Why Do I Fall Asleep While Meditating?
This is a common question among begginers, but even if you have been meditating for a long time, falling asleep during meditation is something that can happen to you also. In this post, we will be looking at the reasons why you might be falling asleep while meditating.
Some people fall asleep during meditation, some fall asleep after meditation whereas many others are meditating to get better nights of sleep. We all are wired differently and we all face unique problems in all areas of our life, this holds true when it comes to meditation also.
However falling asleep while meditating is so common that I have seen a hall full of people snoring after a meditation session I was enrolled in, most of them were meditating for the first time but I know that this can happen to anyone so there is really nothing to worry about.
I have seen people quit meditation and some of them use this as an excuse to not meditate, they say “meditation is not for me, I can’t meditate because I feel sleepy when I try to sit in silence” but that’s not true, meditation is for everyone (one of the psychology today article has enlisted more than 20 reasons why you should start meditating today) and it is perfectly alright to fall asleep during meditation, in fact, there are many reasons why this might be happening to you and that’s why we will be looking at various causes which might be why you are not able to complete your meditation as you might be either asleep halfway down the session or you are just trying to stay awake throughout the session.
Have You Ever Fallen Asleep During Meditation?
I have been asked this question in emails many times and of course, yes, I have not only fallen asleep during meditation but I even remember once waking up after about 2 hours (that was a very intense session from Christie’s unlimited abundance program, I will never forget that one and the fact that I released a lot of stored emotions during that session is why I fell asleep for that long).
Apart from that, initially, I remember a lot of times I would fall asleep for brief intervals while meditating especially during a guided meditation or if it has been a busy day. The thing is, it is an essential part of the process because you need a little practice before being able to sit in meditation for long hours and also sometimes it is a kind of mechanism that allows our mind to release the stress that has been there for a long time.
But this should not be something that happens every time to you and if you don’t do anything about it then you might end up sleeping every time rather than meditating and that defeats the purpose, however, you should not worry much about this either because that will not only demotivate you but you will also find it difficult to meditate because the worry about falling asleep itself will not allow you to focus. So you need to understand that falling asleep is absolutely alright while meditating whereas you should also at the same time do something to prevent it from happening the next time. That’s why we are now going to take a look at the possible reasons that are making you fall asleep during meditation.
Do Not Meditate On a Full Stomach
Probably one of the most common causes of not being able to meditate without dozing off is trying to do it after eating, there should be a proper gap before you sit to meditate after having food otherwise you will feel lethargic and not able to concentrate.
The point is that your digestive system should not be active when you sit in silence otherwise you will definitely fall asleep soon, this also does not mean that you should stay hungry either. If you are meditating during morning hours then obviously food is not a factor but when meditating at any other time of the day keep in mind that a significant amount of time has passed before you had food (about 2-3 hours), this will ensure that your digestion system is at ease whereas you are neither hungry because it is also difficult to focus with an empty stomach.
Conventional methods of meditation always strongly focus on posture, keeping your spine erect while meditating is something yogic institutions and orthodox meditation instructors will always ask you to do. Lotus posture is mostly preferred in ancient meditational techniques and from personal experience I can say that unless the type of meditation you are performing requires you to recline or lie down (yes, meditations like yoga nidra/yogic sleep are performed in a supine position), the lotus position is something I have found most effective.
Here’s a video on the lotus pose(Padmasana), Padamasana, and Sukasana :-
If the lotus pose is difficult and uncomfortable then you can try the other two postures, even if none of them is comfortable for you then also keeping your spine erect alone while meditating rather than reclining ensures that you don’t drift off easily while meditating.
Environment undoubtedly is one of the main factors that affect the quality of meditation. There’s a reason why people prefer meditating in nature, it gives them the essential atmosphere which not only helps them to connect with nature but also allows them to go deeper into a state of silence.
I understand that it is not possible for all of us to find such a place for meditation all the time but meditating outdoors is always far more beneficial than meditating in closed rooms, if you can’t meditate outside then you should at least make sure that the room in which you are meditating is properly ventilated.
Fresh air is necessary for you to be able to meditate properly, you may feel sleepy if you meditate in a closed room with less ventilation. Also, your chances of falling asleep inside your house are far greater as your couch, sofa, and bed are nearby. Also, I know that many of you who are converting your meditation into slumber are already choosing these super comfy options, so try to avoid sitting on your bed and prefer something like a yoga mat instead.
Meditate With Your Eyes Open
I hear many of you saying “What? You can’t meditate with your eyes open”, yes you can! Many meditations are there which does not require you to close your eyes. For example, while performing many mindfulness meditation exercises you don’t have to close your eyes instead these activities focus on you being aware of your surroundings, it also involves you observing whatever you are looking at with more attentiveness.
Trataka meditation method is another such meditation where you have to keep your eyes open, in this meditation which is known to help improve one’s ability to concentrate, a person fixes their gaze on an external object and uses it as an instrument to stay alert without allowing their mind to get engaged in the mental chatter.
When you don’t have to close your eyes while meditating, the chances of you falling asleep are highly reduced and that’s why you can try these types of meditation methods initially.
Choose the Right Time
According to many yoga masters and gurus, there is a time in the early morning hours known as the bramhamuhurta that is the most appropriate clock time for meditation. It is true to some extent and many people believe that this particular time duration is best for their meditation practice, however, the right time to meditate is when you find your mind is in the perfect state to be able to stay focused.
Choose your meditation time when your mind is highly alert and it does not require much effort from your side to stay awake during meditation, only you can detect your right time for this purpose by experimenting. So, try changing your meditation hours and find out for yourself the time of the day when you are able to sit in silence without dozing off or finding it hard to concentrate.
Are You Tired or Sleep Deprived?
Could it be that you are falling asleep because you are too tired? If that’s the case then it is probably happening for the best, if you are sleep deprived or if you have been too much busy then there is a great chance that your meditation session will get converted into regular a deep slumber.
In one of my previous posts, “5 reasons why you are feeling tired after meditation“, I explained that if you are not resting properly or not having an adequate amount of sleep, you may feel tired or fall asleep while meditating.
Sometimes when we don’t take proper care of our physical and mental health then when we sit to meditate, all that need to rest that we have been avoiding comes to our attention and that is why many people tend to sleep during or after a good meditation. If you are someone who has not been sleeping properly then it is very obvious that meditation will make you sleepy. Also, it is very important that you stay hydrated properly throughout your day otherwise you may feel very lethargic when you sit to meditate.
So, these were some reasons that you might be falling asleep during meditation, and apart from trying to work on these factors, I don’t think you should worry about it at all because feeling sleepy while doing any type of meditation is not really that much of a problem which shall persist for long if you are trying to sit in silence on a regular basis. Meditation sessions are always unpredictable, sometimes you are very calm after your practice and sometimes you are restless, it all happens due to the energy healing that takes place when you meditate. I have explained this in the side effects of energy healing post, there are no side effects of meditation or energy healing as such but emotional changes and some alterations in your energy occur when you work on your spiritual well-being, one such energetic change may result into a temporary lethargy which goes away with time.
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