12/07/2019

Houseplants that can improve our wellbeing as we age

Ageing is an unavoidable part of life, and with many older people complaining of aches, pains and poor health as they age, it's important that you do all you can to preserve and improve your wellbeing over the years. And, incorporating houseplants can do just this. Here, Nicky Roeber, Online Horticultural Expert at Wyevale Garden Centres shares some of the benefits that plants can have when you're ageing.

Adding houseplants to your home can have more of an impact than just aesthetics, with just some of the benefits of these including better pain management and purified air quality. With ageing bringing health issues including breathing and joint problems, incorporating plants can be a natural solution to easing pain or discomfort, and improving your wellbeing over the years to come. 


Plants that contribute to better sleep quality


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It's not uncommon for the ageing population to struggle with sleep, with a report from The Sleep Foundation stating that, over time, older adults can experience a shift in their sleep pattern. This change can be a result of many things including physical and psychiatric illnesses and the medications used to treat these. Similarly, as you age, your circadian rhythm — your body clock which regulates your waking and sleeping hours — may be impacted, which means you could feel more tired early in the evening and more awake in the small hours of the morning. 

If you're looking to boost your sleep quality, consider adding some snake plants into your bedroom. These plants help to regulate the air temperature — which can seriously reduce the hours of good sleep you get if it's too high — and create a more comfortable sleeping environment. 


Plants that reduce aches and pains 

Increased aches and pains are commonplace for older adults, as the ligaments and tendons that hold your joints become stiffer. But, on top of this, complex health problems can cause physical pain and inflammation, as well as an increased prevalence of headaches. None of this is pleasant to experience, but it can be managed.

A natural way of doing so is to add plants like feverfew to your home. This specific plant looks beautiful in any area and will act as a decorative element in your bedroom, yet its leaves can be added to hot water as a natural way of relieving and curbing headaches. 

Similarly, plants that regulate indoor humidity can have the same effect as they minimise the pollution in your immediate environment as well as any strong odours, both of which can be main triggers for headaches and migraines. Plus, as these plants are all great to look at, they make a great distraction from any other pains you may be experiencing. This is supported by a U.S study that showed ornamental indoor plants can enhance the recovery period of hospital patients. It found that those with plants in their room had more positive physiological responses than the control group (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine). 

Plants that increase positive thoughts


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It isn't always easy to stay positive when you are experiencing signs of getting old, particularly if you're in pain or feeling a little down. But, luckily, there are many bright and beautiful plants that you can incorporate into your home to increase the amount of positive thoughts you have. This in turn could improve other aspects of your health, including your sleep pattern. 

Try relaxing your mind with stunning and fragrant lavender plants. The scent contains a chemical called linalool which has been found to significantly reduce anxiety in mice (Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience). Additionally, the scent from jasmine plants is said to positively affect the limbic system — the area of the brain that controls emotion — which raises your spirits and makes you feel happier. 


Plants that improve ease of breathing

Seniors tend to be more susceptible to breathing problems than other age groups due to the increased prevalence of heart and lung diseases, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which causes shortness of breath. While this is all part of getting older, ensuring the air around you is as pure as possible can help ease your breathing.  

A peace lily is more than just an attractive houseplant, with a report from NASA naming it as one of the best indoor plants for removing harmful toxins and clearing the air in your home for better breathing. These plants have also been proven to combat harmful household chemicals, including those which are cancer-causing carcinogens like benzene. Plus, as it's effective at removing mould spores, you can rest assured that your air is being purified before you breathe it in. 

Additionally, areca palm is an exotic-looking plant that will look great in your home but it will also have a powerful influence on your wellbeing. It releases moisture into the air which can help clear any colds and sinus problems, aiding your breathing.


Houseplants look great, but they'll also make you feel good even as you age. With advantages such as air purification, pain relief and improved sleep quality, they will be fantastic at helping you feel your best for longer.  

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