How to Avoid Sleep During Meditation

by | Blog

Given how stressful and fast-paced life can be, many people are starting to practise meditation. Meditating is a great way to wind down mentally after a long day at work or school. People are turning to meditation practice as it’s all about observing everything you’re thinking and feeling in a judgement-free state.

While meditation practice is a great way to support your mental health, it can sometimes be difficult to engage fully with. Because meditation implies stillness, it’s easy to become too relaxed and fall asleep. Falling asleep while meditating isn’t necessarily a bad thing because your body obviously needs rest, but it also deprives you of the awareness that meditation provides.

If you’re struggling to stay awake while meditating, you’ve come to the right place. This article will explore why you fall asleep during meditation and will share a few tips on how to stay awake, as well as examine a more dynamic alternative to meditation.

Understanding Meditation and Sleepiness

Falling asleep in the midst of a meditation session can be irritating. However, it isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. After all, think about why you can’t stay awake in the first place. Do you have a stressful job or an action-packed day that wipes you out? Are you going from an adrenaline-filled state to sudden relaxation with no downtime in between? Is your job or daily life physically exhausting?

All of these are very practical and logical reasons for falling asleep while meditating, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up. Stress, early hours, hard work and long days can all lead to sleep deprivation and make staying awake during your meditation sessions extremely difficult. More than likely, falling asleep while you’re trying to meditate is your body’s way of telling you that you may need more rest or sleep.

Why Does Meditation Make You Fall Asleep?

As we said before, the most likely reason that you can’t stay awake while meditating is that you’re physically or mentally exhausted. This happens because your body works extra hard to keep up and expends extra energy when you’re stressed, anxious or physically active.

Therefore, when it no longer has to do this, you experience a sort of “crash,” and your body abruptly shuts down. The end result is that you can’t remain focused or stay alert while meditating, and you gradually begin to fall asleep and fully relax.

Introduction to Sophrology

If you’ve tried everything and still can’t stay focused and awake during meditation, you should consider trying Sophrology. Sophrology is a practice that incorporates meditation and is all about connecting the body and mind and boosting your mental health. Sophrology also has a positive impact on your nervous system, which can improve your physical health.

Sophrology also incorporates movement, breathing and visualisation exercises into the meditation experience. You’re therefore more likely to stay alert and far less likely to fall asleep because you’re moving and engaging parts of your body other than your brain.

The First Degree of Sophrology

There are several different degrees of Sophrology. In total, you can journey through 12 of them. Each invites you to explore one aspect of your human potential and experience. The first degree puts a strong focus on movement and breathing exercises alternating with short pauses where you are encouraged to meditate on your sensations and perceptions. The ultimate goal of the first degree of Sophrology is to balance mind and body and increase your body awareness and your ability to concentrate on the present moment. 

By increasing your body awareness, you’ll be more grounded in the present moment, which is essential for successful meditation. This is also important because increased body awareness and learning to stay grounded in the present will translate into increased confidence and self-assurance.

Additionally, staying grounded and aware will help your physical, mind, emotions and body to all be in sync with one another, which will help you experience life to the fullest. When this happens, you may experience that you feel more resilient and can respond to adversity in a positive way rather than by getting angry, stressed or anxious.

How Sophrology Can Help You Stay Awake During Meditation

The main way that Sophrology helps you stay awake while meditating is by incorporating gentle movement and breathwork. Don’t worry, movement doesn’t mean you’ll be working up a sweat while practising Sophrology. It simply means that there are gentle, slow movements of the body rather than absolute stillness which usually prevent sleepiness and encourage focus as you remain aware of your body’s sensations.

Another reason that Sophrology exercises prevent sleepiness during meditation is that you don’t necessarily have to have your eyes closed. You can follow guided Sophrology practices with your eyes open and be in any position that’s comfortable for you, whether that’s sitting, standing or lying down.

Sophrology can also be practised anytime, anywhere, which means you can meditate inside, outside or wherever your heart desires. This flexibility with time also means you can practice Sophrology when your energy levels are at their highest, which is often in the morning or early afternoon.

Practical Tips to Avoid Sleep During Meditation

In addition to incorporating the movements and breathing of Sophrology, here are a few other helpful tips and tricks to help you stay awake while meditating.

Consider Your Meditation Position

If you meditate late at night, it’s common practice to do so in bed, possibly even lying down. While this is a comfortable, safe place to meditate, it also increases the likelihood that you’ll feel tired and fall asleep. Therefore, to keep this from happening, you should try new meditative positions that are still comfortable but will help you remain alert, like sitting with your feet on the ground.

In addition to altering your position, you can also try things like walking meditation for fresh air or open-eye meditation. The beauty of practising meditation through Sophrology is that it allows for these alternatives. You can meditate anywhere in any position, and you’ll still have a positive experience.

Don’t Meditate Too Long

There’s also a chance that your meditation sessions are too long. While it’s important to meditate for as long as necessary to achieve a relaxed state, lengthy sessions increase the odds of falling asleep. With Sophrology, you don’t need to meditate for more than 10 minutes at a time. This shortened period makes it easier to maintain energy levels and avoid sleeping during guided meditation.

Meditate When You’re Well-Rested

It’s also a good idea to meditate during parts of the day when you have more energy. This could mean right after you wake up, after a morning workout or at a time when you feel calm other than right before bed at night. While meditation is a great way to wind down and get quality sleep, you won’t reap the full benefits if you can’t stay awake.

Don’t Meditate After a Big Meal

It goes without saying that meditating on a full stomach is a recipe for falling asleep. Eating a big meal causes your brain to release serotonin and increases your blood sugar, both of which make you sleepy. Therefore, avoid meditating after a large meal and give your body time to digest your food.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up For Falling Asleep During Meditation

Most importantly of all, it’s vital that you aren’t too hard on yourself if you occasionally fall asleep while meditating. Yes, it’s not a good habit to fall into, and you’re likely reading this article to put a stop to it, but it’s also not the end of the world. Rather than judging yourself for falling asleep, use these few tips and tricks to avoid sleeping during meditation.

Final Thoughts

At BeSophro, we understand how easy it is to fall asleep while you’re trying to meditate. However, it’s important to remember that you’re probably falling asleep because your body needs rest and relaxation. It’s not always a bad thing but is instead your body’s way of telling you that you’re tired and not getting enough sleep and need to slow down. Rather than getting frustrated and continuing to try the same thing, you should consider meditating while practising Sophrology.

The gentle movements and exercises you perform will help you stay alert while you reap the benefits of meditation. Sophrology also allows you to meditate based on your individual needs and schedule and doesn’t put position or time restrictions on you. If you think this sounds like the right option for you, take the next steps in being a calmer, freer, and better you by starting Sophrology today!

References

Why Do You Get So Tired After Eating? – Cleveland Clinic

Falling Asleep During Guided Meditation | What to Do When You Meditate (mindworks.org)

How to Beat Drowsiness While You Practice Meditation (healthline.com)

What is Sophrology? | How Does Sophrology Work? | BeSophro (be-sophro.com)

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