1.01.2009

Head facing north

I was caught in a perplexing situation. We had moved into our California house and equipped it with all the furniture over two years ago…and some months later I started suffering from fitful sleep. Initially I attributed it to work pressure and ageing, also to eating a heavy dinner. In a previous visit to the Grand Canyon, we had purchased an American Indian dream catcher charm, but it did not help even though the ring and crow feathers adorn the walls above our heads. I started to check out what to do about the slight insomnia and difficulty staying awake on long drives…

Then arose a new dimension. When we visited a cousin recently, this chap illuminated us with some reasons as to which directions one must use in Vastu Shastra. He said that one should never have the head face North while sleeping. It troubled me no end, as I realized that our sleeping heads did indeed face North. He added that in Aryan civilization, the funeral pyre only faced north, not the living body, explaining further that according to Vastu one must sleep facing South or East so as to harmonize the elements. Vastu states- Sleeping with one's head to the north is a no-no. According to Vastu principles, the human body acts as a magnet with the head as its North Pole. If the head points north while sleeping, the North Poles of the body and Earth will repel each other, affecting the blood circulation and causing disturbed sleep and stress. South, East & West are acceptable.

Checking further, I found out that American Navajo Indians also believed that you should never sleep facing North, as it was evil and only for dead people (Wow ! just like in India!!). Their taboos are pretty interesting, check it out.

I also learnt the mythological story connected to this matter - that when Lord Shiva was prevented from entering the Parvathi’s private quarters by Ganesha, he loped off Ganesha’s head (the detailed story has many more dimensions with Sandalwood, Brahma, kali etc involved). Parvathi was livid and asked Shiva to fix the problem, which was apparently possible only by bringing the head of the first north (North because it is auspiciously related to wisdom) facing ‘sleeping’ being. Nandi, Shiva’s cow finds Airawatha the baby elephant, chops off its head and brings it to Shiva who attaches it to Ganesha’s body & revives him. BTW many versions of this story exist where Ganesha’s head is lost due to other gods. Now what has this story got to do with sleeping with head facing North? Well, see what happened to the poor baby elephant. I guess this is how it is sometimes told to inquisitive children who ask why they should not face north while sleeping.

However the Internet yielded contradicting answers on my dilemma. Feng Shui stated clearly that one must only sleep facing north to avoid Insomnia. Bali Hindus always lay facing north. Some sites mentioned that south is also not a good idea though East & West are!!

This person says the following

Sleeping North -Sleeping North means your head is North and your feet South. This is always the best place for small children and old people, or anyone needing a really quiet life, after operation or trauma, after a divorce or break up when you need the traditional three months space alone, try sleeping North especially when you need a resting peaceful time in your life; time on your own, to think and change as we all know the best spiritual changes occur in the most quiet times of your life.

Sleeping South - Sleeping South, means your head is South and feet pointing North. This direction of sleep means that your body is in harmony with the earth’s electromagnetic energy fields, and flowing in the same way from South to North Pole, from your head to your feet. This will give you a strong sleep and wake up feeling alive and vibrant. I recommend this for everyone as the best way to sleep.

Sleeping East -Sleeping East cuts across the magnetic energy fields and is in harmony with the suns energy rising from the east, if you are looking for new fresh start, a new outlook on life, then this direction will give you the aliveness, motivation and new start energy you need.

Depending on the time of the year, when you want your new energy boost in harmony with the rising sun, may make a difference to whether sleeping East is indeed North East of South East, that is to say point your head in the direction of sunrise


Anyway there is a lot of stuff on the net about this particular issue saying this or that. I finally decided two days ago to change the bed alignment, so got hold of my sons and shifted all the furniture. Now we sleep head facing East. The first night was painful, my back hurt from all the lifting activity and I hardy slept. The second night was alright. Let us see what the New Year brings. I will keep you informed.

Pics - Wikipedia..Thanks

49 comments:

Praveen G K said...

Yes, I have heard this theory about sleeping head facing north is not good, though I never knew the reasons!!!

As usual, a nice post!!! Have a good night's sleep and a great new year :-)

narendra shenoy said...

The clerk in our municipal corporation office seems to sleep best facing his visitors, as I found out the other day when I went to get me a copy of my son's Birth Certificate.

PN Subramanian said...

Wishing you a very happy and prosperous New Year. In particular 365 days'of sound sleep now that your head is facing East.

Murali RamaVarma said...

Dear Maddy,

An interesting post! It reminded of my grandma's advices on not sleeping with head towards the north. As I grew up also heard of the magnetic poles of the earth which had an impact on the human body while sleeping with head towards the north. Never gave much persnal care to these. But, I always feel that it is good to go by the elders for mental peace!

