Meditation Training

Why Am I Constantly Falling Asleep During Meditation?

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Have you ever found yourself nodding off during meditation? It’s a common problem, with many people experiencing sleepiness as their brain waves mimic those in the early stages of sleep.

This article is here to explore why this happens and offer practical advice to keep you awake and engaged in your practice. Stay tuned for tips that could transform your meditation experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Brain wave activities change during meditation, causing sleepiness. Alpha and Theta waves can make you feel relaxed but awake, and an increase in these can lead to drowsiness.
  • Lack of sleep or feeling tired from the day makes it harder to stay awake during meditation. Ensuring you get enough rest is key for a focused practice.
  • Eating a big meal before meditating can cause you to feel sleepy. Try having lighter snacks instead or wait after eating before you meditate.
  • Creating a calm environment helps keep your focus during meditation. Choose a spot away from distractions and consider natural light to help stay alert.
  • Standing or walking while meditating are effective ways to prevent falling asleep by keeping your body engaged along with your mind.

Why Do I Fall Asleep During Meditation?

Feeling sleepy during meditation can be influenced by brain wave activity, lack of sleep, daytime fatigue, and eating a heavy meal before your practice. Creating a relaxing environment while meditating may also contribute to drifting off.

The science behind meditation and sleep

Meditation and sleep share a close connection through the activity of brain waves. During meditation, your brain generates patterns similar to those in the early stages of sleep. This similarity can sometimes lead to falling asleep, especially when you’re already tired or meditating in a comfy spot.

Research has shown that regularly practising meditation improves adults’ sleep quality who don’t have known sleep issues. It also helps relieve stress at bedtime, making it easier for you to fall into a restful night’s sleep.

Understanding this science can help you adjust your meditation practice if you find yourself getting too sleepy. Let’s now look at how various factors like lack of sleep or daytime fatigue contribute to this issue.

Brain wave activity

Brain wave activity changes during meditation. These changes can explain why you might fall asleep while meditating. Alpha waves, which occur between being alert and asleep, are often present in this state.

They make you feel relaxed but awake. However, if alpha waves increase too much, they can lead to drowsiness.

Theta waves also play a role. They appear during deep meditation and are linked to learning and information processing. If theta wave activity increases, it could cause you to drift into sleep.

Keeping your brain engaged with mindfulness practices can help regulate these brain waves, allowing you to stay alert and focused during your meditation session.

Lack of sleep or daytime fatigue

Transitioning from understanding brain wave activity, it’s crucial to consider how lack of sleep or daytime fatigue plays a significant role in meditation practices. Sleep deprivation can indeed make you feel more tired and less alert.

This often leads to dozing off during times when you’re trying to meditate. Deepak Chopra points out that falling asleep while meditating could signal that you’re not getting enough rest.

Ensuring you’re getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining focus and relaxation during meditation. If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed by sleepiness, it may be time to assess your sleeping habits.

Factors like prolonged fatigue indicate the need for more restful nights. Avoid meditating right after eating a large meal or when feeling exceptionally tired, as these conditions foster an environment more conducive to sleep than active meditation.

Making sure your body and mind are well-rested will significantly enhance your practice and help you stay awake and alert throughout your meditation sessions.

Eating a heavy meal before meditation

Eating a heavy meal before you start meditating can make your body feel very heavy. This heaviness leads to sleepiness while you’re trying to focus and stay alert during meditation practice.

Experts advise against eating big meals right before sitting down for a meditation session. Doing so helps avoid the feeling of heaviness and keeps sleepiness at bay.

To practise meditation effectively, consider having light snacks or wait for some time after a large meal. Keeping this habit ensures you’re not fighting off drowsiness when you should be focusing on your meditation may it be guided or silent.

This simple adjustment in your routine can significantly improve how alert and focused you feel while meditating.

Meditating in a relaxing environment

Just as avoiding a heavy meal enhances your meditation experience, choosing a relaxing environment can significantly improve your focus and prevent you from dozing off. A calm setting invites tranquillity into your practice, setting the stage for more alertness.

