Anyone who has tried meditation knows that it’s a very relaxing experience, as it should be.
Many meditators find their stress and anxiety melt away thanks to their practice. Due to its relaxing nature, you might even find yourself dozing off during meditation.
But how can you get the most out of the experience when you’re about to snooze?
Fortunately, there are things to ensure falling asleep during meditation doesn’t occur.
Is It OK to Fall Asleep When Meditating?
Falling asleep isn’t a crime (unless you’re doing so while you’re behind the wheel!).
Although not everyone wants it to occur during their meditative practice.
There’s really no right or wrong. Whether you choose to sleep or stay awake during a meditative session is up to you.
But, if staying awake is your goal, this may be a challenge for you.
According to Project Meditation, falling asleep while meditating is very common. After all, both activities closely relate to one another.
In the end, sleeping during meditation is not harmful. Although it may disrupt your practice as your sessions will get short and not be as thorough.
How Do You Not Fall Asleep?
Falling asleep during meditation sounds pleasant, right?
In reality, when you’re trying to advance your meditation practice, this isn’t convenient.
The good news is, there are multiple ways you can try to prevent falling asleep or drowsiness during meditation. All you need to have is the motivation to do these things, make them a habit, and you’ll overcome drowsiness along the way.
Consider the following tips.
Get Enough Sleep.
Our parents would always tell us to go to bed on time when we were little.
However, as an adult, we have the freedom to choose our own bedtime.
Honestly, going to bed early is easier said than done! Research shows that just 45% of Americans get insufficient sleep at least once a week.
If you always seem to fall asleep during meditation, chances are, you lack sleep.
In this case, getting more rest might be the right solution.
Start by going to bed earlier each night. Or, at the very least, take a nap or two throughout the day if your schedule permits.
Avoid Meditating at Nighttime.
There are a time and a place for meditation.
Although you might only have time to meditate at night, we advise not to.
Why? Because most of us are less alert at night. Thus, you may be more prone to falling asleep during meditation.
Meditation at night should only occur if you’re doing so with the goal of falling asleep. If not, a daytime session would be more relevant.
Make room somewhere in your daily schedule for meditation.
Plan to do it at home before work or school, on public transportation, or during your lunch break.
Try Practicing Upon Waking Up.
Many of us feel the most alert as we wake up in the morning. Thus, many find that this is a great time to meditate.
Although some people don’t enjoy engaging in the practice first thing in the morning. This is true for those who feel groggy and fatigue upon waking,
If you’re prone to early-morning grogginess, there’s a simple solution. Simply wait about 10 to 30 minutes before meditating.
Eating a nutritious breakfast can also provide more energy during those tiring mornings.
Switch Up Your Location.
Everyone has a certain location that they find perfect for meditation.
But if you’re known to get drowsy quickly, the best thing to do is practice elsewhere.
Some find that taking their practice outside helps. The warmth of the sun, the sounds of nature, and the feel the wind keeps them awake.
You may also find that practicing in a well-lit room or even in a public setting can keep you more alert.
A public library, park, or community garden are examples of settings you may wish to practice in.
Refrain from Eating a Large Meal Beforehand.
Have you ever felt tired after eating a big meal, perhaps on Thanksgiving? It’s not psychological!
Fleet Science Center states that large meals set off our parasympathetic nervous system. This system causes the body to slow down and emphasize the digestion process.
And, according to the Sleep Foundation, there are specific foods that trigger extra sleepiness. These include cheese and crackers, milk and cereal, and peanut butter toast.
Items like these cause you to feel sleepy because they contain tryptophan.
That said, avoid carb-heavy, protein-rich foods, especially in large quantities before meditating. You should also avoid high fat and high sugar foods.
Keep in an Upright Position.
Some people like to sit while they meditate. Others prefer to meditate while lying down. It’s mostly a personal preference.
But, if you’re prone to dozing off while meditating, you might find it better to do so standing up.
Or, if you plan on meditating while sitting, make sure to maintain good posture. When you’re leaning against something or slouching, it’s easier to fall asleep.
It’s also possible to meditate while moving. Yes, seriously!
If you do opt for meditating while moving, don’t do it while driving or operating machinery.
How Do You Stay Awake When Nodding Off?
Sometimes you just can’t help but nearly fall asleep while you meditate.
The latter tips might not work for all people.
Not everyone has time to meditate in the morning. And, some are unable to adjust their sleeping schedule to reduce meditative sleepiness.
So, what else can you do?
When you find yourself nodding off during your practice, try the following:
Say Something Out Loud.
Sound is one thing that keeps us more alert.
Besides listening to music, one way to liven yourself up is by saying something out loud.
There are many meditation positive affirmations that you may choose to verbalize.
You may choose an affirmation someone else came up with. Or, you might choose to come up with your own. Either way, the decision is yours!
You also have the power to decide how loud the affirmation will be and how often you’ll say it.
You might also speak these verbalizations “loudly” in your head.
Pause and Get Some Fresh Air.
Nothing gives a new perspective like a breath of fresh air.
Taking a quick walk outside or opening a window might keep you from falling asleep.
When you do this, focus on the sensation of the wind and the sounds of the leaves ruffling outside.
You may find these sensations soothing yet alerting at the same time.
While fresh air won’t guarantee you’ll stay awake, it’ll help enhance your awareness.
Splash Your Face with Water.
Have you ever splashed your face with water first thing in the morning? You may notice that doing this helps make you feel less drowsy after waking up.
Doing the same during a meditative state when you feel too sleepy can also help.
Keep a bottle or glass of water nearby. Coldwater tends to be the most effective to use to boost your alertness.
If you don’t wish to pour or splash water onto your face, you may apply it elsewhere with a cloth then you can perform stretches to loosen up some muscles.
Caffeine and meditation don’t normally go hand in hand. You might be thinking that the two together don’t make much sense. That’s understandable.
This is because caffeine is a stimulant. Meanwhile, meditation induces relaxation. They’re essentially polar opposites.
But when you’re likely to fall asleep during your practice, a little caffeine wouldn’t hurt.
Get caffeine in the form of coffee, an energizing tea, or an energy drink.
Just make sure to keep the caffeine to a minimum. A little boost should be all you need.