• Users Online: 164
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

Table of Contents
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 33-37

Bedroom design orientation and sleep electroencephalography signals

1 Laboratory of Intelligent Machines, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland
2 School of Architecture and Environmental Design, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran
3 Occupational Sleep Research Center, Baharloo Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Date of Web Publication10-Jun-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Maryam Banaei
School of Architecture and Environmental Design, Iran University of Science and Technology, University St., Hengam St., Resalat Square, Tehran
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ami.ami_60_18

Rights and Permissions

Background: Orientation is a significant factor in architectural design that may affect well-being. Body direction does not change during sleeping, and sleeping is sensitive and affected by environmental factors. Aims: This neuroarchitecture study aimed to assess the effects of bed orientation on sleep quality to enhance bedroom design. Materials and Methods: To do so, the effects of earth's electromagnetic field (EMF) on sleep electroencephalography (EEG) signals were evaluated using signal processing techniques. In this cross-sectional study, a total of 21 healthy volunteer participants slept for two consecutive naps, at two rooms with identical interior design and different bed orientations, toward and against earth's EMF in a sleep clinic. Statistical Analysis: In this experiment, discrete wavelet transform extracted five subfrequencies of EEG data as delta, theta, alpha, beta1, and beta2. In addition, the energy signals were computed by measurement of wave frequencies. The mean total sleep time was 1.63 h in North–South (N-S) earth's EMF orientation and 1.38 h in the other direction. Results: t-test results showed significant changes in delta, theta, and alpha frequencies in terms of bed orientation. There was a significant result in the alpha energy ratio over the whole signal energy. Furthermore, there were increases in the average energy of delta, theta, and alpha bands in N-S versus East–West (E-W) bed directions. Conclusions: This study indicated that sleep in N-S direction could be more beneficial than E-W and the sleep EEG signals can be sensitive to earth's EMF. The results show the importance of considering orientation in bedroom design and its benefits on inhabitants' well-being.

Keywords: Bedroom design, earth's electromagnetic field, neuroarchitecture, sleeping orientation

How to cite this article:
Hekmatmanesh A, Banaei M, Haghighi KS, Najafi A. Bedroom design orientation and sleep electroencephalography signals. Acta Med Int 2019;6:33-7

How to cite this URL:
Hekmatmanesh A, Banaei M, Haghighi KS, Najafi A. Bedroom design orientation and sleep electroencephalography signals. Acta Med Int [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Apr 1];6:33-7. Available from: https://www.actamedicainternational.com/text.asp?2019/6/1/33/259896

  Introduction Top

The built environment has some effects on human's physical and mental well-being.[1] Improvements in housing can enhance well-being and the quality of life. Issues of the design layout in houses have been shown to affect inhabitants, for example, the high rise can cause psychological distress,[2] different interior forms can affect stress and emotion,[3] and bedroom design style affects comfortability and pleasantness.[4] Other lines of evidence suggested that orientation can have some effects on inhabitants' health and well-being.[5]

Orientation is one of the design factors that most were the subject of energy studies. Usually, a compromise between building's function and location and the environmental factors of heat, light, humidity, and wind as well as religious and practical issues in some regions are the issues for building orientation.[6] Furthermore, there are some methods in east architecture to orient the building[7] that may increase inhabitants' well-being,[8],[9] especially the bedroom orientation.[10] Overall, the effects of the building orientation on well-being have not been proved yet. Hence, this study tried to assess it in neuroarchitecture field to see the effects of orientation on inhabitants' brain dynamics. Neuroarchitecture is a new field that is focused on the neural effects of the built environments and users.[11],[12] Studies showed that the different spaces of daily life can change brain dynamics and behaviors.[13] Recent studies using electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging in architecture,[14] interior design,[4],[15] and urban design[16] indicate the usage of neuroscience in architecture. As one-third of our lives are spent sleeping[17] and the body direction does not change during sleeping in the bedroom, bedroom orientation is chosen to examine its effects on brain dynamics and sleep quality in this study.