Make sure you’re in a place that feels peaceful to you, away from loud noises or distractions. This could mean meditating outside where natural sounds can help keep your mind engaged or creating a designated space inside that is reserved for meditation.

Consider the right environment as essential to sustaining concentration during your practice. If meditating in bed makes you sleepy, move to a different spot that encourages wakefulness.

Proper lighting helps too; open nearby windows if possible to let in natural light which signals the brain to stay awake. Incorporate elements that foster attentiveness like fresh air or slight coolness in the room rather than warmth which might encourage sleepiness.

By crafting such an environment, you create conditions conducive not just for relaxation but for maintaining alertness throughout your session.

Impact of Insufficient Sleep on Meditation

Insufficient sleep can lead to depletion from illness or stress, affecting the quality of meditation. It’s important to prioritise getting enough rest and sleep for a more effective and fulfilling meditation experience.

Depletion from illness or stress

Being ill or stressed impacts your body in many ways, including how you sleep and meditate. Stress activates the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, which plays a key role in connecting stress with metabolism.

This can make it hard to find restful sleep and focus during meditation.

Meditation has the power to reduce stress levels, offering a natural way to improve both sleep quality and alertness. By practising meditation regularly, you train your brain to manage stress more effectively, maintaining alertness even when life gets tough.

Importance of getting enough rest and sleep

Getting enough rest and sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining your mental and physical health. Most adults need between 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. This helps keep their mind alert and body energised for activities like meditation.

Without proper sleep, you may find it difficult to focus or stay awake while you’re meditating.

Sleep regulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn affects how relaxed and calm you feel. When this system is well-regulated through adequate rest, meditation becomes more effective.

You’re able to relieve stress better at bedtime and fall asleep with ease. Therefore, ensure that getting sufficient sleep is a part of your daily routine to enhance your meditation practice.

How to Stay Awake During Meditation

To stay awake during meditation, practice away from meals and create a designated meditation space. Trying meditating outside or standing while meditating can also help maintain alertness.

Practise away from meals

To avoid feeling drowsy during meditation, it’s essential to practise away from meals. Having a heavy meal before meditating can lead to drowsiness and make it challenging to stay alert during the practice.

By scheduling your meditation sessions away from mealtimes, you can maintain a more focused and awake state of mind, enhancing the effectiveness of your meditation practice.

Additionally, refraining from eating immediately before meditating allows your body to focus on the process without diverting energy towards digestion. This simple adjustment can significantly impact your ability to remain attentive and engaged throughout your meditation session.

Create a designated meditation space

Designate a specific spot for meditation to train the mind. This helps in establishing an association between that space and the practice of meditation, aiding in staying alert during the session.

Having a designated area also creates a calming environment conducive to focused meditation, as per research on environmental influences on mindfulness practices.

By creating this dedicated space, individuals can enhance their ability to remain attentive and engaged during meditation. It’s also seen that consistent use of this space reinforces the habit of regular practice and supports mental preparedness for mindful sessions.

Try meditating outside

If you find it challenging to stay awake during meditation, consider meditating outside. The change in environment can help keep you more alert and focused. Natural elements such as fresh air and the sounds of nature can create a stimulating atmosphere for your practice.

Furthermore, exposure to natural light can help regulate your circadian rhythms and improve your energy levels. Additionally, being outdoors provides a sense of spaciousness that can enhance mental clarity and prevent drowsiness during meditation sessions.

Incorporating this simple change into your routine could significantly impact the quality of your practice, helping you remain present and attentive throughout.

Stand or walk while meditating

To continue maintaining alertness during meditation, another effective approach is to stand or walk while practicing. This simple adjustment from a seated position can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling asleep and help sustain focus and mental clarity throughout the session.

Research has shown that physical movement, even if it’s just gentle walking, can promote wakefulness by stimulating blood flow and engaging the body and mind together.

