One of the main aims of meditating is to relax, especially with the high-stress lifestyles that many of us lead. But since some people are so exhausted after a long day at the office, it can be hard to retain focus and for this reason, they fall asleep during meditation.
The good news is that falling asleep during meditation might not be as tragic as you might first think. If your body has reached such a state of relaxation that is has fallen asleep; you are giving it what it needs. There are even some meditation practices that are designed to induce sleep. However, if you aren’t doing this sort of meditation practice, it can be frustrating falling asleep during meditation. But your brain may still be absorbing some of what you are hearing, so you may still benefit.
In this article, we are going to be looking at why you might be falling asleep while meditating and what you can do about.
Why Do I Fall Asleep When I Meditate?
As you lie down or sit in a comfortable position to begin your meditation, your body and mind begin to slow down and this is one of the main benefits of meditation but it can be a major contributor to your unexpected power nap. Meditation sets the scene for ultimate relaxation and it can be very difficult to find the right balance between being relaxed and staying focused.
If you are especially susceptible to sleep debt, your body will likely that this opportunity to fall asleep and rest, particularly if you are meditating in a place that you associate with sleep such as the bed. This is a very common thing and many meditators struggle with this every day. Furthermore, if you have not been practising for long, your mind may not be used to meditating and might easily lose focus, giving in to the relaxed feeling you are experiencing.
As we mentioned, the mind may still be alert when you fall to sleep during meditation. If you have ever done this, you will notice that you usually wake at the end of the session with some awareness of the voice from your guided meditation. This means that your mind may still be learning but of course, you will get the most benefits from meditation if you stay awake.
How Do I Stop Myself From Falling To Sleep When I Meditate?
If the eyes are closed and you are lying on the bed, the first thing your mind will think of is sleep – one of the most common questions is how to stop falling asleep during a meditation session. For those for who this is a regular occurrence, there are a few things you can do to keep your head in the right space for meditation.
Avoid Meditating In Bed
Whether you meditate first thing in the morning or last thing at night, you should try to avoid meditating on the bed; or even in the bedroom. There is nothing more tempting for your tired body than the comfort of the place where it usually sleeps. This is even worse if you are lacking in energy, so try meditating somewhere new such as your favourite chair or on a meditation cushion in the garden – if the weather is nice, of course.
Don't Meditate Close To Sleep Times
One of the worst times to meditate is when you have just woken up or are just about to go to sleep. Your body and mind are already relaxed and this can cause you to struggle in staying awake.
If you love meditating first thing, make sure that you leave some time between waking up and beginning the meditation process. This will give you a chance to wake up and for your energy levels to increase and is one of the best ways to avoid falling asleep.
Open A Window
One way of ensuring that you don’t give in to sleep is by letting some fresh air into the room. Any time that you put yourself in an environment that is conducive with sleep, you will like succumb to it.
Conversely, learning to meditate in a room with the window open will create an environment that promotes wakefulness. Of course, you don’t want to make yourself uncomfortable so you will need to make sure that you get the right balance between cool and refreshing and being freezing cold.
Don't Meditate After Food
If you have just enjoyed a big meal, your body needs to use all of its energy for digestion and trying to focus during this time will not be fruitful. You will be much more likely to fall asleep.
Some meditation experts recommend leaving your meditation practice alone for up to two hours after eating, but this will vary from each meditator to the next since we all digest our food at a different rate.
Do A Moving Meditation
If you are struggling to remain awake no matter what you try then you might try to meditate with your eyes open; this way, there is no possible way of falling asleep.
You can feel free to do this in any way you like; some people like to do a walking meditation through a quiet setting such as a woodland or on the beach, whereas other people prefer to keep the eyes open and focus on something in the room such as a photo or the ceiling.
You can still pay attention to the meditation, especially if you use a guided practice or a meditation story. The key to this is learning a new method and allowing the thoughts in your head to be subdued in the same way as they would when you close your eyes.
Avoid Lying Down To Meditate
A great part of meditating is being able to lie down and relax – this is a great way to let go of your stress and enjoy the peace and tranquillity that this ancient practice can bring. However, it is also the number 1 problem where dropping off to sleep is concerned.
As we have already discussed, you can purchase a cushion for meditation or find somewhere that you can sit comfortably. Many people are under the impression that you must sit in a full lotus pose to meditate but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you are not lying down, it will be far less likely that your exhausted body will give in and drop off to sleep.
A common problem for those who love to meditate is that they often find themselves asleep before they reach the end of the session and this can be frustrating. Of course, a major benefit of regular meditation is that you will feel far more relaxed but sometimes you can become too relaxed and struggle to see the guided practice through to the end.
For anyone who suffers from sleep deprivation, this becomes an even bigger issue and it can sometimes be enough to deter you from wanting to meditate in the first place.
But the good news is that you are not alone and millions of other meditation enthusiasts are falling asleep with you. But if you want to prevent this; there are some things that you can do such as avoiding meditation early in the morning, letting in a fresh breeze or finding somewhere new to do your practice.