Orientation related to the earth's electromagnetic field (EMF) is the one that can influence a human's life like an animal's migration or bird's nest.[18],[19] Studying on cattle and deer showed that they align their body axes in a roughly North–South (N-S) direction for grazing and resting.[18] In addition, the effect of EMF on mood and behavior was studied.[20] Another study showed that those who were instructed to sleep with head in south direction for 12 weeks had the lowest systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and serum cortisol.[21]

Specifically for the field of sleeping, ample of evidence suggest that EMFs can affect sleep. Besides, spectral analysis revealed qualitative alterations of the EEG signal during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep with an increased spectral power density that the alpha frequency range was mainly affected.[20] Furthermore, another research regarding orientation and sleep indicated that the REM latency is shortened in the East–West (E-W) direction during sleep compared to the N-S position.[22] There were statistically significant differences in the EEG of normal individuals, depending on whether the individuals sit facing the N-S or E-W direction.

Limited evidence exists regarding the effect of bed orientation on sleep parameters and quality of sleep. This study aimed to assess the differences between sleeping toward or against earth's EMF on sleep EEG to shed new light on orientation in architectural design and enhancing the bedroom design quality. Bedrooms are ruled by bed size and its location[23] that orientation is part of it. This study tried to achieve better residential design solutions by scientific evidence, especially for small apartments, which inhabitants do not have the opportunity to change the bed orientation. Furthermore, it can be useful in a hotel and hospital designing that room orientation has a significant effect on the whole design. Thus, we designed a study to compare bed orientation in terms of EEG signals in two similar bedrooms at a standard sleep clinic.

  Materials and Methods Top

A total of 94 volunteer individuals were evaluated to participate in the current study. A written informed consent form was obtained from all eligible study participants. The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Tehran University of Medical Sciences. The participants with a history of sleep problems, taking alcohol or smoking, and problems with recorded polysomnography were excluded from the study. Participants were completely evaluated regarding sleep problems using validated sleep questionnaires including the Stanford Sleepiness Scale, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, STOP-BANG questionnaire, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and Insomnia Severity Index. Participants were advised not to use caffeine at least 4 h before the test. Furthermore, they did not use any drugs affecting sleep. The beds were positioned in two different directions: N-S, in the direction of the earth's EMF, and E-W, perpendicular to the earth's EMF [Figure 1]. The rooms were equipped identical ones standardized for light and acoustic characteristics; room dimensions were 3.0 m × 4.0 m × 2.8 m (W × L × H). Participants were divided into two groups: N-S orientation with six male and five female participants and E-W orientation with six male and four female participants. Participants of the two groups were asked to sleep for two consecutive afternoon naps. The duration of each nap was 1 h and 30 min on average, and after 24 h, participants of each group underwent a second nap. The two groups were then compared regarding sleep EEG characteristics.
Figure 1: Two similar rooms with different bed orientations. Left: toward the electromagnetic field, Right: against electromagnetic field

Click here to view

In the day of the first nap, participants attended in the sleep clinic around 12:30 PM. After having lunch, EEG electrodes were installed and they prepared for sleeping around 1 PM. Participants were told to sleep as much as they wanted.

Polysomnography was recorded by Embla device (N7000 version) at Baharloo Hospital, a sleep clinic. Sleep signals were recorded according to 10–20 standards with ten channels monopolarly with reference to both mastoids. Channels included C3-M2, C4-M1, Cz-M1, F4-M1, F3-M2, Fz-M1, T3-M2, T4-M1, O2-M1, and O1-M2. Two channels for electrooculography and two for chin were used to record signals. Sleep scoring was performed according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM guideline 2007) by a trained sleep physician. Frequency sampling and impedance check were adjusted 200 Hz and 10 KOhm, respectively.

To extract delta, theta, alpha, beta1, and beta2 frequency bands, discrete wavelet transform (DWT) was used. First, signals were filtered by 32 Hz low-pass filter, Chebyshev type 2 with order 16. This infinite impulse response filter makes phase distortion – this distortion eliminated by applying zero-phase digital filtering by processing the input data in both forward and reverse directions.[24]

Signals were divided into 30-s windows, and then, DWT with Daubechies mother wavelet with order 10 (db10) was applied on the signals. The signals were divided into seven bands based on their frequencies and then the energies were calculated. The specific bands were delta (0–4 Hz), theta (4–8 Hz), alpha (8–12 Hz), beta1(16–24 Hz), and beta2(24–32 Hz). Furthermore, the spindle and K-complex frequency ranges were (8–16 Hz) extracted. All these energy bands were calculated and normalized between 0 and 1. Recorded data were analyzed using (The Mathworks, Inc., Natick, MA, USA) MATLAB software version 2014. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