I wish you peaceful nights of good sleep throughout 2009 and beyond!

kind regards,

Anonymous said...

An article I had come across

http://www.hindu.com/seta/2008/03/20/stories/2008032051191600.htm

Praveen G K said...

Hahhaha, I like Mr. Shenoy's comment :-)

Maddy said...

Narendra - that was classic. took me straight back to our government offices. Thanks Praveen, Murali and PNS. The Hindu article posted by anonymous was especially educative!! Thanks

Indrani said...

We too follow this quite strictly. I liked that dream catcher. :)

Wish you and yours a Very Happy New Year!

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

We too follow advice doled out by seniors and never sleep facing the north.
As with other bits of advice, this is also based on basic science. The pity is nothing is clearly explained, but clothed in strange legends and stories, with dire warnings of what will happen if the advice is not followed.

Let us know how you have been sleeping, Maddy. Happy New Year.

Pradeep said...

These are good as long as it works. All these work largely at personal levels. We believe in what works. I hope some direction will give you sleep. Meanwhile try something different, like watching TV or listening to radio or music or reading or drinking water just something different that will make you forget (ironically) about sleep. A good post.

Thanks for your greetings. Reciprocating it from all of us including my dad and mom, multiple ties. Have a great 2009.

Jennifer said...

Maddy, Happy New Year!
An intriguing post.
Interestingly, when I lived in India, something similiar happened to me. I moved from the hostel to a flat, and could not sleep well. My house mother asked me to check the direction. A Kerala Hindu, she told me that in her tradition, head facing south would produce restless sleep. Interestingly the bed was facing North or South. I had chosen the south facing, as that head board was closer to the wall (so I could sit up at night and study!). Soon as I began sleeping in north facing, I was off in dreamland!
Also, here in US after marriage, my husband and I hired a Feng Shui consultant. She told us that though there are one-size-fit all cures like you mention, a consultant takes a Chinese horoscope of each person and calculates the best head facing position. Luckily my husband and I have the same directions (good for sleeping, but not for eating :)

I am so impressed by your article, can I republish this on my site with credit and link back to your site?

Thanks, Maddy.

Bindhu Unny said...

Interesting and confusing.
Let me wait for your results :-)

Maddy said...

Indrani, Raji, Pradeep & Bindhu - I agree it is confusing to say the least. So far the results have not been good. But I am going to persist.

Jennifer - Of course you can go ahead & republish it. The Hindu article is a good link to add since it is a scientific study on this topic.

Thanks to all for the new year wishes, once again wishing you all the same..

Happy Kitten said...

Maddy; I thought the Vastu position was universally accepted until u dashed it all! Hubby was always a stickler to this and so was my Dad.

Anyway, hope you are sleeping better this New Year. We need all those thoughts intact so as to read them in your blog.

Bala said...

Maddy,

My mother says we should not sleep head facing north or east.

You can try out following techniques

- Take a bath in warm water before you go to bed
- Drink a cup of hot milk 30 min before you go to bed
- Attempt to read a boring book

Cheers
Bala

Maddy said...

Thanks HK and Bala - The situation is improving. I have also decided that East it will be, cant change it to any other direction in this bedroom..and next time i try all this, i may end up with a broken back instead..

Cynic in Wonderland said...

Yes, I have heard this as well. Which is also incidentally the reason the Gods in a house will never face South ( that is supposed to be the angle at which corpses are kept). The interesting bit is the electromagnetic aspect - some of these old customs have remarkably scientific reasons ( one which has always intrigued me is the nadi-match thing in astrology for instance).

Btw - love your blog!

Ashvin said...

Dear Jennifer, I am a Kerala Hindu and in our tradition, we sleep with our heads to the south or the east. At my ancestral place, where the complex of buildings had several entrances, the Padippura or gatehouse was facing east but we have a northern gate and two southern gates as well. I had seen my grandmother ALWAYS sleep with her head to the south till she passed away at 92. Surprisingly, when my father passed away, he was laid out with his head facing south as well. It is easy to make out directions at home as the buildings are laid out on a strict grid. Even in the puja room, there are strict guidelines as to which deity should face whcih direction.In my several years of living abroad now, I always travel with a compass and align my bed accordingly to the south or east.

Maddy said...

Wow! Ashvin - you travel with a compass!! Now that is a first time I am hearing of somebody who takes this so seriously. But probably you have good reasons. What do you do in hotels? i am sure they don't take kindly to your moving their furniture??

