On a scale of 1-10, how would you rank the quality of your sleep? Do you wake up feeling refreshed? Or do you feel completely zapped of energy, as though you never actually slept? Perhaps you toss and turn all night due to active and agitating dreams. You can blame it on the late afternoon chocolate pick-me-up, the glass of Malbec, or the work conflict, but it may actually be your sleeping direction.
Yes, you read that right, according to Vastu Shastra, the traditional Hindu system of architecture, the direction your head points while snoozing can determine how much juice you get out of your slumber.
By now we all know that sleep is extraordinarily important. Not only does a good night’s rest allow us to be nice people, but it also enables the subconscious to perform repair work on the body. Ayurveda asserts that there are three pillars of health: diet, sleep and energy management. Think of these three pillars as the legs of a chair, and if one is falling short, or out of balance, then the whole chair will wobble, as will your health.
Sometimes we do all the right things, unplug the electronics by 8 pm, meditate, gratitude journal and yet, sleep is still elusive. This is where Ayurveda may turn to the ancient wisdom of Vastu for resolution.
Translating as the “science of architecture”, Vastu Shastra is like the Hindu version of Feng Shui. Vastu seeks to balance all 5 elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) by ensuring that all the elements are in proper position and proportion. The intention is to ensure that the dwelling is harmonious, thereby fostering a peaceful, healthy and loving homestead. With the understanding that we are constantly receiving and radiating energy, it is critical to sleep in an orientation that is conducive to propagating quality energy. Please note, when considering the direction of the head while sleeping, this placement refers to the direction the top of the noggin is pointing when supine.
Without further adieu, let’s investigate the best sleep options per vastu.
To quote the great Dr. Vasant Lad, “Only dead people sleep pointing north.” It is Hindu custom to arrange a corpse so that the head of the deceased is pointing north until cremation. They believe that north is the route that the soul takes to exit the body. Because of this notion, it is thought that north sleeping is only desirable for lucid dreaming and astral travel, otherwise sleeping with the head towards the north is ill advised due to earth’s magnetism.
As rug-rats we learned that the earth has a magnetic pole extending from north to south, with the positive pole in the north and the negative pole in the south. It has been suggested that the human being is also like a magnetic pole with the top of the head positively charged and the bottom of the feet negatively charged. If you grab two magnets and try to place the positive poles together they repel like a vampire on a sunny beach. Similarly, if you lay with your head to the north, there are 2 positive poles at work creating a riveting skirmish. Sadly, the earth’s pole will always win as it is greater and we will wake up feeling exhausted from this subconscious battle that has been ensuing all night. This magnetic phenomenon is also thought to effect the circulation of blood causing stress, illness and inevitably disturbing the mind. If you sleep with your head to the north you may experience the following:
- Lack of emotional stability
- Diminished willpower
- Physical ailments
Lastly, according to Dr. Robert Svoboda, “ Sleeping with your head into the north draws energy out of the body, disturbing body-mind-spirit integration.” Moral of the story? Don’t sleep north.
For all you students out there, east is your ideal sleep direction. According to vastu, sleeping with your head pointing east is a boon for any academic pursuits. It boost memory, increases concentration and promotes meditative sleep, resulting in good health. East is recommended for scholars, teachers and those looking for fresh career opportunities or promotions. The quality of this sleep is thought to make a person feel powerful and energized. In addition, this is the position suggested for those hoping to overcome any health related obstacles.
Sleeping west is a mixed bag. Many suggest that sleeping west is ideal for those that are success driven, striving for fame, wealth and a stellar reputation. If your goal is to take over the world and have 1.4 million followers on Instagram, go west. Other sources suggest that west is a neutral sleeping position, while some say west is not ideal and promotes active and unsettling dreams. Allegedly, those dedicated to the science of vastu shastra purposely have their guest bedroom equip with a bed pointing west. As a result their company does not achieve a restful night’s rest, thus, lacking rejuvenating sleep they will not be inclined to overstay their welcome. Smart.
According to vastu shastra, south is the winner. South is ruled by the Hindu god Yama, therefore if one wants to have the heavy and deep sleep of death, sleep south. Going back to the magnetic pole theory, since there is a mutual attraction happening (head positive, south negative), there is a harmonious exchange that does not leave one feeling depleted and exhausted. Sleeping south is thought to help draw the energy into the body, rather than out in the case of north, resulting in better health. This direction also promote happiness and prosperity. Let’s face, who isn’t happy when they’ve slept like a log?
So there you have it, some vastu 101. To sum things up with more wisdom from Dr. Robert Svoboda, “Sleeping with your head into the west or north opposes sleep’s chief goal, which is to maximize rest and recuperation.”
Experiment with the position of your bed and see what happens. I’ve had a handful of friends switch their sleeping position from north to south and found immediate relief from restless nights.
Your partner, pet or plants may not love you rearranging the furniture on the reg, but just explain that your happiness and prosperity will soar with this new reconfiguration. Sweet dreams!