  Results Top

A total of 94 participants were entered for primary evaluation in this study and 73 were excluded due to underlying sleep problems and/or technical problems of recorded EEG; among them, 21 participants had eligible data for final analysis. The mean age of participants was 23.5 years.[21],[22],[23],[24],[25] Signals were recorded and the average energy of specific bands extracted. T-test was used to compare the results of N-S and E-W orientations, which is represented in [Table 1]. [Table 2] represents energy ratio (ER) bands such as delta ER over delta and theta energies, theta ER over delta energies, and alpha ER over delta and theta energies calculated in average, to assess the significance of differences between these two groups. The mean total sleep time was 1 h and 38 min in earth's EMF (N-S) orientation and 1 h and 23 min in the other group.
Table 1: Signal's energy of North-South and East-West bed-oriented groups

Click here to view
Table 2: Different ratio of the signal's energy in terms of North-South and East-West directions

Click here to view

The percentage of alpha, delta, and theta signal activity ratio to total energy showed that they have significant results in t-test according to the EMF [Table 2] (P = 0.006, 0.007, and 0.01, respectively). In addition, the only significance frequency band ER over the whole signal energy was alpha (P < 0.05). The REM latency and slow-wave sleep (SWS) latency increased toward the EMF, but it was only significant for the REM latency (P < 0.04). The number of arousals and awakenings during sleep increased significantly in the E-W orientation (P < 0.01).

For the E-W orientation, the time for the second sleep stage and SWS decreased, but the P values were not statistically significant (P > 0.05). Furthermore, the whole period of sleeping time decreased for the E-W orientation (P < 0.001).

  Discussion Top

The current results provided evidence that sleeping toward N-S direction or toward earth's EMF could improve sleep quality. The results could be used in the design of bedrooms subsequently. Sleeping toward the EMF (N-S) influenced alpha and delta signals of sleep. The average of energy bands increased in the N-S orientation, especially in terms of alpha and delta signals.

The length of the time that a person was in bed to the whole time of sleeping is defined as sleep efficiency.[25] The alpha signal affects sleep quality; thus, the length and depth of each sleep stage can change by alpha alterations.[26] The present findings showed more awakening and arousals in E-W direction which subsequently increases alpha changes and decreases sleep quality. However, Ruhenstroth-Bauer et al. did not report significant different arousals and awakenings in the two sleep directions (N-S vs. E-W; Ruhenstroth-Bauer, 1987). Different methods of the two studies (daytime nap in present study vs. night sleep in the aforementioned study) may interpret the different results. The other explanation of the different results in terms of arousals and awakenings and/or other sleep parameters between these two studies may be the number of studied EEG channels. In the current study, more EEG channels were studied and the evaluation of sleep studies was performed by a trained sleep physician manually; thus, the number of detected arousals and awakenings could be more compared to the study by Ruhenstroth-Bauer et al.

Moreover, in this research, REM latency of participants increased during sleeping in N-S direction. Consistent with this study, Ruhenstroth-Bauer et al. indicated shortened REM latency in E-W direction. This evidence confirms Ruhenstroth-Bauer's assumption that the geomagnetic field influences human sleep EEG depending on the sleeping orientation (N-S vs. E-W).

Participants in the E-W group had decreased total sleep time comparing to the ones slept toward the geomagnetic field. Shortened sleep for a long period negatively affects data processing (decoding) during the sleep.[27],[28],[29],[30] Thus, designing bedrooms in which beds are oriented toward earth's EMF may be associated with improved sleep and a higher quality of life. More investigation in standard equipped sleep laboratories with manual analysis of sleep EEG by experts is warranted and recommended for future studies. Although improving sleep without medical intervention and just by changing bed orientation with the least complication and investment when compared with medical interventions seems more sophisticated, this study shows the importance of considering orientation as a factor that can influence well-being. Using and implementation of neuroarchitecture is a new evolving research area that needs more elucidation in the field of sleep medicine. As such, interventions in architecture may be used for the treatment of different sleep disorders or as preventive measures in the sleep medicine world. Available data regarding the effects of bed orientation in the treatment of sleep disorders or as preventive measures are lacking and require more elucidation and interdisciplinary collaboration.

