Is there is any scientific basis for the belief that one should not

Many researches are being conducted even now with high exposure of magnetic fields on human volunteers to see the effect of the magnetism on the human brain.

It is observed that some amount of sleep disturbances have been recorded to a certain extent, but it is not convincingly proved that exposure of brain to magnetic field does cause such disturbances in sleep.

There are two types of phases in sleep, the REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement sleep) which is the initial phase of sleep, during an attempt to sleep. During this period the eyeball rolls from side to side. It runs for a period of 20-40 minutes.

The second phase of sleep is called Non Rapid Eye Movement sleep (NREM sleep), which lasts for a few hours. The cycle returns after a period of sleep, say around 4 to 6 hours, repeatedly. During the REM sleep we do get dreams. There appears to be a disturbance in REM sleep if exposed to a magnetic field for a long time.

The body as such may be a magnet, though research has not proved it. But it consists of several ‘bar magnets’ which are hydrogen atoms. Magnetic Resonance Imaging relies on the concept of bar magnets in body fluid and in tissues.

Such bar magnets should be in alignment with the Earth’s magnet (i.e. north and south pole of the body bar magnets, on par with the south and north pole of the Earth’s magnet) when the head is on the southern side.

So far specific studies have been conducted in the sleep EEG of the patients in my lab, which did not show any gross alteration in the sleep pattern, except for a slight shortening of the REM sleep.

There may be some possible factors which may influence the body’s bar magnets especially of brain towards the generation or alteration of sleep pattern. Since there is a lot of psychological, mythical influence on the belief that keeping the head on the north side is bad, one may get influenced psychologically also to get REM sleep disturbances.

In course of time, researchers will unravel the truth. But, in the general practice of neurology, there are affirmative data (may be due to psychological causes) on whether patients are getting disturbed sleep.