Keep Plants in Bedroom (Forget Feng Shui & CO2 Fears)

November 26, 2016

Plants Remove Toxic Chemicals
I’ve been obsessed with houseplants ever since I read How to Grow Fresh Air by B. C. Wolverton eight years ago.

The book talks about the top 50 houseplants that can purify the air from chemicals and toxins like trichloroethylene (found in printer ink, paint, adhesives), formaldehyde (paper towels, synthetic fabrics, facial tissues), benzene (plastics, detergents, pesticides), xylene (tobacco smoke, vehicle exhausts, leather industries) & ammonia (window cleaners, floor waxes, fertilizers).

These plants also of course create oxygen, which we need.

Since then, I’ve kept a whole slew of houseplants in my home and office environments.

No Plants in Bedroom
However, the one place I never kept plants was in my bedroom.

I was simultaneously reading Feng Shui books and they say we should avoid plants where we sleep.

This is because plants produce carbon dioxide (CO2) at nite, which is not beneficial for us. And since plants are alive (yang energy), their aliveness will keep us tossing and turning at night, not giving us proper restful sleep.

So even though I really wanted to keep plants in my bedroom, I resisted.

Vibrant Forest vs Sluggish House
I’ve cultivated a habit of going to forest preserves lately. Just by sitting there for about 20 minutes, I feel calm, relaxed, refreshed, and grounded again.

It’s one of those things that never fails. It works 100% of the time, no matter how stressed and “thinky” I was feeling prior.

I also get sudden creative insights, with my brain making amazing connections with multiple disconnected pieces of knowledge to solve a current challenge I may be having. I’ll get new ideas to write about and more. It’s really the best.

I wanted to know why that does not happen indoors, especially my bedroom. I’m an indoor person by nature but I have to get up and go out to nature to feel good and when I return to the house, I feel sluggish again.

It’s not just me, I notice all my other family members also acting sluggish & tired in the house, though when I mention it to them they don’t agree or realize the issue.

So, I naturally turned to feng shui for solutions. I clutter cleared a lot and enacted many feng shui tips to get the sluggish energy moving in the house.

Still, something was off.
The forest preserve made me feel like a vibrant alive human while the house made me feel disconnected and sick.

To find a solution, I went to the the forest once again and started thinking. Suddenly, I had the inspiration to research indoor sickness. Was that a real thing? Were other people talking about this?

I’m happy to report that this is a real thing!
It’s so real that academics and scientists have a term for it.

Sick Building Syndrome
This is when people get sick indoors, due to poor ventilation, chemical contaminants, or biological irritants (ie: mold).

Many folks complain about feeling ill yet their medical tests come back fine. The most common issues are fatigue, skin/eye/throat/nose irritation, infections, or other health problems. The issues get worse where they live and get better when they move or go out in nature.

The Solution: More Indoor Plants
Ideally we will remove all the issues causing the problems and we should feel better.

Better air ventilation. Removing & reducing chemical and biological irritants. What we need is something to purify & clean the air! And no, I’m not talkin about no stinkin expensive air purifier machines. We can turn to nature for an easy & low cost solution.

According to NASA studies, they recommend keeping one houseplant per 100 square feet of space. So if your home is 1000sq feet, you would keep 10 houseplants inside.

Positive Results of Indoor Plants
According to a Ted Talk by Kamal Meattle (researcher from poor air city New Delhi India) we can keep just three varieties of houseplants to purify & create fresh air.

Areca Palm is known as the “living room plant”.

Mother in Law’s Tongue (snake plant) is known as the “bedroom plant” because it creates oxygen at night.

Money Plant is known as the “specialist plant”.

In his 20 year old, 50,000 sq ft building in Delhi, there are 1200 plants for 300 employees. 4 plants per person, 2.4 plants per 100 sq ft. Productivity has gone up and his place has been ranked as the healthiest building in New Delhi by a government study.

When compared with other buildings, they have reduced eye irritation by 52%, respiratory issues by 34%, headaches by 24%, lung impairment by 12%, asthma by 9%. And also a reduction of building’s energy requirements by 15% because they are creating more of their own fresh air. Blood oxygen levels may also go up for folks sitting inside, a good thing.

CO2 & Plants In Bedroom
Ok, this brings me back to the original issue.

Plants give off C02 at nite, snake plant being an exception. This got me thinking, what else gives off C02 at nite?

Well, humans give off C02 all the time.
So you should definitely not have a mate sleeping in your bedroom! And definitely don’t have your pet cats or dogs sleeping there either! Got kids? Well, it doesn’t matter if they got nightmares and want to sleep in your bed, better kick em and their C02 releasing lungs outta there! Kidding of course, but that puts this issue into perspective.

C02 issue of bedroom plants may be overblown. I can’t imagine plants are giving off more carbon dioxide than another human sleeping next to you. You can find out by a simple experiment. Keep some plants in there and see how well or poorly you sleep. Or if you’re super worried, only keep snake plants in there.

My Bedroom Experiment
I am currently keeping 4 plants in my 324 sq foot bedroom as an experiment to see if I feel better indoors.

2 lucky bamboo plants, 1 money plant, and 1 mother in law’s tongue. These are what we had around the house. I’m also growing some sprouts in a jar (to eat) but keeping them in my room for the extra oxygen release.

Also planning on adding way more plants to our house.
Will update later on the results.

Resources:

How to Grow Fresh Air – amzn
Sick Building Syndrome – wiki
NASA Guide to Air-Filtering Houseplants
Feng Shui of Plants in the Bedroom: Good or Bad Feng Shui? – i got the reminder that people & animals also release co2 (duh!) from this article