People usually avoid sleeping with head facing to the North. What I heard is that doing so will bring death. Is this true?

What is the reason behind this?

  • What I know is keping your head towards north will cause some issues for your blood flow and this causes problems to your body.
    – arunrc
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 8:24
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    Let's test it, someone not agreeing with this try to keep the head towards north while sleeping. Let the community know the result after a few years;)
    – user11
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 7:35
  • @arunrc Actually sleeping in the south causes blood flow problems.
    – Notty
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 14:32
  • @A_runningMind Actually a lot of people sleep north. If there was actually a pattern of misfortune it would have been observed. Most people in the world don't care about which direction they are sleeping in as long as they are comfortable. The practice of avoiding north is only followed mostly in India.
    – Notty
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 14:36
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    @hanugm yes the main reason why one shouldn't sleep should be because scriptures tell so... (though scriptures themselves might also give reason for this reason also, but still without giving any reason also the reason works)
    – Tezz
    Commented Jun 15, 2021 at 4:24

4 Answers 4


Religious Reason

The south corner is considered as a direction of Death. It also said that the Yamalok ( hell ) is located in the south of the universe and beneath the earth.

Normally when a person dies, his/her body should be kept in a position like head towards north. This is one of the strong reason that people avoid sleeping head towards north direction. For more information read Narak article from Wikipedia.

Scientific Reason

Science says that it is because the human body has its own magnetic field (Also known as hearts magnetic field, because of the flow of blood) and Earth is a giant magnet.

When we sleep with head towards north, our body's magnetic field becomes completely asymmetrical to the Earth's Magnetic field.

That cause problems related to blood pressure and our heart needs to work harder in order to overcome this asymmetry of Magnetic fields. Apart from this, another reason is that our body has significant amount of iron in our blood.

When we sleep in this position, iron from the whole body starts to congregate in our brain which can cause a headache, Alzheimer’s Disease, Cognitive Decline, Parkinson disease and brain degeneration. All these things don't happen in one or two single night but it happens if the person has a daily habit of sleeping in a north direction.

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    Has the claims about magnetic effects on our body been proved scientifically or is it just a myth? Source would be helpful.
    – gaj
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 8:45
  • Yes, magnetic effects on our body been proved scientifically
    – Kedarnath
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 8:51
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    @Kedarnath: Could you come here and explain where you heard of the "iron from the whole body starts to congregate in our brain which can cause headache, Alzheimer’s Disease, Cognitive Decline, Parkinson disease and brain degeneration"? From This other question, this part of your answer (if not also the "magnetic" part), is plain false.
    – DrakaSAN
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 13:49
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    Does that mean you are intentionally sending the dead to "hell" by keeping it in that direction?
    – mysql_user
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 18:04
  • @Kedarnath I disagree. It has been scientifically proven that sleeping South causes headache and heavy trauma, delusion, voices in head, IQ loss, inability to think clearly.
    – Notty
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 14:29

The reason we don't keep the head in the north and legs in the south is because south direction is associated with Yamalokam. From Wikipedia

Naraka (Sanskrit: नरक) is the Hindu equivalent of Hell, where sinners are tormented after death. It is also the abode of Yama, the god of Death. It is described as located in the south of the universe and beneath the earth.

So, in Hindus, we lay down a person with his head to north and feet in south when they die. Also if you know, we always hang dead peoples photo frames in the south. Hence, its considered that sleeping in this direction may bring trouble, distress etc to an individual.

On the other hand, a person can sleep in an opposite direction for example, he can keep his head in the south and feet facing north. This sleeping position is also suggested in Vaastu Shastra

One should sleep with head towards South, East or West and never in north.

You can refer a post below which explains cultural as well as scientific reasons (though as pointed out by bjb568 there are scientific reasons towards this and yes, the article has an alternate story as well)

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    @bjb568:I don't think skeptics SE is the last word for that. The accepted answer just says a Bold 'NO' and states that there are no detrimental effects on the human body of static magnetic fields and a reference. What does it says about keeping head towards north? Nothing at all...So wait until getting trustful resources before agreeing.
    – user11
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 7:31
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    @A_runningMind: No. The "scientific" reasons given in the cited article are simply delusional fantasy, and are not supported by any facts. As a result, there is no scientifically supported reason to suggest that keeping a head pointed towards magnetic North has any effect, nor has there been any double-blind peer reviewed research which has claimed that to be the case. Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 2:38
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    @A_runningMind: Second, the article claims "health scientists tell us that we too have a similar magnetic stretch with the positive pole at the head and the negative one at the feet". This is false as well; Fe(II) and Fe(III) ions in the body are paramagnetic ions, and do not exhibit ferromagnetism, and thus cannot support magnetic hysteresis; since the blood is basically isotropic, the magnetic dipole moment of the human body is essentially zero. Combining that with the fact that Earth surface field strengths are on the order of milliGauss, it's pretty obvious that such claims are absurd. Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 2:42
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    @A_runningMind: Third, people are regularly exposed to field strengths over 100,000 times as strong as the Earth's natural field when we take MRIs. If the Earth's field was actually strong enough to impact our health via dipole-field interaction forces, then our bodies would instantly explode into a slush of burst organs and disintegrated flesh the moment we walked next to a mid-sized audio speaker, splashing the walls with blood and spraying body parts everywhere. The fact that this does not happen in real life says basically all you need to know. Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 2:46

Why not sleep with your head facing North direction?

