In trying to get all the work done, meeting daily goal posts, managing chores, making time for relationships, and even relaxation and binge-watching, the first casualty is typically sleep. I hear a lot of you sigh at this point. But get this—sleep helps your body repair on a molecular level, works your neurological and digestive system, and helps your liver perform its function optimally.
When you are well-rested, you perform on another level. You are dynamic, productive, and ready to take on more. You are able to think faster, clearer, and focus better. Not getting enough sleep affects the immune system, heart, blood pressure, breathing, and hunger, apart from ruining the day. You may now be wondering, “how do I know if my sleep quality is good enough?”
What makes a good night’s sleep?
Ideally, when you are sleeping for eight hours, you go through 4–5 sleep cycles that have two components: deep sleep and REM, or rapid eye movement. The REM part of each cycle gets longer the longer you are asleep, which is how it should be. Adults need about eight hours of sleep and infants can sleep for up to 16 hours. If you are a regular practitioner of meditation, 5–6 hours of sleep may suffice. Meditation gives you deep rest equivalent to about four hours of good sleep.
Why do you need good sleep?
Lack of restful sleep can lead to weight gain. Studies have found that sleep deprivation can lead to increases in late-night snacking (and you’re more likely to choose high-carb, high-fat snacks!) and decreases in physical activity. Also, people deprived of proper sleep tend to eat larger portions.
People who sleep less increase their risks of heart disease. Studies have also shown a strong correlation between lack of sleep and the onset of pre-diabetes. Inflammation and inflammatory diseases can get worse or recur due to lack of sleep.
You need sleep for your brain to function optimally. You need good sleep for mental health too. A prolonged lack of sleep is also related to depression. When you have slept well the previous night, your mood is positive and you feel optimistic, setting the tone for the day ahead.
You may do everything you have been told by your sleep doctor—getting to bed at a decent hour, logging off screens two hours prior to bed, drinking copious amounts of turmeric and milk, soaking your feet in Epsom salts, and yet sleep continues to evade you, or the quality of your sleep still suffers.
You could be sleeping in the wrong direction. As quirky as this may sound, a whole lot of people search the internet about which direction to sleep they should be sleeping in—we are here to give you that answer.
Does the Direction I Sleep in Matter?
Not all of the four cardinal directions—north, south, east, and west—are considered favorable for a good night’s sleep. Vastu Shastra, the Indian science of architecture, is the science of creating harmony among the five elements in the atmosphere by aligning matter in the right direction and spaces for the most favorable outcomes, e.g., happiness at home, more financial success in the workplace, better relationships, health, and harmony.
According to Vastu Shastra, for the best sleep your head should be directed south or east, and feet north or west. Each direction has its own advantages, based on what you are looking for in life.
If you are into studies or academics, sleep with your head in the east direction. This is said to improve memory and focus, while the quality of sleep is deep and meditative. Sleeping in this direction is said to make one feel powerful and full of vitality. So, if you are starting out or are a student, professor, or researcher, this is the direction that will benefit you the most.
For people looking for fame, power, money, and prestige, west is your direction your head should be pointing. Some Vastu experts disagree with this notion; it is said to cause restless dreaming and hyperactivity in sleep, which means you do not get the type of sleep you would ideally want.
Vastu strongly recommends against sleeping in the north-south direction because of the Earth’s magnetism principle at work.
Earth’s Magnetic Pole and Your Sleep
Though this explanation needs more scientific research, it is one of the most widely accepted principles in Vastu Shastra. The Earth’s magnetic pole extends north-south, with the north end being positively charged and the south pole being negatively charged. We know that when two magnets are near each other, the positive attracts the negative end and repels the positive end of the other magnet. It is believed that human beings also have a magnetic field around them which extends in the north-south direction. When we sleep with our head facing south, the subtle attraction between the opposing magnetic forces becomes conducive for a good night’s sleep. Vastu experts also say that sleeping in the direction of the south improves blood pressure and brings health and happiness.
More Sleeping Suggestions from Vastu Shastra
- Keeping electronics out of your room.
- Avoid mirrors facing in front of the bed.
- Remove clutter from your bedroom.
- Paint the walls light colors—white, cream, or light earth tones.
The Best Direction to Sleep According to Feng Shui
The ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui talks about the sleeping space in terms of how the life force energy or chi interacts with how and in which direction you sleep, and its impact on the quality of your sleep. For example, Feng Shui experts believe that the chi or life energy enters and exists a room through windows and doors. Placing the bed opposite the door is a big no-no in Feng Shui. The logic being, this makes you more vulnerable and you already are vulnerable in your sleep. Sleeping right opposite the door may invite subconscious worrying about safety and security. So make sure your bed placement is not blocking this pathway. Feng Shui, like Vastu Shastra, needs more scientific backing, though it is a time-tested field of study of life force and how it interacts with humans and their environment.
More Sleep Suggestions from Feng Shui
- Feng Shui also talks about the bed being placed in a commanding position, that is in a position, where you can see the door, and yet you are not directly opposite the door. Placing it diagonally to the door is ideal.
- Avoid clutter in your sleeping area.
- Avoid having your feet straight in the direction of the door. This is called the coffin position.
- Bookshelves and mirrors should not be aligned with your bed.
- The bed should be by a wall, but not by a window.
- Avoid sleeping directly under a beam or ceiling fan.
- Avoid having any open shelves behind the bed. They symbolize knives and people attacking or talking ill behind your back.
- The headboard should not share a wall with the bathroom.
- There should not be a mirror facing the bed. This is said to invite extra-marital affairs for those in relationships, or deeper loneliness for people who are single.
- The bed should have access from more than one side. That is it should be open from as many sides as possible, though make sure it is not without the support of a wall.
While there is still research that needs to be done on Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra practices, it won’t hurt to try some of these suggestions to see if you notice a difference.
Be sure to see a doctor if you’re still unable to get a good night’s sleep despite everything you’ve tried so they can rule out possible underlying causes of sleep issues. Not getting enough sleep can affect every facet of your life, including relationships, work, mental and physical health.