In Taoism we focus on energy saving and there is nothing more effective than a good rest. There are many rules how to sleep. However sleeping should be natural and every individual has different natural habits. There is no fixed rule on how to sleep, but there are ways to achieve the “great” sleep.
Understanding the Basics
(This might sound a little abstract but this knowledge is ancient and it was forbidden to cut bodies open) The Taoists believe the right side of your upper body is “air”, while the left side is filled with blood/vessels. Before sleeping “look inside your heart”. You are not going on a journey so there is no need to let your mind wander.
Don’t sleep like a dead man
Do not put your hands on your chest or rest in other awkward positions. Everything that makes the oxygen intake harder should be avoided. The resting position should be easy to breath and should promote the inner blood circulation. Do not tighten your joints or your blood cannot flow. Some tight positions will close the blood vessels on the joints and you will wake up feeling that the “cut off” part is numb.
The Three Positions of the Sage
Lie on the back if you want to promote a straight posture. This position is very good if you have back pain from hard work, but be careful not to lie too soft. The bed should not be so hard that you feel your bones but not too soft so that you feel compression on your spine and rips. Soft beds have a compressing effect which lead to spinal curvature. Your hands should be relaxed and look down to your feet. If you have warm hands (if not rub them first) place them on your “Dantian” (~2 fingers below navel).
Lie on the right side if your stomach is empty. This will balance the “blood” and “air” parts in the body. You reduce stress on the heart and have an overall deeper sleep. People with heart problems should prefer this position. Your right hand should support your neck and ear. The left hand should rest on your hip or upper leg. Do not put your chest and stomach inside too much, let the breathing go easy and naturally.
Lie on the left side to reduce stress on stomach. If you have eaten something or your body has some water inside, this position can help to sleep quietly for a shorter duration. Be careful not to press your heart too much inside and do not warp your body inside. The heart should be able to work easily, take your time to find the right position. This position will reduce pressure on your digestive organs. The left hand should definitely support your neck and ear to bring the upper body in the right position. The right hand should rest on the hip or upper leg.
Achieving Great Sleep
Is a journey for everyone. We all have different bodies and there is no general formula. Please tell us your experience with sleeping in the comment section!