Do you find yourself falling asleep during meditation? It’s a common struggle for many practitioners, particularly beginners. It demonstrates how little control we have in maintaining wakefulness or sensing that our physical body is sleep-deprived.
I’m here to tell you that dozing off when meditating is normal, and there are ways you can turn the accidental nap into a fulfilling meditation session. Keep in mind that meditation is a balance of focus and relaxation. Sometimes you can find yourself getting too comfortable in the relaxation aspect that you can’t help but wake up from slumber on your cushion.
If you can’t complete a meditation session without drifting to dreamland, this post is for you. Here’s how to avoid falling asleep during meditation.
6 Ways to Prevent Sleeping When Meditating
Don’t Overeat Before Meditation
A big meal before meditation tends to make the body feel naturally heavy and tired, leading to sleep. This is because the body experiences a sharp rise in blood sugar, thus taking away your energy to stay focused.
Similarly, it would help if you avoid oily or fried food beforehand. Like a heavy meal, these foods can get the body working hard to digest them, taking away from a clear and peaceful state of mind. As such, you may find yourself welcoming sleep during meditation.
Avoid Meditation Lying Down
An obvious reason why you fall asleep when meditating is when you do it lying down. Unless you’re practicing Yoga Nidra, it’s not a good idea to practice mindfulness while lying down, particularly when you’re not at your sharpest.
While you should be comfortable during meditation, watching your posture is essential. With this in mind, it’s ideal that you be in a sitting position with a straight spine rather than slouching.
Again, don’t sit in a giant pillow recliner as you will relax too much, and sleep will be the result.
Try to find the sweet spot where you’re slightly uncomfortable that your body is ever so aware that it can’t fall asleep in that position.
Meditate Away from the Bed
Your environment plays a significant role in how your session goes. I used to meditate next to my bed, and I can attest those were the times that I fell asleep the most. I guess it has to do with thoughts of going to bed right after my session.
After changing into a wakeful environment, I have no problem staying awake. Hence, it’s not just the bed you should avoid when meditating. Steer clear of practicing anywhere close to it.
Keep Yourself Hydrated.
Water has a way of awakening your senses when you’re tired and sleepy. Before you get into a meditation session, take a glass of water to jolt the brain into wakefulness. Nevertheless, do not drink too much water because you may seek the bathroom, which is another distraction you want to avoid.
Alternate with A Few Focal Points
If your mind is focused on one thing, it slows down to a point where it’s easy to take a nap. That’s why it’s best to start by observing your breathing which is the entry point to your meditation. Then, move on to scanning the body for various physical sensations.
You’ll find that it helps to sustain awareness of the tension as you identify the numb, aching, or tired parts. This practice keeps the mind alert, so it does drift to slumber.
Practice Walking Meditation
If you find the sitting practice so relaxing that you can’t help dozing off, you can change to walking meditation. While different, walking meditation enables you to focus on the walking experience. Watch the sensation of each step and the subtle difference of each physical movement to stay mindful.
In addition, it helps to be fully aware of the environment around you because it’s hard to ignore. Trying to focus on just walking can get boring pretty fast. Thus, be fully present, walk slowly, and notice everything from the sounds, smells, and sights.
It’s a good thing to think that you’re feeling the fresh air against your skin for the first time. It will be a new experience every time you venture into walking meditation. And because there’s no way you can fall asleep moving, it guarantees a complete wakeful session every time.
There are many reasons why you could be falling asleep during meditation. Most likely, you’re tired or are sitting in the wrong posture. Either way, these ways to avoid falling asleep during meditation should help you stay awake moving forward.
However, if you’ve tried everything and still have a hard time staying awake, it’s best to rest and sleep. You can then resume the session when you are bright and fresh.