There’s a fine art to creating the ideal sleep environment. Adjusting your room temperature, keeping your bedroom dark, and blocking out noise are some of the most tried-and-true tips that can make a difference in your sleep quality.
According to ancient Indian and Chinese systems, the direction in which you lay your head is also key to good sleep and overall health. Keep reading to find out which direction is best to sleep in.
What’s the best direction to sleep in?
The best direction to place your head is toward the south, according to feng shui, an ancient practice from China, and vastu shastra, an ancient practice from India. Both feng shui and vastu shastra focus on energetic balance, health, and well-being that comes with arranging objects in your personal space.
Why is south the best direction to sleep in?
Feng shui experts believe sleeping with your head facing south corresponds with the earth’s electromagnetic fields and promotes the flow of positive energy, or chi. Your bed should face south too as the placement of each item in your bedroom can significantly impact the chi energy in your space, say feng shui experts.
According to the principles of vastu shastra, meanwhile, energies originating from the south bring fame, goodwill, and deep, heavy, and sound sleep. Sleeping with your head in a southern direction also draws energy into your body instead of outward as is the case when sleeping with your head facing north. As a result, you have a greater chance of obtaining health, happiness, and prosperity if you sleep with your head facing the south, say vastu shastra proponents.
This theory is supported by some recent research. A 2019 study found that participants who slept in a north-south direction experienced significant changes in delta, theta, and alpha brain frequencies and experienced better sleep compared to individuals who slept in an east-west direction.
Plus, according to a 2022 study published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine, sleeping with your head facing south is associated with lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Earlier research even shows some animals, such as cattle and deer, naturally align their bodies in a north-south direction when eating and sleeping.
Can you sleep in other directions?
Sleeping along the north-south axis with your head facing south is ideal, according to the principles of feng shui and vastu shastra. But sleeping with your head facing east can be sufficient. Per the 2022 study from Global Advances in Health and Medicine, sleeping with your head facing east is also associated with lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol.
However, you’ll want to skip sleeping with your head facing north or west to avoid geopathic stress or interference in the earth’s electromagnetic field, which can negatively affect your physical health, according to the principles of feng shui and vastu shastra.
A 2018 study published in the journal Current World Environment finds that being in a geopathic stress zone increases heart rate, which can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. An earlier study published in the Indian Journal of Science and Technology suggests that geopathic stress contributes to depression, nervousness, and fatigue.
According to feng shui, sleeping with your head facing north invites sleep disorders like insomnia and lethargy during the day. In feng shui, the north direction is called the “death position.” This is an adequate description considering chronic insomnia has direct links to many health disorders such as anxiety, depression, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke.
Other Eastern principles to help you sleep
Now that you know the best direction to place your head at night, use the following tips to optimize your sleep environment for maximum benefit.
Arrange your bed strategically
According to feng shui, ideal bed placement allows you to see the bedroom door (while in bed) without being directly in front of or in line with it. This position is known as the commanding position, providing safety and relaxation while encouraging better sleep.
According to Laura Cerrano, certified New York Feng Shui master, the head of the bed should rest against a wall but not under a decorative beam, window, or ceiling fan as all three are known to disrupt chi and contribute to restless sleep. Research shows arranging your bed in adherence to feng shui principles can help reduce geopathic stress that interferes with sleep.
Choose relaxing colors
Painting your bedroom walls in neutral colors such as beige, tan, and cream can help induce a sense of calm, according to feng shui experts. Colors from nature such as green and blue also promote relaxation, according to numerous studies such as this one published in Frontiers of Psychology.
Use the highest quality mattress and bed linens
When possible, purchase bed products made from high-quality, nontoxic materials. “Feng Shui-wise, you want to bring the highest quality, nontoxic, ethically made materials around you,” says Anjie Cho, author of Mindful Homes and co-founder of the Mindful Design Feng Shui School. “Whether that’s the mattress, linens, or your pajamas, if you have things that are not ethically made or have questionable energy, this can be infused in your sleep.”
Store nothing under your bed
According to feng shui and vastu shastra principles, storing things under your bed is a big no-no. “Ideally, you want nothing under the bed,” says Cho. “But if you must store something, it’s best to stick with sleep-related items like pillows, blankets, and linens.” Avoid storing books and shoes under your bed as they stimulate energy, which may disrupt sleep.
Hang calming artwork
Any artwork you hang on your bedroom walls should be uplifting and relaxing. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- No images of water as the central theme. In feng shui, water-focused pictures in the bedroom promote financial trouble.
- No sad or upsetting images as they may encourage unpleasant feelings and negative chi.
- No images featuring just one individual as this represents solitude and loneliness.
Finally, position artwork so it’s the last thing you see before falling asleep and the first thing you see upon waking.
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Is it good to sleep facing east?
Yes, sleeping with your head pointing toward the east is perfectly acceptable. According to vastu shastra, laying your head in this direction can help enhance memory, concentration, and overall health.
Is it better to sleep facing east or west?
Sleeping with your head facing east rather than toward the west is better. According to studies, sleeping in this direction is associated with lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol.
Is it OK to sleep in the west direction?
This is one of the worst sleeping positions you can be in. According to ancient Eastern philosophies, the western direction represents nightmares, restlessness, and disturbed sleep.
The bottom line: If you’re suffering from insomnia and restlessness at night, a little rearrangement of your sleeping position and bed placement may help get you back on track. Use the suggestions mentioned in this article to reclaim your sleep, health, and overall well-being.
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