Gardening is more than a mere hobby. Gardening has been increasingly recognized for its profound ability to improve sleep quality. This connection is rooted in a blend of physical activity, exposure to natural light and nature, and mental tranquillity. Gardening is an inherently mindful activity. Each task demands our full attention, drawing us away from the stresses of modern life and into the present moment. This mindfulness helps to quiet the mind’s incessant chatter. As we focus on the rhythmic motions of gardening, our minds find respite from stress and worry. This mental calmness is crucial for unwinding at the end of the day, making it easier to drift into a deep, rejuvenating sleep.

This year, I had the privilege of participating in the esteemed Scottish Garden Design Competition held in Scone Palace on 31st May -1st June, where I unveiled my sleep-themed garden, “Cozy Slumber Corner.”

This garden was intended to celebrate the wonders of sleep by showcasing medicinal herbs used as sleep remedies throughout the history of humankind and by create a space where visitors could escape the hustle of daily life and embrace a moment of peaceful repose.

Through “Cozy Slumber Corner,” I hoped to raise awareness about the importance of sleep health and stimulate conversations surrounding this often-overlooked aspect of well-being. By creating a garden dedicated to the theme of restful sleep, I aimed to highlight how environments rich in natural beauty and tranquillity can promote better sleep habits. I envisioned my garden as a catalyst for discussions about how our daily practices, stress levels, and environments impact sleep quality.

To my delight, “Cozy Slumber Corner” was awarded a prestigious gold medal by judges renowned for their expertise at the Chelsea Flower Show and was honoured with the second-best in show, receiving the highly commended prize.

I was positively overwhelmed by the enthusiastic feedback from visitors and the numerous questions about the garden’s concept, the types of plants used, and the connection to sleep. It was incredibly gratifying to see so many people not only appreciating the aesthetic beauty of “Cozy Slumber Corner” but also engaging deeply with its underlying message.

The curiosity and interest expressed by so many reinforced the idea that people are eager to improve their sleep health and recognize the role that nature can play in this endeavour. These interactions were the highlight of my experience, as they confirmed that the garden was successful in sparking important conversations about sleep and well-being.

I have an ultimate dream of creating a sleep-themed show garden on behalf of the British Sleep Society at the renowned Chelsea Flower Show. This garden will serve as a powerful platform to raise awareness about British Sleep Society, about  the critical importance of sleep health and demonstrate how thoughtfully designed outdoor spaces can promote better sleep. We have secured an agreement with a professional garden designer to collaborate on this project. However, bringing a show garden to life at the Chelsea Flower Show requires a substantial budget. Therefore, I am appealing to all members for their support with fundraising suggestions and ideas.

If you have potential contacts for fundraising, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Your connections could be invaluable in helping us secure the necessary resources to bring this ambitious project to fruition. Whether it’s corporations interested in sponsoring a high-profile garden, philanthropic organizations focused on health and well-being, or individuals passionate about the importance of sleep, every contact could make a significant difference. Please get in touch with any leads, ideas, or suggestions you might have, as your support and network are crucial to our success. Together, we can create a garden that not only captivates visitors but also educates and inspires them about the vital role of sleep in our lives.

Written by Dr Olga Runcie