Psychology, maps and sleep – Part 3

We have seen that humans have a built-in compass and an ‘inner’ map that is orientated North/South.  Did you know that you can improve your compass and map ?  When I was younger I did a lot of orienteering (walking in the countryside) using a map and compass.  I had read a book about Psychology and humans’ internal compass so I did a little experiment: I moved my bed and aligned it North/South.  Within a few weeks my sense of direction improved a lot and I was able to find my way through the countryside much better than before.  For many years afterwards I continued to sleep with my bed North/South.  This was easy because my home was in the Northern Hemisphere and I lived in an old house that was built to maximise the available light and heat from the Sun.  In old houses in England this means all the main windows are South-facing so most people sleep in beds on the North wall with their feet facing South.  The same configuration is found in most buildings in the cold northern and southern hemispheres because getting light into the building and trapping heat in the walls are priorities.

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In tropical countries like Singapore on the equator the day length is pretty much constant and buildings are often constructed to avoid the heat of the Sun.  This means that in Singapore many buildings are built with the main windows facing Eastto be warm in the morning and cool in the evening.  When I moved into my new flat I put my bed with feet facing the window and this meant I was sleeping East/West.  My internal compass was disrupted by the change and I found it really hard to sleep and it was also difficult to find my way around the new area.  I bought a compass and turned my bed through 90 degrees so I was sleeping North/South.  Literally overnight my insomnia disappeared and my energy returned, showing the power of the inner compass in the psychology of sleep.  Maybe in another article we can look at the psychology offengshui, but that’s for another time …

Understanding the psychological research about humans interpret the world means I now get a good night’s sleep.  Psychology can also make your days amazingly interesting.  The Psychology course in Singapore offered by TMC covers lots topics for you to discover.  The classes for our diploma in Psychology programme or our degree in Psychology course will teach you a lot about yourself and others, so why not find out more today ?

Dr. Hew Gill
Ex-Head of Psychology Programmes
TMC Academy

Reference:
Frankenstein, J., Mohler, B. J. ,Bülthoff, H. H. andMeilinger, T. (2011) Is the Map in Our Head Oriented North ?Psychological Science , 23( 2)120-125.


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