Are you falling asleep During meditation?
Some questions to ask yourself if you find that you are drifting off whilst meditating..
Is your body or your mind exhausted? due to intense exercise, physical work or mental exhaustion ? i know some days i am drained and nod off during meditation, Being a Nurse i am physically , emotionally and mentally exhausted some days ( well most at the moment). Is your stomach full when you meditate? or do you practice mindful breathing & meditation right after a meal? Are you sleep deprived or are you trying to meditate for longer than what you naturally feel like doing? Where and what position are you meditating in?
One of the reasons its suggested to meditate in the morning is cos you awake fresh and alert ( well you should be, there is one exception.. if its rainy and stormy outside). If you haven’t had enough sleep, or are physically exhausted, then it is probably not the best time to meditate. Have some rest first, then try meditating.
If you are still falling to sleep , and you are well rested, keep at it, Keep refocusing on the object of meditation. The mind knows how to be busy thinking, or how to sleep but is not used to being aware but “empty”, so when we try and switch off and meditate, the mind will try and get distracted, going off on tangents or it will try and go to sleep. Sop keep at it!!! It will help strengthen your will power, and hopefully with practice you will eventually not have this problem anymore.
There is an exception, if after a busy, exhausting day in which you need to unwind and distract your brain from over thinking, using this breathing mediation is perfect to unwind, relax and fall to sleep carefree, if you are having trouble focusing because of all the traffic in your head, write down all the things on your mind, and a ” to do” or ” things to remember” list for the next day. By writing them down, you are releasing the stress associated with thinking you will forget important things what needs to be done.
Falling asleep can also happen if your sessions are too long. If that is the case, then diminish the length to what is natural to you. Don’t be too ambitious, grow step by step. You can use guided meditation apps in which you are following directions, and at the end they bring you back to a conscious state. You should not force your mindful breathing sessions or any meditation longer than you are motivated to do.
Sleepiness may be contributed to attempting to mediate right after a meal, especially if you have eaten a lot like i tend to do, its a curse being an emotional eater, i eat when i am happy, sad, stressed, anxious… sigh so i tend to try to meditate pre meals, or a mini session at the coffee shop, or before bed. If you meditate with a full stomach, much of your energy will be diverted to digestion and less will be available for meditation. If you have just eaten, you will likely have better results if you wait two to three hours after a meal.
Another reason could be if you take alcohol or other drug’s within a 24 to 48 hour period before meditating, as this can t distort your meditation experience, increase your chances of entering either a sleep or a passive state and often it can deaden or dull your inner sensitivity.
What position are you meditating in? if you meditate lying down or in a reclining chair,or in big comfy beanbags or couch you are more prone to falling a sleep, or may make it more likely for you to nod off during meditation. You may get better results if you sit upright in a cross legged pose, or a yoga mat, or in a straight-backed chair.
Practicing meditation after some light exercise, or a shower, can make you be more awake during the session.
Hope this helps and inspires you to continue meditating.
Written By Andy Jackman x