The present findings also indicated that the participants who were in the N-S orientation had more K-complexes and spindles, but only the increase of spindles was significant. Furthermore, the energy of specific bands extracted and studied and the results show that the changes can be because of the orientation toward the EMF during the sleep. This finding is not reported by Ruhenstroth-Bauer et al. study. Although the methods and time of sleep studies were different, apparently more EEG signals and manual analysis by a sleep physician could represent more accurate findings in terms of sleep stages and number of detected sleep spindles and K-complexes.

  Conclusions Top

The present study findings provide evidence that bed orientation influences sleep EEG signals and sleeping toward the EMF (N-S) can have some positive effects on the sleep EEG. The results can be used to enhance bedroom design. Further investigation in this field and also the influence of geomagnetic field in the prevention and treatment of various sleep disorders are recommended.

This study sheds new light on the importance of orientation and its effect on brain dynamics. It is one of the first studies in neuroarchitecture that used sleep EEG for bedroom design. Unlike many neuroarchitecture studies, the results of the current study are practical. According to the limitations of this study such as region of the experiment, age, and the number of participants, further studies with more sample size are required to recommend some principles and rules for improving bedroom design and having better sleep. Furthermore, the lack of similar studies in EMF and sleep EEG in healthy individuals is another important limitation of the current study.


This work was supported by Baharloo Hospital, and all data recording was performed in the sleep clinic of Baharloo Hospital in Tehran. We would like to thank Mr. Saman Syfpour for his kind assistance in data recording. This manuscript is the full version with some revision on data analysis of the study that was accepted for the poster presentation at the Congress of the European Sleep Research Society. The abstract was published in the Journal of Sleep Research volume 23, supplementary 1, Special Issue: Abstracts of the 22nd Congress of the European Sleep Research Society, 16–20 September 2014, Tallinn, Estonia, p. 159.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Evans GW. The built environment and mental health. J Urban Health 2003;80:536-55.  Back to cited text no. 1
Ormandy D, ed. Housing and health in Europe: the WHO LARES project. New York: Routledge; 2009.  Back to cited text no. 2
Madani Nejad K. Curvilinearity in Architecture: Emotional Effect of Curvilinear forms in Interior Design. Texas A&M University; 2007. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/5750:Texas, TX. [Last accessed on 2018 Feb 01].  Back to cited text no. 3
Vecchiato G, Tieri G, Jelic A, De Matteis F, Maglione AG, Babiloni F, et al. Electroencephalographic correlates of sensorimotor integration and embodiment during the appreciation of virtual architectural environments. Front Psychol 2015;6:1944.  Back to cited text no. 4
Baggs S, Baggs J. The Healthy House. Australia: Thames and Hudson; 1996.  Back to cited text no. 5
TEoE Britannica, editor. Britannica, Orientation, in Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.; 2012.  Back to cited text no. 6
Mak MY, Ng ST. The art and science of Feng Shui – A study on architects' perception. Build Environ 2005;40:427-34.  Back to cited text no. 7
Bonaiuto M, Bilotta E, Stolfa A. Feng shui and environmental psychology: A critical comparison. J Archit Plann Res 2010;27:23-34.  Back to cited text no. 8
Mak MY, Ng ST. Feng shui: An alternative framework for complexity in design. Architect Eng Design Manage 2008;4:58-72.  Back to cited text no. 9
Lu SJ, Jones PB. House design by surname in Feng Shui. J Architect 2000;5:355-67.  Back to cited text no. 10
Mallgrave HF. The Architect's Brain: Neuroscience, Creativity, and Architecture. Hoboken NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2010.  Back to cited text no. 11
Jelić A, Tieri G, De Matteis F, Babiloni F, Vecchiato G. The enactive approach to architectural experience: A neurophysiological perspective on embodiment, motivation, and affordances. Front Psychol 2016;7:481.  Back to cited text no. 12
Eberhard JP. Brain Landscape: The Coexistence of Neuroscience and Architecture. New York: Oxford University Press; 2009,  Back to cited text no. 13
Choo H, Nasar JL, Nikrahei B, Walther DB. Neural codes of seeing architectural styles. Sci Rep 2017;7:40201.  Back to cited text no. 14
Vartanian O, Navarrete G, Chatterjee A, Fich LB, Leder H, Modroño C, et al. Impact of contour on aesthetic judgments and approach-avoidance decisions in architecture. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2013;110 Suppl 2:10446-53.  Back to cited text no. 15
Roe J, Aspinall P, Mavros P, Coyne R. Engaging the brain: The impact of natural versus urban scenes using novel EEG methods in an experimental setting. Environ Sci 2013;1:93-104.  Back to cited text no. 16
Colten HR, Altevogt BM. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 17
Begall S, Cerveny J, Neef J, Vojtech O, Burda H. Magnetic alignment in grazing and resting cattle and deer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008;105:13451-5.  Back to cited text no. 18
Wiltschko W, Wiltschko R. Magnetic orientation and magnetoreception in birds and other animals. J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol 2005;191:675-93.  Back to cited text no. 19
Sher L. The effects of natural and man-made electromagnetic fields on mood and behavior: The role of sleep disturbances. Med Hypotheses 2000;54:630-3.  Back to cited text no. 20
Shrivastava A, Mahajan KK, Kalra V, Negi KS. Effects of electromagnetic forces of earth on human biological system. Indian J Prev Soc Med 2009;40:162-8.  Back to cited text no. 21
Ruhenstroth-Bauer G, Günther W, Hantschk I, Klages U, Kugler J, Peters J, et al. Influence of the earth's magnetic field on resting and activated EEG mapping in normal subjects. Int J Neurosci 1993;73:195-201.  Back to cited text no. 22
Harrison H. Houses: The Illustrated Guide to Construction, Design and Systems. Dearborn; Real estate education company; 1998.  Back to cited text no. 23
Oppenheim AV, Schafer RW. Discrete-time signal Processing. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall; 1989. p. 284-5.  Back to cited text no. 24
Lichstein KL, Riedel BW, Wilson NM, Lester KW, Aguillard RN. Relaxation and sleep compression for late-life insomnia: A placebo-controlled trial. J Consult Clin Psychol 2001;69:227-39.  Back to cited text no. 25
Iber C. The AASM Manual for the Scoring of Sleep and Associated Events: Rules, Terminology and Technical Specifi cations. Darien, Illinois: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; 2007.  Back to cited text no. 26
Anderer P, Gruber G, Klösch G, Klimesch W, Saletu B, Zeitlhofer J. Sleep and memory consolidation: the role of electrophysiological neuroimaging. Somnologie 2002;6:54-62.  Back to cited text no. 27
Stickgold R, Hobson JA, Fosse R, Fosse M. Sleep, learning, and dreams: Off-line memory reprocessing. Science 2001;294:1052-7.  Back to cited text no. 28
Sejnowski TJ, Destexhe A. Why do we sleep? Brain Res 2000;886:208-23.  Back to cited text no. 29
Maquet P. The role of sleep in learning and memory. Science 2001;294:1048-52.  Back to cited text no. 30


