Surely you have more than once (and more than twice) been warned about the risks to your health sleeping in a room where plants are present as a decorative element.
This traditional belief assumes that plants will use all the oxygen in the room., necessary also for the breathing of human beings, leaving us without sufficient quantity for us.
The popular belief that plants “steal” oxygen from us is widely held.or, but how much is true? Next, we will analyze how plants act in some of their biological functions and what it can actually mean for us to share a space.
The biological functions of plants
Plants are living things and therefore will have certain vital functions to perform in order to survive, and there are mainly three of them: nutrition, relationships and reproduction. Some of the processes they perform to perform these vital functions, primarily nutrition, and which we will give special attention to today, are photosynthesis and respiration.
Photosynthesis is a process carried out by plants, algae, and certain types of bacteria, in a specific organelle called a chloroplast.. In general, during this process, plants will harness the energy obtained from sunlight for the production of organic matter from inorganic matter.
To obtain these final organic products, plants need to use inorganic compounds, in this case carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O), which they take from the air and from the soil.
From them and light energy, they will get chemical energy, which will be stored in the form of carbohydrates or sugars, like glucose, which will serve as an energy source for the plant. This whole process of photosynthesis is accompanied, in plants, by the release of another compound in the environment, oxygen (O2), fundamental for most life forms on planet Earth.
For its part, plant respiration is defined as the set of reactions that occur in plant organelles, mitochondria, through which carbohydrates that were synthesized during photosynthesis are converted back into inorganic molecules (carbon dioxide and water).
In these reactions, energy will be released, which is stored in an energy intermediate, ATP (adenosine triphosphate), to ultimately be used by the plant to perform its vital functions (growth of organs, transport of compounds and processes of repair, others).
Is it bad to sleep in rooms with plants?
Plants photosynthesize throughout the day, although one might think that they need sun, and therefore it would pass only during daylight hours. This is because during this process there are two types of reactions, those that depend on sunlight and those that are independent of it.
Likewise, plants produce their own respiratory reactions continuously, day and night. This respiratory reaction is what they perform in a similar way to us, taking in oxygen (O2) and releasing carbon dioxide (CO2), and so this is where we need to look to see if plants are really real competitors for obtaining “our” oxygen.
How do these plant processes affect us?
From what our popular thinking says about the negative of sleeping in a room where there are plants, the first thing we need to consider is why we only care part of the day, the night.
As we saw above, the process by which plants “compete” for oxygen in the environment is respiration, and this reaction occurs continuously throughout the day, so that in case of concern (which we will now see for no reason), should be 24 hours a day.
Also, the key point that makes us reject plants as enemies to share a room with is the volume of oxygen they consume. Unlike what happens to us humans, plants consume minute volumes of oxygen than a person could consume, so their company does not harm us. If you share a room with another person, who consumes about 2-3% of the oxygen present during your stay at night, it is not harmful to us, imagine with a plant, which consumes about 0.1% of the oxygen that may be in the chamber.
Finally, if the small amount of oxygen that plants produce is not small, it should be borne in mind that in general, the number of plants that we can have in a room is quite small. By this we mean that even if we do not have a good number of plants in our room, the sum of the expenditure on oxygen that we make would be sufficient to jeopardize the amount of oxygen that would be available to cover our respiratory needs during the night.
Positive effects of having plants in the room
Once we have refuted the information that makes us famous about this famous myth, we will go a little further to move away from these negative effects traditionally posed, to analyze the possible positive effects that the presence of plants in our rooms can bring us. .
On the one hand, they will help create a good atmosphere in our room, as a decorative element, will generate a very pleasant climate and provide a feeling of vitality and freshness that can generate a very positive impact on us, influencing our mood.
In the same way, many of them give off scents that will create a feeling of good smell in our stay. In addition, thanks to these smells can promote better quality rest for us and the disappearance of those annoying insects that appear in our room, thanks to the fact that some have compounds that act as natural repellants.
Examples of plants having a positive impact on our environment
Finally, once we see that plants are good roommates, we want to exemplify some of them, capable of bringing us positive aspects, beyond their aesthetics, whether by promoting our well-being. being, our rest or helping to eliminate the insects that roam our rooms, especially during the summer months.
1. Aloe vera
Aloe vera (or leaf) is a great ally for our homes. In addition to the known anti-inflammatory and nutritional properties for our body, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has shown that this plant is able to purify the air in our rooms, improving its quality and acting against harmful pollutants present in our daily life as formaldehyde and benzene. All you will need is aloe vera to bring us these positive effects is a very bright corner of our stay and we provide you with the necessary water, which is not too much in this case.
Basil is an aromatic plant which, in addition to being a key element in the cuisine of many regions, has traditionally been used as mosquito repellent. In addition to scaring these insects, he is able to prevent the growth of their larvae, so that with the presence of our basil in the rooms of our house, we can rest from those annoying insects that bother us so much, especially in summer .
Lavender flowers have a very fresh aroma, which will create a very pleasant atmosphere in the rooms of our house. In addition to its beauty and good aroma, this plant will allow us to keep unwanted insects away from the house, such as moths, flies and mosquitoes.
On the other hand, dried flowers have countless uses, both for decorative purposes and to perfume the interior of our furniture and cabinets with aromatic bags.
- Photosynthesis (sf). National Geographic. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/photosynthesis/
- Ribas-Carbó, M. and collaborators (2013). The respiration of plants. In Azcón-Bieto, J. and Taló, M., Fundamentals of Plant Physiology (pp. 265-285). Mc Graw Hill.