You may have invested in an expensive mattress, scented candles and stylish reading lamp to kit out your bedroom.
But if you’re still struggling to get a good night’s sleep, it may be because your feng shui is out of sync.
The ancient Chinese art looks at how harmonising ‘good energy’ can affect your mood and wellbeing – and consultant Sarah McAllister claims a few simple changes to your bedroom layout can help you nod off faster.
Speaking ahead of the launch of her new book The Dreams Architect, which comes out in January, McAllister told how feng shui is increasingly being applied to homes across the country as Brits look into how ‘spatial energy’ affects their sleep.
The five cardinal sins include (L-R) Having too much electromagnetic stress, not having a headboard, too many patterns on your textiles, poor circulation and too much light
Sarah, who is the founder of FengShuiAgency.com, claims to have transformed the homes of clients to help them get a restful night’s kip.
Here, she highlights the five things that might be stopping you from sleeping – and how to fix them.
1. HAVING NO HEADBOARD ON THE BED
‘It always amazes me how people can forget to purchase a headboard and muddle through with big pillows instead’, says Sarah. ‘This is really bad feng shui and causes restlessness.
‘The bed needs to feel like a haven of security, not a makeshift environment. You absolutely need a nice high padded headboard that is comfortable and secure and has no gaps through to the wall.
‘This stablises the energy there and stops energy leaking away. Avoid slatted headboards and metal ones.’
2. HAVING TOO MUCH ELECTROMAGNETIC STRESS IN THE ROOM
‘Avoid having a radio alarm clock near your head or mobile phone charging stations and large metal items,’ Sarah warns.
‘Natural materials like wood, cotton, wool, silk, linen, cotton and velvet are preferable to polyester/artificial fabrics which can collect static.
Sarah McAllister claims to have transformed the homes of clients to help them get a restful night’s sleep. Here, she highlights the five things that might be stopping you from sleeping
‘TVs are not ideal, but if you must have one then make sure you can close it off in a cupboard and switch off completely. Magnetic mattresses and duvets really help to counteract the large amount of invisible energy polluting our homes these days.
Sarah recommends using Japanese wellbeing technologies to help ‘enhance the energy of a space’ – from air filters and ionisers to magnetic mattresses.
‘All these help to keep the natural energy of the body protected from modern day stresses,’ she explains.
3. POOR CIRCULATION IN THE ROOM
‘Some people keep the windows closed all the time and rely only on air conditioning. This makes the room very yin – while yin (restful) is good for sleep, excessive yin energy means that sleep is poor quality as there is no vitality in the room.
‘Keep even a small window open a small amount and it will make a big difference.’
Sarah, founder of Feng Shui Agency, says a few simple changes to your bedroom layout could help you nod off faster – if you know where to start
4. HAVING TOO MANY PATTERNS
‘Avoid too many patterns in the bedroom, especially geometric ones, which are too much fire element and over stimulating,’ says Sarah.
‘Ideally you want the right colours (given in a bespoke consultation) and softer patterns like florals or gentle swirls.’
5. TOO MUCH LIGHT
‘Artificial or natural, blue light from phones and tablet screens interferes with the melatonin levels in your body which govern your natural biorhythms.
‘When you read at night on a tablet or phone your body registers the blue light emitted and thinks it is daylight hours, so it doesn’t get ready for sleep.
‘Use the candlelight setting on your device between hours of 7pm and 7am so that the screen emits less blue light during those times, or ideally switch them off completely.’
WHAT IS FENG SHUI?
Based on the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine, feng shui (meaning wind and water) is dubbed ‘acupuncture for the home’ because it benefits your health through opening up channels in your environment where energy can flow.
How does it work? A feng shui consultant analyses your home or workplace and advises how ‘chi’ or energy can circulate through your home more freely. If your apartment or office is small and compact, he might introduce the impression of space through hanging mirrors – where ‘chi’ can bounce off the glass and circulate the room.
Alternatively, a practitioner might install potted plants into a room. According to Raymond Catchpole, chair of the Feng Shui Society, money plants are particularly helpful in unblocking energy because it absorbs harmful ions in our environment.
‘The air we breathe is made up of two different types of electrically charged particles called ions – negative ions and positive ions,’ he says.
Surprisingly, the negative ions are better for us than the positive ones because oxygen consists of negative ions and nitrogen of positive ones.
There needs to be a correct balance of positive and negative ions in the air to keep us healthy. If the negative ions become depleted in any way we will be breathing in less oxygen. When we have less oxygen in our blood this can lead to a variety of health complaints such as respiratory and allergy problems.
What is the evidence that it works? Trials from NASA have shown that a range of common pot plants can effectively detox our households by absorbing poisonous vapours and releasing oxygen back into the air.