Feng Shui and Sleep: Understanding the Connection

Learn how decluttering your home and utilizing the principles of Feng Shui can improve your life and sleep quality

By Ally

Human beings can’t help but be influenced by our environment. You’ve probably experienced this in your own life. Maybe you once worked in a stuffy office building, without any windows or natural light; such ambiance can deplete morale, drain energy, and depress mood. By contrast, sitting on your back patio, with a cool breeze and bird songs surrounding you, can have a naturally calming effect. The point is, our immediate surroundings have a big impact on our emotional wellbeing and our mental health.

So what does that have to do with feng shui? This ancient Chinese practice is all about arranging the elements in your home to promote positive energy flow, enhancing your emotional wellbeing, and facilitating health and good fortune.

You can practice feng shui in your own home… including in your bedroom. In this article, we’ll show you how.

What is Feng Shui?

Feng shui has been around for centuries; in fact, some historians say that its roots go back more than 3,000 years. It’s a practice closely associated with mysticism and spirituality, its name derived from the ancient Chinese belief in carefully balancing the elements of wind (feng) and water (shui) to promote good health and prosperity.

But you don’t have to believe in the more mystic aspects of feng shui to affirm its value. There’s a scientific component to it, too. Designing your physical living space in a way that is balanced, and that promotes a natural sense of flow, can help to relieve stress and anxiety. The right spatial design can put you in a headspace for peace, serenity, and clear thinking.

Five Foundations of Feng Shui

To help harmonize a home’s energy flow, feng shui splits the world into five elements. Working to balance these five elements properly in your home can help their corresponding traits to thrive in your life. These five elements correspond with the main elements in nature:

Wood

In the practice of feng shui, wood represents creativity and expansion. It is also associated with traits such as growth, birth, and intuition. Having too much wood in your home can cause you to feel stubborn and inflexible, while having too little of it may result in a feeling of creative stagnation. 

There are a number of ways in which wood can be brought into the home, including wood furniture and bed frames; cotton and natural fabrics; and actual plants and trees. To maximize feng shui, incorporate wood in a way that mimics the natural world. That means vertical pieces of wood, resembling tree trunks. It also means surrounding your wood with natural shades of green.

Fire

Fire, meanwhile, is the element associated with leadership and enthusiasm. When your living space harnesses the power of fire energy, it provides a sense of boldness and expressiveness. Too much fire may spill over into anger, while too little may leave you feeling emotionally distant and cold.

Red, orange, and pink shades all provide fire energy, as do animal prints. Candles and natural sunlight also provide a way for you to bring fire energy into your home design.

Earth

Feng shui design should also encompass earth energy, which denotes physical strength and order. Too much earth energy can make a space feel boring, while too little earth energy leads to chaos and dysfunction. A happy medium is essential for achieving balanced feng shui.

When it comes to incorporating feng shui into your home decor, a good place to start is with simple earth tones. Squares and rectangles also embody earth energy. Finally, consider some landscape paintings or similar imagery.

Metal 

Metal is the element associated with logic and clarity. When incorporated into a living space, metal can bring focus and clear organization. Too much metal carries a critical connotation, and too little metal can cause the space to feel unfocused.

Some ways to introduce metal into a space include round or oval shapes; white, silver, grey, and pastel colors; and anything that’s made from gold, silver, aluminum, or iron.

Water 

The final feng shui element is water. This element is associated with emotion and spirituality. When it is overabundant, a room can feel emotionally overwhelming. And when it’s too scarce, space can feel lonely or isolated.

To incorporate water elements into your home design, consider using the color black, as well as other dark tones. Take advantage of mirrors and other reflective surfaces. And, make use of wavy or asymmetrical shapes, which carry “watery” energy with them.

Five main elements of feng shui icons

Bagua Map

Another concept to consider is the bagua map. Think about a three-by-three grid, one in which each square has a number, 1-9. It may help to look at a picture of a bagua map to understand its layout.

There is a lot of symbolic significance to this simple grid; for example, the numbers always add up to 15, whether you look at a row, a column, or a diagonal. This is connected with the days in the lunar cycle, a key concept in Chinese astrology. What’s more, the different squares overlap with different elements; the square with the 5 in it is typically associated with earth, for example.

On a more practical level, the Bagua map can be overlaid over your room or your house, showing you which design and decor elements belong in each square. So, for example, one “square” of your room might be well-suited for mirrors and black colors, while another square calls for plants and for family photos. The bagua map provides a kind of feng shui diagram, helping you think about your space in terms of sub-sections.

It’s not strictly necessary for the practice of feng shui, but some designers may find it to be a useful tool.

Yin and Yang

Another critical element in feng shui is the balance of yin and yang. In the feng shui tradition, yin and yang represent feminine and masculine energy, respectively; the former is represented in black and other deep, dark colors, while the latter is represented through white.

In practicing feng shui, it’s important to bring both types of energy into a harmonious balance. Consider some of the common associations with feminine energy and colors; softness, sympathy, and mystery. And consider more typically male associations, like aggression and boldness. One way to think about feng shui is in terms of balancing these two energies, incorporating colors in a way that provides a sense of harmony to your space.

Composition with Buddhist symbols: yin yang, turtles, elephants, aroma candles, rosaries and bells. feng shui and zen concept

Minimalism

Feng shui is often associated with minimalism; while the two concepts are not synonymous, they are certainly related. A minimalist aesthetic is crucial for achieving the right feng shui in your home.

The reason for this is simple: When you pack too many things into your living space, it tends to result in clutter. And clutter is antithetical to positive, healthy energy. Again, this is something that you can prove with science. Many psychologists have confirmed that the presence of clutter tends to induce anxiety and worry. Thus, to achieve the calming, centering vibe you’re looking for, it’s important to have a streamlined and clutter-free space. The minimalist aesthetic makes that possible.

Easy Strategies to Implement Feng Shui Into Your Bedroom

Declutter 

The first thing we’d recommend is getting rid of any mess or clutter in your room. As we noted in a previous section, clutter has been linked with stress, to the point that a messy bedroom can actually impede you from getting a good night’s sleep. All the chaos in your physical space can cause you to feel anxious and unsettled. Decluttering your room, ensuring everything is in its right place, is a critical aspect of feng shui.

Indoor Plants

Indoor plants can create a healthier living space. In the feng shui tradition, plants are associated with good health and with prosperity. (See also: The wood element.)

Remove Negative Symbolism

To ensure healthy energy, it’s important to get rid of any negativity. Your bedroom may have some negative symbols that you’re not even aware of, but which are causing stress or poor health. Some examples include:

  • Mirrors that are placed too high (this can lead to self-esteem issues; you may feel like you can literally never measure up)
  • “Single” imagery (a preponderance of single vases, single picture frames, etc., which can breed a spirit of isolation)
  • Knick-knacks that cover all your surfaces (this can lead to a lack of clarity)

Maximize Natural Light

Finally, make sure you design your bedroom in a way that allows for as much natural light as possible. Natural light (as opposed to the light from, say, fluorescent bulbs) can cause your room to feel open and welcoming… and in the process, it can cause you to feel that way, too.


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