On a scale of one to 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 wine, or the conflict at work, but it might actually be your sleeping direction.
Yes, you read that right. According to vastu shastra, the traditional Hindu “science of architecture” (sort of like the Hindu version of feng shui), the direction in which your head points while you sleep can determine how much restoration you get out of your Z\’s.
By now, we all know that sleep is extraordinarily important. Not only does a good night’s rest help us to be nicer people, 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; if one is 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 8:00 pm, meditate, do some gratitude journaling—and yet, sleep is still elusive. This is where Ayurveda might turn to the ancient wisdom of vastu shastra for resolution.
Vastu shastra seeks to balance the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether) by ensuring that they are in proper position and proportion. The intention is to create a harmonious, peaceful, and healthy home. With the understanding that we are constantly receiving and radiating energy, it is critical to sleep in an orientation that is conducive to promoting quality energy.
Without further delay, let’s investigate the best sleep options per vastu shastra. Please note that placement refers to the direction in which the top of the head is pointing when laying on your back.
To quote the great 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. The Hindu belief is that north is the route that the soul takes to exit the body. Because of this notion, northward sleeping is thought to be desirable only for lucid dreaming and astral travel; otherwise, sleeping with the head toward the north is ill advised due to the earth’s magnetism.
As rug rats, we learned that the earth has a magnetic pole extending from north to south, with the positive pole to the north and the negative pole to the south. Consider the idea 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 or push against each other. Similarly, if you lay with your head to the north, there are two 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 magnetic battle that has been raging all night.
This magnetic phenomenon is also thought to affect the circulation of blood, causing stress, illness, and disturbance of the mind. Vastu shastra teaches that if you sleep with your head to the north, you may experience misery, frustration, crankiness, lack of emotional stability, diminished willpower, and/or physical ailments.
For all you students out there, east is your ideal sleep direction. Sleeping with your head pointing east is a boon for any academic pursuits. It boosts 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 who are success driven, striving for fame, wealth, and a stellar reputation. If your goal is to conquer the world and have 1 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 bedrooms equipped 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. Sleeping with your head into the west or north opposes sleep’s chief goal, which is to maximize rest and recuperation.
And we have a winner. South is ruled by the Hindu god Yama; therefore, sleep south if you want to have the heavy and deep restorative sleep. Going back to the magnetic pole theory, a mutual attraction (head positive, south negative) creates a harmonious exchange that draws energy into the body, rather than out, as in the case of north. This direction promotes health, happiness, and prosperity. Who isn’t happy when they’ve slept like a baby?
Experiment with the position of your bed and see what happens. You may be among those that find immediate changes and wake feeling rested and revitalized. Your partner, pet, or plants may not like rearranging the furniture, but trust us, they will love the happier and energized you!