Many people notice that they often fall asleep during meditation, some fall asleep literally, others figuratively, that is, they lose awareness and go into extraneous thoughts.
A few years ago, just trying to meditate, I regularly fell asleep during practice. Meditation sent me to the realm of Morpheus. Nothing helped with drowsiness. Day or night, rested or tired - during any practice, I just could not help but doze off. This problem worried me a lot. For some time I struggled with drowsiness: I kept myself in suspense, chose positions in which it is difficult to fall asleep, a time of day when I was full of energy. The result was that my practice turned into wakefulness rather than meditation.
My teacher suggested that falling asleep while meditating could mean sheer fatigue. Therefore, instead of meditation, he suggested just taking a nap. When I was in a group class, I saw how even experienced practitioners began to fall asleep: they could sway, shudder involuntarily, and snore. With this understanding, one can consider sleepiness as part of the practice of meditation. This is fine. Instead of fighting or beating yourself up about sleepiness, focus on the things that will help make your meditation a success. If you fall asleep during practice, sleep! Don't try to do anything about it. Your psyche knows best what you need now. You have internal recovery processes going on. Consciously you want something else, but your body knows that now you need rest, you need to recuperate. Now this is a top priority. And takes you to sleep. Don't resist, sleep! Recover. Rest, recovery is the very first step, the first step towards self-love. This is the very first thing you need to do to start repaying debts to yourself.
Once upon a time, I did one practice for six months and constantly fell asleep closer to the middle (and sometimes even in the first phrases). I couldn’t help myself, I tried to catch at least a few words, at least understand what it was saying, but I couldn’t - I just fell into a dream. Now I understand that it was necessary. I then very much drove myself to work, I was very tired, my strength was running out. In my mind, I thought that everything was in order, I want to practice, I want to meditate, to work on myself. But my body, my unconscious understood better than me that now I only need rest. And I switched off during meditation, waking up only at the end. I did the practice for six months, not even knowing what was inside. Then at some point I rested and stopped falling asleep. I was finally able to listen to the practice in full with interest, even though I found out what it was all about. So sleep! Sleep tight, recuperate!
What to do if you fall asleep while meditating 1. Meditate in a less sleepy environment Sometimes our body is tuned to sleep at certain times, in certain places, in certain positions. It is very difficult to cope with such a biorhythm, so do not fight with the body. If morning meditation causes drowsiness, try practicing in the evening. If you feel sleepy from being in the bedroom, go to the living room. Get rid of the environment that screams "Sleep!" Practice in a neutral place where your body won't decide it's time for a nap. Experiment with posture while meditating. Where is it more comfortable for you to sit with a straight back: on a chair, pillow, rug? With or without back support? Take a sitting position and keep your back straight, do not lean it on the back of a chair or any other surface.
1. it promotes deeper breathing: the air begins to pass through the lungs better. Breathing is an important part of meditation.
2. At first, this may not work, you may not be comfortable in this position. But with practice, this position will become natural and comfortable for you.
3. Don't eat before meditation. Some people have a metabolic problem in which a person either eats too much or eats too much of a certain type of food, their blood sugar drops and they feel sleepy. After a hearty meal, you often want to sleep, as the body spends energy on digesting food. In addition, such processes in the stomach distract from meditation and prevent relaxation. It is better to meditate on a light stomach. Preparing to sit down in meditation, one should avoid heavy food, do not eat too much and do not eat that after which one begins to fall asleep. One should meditate without eating food that causes a feeling of fatigue.
4. Cheer up. Showering helps most people, sit in meditation when you're not tired, or do some exercise. But if the problem persists, then I suggest you meditate in the morning, after eight hours of sleep and shower. Choose a time when you are not tired. Do some breathing exercises (diaphragmatic breathing).
5. Ventilate the room in which you meditate. The stuffiness makes me want to sleep. Don't meditate in bed. The body gets used to the fact that you are sleeping there, so it can automatically “turn off”.
6. Relax. Maybe you don't get enough sleep and that makes you fall asleep? If so, then go to bed earlier and sleep more. Ask yourself if you are tired. If yes, then the best choice in this situation is to sleep.
7. Observe the sensations in the body. If you look, our body is a very boring thing! By carefully listening to the sensations, you can find the widest palette of sensations in various areas of the body, as well as feel the internal organs, which is often a surprise for a person. The process of exploring your own body, "probing" or "scanning" it with your inner eye, does not allow you to fall asleep. As soon as you start feeling sleepy, be aware of it. What sensations appear in the eyes, chest, stomach? If you do fall asleep, pay attention to how you feel when you come back from sleep.
8. Count your breath. You can count simply: inhale - 1, exhale - 2, inhale -3, and so on. Or (although it is more difficult, and there is more danger of falling asleep), they count as follows: inhale - 1, exhale - 1, inhale - 2, exhale - 3, and so on. If you do practice by counting, and not by time, often counting from a given number to 1 or to zero, this is also possible - the main thing is not to lose count! For some people (more sensitive to sensations) it is not necessary to count the breath, you can simply observe it, tracking each inhalation and each exhalation, and listening to the sensations of each respiratory act.
9. Watch thoughts. In order to empty the mental "buffer", we simply wait for the next thought, intensely and with curiosity we observe - what will it be ?! “You are like a tiger lurking in the jungle: thoughts are prey.” It is important not to lose interest, no matter how banal and insignificant thoughts come, and immediately let them go without getting involved (“the tiger is not really hungry, he just has fun: hunting is his nature”). Gradually, the pauses between thoughts grow, and it is important not to “fail” in them, not to fall asleep.
10. Check the status (do 6,7,8 previous techniques at the same time). All previous practices lead to this. This is the development of attention (awareness) in its purest form. In fact, here we monitor the fulfillment of the three previous conditions: breathing is natural, the body is relaxed, there are no thoughts. We do this periodically. So you can not fall asleep even with the purest and best meditation.
Gradually, the habit of “checking for 1, 2, 3” (body, breath, mind) becomes automatic, you don’t even have to think “so, maybe it’s time to check if the body is relaxed.” Having reached this level, it is important to immediately learn to distinguish between an unconscious state (preceding falling into a dream or an insensible state) and a superconscious state, when there are no thoughts, but you are maximally present with your attention.