Do You Feel Sleepy While Meditating? Try These Ways to Stay Awake
Soft music in the ear, nice cool air touching your body, one breath in another one out, your instructor’s voice slowly fades and you wake up an hour later, lying on your yoga mat next to your pet!
Happened to you before? Happened to me, I slept in all the meditation sessions we had in school!
Meditation helps you relax, brings a sense of calm, helping in de-stressing. Having said that, it can sometimes be way too effective in relaxing you that you fall asleep.
Meditation is not the reason behind you feeling sleepy. It’s the way you chose to do it and the circumstances in which you chose to do it makes all the difference. Feeling drowsy while meditating is a very common thing to happen.
It mostly happens to people who have just started practicing meditation. While experienced meditation practitioners are skilled enough to understand the extent at which your body must feel relaxed.
We feel sleepy during meditation because we do not know where to draw the line. If our body is too relaxed, it is obvious that we’ll feel sleepy.
Let’s begin with understanding the reasons behind feeling sleepy while meditating.
Here’s where we went wrong…
Reasons Behind Falling Asleep While Meditating:
I always wonder, how can meditation benefit me? When I always end up falling asleep. Some people get demotivated and quit meditating (Hmm… that’s me!). I gave up meditation thinking that it’s not for me. But the truth is that I did it in the most incorrect way possible (unintended, of course).
According to the Melbourne Meditation Centre (MMC), conking out while meditating could simply mean your body is trying to get what it’s lacking.
Long story short, I’m here to tell you what not to do if you are falling asleep during meditation.
Being lazy, as it is, makes us want to sleep all day. You don’t feel like doing anything for that matter, leave alone meditation. If you choose to meditate when you’re already feeling lazy, the chances of falling asleep during meditation are more.
2. If you are a Beginner.
Meditation is an art that demands time to achieve the skill. In the beginning we are less aware of what and how things are to be done. Achieving the understanding of focus and relaxation can take time and that’s why beginners tend to feel sleepy during meditation
3. Choosing the right type of meditation.
It’s difficult to focus on things that do not resonate with you. Similarly, the technique you are using to meditate should be able to connect with you. If it’s not connecting with you, you can lose focus and can fall asleep while meditating.
Are you a person who is overworked, always on the go? If yes, you’re most likely to fall asleep while meditating. Your body needs rest and when you sit to meditate it misreads the stillness and makes you fall asleep.
5. Heavy meal.
Meditating after having a heavy meal often induces sleepiness. Your body uses all your energy in digesting food. When you choose to meditate after a heavy meal you are most likely to fall asleep because all the energy is invested in digesting your food.
6. Meditating on/near the bed.
Our bed is associated with our sleep. Whenever we meditate on or near the bed, our body automatically signals our brain that its sleep time. Having a different meditating space away from your bedroom is a better way of doing it.
These are a few reasons which could be behind your sleepiness during a meditation session. You can always keep them in mind when you plan your meditation session.
Now that you know what NOT to do, let’s look at what SHOULD be done to meditate without falling asleep.
How To Stay Awake During Meditation:
I am the type of person who can sleep for hours and still want to sleep more. Staying awake is a task for me in general. Doing so while meditating? Tell me about it!
To help you and me I’ve found a few tricks that can help us not fall asleep during meditation.
1. Away from mealtime and sleep time.
Meal time and sleep time are two things that induce sleep without any effort. So try to set your schedule in such a way that your meditation session is not close to your meal or sleep time.
You can practice before meals but do not do it after meals. Right before sleep or right after you have woken up is also not a good time to do it.
2. Away from bed or bedroom.
Meditating near your bed can make you fall asleep. Try to meditate somewhere that’s not close to your bedroom. If your bed is not in your vicinity, you’re good to go.
3. Practice in the open air.
Practicing in open air helps you relax and helps you build focus avoiding drowsiness. Nature helps in waking you up and pumps energy in you. The sound of birds, leaves and nature make you feel relaxed and fresh.
4. Get enough sleep.
If your body lacks rest and sleep, no matter what you do meditation will put you to sleep. So make sure to get enough sleep at night. You can also take short power naps during the day so that your body is well rested.
5. Meditation bench
Using a meditation bench is also very effective in curbing sleepiness during meditation. These benches are usually made of tough material and are not very comfortable. This plays a vital role in not letting you feel cozy enough to fall asleep.
6. Meditate when you’re most alert.
Choose that time of the day to meditate when you are most alert. It can be morning, evening anytime. Alertness will avoid drowsiness and the meditation process can be more productive.
7. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is the solution to most of my problems. When the body is dehydrated you may experience more stress, fatigue and a lot of other things. But when you drink enough water your body is more alert and alertness reduces sleepiness.
8. Make a short and sweet
Long meditation sessions can be tiring and keeping your focus for a long time is rather difficult. So keep your meditative sessions short. You can increase the number of times you meditate but try not to increase the duration.
9. Designate a meditation space.
Create a space for yourself where you can sit and meditate. Your mind will soon associate that place to meditation, like it does sleeping in your bed. You can add some relaxing stuff to that place. It doesn’t have to be a huge place, it can be a corner of a room or your balcony or anything that suits you.
10. Walk or stand
This is by far the best way to not fall asleep during your meditation. Walking for standing will keep you alert and by now you already know what alertness does.
Falling asleep while meditation is a fairly common occurrence. Our brain gets similar signals during meditation and during the first stage of sleep. This, including all other reasons, can make us all feel sleepy while meditating.
Meditation is good for You, Me and Everyone provided we choose the right time, place, and technique to practice it.
I hope now all of you know why you were falling asleep during meditation and how not to fall asleep while meditating.
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Take care! Stay safe!