facts and what you need to keep in mind when planning to keep indoor plants in the bedroom.

Arguments supporting keeping plants in Bedroom

There are many benefits to keeping indoor plants in the bedroom. Let’s quickly have a look at some of these::

Oxygen, CO2 produced by bedroom plants is harmless

On the other hand, other human beings along with us and our pets produce more carbon dioxide than the plants do. Another thing is, the levels of oxygen and CO2 rise and fall through various times of the day.

The highest oxygen reading was actually in the first few hours of the day as the plants changed over from the respiration cycle.

Others state that carbon dioxide in small amounts is relatively harmless.

Bedroom plants improve air quality

Keeping indoor plants in the bedroom improves air quality by providing humidity and filtering toxins. Dry air is a cause of many respiratory problems like sore throat, cough, etc.

Indoor plants help curb that by transpiration, a process by which they emit water vapor into the atmosphere.

If you live in a damp, moist area, plants have the ability to act as a natural dehumidifier. They have an ingenious ability to absorb excess moisture in the air through their leaves. The net result is less humid. Examples are ferns, palms which thrive in tropical areas.

It is proven scientifically that apart from giving fresh oxygen and increasing humidity, plants produce negative ions similar to air purifying machines. The negative ions attach themselves to, and effectively remove, any particle in the air like dust, mold spores, bacteria, and allergens.

The presence of negative ions has also been shown to increase psychological health, productivity and overall well being.

Indoor houseplants also help in filtering indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene and benzene. Here is a list of houseplants which filter air pollutants according to NASA.

You can choose the one which is ideal for your bedroom according to the amount of light available in your bedroom.

Bedroom Plants can Improve Health 

There are some plants which have medicinal benefits when placed in bedrooms. Yup! For example, Jasmine and lavender when inhaled before and while sleeping have shown to have a calming effect for those suffering from anxiety and help people sleep.

According to German research, the fragrance from the gardenia plant enhances the activity of neurotransmitter GABA and helps in sleep.

A study from Kansas state university found people who had undergone surgery, when foliage and flowering plants were kept in their bedroom, had lower bp, lower ratings of pain reduced anxiety and felt positive.

Keeping plants indoors have a lot of psychological benefits. It improves well being, fights depression and loneliness. It enhances creativity, reduces anxiety, stress, and fatigue and makes one clear-headed and productive.

And what better place to keep it then your inner sanctity and comfort zone- your bedroom. I have written an article detailing all the studies about the psychological benefits of indoor plants.

Here are our top picks for plants to be kept in the bedroom:

  • Snake plant
  • Rubber plant
  • Pothos
  • Spider plant
  • English ivy
  • Philodendron
  •  Aloe vera.
Related Read: 10 Best Bedroom Plants to Help You Sleep Better

Arguments against keeping plants in Bedroom

Just like anything, there is also a side of keeping indoor plants in the bedroom that you should be cautious about.

Excess of CO2 concentration can be harmful 

Some say it may be harmful. The reason being that, like us, plants respire. They emit carbon dioxide at night as a reverse response to photosynthesis. According to the University of California, Santa Barbara, plants give off about half of the carbon dioxide that they absorb in their lifetime.

As the night progresses, the carbon dioxide concentration will increase. This can cause hypercapnia, a condition in which there is an abnormally high concentration of carbon dioxide in your blood.

This triggers a reflex that increases your breathing pattern to access more oxygen. A person tends to over breathe, with short and frequent breaths, to compensate for higher levels of carbon dioxide. A person tends to turn the head or move around trying to inhale more oxygen.

According to a study conducted by the National center of biotechnology information, mild hypercapnia (2% increase of CO2) increased sleep duration. However, a 6% increase in CO2 worsened sleep parameters. The duration of wakefulness increased by 24%.

Excessive oxygen prevents deep slumber

Next, about those plants which give off oxygen at night. While they remove the carbon dioxide content in the bedroom, they tend to increase oxygen content. While we require oxygen to stay alert and focused, we don’t need a lot of oxygen at night.

In fact, deep breathing, in which we inhale large quantities of oxygen, is a natural practice used to stay awake and alert. Large quantities of oxygen will stimulate blood circulation to give us more energy

This way, a person is more likely to be alert and energetic when having bedroom plants at night and will not be able to go into a deep slumber.

Now, knowing that too much carbon dioxide and oxygen levels have a negative impact on our sleep, the question arises, is that much CO2 or oxygen produced by bedroom plants?

It all boils down to 3 things: the size of the bedroom, the number of plants in the bedroom and the type of plants placed in the bedroom ( whether they emit oxygen or CO2).

The more plants, the more is their ability to alter air quality. The bigger the size of the bedroom, the more air there is for plants to alter.

Home environments can damage the bedroom plants

Some provide arguments looking at nature. They say that plants don’t grow inside caves ( a natural bedroom of sorts), not even near the mouth of the cave.

Our home environments can cause damage to the plant wellness. This is especially true in sealed homes in winters, where there is a lack of fresh air, central heating, and cold draughts.

Bedroom Plants can cause allergies and can be poisonous to pets

According to dr alan redding, an allergist in healthcare in Georgia, indoor houseplants can have molds in their soil. This is not a bad thing but if you end up getting a runny nose and watery eyes, then you are reacting to the mold and have an allergy to it.

Do not keep toxic houseplants in your bedroom if you have young children or pets. Some varieties of plants can be extremely dangerous to furry friends when ingested.

Always check whether your preferred plant is poisonous or not to pets and young children.

Keeping plants in bedrooms can cause a mess

Keeping houseplants in the bedroom can be quite messy as plants need fertilizer and water. It can cause overspills or occasional mess if the pot is overturned accidentally on a bedside table or near electric items. Plants needing sunshine will need constant open windows and balconies which can bring other pests inside as well.

Pests can easily get attracted to plants inside the bedroom and cause a nuisance to the people inside

Lastly, if you are superstitious, according to feng shui, you should not keep plants in the bedroom. According to them, anything which grows and produces energy while you are sleeping is detrimental to calm atmosphere required for sleep.

Conclusion 

I would strongly advise you to know your plant requirements and place accordingly inside your bedroom. If you are allergic to any of them or to molds in soil, skip putting them in the bedroom.

Similarly, if you have sealed rooms with central cooling or heating, avoid growing them in bedrooms.

Another thing to look out for is plant diseases and pests. That can cause nuisance and harm to the growers of the plant and can also damage other houseplants. Choose the one which is strong, sturdy and pest resistant preferably.

If you have minimum sunlight, go for low light plants or use artificial grow lights. If you have a bright bedroom with lots of sunshine, go for sun-loving plants like aloe vera.

Keep your plant clean, healthy and strong by providing the right conditions for it akin to its native habitat. This will prevent the plant from falling sick and getting infested with pests. There are some signs with the help of which plants will tell you whether they are happy in your bedroom or not. Some signs include drooping or curling of leaves, increase in internodal distance (the distance of stem between two leaves), tall lanky appearance, yellow leaves, falling of leaves etc.

I conclude the matter by handing over to you- whether or not to place plants inside the bedroom. My opinion is that the pros and cons are equally strong.

However, the pros of keeping indoor plants in the bedroom outweigh the cons.

I would suggest placing a few like 2-3 houseplants in the bedroom and not more. After all, nothing gives more joy than seeing beautiful plants in your bedroom after a long and tiring day.

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