Certain ‘air-purifying’ plants may help put you to sleep

Some students may stuggle with insomnia. (File Photo Illustration by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

A common stereotype among college students is that they are busy and stressed almost all of the time. This can be attributed to times when it is hard for them to fall asleep, along with the problem of staying asleep. However, this behavior might be more than just a stereotype for your typical college student.

“9.4 percent of American college students reported difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at least three nights per week for at least six months,” according to “Epidemiology of insomnia in college students: relationship with mental health, quality of life and substance use difficulties.

However, there are ways to ease the process of falling asleep at night. One way to ease stress, insomnia and mental wellness is to keep a plant in the bedroom.

“Studies have shown that seeing nature and taking care of it can improve one’s mental health,” Candice Shoemaker, head of the horticulture and human health department, said.

A lack of sleep leads to lower productivity, less energy and poor health, according to DailyHealthPost’s article, “Put these 10 air-purifying plants next to your bed for better sleep.”

The article reports that studies have shown being around nature helps lower cortisol level and blood pressure, as well as boosting immune function and triggering relaxation. Plants also purify the air by absorbing odors that can impact breathing.

“One thing that plants do that people don’t think about is you have to water your plants, so that adds moisture to the air naturally,” Darla Ridder, professional gardener at Horticultural Services Garden Center, said.

DailyHealthPost’s article lists 10 plants that one can place next to their bed at night to aid sleep: jasmine, lavender, snake plant, aloe vera, gardenia, spider plant, Valerian, English ivy, peace lily and golden pothos.

“The snake plant is hard to kill,” Chris Kortge, professional gardener at Horticultural Services Garden Center, said. “It can take a difference in light conditions and its more adaptable.”

Kortge said some plants would not survive all year, such as gardenia and jasmine, because they could not handle the Kansas winters. Lavender would survive the winter, but it would not survive indoors.

Mary Conner, sophomore in horticulture, keeps a Dracaena plant and a Stonecrop plant in her dorm room. Conner said lavender is a great plant to aid sleep, as well as hops, which is an ingredient used to make beer. She said that people can put hops in their pillowcases to help them sleep better at night.

Conner said there are many benefits to caring for a plant, even with a busy schedule.

“A lot of college kids are just learning how to take care of themselves, and I think it’s important to learn how to take care of something else as well,” Conner said. “It also helps you value life a little bit more because you realize that other things depend on you. College students are so busy studying that they don’t really get to spend a lot if time outside, and I think it’s kind of a way to bring the outdoors inside.”