Do you sleep facing a mirror? Experts say there is science behind this Feng Shui belief that can help you get a better night

The idea that you shouldn't sleep facing a mirror is rooted in Feng Shui, but what does the science say?

A bedroom with a long, rectangular mirror opposite the bed
(Image credit: Living with Lolo. Photo by Life Created)

Should you sleep facing a mirror? Let's be clear right off the bat - it's a question that will garner very different responses depending on who you ask. For some, the thought alone is pure sacrilege, others will merely shrug and ask what all the fuss is about. Naturally, we wanted to find out if there's a definitive answer out there. 

The idea that you shouldn't sleep facing a mirror is rooted in Feng Shui, the Chinese practice that aims to harmonize people with their environments through furniture arrangement. They're principles that we generally tend to agree with here at Livingetc from a design perspective, but when it comes to how to sleep better, could removing your mirror from opposite your bed really make a difference?

To find out, we asked a sleep coach for some scientific input. Maybe you have a mirror hung on the wall opposite your bed and sleep perfectly fine, or maybe you want to know if moving the dresser parallel to your bed could cure your insomnia. Whatever the case, before you make any drastic changes, you'll want to read this first.  

Why do some people say you should never sleep facing a mirror? 

A bedroom with a wall covered in wallpaper, and a console kept in front with a mirror above

(Image credit: A1000XBetter. Photo by Virtually Here Studios)

So why all the fuss about facing a mirror while you sleep? Feng Shui is all about harmonizing energy in a space through your furniture placement, and mirrors play a huge role in that. According to bedroom Feng Shui mirrors reflect energy, and placing one directly in front of the bed can create a disruptive flow of energy that can interrupt your sleep or cause uncomfortable dreams. 

'Feng Shui is a traditional Chinese practice that focuses on harmonizing the energy flow in living spaces to promote well-being and balance in your daily life,' explains Carlie Gasia, a Spencer Institute-endorsed Certified Sleep Science Coach at Sleepopolis. 'In the case of sleeping facing a mirror, the Feng Shui mirror belief is that it can lead to bad dreams and invite negative energy into the sleep space.' 

What does the science say? 

A bedroom with a mirror next to the bed

(Image credit: Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop. Photo by Chad Mellon)

Beliefs aside, can a mirror actually negatively impact your sleep? Some say it could. If you're not used to having a mirror within your line of sight while you sleep then find yourself in a bedroom that does, the reflection it casts could disturb you at first. As you toss and turn, the movements could wake you up and when you're sleepy, opening your eyes to a face (even your own) can be quite creepy. There's also the possibility of light from the window being reflected to the point it disturbs you. 

Generally though, there's no evidence to suggest that sleeping opposite a mirror for a prolonged period will lead to problems with your sleep. As we become more familiar with our surroundings, our sleeping habits adjust to our environment, so there shouldn't be any long-term issues that result from sleeping with a mirror opposite you. 

Some people firmly believe in Feng Shui and if that's you, then it's best you avoid a bedroom mirror opposite your bed. Whatever helps you sleep at night, as they say. 'From a scientific standpoint, though, there's limited empirical evidence to support the claim that a mirror opposite your bed with affect your sleep, especially when it comes to dreams,' says Carlie. 'Dreams are complex phenomena influenced by various factors such as stress, emotions and individual experiences, rather than simply the position of a mirror.'

What do interior designers say about bedroom mirror placement? 

What about in the case of design? Are there any hard and fast answers when it comes to decorating with mirrors in our sleep sanctuaries? For the most part, it depends on the space. 

Small, rectangular bedrooms could really benefit from a large mirror on the wall opposite a headboard to help create the illusion of more space, but it's generally best to avoid placing a mirror somewhere it will amplify clutter (so if you're not the best at making your bed in the morning, a large mirror opposite it might not be best). 

In larger spaces, you can use mirrors more freely to create a cozy corner or to frame a space - but don't forget that one of their best benefits is reflecting light. 'A mirror should be placed opposite of or adjacent to a window to help reflect light in a small bedroom,' says Jessica Lagrange, principal designer at Jessica Lagrange Interiors. 'This provides the room with the illusion of more space and a brighter area.' 

If you want to really reap the benefits of a mirror to brighten your space, then, you should choose a wall that receives plenty of natural light. The bottom line, however, is it's totally up to you. Your home is your safe space, and nowhere is that more true than in your bedroom. Here, you call the shots, whether you want Feng Shui to influence that or not. 

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Feng Shui doesn't need to be restrictive. In this book interior design expert Cliff Tan shows us how to use the traditional principles of chi, or energy, to take inventory of our areas and tastes. It includes expert tips and illustrations to show how our own styles, color palettes, and pieces can maximize any environment. 

Lilith Hudson
News Editor

Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.