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How the Position in Which we Sleep Affects our Health

Enchant, Sublimate

An ancient Ayurveda text explains that the proper body position encourages living in line with the magnetic and electrical principles of the planet.

To traditions more careful and devotional than our own (such as the Ayurveda of India) absolutely everything needs to be aligned in the right direction. Otherwise, the magnetic fields are truncated to our own detriment. Think of the fascinating art of Vastu Shastra, which proposes an architecture based on a mandala to encourage peace and harmony amongst its inhabitants. It’s not surprising then that the Ayurveda encourages a proper body position during sleep because the cardinal points determine the energy that affects our lives.

The Vishnu Purana, one of the most important texts of the Indian tradition, relates that “it’s beneficial to lie with the head facing east or south.” The text even decrees that “the man lying down with his head placed in the opposite direction is sick.”

All of this is explained based on the magnetic poles of both the Earth and the human body. It’s known that the Earth has a magnetic pole that runs north to south, with the positive pole in the north and in the south, the negative. Science tells us that human beings also have a magnetic compass, with the positive pole toward the head and the negative toward the feet. If like poles repel and the opposites attract, when we recline with our head to the north, the two positives repel one another and there’s a struggle between them.

By the same reasoning, if we consider that the planet rotates from west to east, and the magnetic field of the sun enters the Earth from the east, it also passes over your head if your head is directed to east, and likewise, it passes out over the feet. This, according to the Vishnu Purana, promotes cool heads and warm feet in line with the laws of magnetism and electricity. If we put our heads in the opposite direction (to the west), the energy of the sun will warm our heads and our feet will be frozen, resulting in a feeling of discomfort in the morning.

An gold statue of Vishnu laying down

Science has much to say on the subject. Extensive research has investigated the flow of energy in relation to health. For example, people who sleep in an east-west position have a much shorter REM (rapid eye movement) cycle than do those who sleep with the head oriented to the north, and this is the cycle during which dreams occur. This period of deep sleep is believed to improve the process of memory consolidation.

Beyond the wisdom of the Vedic texts in which the above is preached, it suffices to look at the issue with common sense (supported by recent science) to understand the importance of the position of the body at its most vulnerable and receptive moment. That is, while it sleeps.

The magnetic field of the Earth runs north to south and slows the flow of blood in the brain’s capillaries and affects the functioning of the brain cells. If a stressed person sleeps with the head directed southward, it will cool significantly faster. If the same person changes to face the north, the magnetic field of the body won’t be in harmony with the Earth and the result will be poor blood circulation, and therefore, mental agitation.

There’s a lot to be recovered from the ancient texts of India. And it has nothing to do with the new age or any specific philosophy of life, but much to do with the recovery of full health that allows us to enjoy the luxury of living in the least obstructed manner possible.


Image: Lianne Viau / Flickr

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