Gardening can improve your overall health, offering exercise, stress relief, and exposure to the outdoors. It can be especially helpful for sleep, helping you get the rest you need at night. Outdoor gardening offers the most benefits, but don't overlook the power of air clearing indoor plants, either.
What Gardening Can Do For Your Sleep
By offering benefits for your overall health, outdoor gardening supports healthy sleep. Relieving stress, offering exercise, and getting sunlight exposure can help you rest well.
Outdoor gardening is a relaxing hobby, but it's also hard work. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers outdoor gardening to be moderate physical activity, which can help you maintain a healthy weight and wear you out enough to sleep well at night.
Relieving stress is another way gardening helps with sleep. Gardening can feel like meditation, helping you focus on your gardening tasks instead of stress. When you relieve stress, it's easier to relax and you can have an easier time getting to sleep.
A major way outdoor gardening helps with sleep is in sunlight exposure, essentially light therapy. Your circadian rhythm depends on environmental cues, and one of them is exposure to light. When you spend time outdoors in the sun, you reinforce your circadian rhythm's cue that it's daytime, which is awake and alert time. That can help your body better understand when it's night and time to rest.
Indoor Plants Can Help With Sleep
Outdoor gardening has exceptional health and sleep benefits, but indoor gardening has its benefits, too. Specifically, indoor plants (especially in your bedroom) can help you clear the air and make it easier to breathe and sleep at night.
Your sleep environment influences how well you sleep. That includes your mattress, bedding, bedroom temperature, light, and more. It also includes air quality, meaning the cleanliness of the air you breathe can make it easier or more difficult to sleep well.
Air is full of particles you breathe in and out all night, and some can make your sleep quality suffer, causing airway irritation, even to the point of chronic sleep deprivation. But, indoor plants can help.
You could use an air filter to clear the air, but indoor gardening with air cleaning plants is another way -- or a supplement. In fact NASA research highlights specific plants that can be helpful for clearing the air and removing harmful chemicals from the air you breathe at night.
Plants that can help clear the air include:
- Peace lily
- English ivy
- Bamboo palm
- Gerbera daisies
These plants essentially scrub the air, removing chemicals including formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.
Tending to plants, both indoors and outdoors, can offer benefits for your health and make it easier for you to sleep at night. Spend time outside gardening during the day so you can sleep better at night, and take care of plants indoors that can take care of you by making the air you breathe cleaner.
Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org.