Ashvin said...

Dear Maddy, being a hotelier myself, I try NOT to stay in hotels as much as possible :-) however whenever I am forced to for a night or so, either block in advance a room accordinging to my requirements (easily done) or just sleep facing the side I want, disregarding which side the headboard is. Though with all this, the quality of my sleep still suffers...

Maddy said...

Ashvin - I am sure you will find a solution - As for me I can hardly sleep in hotels, even though some of them have & different types of pillows and lavender sprays and Cd's with soothing sounds and so on placed in the rooms.

Jennifer said...

Maddy, After reading this article from my site, my father in law asked me to leave his comments. They are below... Thanks!!

Hi
I read with interest the blog by Maddy on Head facing North while sleeping. I do not much about the scientific or fengshui etc. on this topic. However, as a hindu keralite, my understanding by convention or practice followed is that facing head towards south is only when one is dead, South side of the property where one lives in Kerala villages is earmarked for the cremation of the dead,
Even there is a colloquial malayalam saying "thekkottu edukkuka" which conveys "take the body for cremation", I may be mistaken but I am only mentioning about my personal conception of the fact that facing towards South is not done; facing east is the best, never North and West is avoidable, Don't be mistaken that I am questioning the scientific/magnetic field of earth or feng shui concepts, I have been right through facing head towards East and enjoyed sound sleep.


b.n.kartha

Maddy said...

Thanks Jennifer & Mr Kartha.
That is indeed interesting. I had not connected up the cremation area in a household and the direction aspects..

as you can imagine, this is a very confusing subject

baciuk25 said...

interesting... I`m from europe and we know that WE HAVE rto sleep with the head at north... I don`t know what do believe... I think every people believe what they want.... And I don`t think that is true that N sleeping... All my life I slept with the head NORTH and I`m still here. So I`ve tried to sleep on South, after I read here...and I couldn`t rest at all...

Anonymous said...

Ifyou are interested see the website I have listed below. We have been sleeping facing south and never really got a restful night's sleep. Bathroom runs, waking frequently, couldn't get comfortable. Then I was told to sleep with our heads facing north. Couldn't move the bed so just remade it (clean sheets of course) with out heads at the foot. Well, no bathroom runs for the 3 nights we have made the change, we are comfortable and are getting restful deep sleeps. Perhaps Geopathic stress is also to be considered. You can have a dowser either dowse the house or yourself to etll where the stress is ad how to correct it. I hope this is useful information.


http://www.rolfgordon.co.uk/

Anonymous said...

With regard to the person from Europe and the head north, I was told by my source on Geopathic Stress that if I went back to Australia I should sleep with my heade to the SOUTH.

phoeniX said...

Interesting discussion. I normally dont care about direction, but your posts got me interested in the subject too see if there is any logic to this. I am able to understand:

1.earths magnetic north pole is towards geographic south
2.earths pole is split, some part moving towards russia having a double pole in north which means there might be a lower strenghth
3.north pole is slightly stronger than south in magnets
4. iron is attracted to magnet.
5. iron is more attracted to geographic south of earth from above assumptions if we scatter a few iron filings.
5. assuming filings can be broken down to the smallest unit as a molecule, same holds true for molecules.
6. blood has iron molecules
7. iron deficiency can cause amnesia and is key in brain development.
8. blood to brain flows with least resistance when lying on ground as opposed to when up when it works against gravity.
9. i sleep for 8 hours a day.
10. so if i have my head towards south, for 8 hours my brain will more of well aligned iron molecules than my lower body parts.
hence, i am going to sleep my head facing south unless i think otherwise. sorry, I dont know feng shui, and other myths....

phoeniX said...

Missed one point, also maybe need to see which latitude u belong to. if you are closer to a pole, then i think better align ones head there. I am in bangalore, so its 12 degree out of 90 north, hence i am going with stronger pole funda being close to equator. If i was +45 degree or something, i would do th opposite and face north. Is there ant statistics to show that people close to poles have less amnesia and brain related issues? :)

Qi Ana said...

wow thank you for this! in the Ancient teachings of Kemit(Egypt) it is stated to sleep facing North or East for particular spiritual purposes~ however I am in America and the Earths Axis has shifted so to sleep facing North has recently become often times too powerful for me -putting me too readily in contact with energies that i would rather not deal with (intense stuff!:) any how as i was rudely awakened for the 3 time just as i was getting to the REM side of sleep( that real deep sleep when your Growth/ Healing Hormones kick in!) I decided to do some added research and stumbled upon this! - very enriching! *Eastbound sleeping for me in this phase of life~ Thank you!
www.oneearthgoddess.com

Maddy said...

thanks all posters.. keep them coming. I moved some time back to a new home and it is still a problem for the bedroom allows only a N-S bed positioning. and I cannot sleep well at all...

thangam said...