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Exploring Methodological Approaches of Experimental Studies in the Field of Neuroarchitecture: A Systematic Review
Parastou Naghibi Rad, Farzaneh Behzadi, Seyed Abbas Yazdanfar, Hessam Ghamari, Erfan Zabeh, Reza Lashgari
HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal. 2023; : 1937586722
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Managing the Built Environment for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention With Maharishi Vastu Architecture: A Review
Jon Lipman, Lee Fergusson, Anna Bonshek, Robert H. Schneider
Global Advances in Health and Medicine. 2022; 11: 2164957X22
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Investigating the Effects of Architectural Space on Cognition and Brain Activities: A Systematic Review
mahbubeh zamani, mehran kheirollahi, mohammad javad asghari ebrahim abad, hasan rezaee, farzaneh vafaee
The Neuroscience Journal of Shefaye Khatam. 2022; 10(3): 68
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Applications of electroencephalography in construction
Sina Saedi, Alireza Ahmadian Fard Fini, Mostafa Khanzadi, Johnny Wong, Moslem Sheikhkhoshkar, Maryam Banaei
Automation in Construction. 2022; 133: 103985
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 A neurocognitive study of the emotional impact of geometrical criteria of architectural space
Avishag Shemesh,Gerry Leisman,Moshe Bar,Yasha Jacob Grobman
Architectural Science Review. 2021; : 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 Exploring the influence of the built environment on human experience through a neuroscience approach: A systematic review
Tulay Karakas,Dilek Yildiz
Frontiers of Architectural Research. 2020;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
Materials and Me...
Article Figures
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded712    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 6    

Recommend this journal