If you’ve gotten into the groove of better sleep habits but are still having trouble dozing off, your decorating skills might be to blame.
At least, that’s what experts in the ancient Chinese art of feng shui might say. Developed over 3,000 years ago, feng shui is a practice that seeks to balance a space’s energy to assure health and good fortune for the people who inhabit it.
Or in the case of bedroom feng shui specifically, a restful and restorative night’s sleep.
“’Feng’ means ‘wind’ and ‘shui’ means ‘water.’ In Chinese culture, wind and water are associated with good health, thus good feng shui came to mean good fortune, while bad feng shui means bad luck, or misfortune.
Misfortune in bed? Sounds pretty miserable. Here, seven bedroom feng shui tips to set your energy flowing in a positive direction and experience the good fortune better sleep.
1. Pick the right bed.
According to feng shui principles, solid wood or upholstered headboards have better energy than metal ones, which can give off a prison-like vibe. Naturally, you want a super comfortable mattress, too. (Might we suggest an organic one?)
2. Figure out furniture placement.
Your bed should be in feng shui’s so-called commanding position. That might sound intimidating, but it’s actually pretty easy.
First, make sure your headboard backed by a sturdy wall, while avoiding any walls on either side of your bed. (Instead, keep nightstands, which are thought to be grounding, on the sides of your bed.)
Also, place mirrors in spots that don’t directly face your bed. Having a mirror facing you while you sleep can deplete your energy while you’re sleeping and trying to restore it.
Most importantly, avoid directly aligning your bed with any doors. In traditional feng shui, that position resembles a coffin that’s taken away feet first. (Morbid, but true. Sorry!)
3. For color, think calm.
In feng shui, your personal energy is derived from one of five elements: Wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.
Depending on your element, certain colors will support your unique personal energy, while others will weaken them. For instance, someone whose energy comes from the Wood element should avoid pink or red in the bedroom.
Here’s a great resource for figuring out your personal element, which can help you determine which colors will work best in your bedroom feng shui.
One thing remains true for all elements? Be sure to incorporate at least some earth- or cream-colored items. They create a warm, nourishing energy—sort of like a goodnight hug. Nice, right?
4. Clear the clutter.
True, that invisible under-the-bed area is a super convenient spot to store all the stuff that you can’t seem to find a better place for. But all that junk is clogging up your energy flow, so find another home for it, stat.
If you’re not sure what to do with an item or find that you no longer use or need it, donate it or toss it.
The same goes for clutter elsewhere in your bedroom. Misplaced stuff and messy stacks or piles don’t do much to foster peace and relaxation—the exact feelings that you want to help you nod off.
5. Let the air flow.
If bedroom feng shui is all about maximizing the flow of good energy, it makes sense that experts say it’s important to have an abundance of fresh, clean air.
To keep things from getting stale, be sure to replace your home’s air filters regularly, and use a humidifier when the air gets too dry. And on nights when the air outside is the perfect sleeping temperature (that’s 65 to 72 degrees), open up those windows.
In addition to fresh air, natural light matters, too. Try to let the sunlight into your bedroom for a little while each day.
6. Steer clear of electronics.
If there’s one thing that feng shui practioners and modern sleep experts agree on, it’s the fact that electronic devices in the bedroom can zap your sleep. According to bedroom feng shui, these gadgets add fire energy to your room, which, not surprisingly, can make it tough to sleep.
Whether you’re watching a movie on your tablet, texting on your phone, or using your laptop to catch up on email, do it in a room other than your bedroom. And try to power down at least 30 minutes before you decide to turn in.
7. Add a touch of nature.
Nature equals tranquility, which is exactly the sort of feeling you want when you’re trying to drift off to dreamland.