Mr.Maddy. I loved your approach.
You have done extensive research on this subject...Interesting to read..But the reality is ...
There is only one direction in the earth and that is NORTH only...
The SUN never rises...we only tumbles around to go around HIM.

Maddy said...

thanks thangam..
whatever said and done, my sleep is still a mess

Kadambari said...

There is a similar constraint for eating too. We are not supposed to face North while eating.

Apparently we end up with digestion problems.

Maddy said...

thanks kadambari..
that is new to me.. have to check it out...

meena said...

I once saw a epileptic child calm down when her mother changed the direction in which she was lying down..some truth in magnetic pole theory, I think? They also give them iron keys to hold in moments of seizure.

Maddy said...

thanks meena.
that one i have not heard..
makes some sense, if iron helps

Meenashi Ramachandran said...

After reading all the comments, i am completely confused. I sleep facing south abd never had a good sleep...do i sleep head facing north?

nathan switzer said...

This is pretty cool. Found this after a particularly scary sleep paralysis episode the other night. I'm sleeping north currently. Time to switch it up!

Red Dragon said...

i had sleep paralysis lots of times.
once while head facing east and twice while head facing north .
Also had some unpleasant dreams , not exactly nightmares though .

Currently im sleeping with head facing north .
and i don't think that's the main reason for my depression , as my depression is due to many factors like nostalgia and not getting what i want in my life.
... But besides all that, i sleep soundly and peacefully by keeping my head at north , as i had some wonderful dreams like im back to my Teen days & enjoying with my old buddies , but only to end up waking depressed since i won't be able to go back in time for real.

Maddy said...

thansk red dragon
hope you are feeling better now
glad that the north direction is helping you
rgds

Juskamehere2work said...

I lived in an apartment where the bed was arranged so my head was facing North. I had at least 3 unforgettable astral projections, all happening around 3 or 4 am.

Darryn Hope said...

I am staying in Indonesia for an extended time and had trouble sleeping because of incredible body aches and pains. I was speaking to some Local indonesians and they told me that all Balinese sleep with their head to the north or east so I moved my bed to face the North and instantly all the aches and pains disappeared and have slept like a baby for 3 months now

Maddy said...

thanks darryn..
i have also been sleeping head facing north these days - anyway glad that you found a solution

CME64 said...

In the Islamic civilization, sleeping towards (feet towards) or away (head towards) from "Alkaaba" (which is the direction of prayer) is discouraged as a form of respect .. I wonder if it has other effects on sleep comfort too!

Maddy said...

thanks CME64..
that is new to me, let me check it out, I was never aware of that as I have lived in the Middle East for some years and never saw any building work or room alignment based on that principle...It should have been done so right?? Does it say so in any Hadith? I understand that a dead person should be laid towards the Qiblah, so perhaps during the other times it should be perpendicular to that direction, which means north south..considering a east westerly Makkah relation.

Rockey Binu said...

Hi to all......after reading all the comments....I'm now a bit confused as to which would be the appropriate direction the head should be while sleeping?? Till day before yesterday..I was sleeping with my head towards south( as the bed was aligned in that direction ) and never I had a sound sleep. Always.....my sleep broke turning to left and right. Yesterday I told my wife about shifting the pillow to the opposite direction...i.e. head facing north. Walla!!! I slept rather peacefully. So.....I think....it depends on person to person...this so called "Direction of head" while sleeping. I haven't checked East. After reading Maddy's article...I think I should check that also. Anyways...thanks to Maddy and all others for the information shared.

Maddy said...

Thanks Rockey Binu..
It still is a confusing aspect...But there must be some sense to it, and then again each individual perhaps has differing magnetic properties, so will be differently affected.
rgds

Gnaneshwar Iyer said...

Well, am sure there are probably various scientific explanations possible to the directions mentioned, but the only thing that I do when I don't get sleep is to completely exhaust myself, which means avoiding sleep when I don't want to sleep. By the time I decide to sleep, am so tired that I get into deep sleep. I do this even when I have a long flight......I stay awake on the flight no matter how long it is, so that when I hit my destination, I am completely tired and ready to crash. Helps avoiding a jet lag everytime.

I have also found that being exhausted mentally on days when you have had a lot to think about gives you better sleep than physical exertion.

Maddy said...

Thanks G Iyer
food for thought, i suppose