Which Direction To Sleep Scientifically?

feng shui principles chart

Regardless of age, race, gender, or status in society, a lack of good sleep can make life miserable in many ways. Not only can it deteriorate your moods in the morning but several knock-on effects such as fatigue, depression, and even obesity have been linked with sleep troubles.

Whether you’re a long-term insomniac or recently noticed sleeping difficulties, the importance of a good shuteye for optimal functionality cannot be overemphasized. Thus, wondering whether direction plays an important part in the quality of sleep you can enjoy is perfectly normal.

Does the sleeper’s direction influence the quality of sleep?

The answer is yes. According to Vastu Shastra, a set of ancient Indian scientific architectural principles, sleeping with the head towards the south can result in superior shuteye. Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese practice that focuses on energy (chi) flow also recommends southward energy for blissful sleep.

Vastu Shastra and Sleep

Vastu Shastra is the basis of traditional Hindu architecture and offers principles for good sleep that have been widely accepted in India and beyond. It operates on the belief that the total well-being of humans depends on the interaction between space and vital elements such as the wind and the sun.

The Worst Sleeping Position According to Vastu Shastra

The worst sleeping position is to lie down with the head facing the north with the rest of the body lodged towards the south, according to Vastu Shastra. This goes against the belief that sleeping with the head southwards helps attract the opposite poles required to promote good sleep.

More Vastu Shastra Principles That Promote Nights of Bliss

There is a wide range of principles for sleep prescribed by Vastu Shastra and the interesting bit is that some of them overlap with the tenets of Feng Shui. A few of these principles include:

  • Windows and doors should always be closed
  • No mirrors in front of the bed
  • No clutter in the bedroom
  • Bedroom painting colors should be light 
  • No electronic gadgets in the bedroom

Feng Shui and Sleep 

The principles of Feng Shui, a pseudoscientific traditional practice originating from China also rely on the individual’s sleeping space and how it can be optimized to promote superior sleep.

While Feng Shui focuses on the impact of space on an individual’s energy flow, the fact that it recommends a southward sleeping position makes it an interesting coincidence with Vastu Shastra.

However, the southward energy preference might be because China’s climate receives warm breezes from the south by default.

The Worst Sleeping Position According to Feng Shui

Going to bed with the head facing northwards is the worst sleeping position according to Feng Shui. This is because practitioners believe that the direction can obstruct energy flow leading to mediocre sleep at best.

More Feng Shui Principles That Promote Good Sleep

Feng Shui goes beyond choosing a specific sleeping direction. Several additional principles can be incorporated into an individual’s bedroom environment to supercharge world-class nighttime rest.

A few of these may include:

  • Avoid placing a bed directly beside a window or in the middle of a room
  • Position your  bed opposite a doorway
  • Make sure your bedroom is as clutter-free as possible
  • No electronic gadgets in the bedroom
  • Bookshelves and mirrors should be out of reach from your bed 

Additionally, Feng Shui encourages the painting of specific bedroom colors for different energies based on an individual’s preferences.

  • Blue or black for a smooth career and life path 
  • Red for fame and fortune 
  • White for fertility and creativity 
  • Green for family and health 

Native American Sleep Direction 

native american bedroom environment

Native Americans have a completely different view of which direction to turn the head for good sleep depending on the tribe in question. According to James E. Billie, Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Sleeping with the head to the East is recommended for members of his tribe.

This is a habit the Seminole Tribe has practiced for centuries with positive results to show for their sleep. He revealed that “All beds in his house are positioned such that you must lie on it with the head to the East”.

The Navajo Nation, on the other hand, believe that one must never sleep with the head towards the north because it is evil and a position that is only suitable for a corpse. This recommendation fits into Vastu Shastra and Feng Shui principles.

What Happens When You Sleep In Each Direction In The Northern Hemisphere According to Science?

There’s not much scientific backing for sleeping in a specific direction and many experts agree that more studies have to be conducted to conclude. However, electromagnetic fields have been found to play a role in the quality of sleep one can get by placing the head in each direction.

Shall we take a look at how electromagnetic fields and other concepts interact with the human body when sleeping in any direction among Northern Hemisphere residents?

Sleeping In The East Direction

The East is touted as the best direction by many, according to Science. Experts believe this direction exposes the sleeper to positive waves and a superior force of action. This can lead to enhanced sleep that results in better moods and higher levels of energy in the morning.

Sleeping in the East direction has also been linked to impressive memory and concentration levels which can lead to a boost in productivity.

Sleeping In The West Direction 

While there are no direct hindrances to this sleeping position, it may make sleepers lazy which can be a terrible way to start a productive day, unlike the East direction. However, after a long hard week, placing the head westwards on the weekend or a day off can be a great way to unwind and recharge the batteries.

Sleeping In The North Direction

Sleeping in the North may be the worst position in terms of the earth’s magnetic field because it throws the body out of balance. The sleeper’s energy levels can clash with the magnetic fields in the North-South direction due to each side being at peak levels of strength.

This can lead to negative side effects including insomnia, high blood pressure, and an increased likelihood of nightmares.

Sleeping In The South Direction

black man with compass in the palm

This direction is not exactly as terrible as pointing the head northwards at bedtime but it may not have any consequential benefits for nighttime rest.

Some sleepers have also experienced slight troubles nodding off at night due to opposite magnetic fields pulling the sleeper towards the South-North direction while the body lies in the North-South direction.

The opposite energy waves may inhibit the natural blood circulation process as well as digestion.

How to Determine The Direction Of Your Bed Without A Compass

Whether you’ve concluded that sleeping southwards or eastwards is the best direction for a night of bliss, it is time to adjust your bed to achieve the desired direction. A compass can easily point you in the right direction but how do you determine which side is the “East” or “South” for instance, when you do not have the luxury of one?

Here’s a step by step instruction to determine direction without a compass:

  • Wake up early in the morning and watch out for the sunrise
  • Monitor the direction the sun rises from and face it while marking it down as the West
  • The side directly opposite where you’re facing is the East
  • The right side of your position is the North 
  • The left side of your position is the South


The best direction for sleep may be the East or South depending on whether you’re following Vastu Shastra/ Feng Shui or electromagnetic fields. Either way, you can take some time to try out the recommended direction to determine whether it offers any advantages for your sleep.

Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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