When it comes to getting good sleep, you may already know about setting the scene with darkening curtains, a lower room temperature, and other healthy habits.

You may have even come across information concerning feng shui and vastu shastra and their guiding principles on body position while you sleep.

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice that focuses on energy and placement in your everyday life, including space, in order to achieve balance. Vastu shastra, on the other hand, focuses on Indian architectural balances based on science. In fact, the direct translation is “science of architecture.”

Both practices have different histories, but their principles are similar: The way spaces are designed for people can either benefit or damage your health.

Each practice is also based on the four directions (north, south, east, and west), as well as the five major elements of nature:

  • air
  • earth
  • fire
  • space
  • water

While there’s much more to feng shui and vastu shastra beyond sleep hygiene, both practices hold the belief that the way you lie down at night can affect your overall sleep quality and health.

Vastu shastra is primarily concerned with space. This is why the scientific principles are widely adapted in Indian architectural use and design.

When it comes to sleeping direction, it’s believed that space (“panch bhutas”) directly interacts with the wind, sun, and other elements to affect our well-being.

The recommended sleeping direction per vastu shastra is that you lie down with your head pointed southward.

A north-to-south body position is considered the worst direction. This is because the human head is considered to have a polar-like attraction, and it needs to face southward to attract opposite poles while you sleep.

Is it effective?

The benefits of vastu shastra sleeping direction need more clinical backing, but some researchers note the benefits of spatial principles on human health overall.

Vastu shastra practitioners believe that sleeping with your head pointed south reduces the risk of high blood pressure. Sleeping in a westward direction can cause nightmares, according to anecdotal claims.

Like vastu shastra, feng shui is concerned with your sleeping space in terms of overall sleep quality. However, this practice is more concerned with the elements in your space and their effects on chi (energy) flow more than the direction you sleep.

Ancient practitioners of feng shui prefer southward energy, only because of China’s natural climate where you can experience warm winds from the south.

Is it effective?

The principles of feng shui on sleeping direction are anecdotal at best. Practitioners may advise that you place your bed away from windows and doors to encourage the flow of chi while you sleep. More clinical research is needed in this regard.

Feng shui is primarily concerned with the flow of energy throughout your living space and avoiding obstructions. Besides avoiding windows and doors where you sleep, here’s some other sleeping suggestions according to this ancient practice:

  • put your bed on the opposite side of the doorway
  • make sure your bed is against the wall (not underneath windows) and is not freestanding in the middle of your bedroom
  • keep bookshelves and mirrors out of the direct line of your bed
  • avoid extra clutter around your sleeping space, including books and toiletries
  • keep electronics out of the bedroom

Other principles of feng shui include color schemes that identify with different life energies. As such, some people paint the walls of their bedroom accordingly:

  • green for east (wood) for family and health
  • white for west (metal) for creativity and children
  • red for south (fire) for fame and good reputation
  • blue or black (water) for career and life path

Vastu shastra is more concerned with electromagnetic energies in your sleep health, as reflected in Indian architectural principles. As such (and as noted above), you shouldn’t sleep with your head pointing northward, according to practitioners.

Some sleeping suggestions are similar to those of feng shui. They include:

  • keeping electronics out of your room
  • avoiding mirrors facing in front of the bed
  • removing clutter from your bedroom
  • painting the walls light colors, such as white, cream, or light earth tones
  • closing windows and doors inside the room

While sleep direction gets a lot of attention in Eastern medicine, there’s still more research that needs to be done concerning feng shui and vastu shastra practices. It doesn’t hurt to try to alter your sleep position to see whether you notice a difference.

If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep despite altering your sleep direction and adoption other helpful tips, see a doctor. They can rule out possible underlying causes of sleep disruption, including sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can increase your risk of diseases later in life, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.