Many Hindus don't sleep with their heads directed towards the North because there are scriptural injunctions stating that prohibition. Like the one given below:

He should not overload his stomach with food ; and having washed his mouth and feet at the close of his evening meal, a house-holder should lie down in a comfortable bed with his head not turned towards the North or the West. (71)

Vyasa Smriti Chapter3; Verse 71

So, not only the North, the prohibition is there regarding the West also. But I have learnt from another book (Anhika Krityam) that the direction of West is permitted when one is residing in Pravasa or in a foreign land/country.

What I heard is that doing so will bring death. Is this true?

No idea if that is true or not but if you are thinking that during cremation the dead body is so placed that the head points towards the North then that is not true. During cremation of a dead body, the body is placed in a manner such that it's head is towards the South.

See the following:

Thereupon after bathing, the son and others, on a purified spot of the ground, qualified by its marks for making a funeral pyre, should make a huge collection of wood. (8)

Then placing on it the dead body on its back with its head towards the south, one should place, on its mouth, a Sruk, filled with clarified butter ; on its nose, a Sruvam with its top directed towards the south ; on its legs, the eastern Arani ; on its breast, the northern A rani ; on its left side, S'upra ; on its right side, the Chamasa ; on the space between the two thighs, the Mushala ; and on the collar bones, the Udukhala (mortar).

Katyayana Smriti; Chapter 21

The book "Apara Kriyas and Shraddham" also mentions the same:

The dying person‟s son should keep his father‟s head on his right thigh and chant in his right ear sacred mantras including Panchaksharam, Ashtaksharam, Rama Shadakshram etc. Once the life departs the son should spread Darbha grass on the floor and lay the body on it with head in south direction. The son and the other relatives can wear Utthariyam now and wear the yagnopaveetha on the right shoulder (Prachinaveeti) and perform Namaskaram to the dead person. Women should leave the hair open and perform Namaskaram.

On the western side of the Agni with Darbhas facing south, the body should be laid with head in the south direction on the Darbha. If the Agni is at a distance from the body, contact between the two should be established through a Darbha rope in such a way that nobody passes in between. Homam should be performed for Preta samskara. After bathing the dead body, it is decorated with sandal paste and garlands after applying Pundram as per family tradition. Sastra says that if the body is decorated with sandal paste, garland etc. offered to Lord Vishnu, the jiva attains to meritorious world. The thumbs of hands and feet should be tied with white thread. Then the body should be laid on stretcher („Paadai‟ in Tamil) built for the purpose from bamboo etc., with head in the southern direction slightly lifted and the body should be covered completely in new cloth with chanting of mantra.

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    I read somewhere that keeping a dead persons head facing north helps any remaining prana to escape without much effort.
    – Adiyarkku
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 13:59
  • Okay if I find something like that in scriptures I will update my answer.@Archit
    – Rickross
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 7:02

Scriptures say that one mustn't sleep along North direction.

In fact, even South and West maybe avoided.

The Kāmikāgama, one of the 28 Śaivāgamas, prescribes the direction for head while sleeping.

Chapter 35, śālālakṣaṇa vidhiḥ

प्रत्यङ्मुखु तु शयनं दोषदं दक्षिणामुखम् ।
द्वारे पादं तु नेष्टं स्यात् नोदक्प्रत्यक्छिरो भवेत् ।।

  1. One should lie on the bed facing the East. Lying on the bed facing the South will cause all sorts of ailments. To sleep on the bed, stretching the legs towards the entrance is not desirable. While sleeping, the head should not be in the West and North.

भोजनं नानुवंशं स्याच्छयनं च तथैव च। अनुवंशागृहद्वारं नैव कार्य शुभार्थिभिः ।। १४७

  1. In the place synchronizing with the sub-diagonal of the house, dining should not be done. Sleeping also is not to be done there. The entrance of the house should never be designed in the sub-diagonal by those desirous of auspicious benefits.

The reasons for not sleeping along North, and West are given in "Rasa-jala-Nidhi" (An Ayurvedic compendium on ancient Indian Chemical Medicine i.e., Rasa-śāstra)

Part 16 - Directions for sleeping

To sleep with one’s head kept northwards causes several diseases and loss of vitality. To sleep with one’s head kept westwards is also forbidden, in as much as it brings about insomnia and excess of vayu. Sleeping is forbidden in a tattered bed, in a house with more than one holes, in temples, and under trees and in garden houses, at night; poisonous gas issues out of leaves of trees at night. Forty eight minutes preceding sunrise is the time in which every man should get up from sleep.


So as per scriptures, the ideal direction to position our head when sleeping is East.

  • Sleeping along North direction causes disease and loss of vitality.

  • Sleeping along West direction brings sleeplessness, and vâta imbalance.

  • Sleeping along South direction results in several ailments.

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