Feng Shui Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

Simple changes to your bedroom can send you off to dreamland

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The term feng shui literally translates as "wind-water."

Though we know it is important to get enough sleep, so many of us struggle to get it. Could making some changes to your sleeping space be the answer? According to Isabeau Vollhardt, licensed acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner in Ashland, applying certain principles of feng shui in your bedroom can be the answer you are seeking.

“Feng shui is the Chinese art of placement,” says Vollhardt. “In our bedrooms, we need to create a safe space that is conducive to good dreams which are important to emotional and physical health. Sleep is so very important. The spirit that resides in the heart does a lot of work at night.”

According to studies done by the National Sleep Foundation, poor sleep is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, depression, increased accidents and relationship problems. Sleeping well improves mental clarity, concentration and productivity. It is also necessary for athletic performance, a strong immune system and an improved feeling of well-being. Before you schedule a sleep study, Vollhardt suggests you consider making your bedroom as comfortable as possible through feng shui, which literally translates to “wind and water.” The goal is to create a harmonious environment that supports health and happiness, she says.

Vollhardt offers these tips for making your bedroom a safe and relaxing place:

No water features in the bedroom. That means no aquariums, fountains, not even pictures of water. Make sure the bathroom door is only ajar if necessary. Otherwise, keep it closed. Vollhardt explains that in Chinese medicine, there are five phases to be aware of when defining the body: fire, earth, wood, metal and water. Fire phase relates to the heart. During sleep, the ‘spirit’ returns to the heart. The goal is to move the spirit into dream time. Since water puts out fire, a water feature nearby can disrupt the process. (A note about sleep sounds: listening to rainfall or ocean waves in order to relax is perfectly fine because it affects the ear which relates to a different part of the body system.)

Bed placement. Position your bed anywhere other than a western-facing wall. The sun is most intense at setting and will impart energy at a time you should be resting. If a west wall is your only option, hang crystals that will diffract the light in the afternoon and evening. “The best position for the bed is the farthest corner from the door so you can see someone come in before they see you. This creates an atmosphere of safety,” says Vollhardt.

Bed materials. Try to sleep on wood frames instead of metal. Going back to the five phases, wood feeds fire, so a wood frame imparts better energy.

Warm colors. “Decorate with warm colors that represent fire and wood: all shades of red, pink or coral, and greens from dark to light greenish-yellow,” Vollhardt says. “We want to create movement. The color on the walls, in artwork, in your bedspread, all create movement. Your energy moves when you gravitate toward these colors.”

Avoid clutter. Put things where they belong. Consider using less furniture. Repair any broken objects. “Broken things are not pretty. They represent something that is incomplete and can be a metaphor for something broken in your life,” Vollhardt says. “The bedroom is the last thing you see at the end of the day and the first thing you see in the morning. What you see should be pleasing to you. Choose artwork that you love, plants, a mix of metals and wood (just not on the bed frame), and other things that make you feel comfortable.”

Create a zone. Sleep away from busy streets and hallways. Play soft music to drown out any noise. Choose any sound that you like and that makes you feel safe. Turn off lights from devices, phones, televisions. Excess light mimics the sun and will give off the same energy as daylight causing confusion in the body.

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Feng shui, an ancient practice

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Feng shui is the art of placement, using shape, color and arrangement to help people’s energy move more smoothly and easily through any room, according to Isabeau Vollhardt, professor of Chinese Medicine at Southern Oregon University.

Emerging from the Shamanic tradition, people practiced feng shui in ancient China. Those same principles are taught today in Western culture. The placement of furniture, the use of color and light, decluttering the home, all give rise to better energy flow throughout each room. Believers report higher energy levels, financial success and better health, both emotionally and physically.

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