Incorporate standing or walking into your meditation routine by finding an open space where you can comfortably stand or take slow, mindful steps. The physical engagement in combination with breath awareness can foster a heightened state of attentiveness, making it easier to stay present and avoid drifting off.

Stay hydrated

Dehydration can disrupt your sleep schedule, affecting the time spent asleep. It’s crucial to stay hydrated during meditation if you want to remain awake and focused. Deepak Chopra emphasises that staying hydrated is essential for maintaining alertness during meditation.

Tips to Stay Alert During Meditation

– Maintain proper posture using a bench or cushion.

– Keep your eyes open while meditating.

Use a bench or cushion for proper posture

Utilising a meditation bench or cushion can help in maintaining proper posture during meditation. A bench engages core muscles, demanding added effort to stay upright, preventing drowsiness and boosting alertness.

Additionally, a cushion can aid in posture alignment, assisting practitioners in staying focused and attentive during their meditation practice. These tools are worth investing in as they promote better body positioning for improved focus and concentration.

A meditation bench offers an alternative active posture by assuming a kneeling position with the support of cushions. This position encourages increased alertness and prevents drowsiness, providing a valuable aid for those seeking to enhance their meditation experience.

Keep your eyes open

Open your eyes while meditating to help maintain alertness and focus. This can prevent the relaxation experienced by closed-eye meditation, making it easier to stay awake and attuned.

By keeping your gaze uplifted during meditation, you can support higher states of consciousness and avoid drifting into a sleepy state.

Maintaining an open-eyed approach may also be beneficial for individuals who find that closing their eyes induces drowsiness or relaxes them too deeply. It helps in remaining attentive and engaged throughout the practice, enhancing the overall quality of your meditation experience.

Now let’s delve into some actionable tips to aid in staying awake during meditation.

Meditate during your most alert times

To combat drowsiness during meditation, it’s crucial to choose your meditation times wisely. Opt for sessions when you feel most awake and alert, such as first thing in the morning or early afternoon.

These moments can be ideal for maintaining focus and preventing the urge to doze off while meditating. By aligning your practice with your peak energy levels, you’re more likely to stay engaged and avoid drifting into a sleepy state that hampers your mindfulness efforts.

Incorporate audio into your practice

Incorporating audio into your meditation practice can help keep you alert and focused. Listening to calming music, guided meditation, or nature sounds can provide a point of concentration for your mind, preventing drowsiness during meditation.

You can explore using binaural beats or rhythmic audio to stimulate brain activity and engagement, helping you stay awake and attentive throughout your meditation session. Incorporating audio elements in your practice can offer a tangible way to enhance the quality of your meditation experience while combating feelings of sleepiness.

Take short, frequent breaks

To stay alert during meditation, take short and frequent breaks. This can help prevent drowsiness and maintain focus on your practice. It’s important to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs to avoid falling asleep during meditation.

Incorporating short, frequent breaks during meditation helps in preventing drowsiness, keeping you alert throughout the practice. These moments of respite allow you to re-energise and refocus, enhancing the overall effectiveness of your meditation session.

Next up: “Create a designated meditation space“.


Falling asleep during meditation is a common experience for many meditators. It can be due to the brain waves active during meditation being similar to those in the early stages of sleep.

To prevent falling asleep, try meditating sitting up rather than lying down and avoid meditating on or around the bed. Experiment with different remedies, such as changing the time of day you meditate or adjusting your posture, until you find what works best for you.

Remember, falling asleep during meditation does not necessarily indicate a problem with your practice; it’s simply a part of the journey.


1. Why do I keep falling asleep when I try to meditate?

Falling asleep during meditation can happen if you’re already feeling sleepy or the environment encourages sleep, like lying down or having a meal beforehand. Make sure you’re sitting up and not too comfortable.

2. How can practice make my meditation better?

Meditation is a skill that gets better with practice. Try meditating first thing in the morning when your mind is fresher, and stay consistent to improve your focus and stay alert longer.

3. What if I’m still falling asleep despite trying everything?

If you find yourself drifting off every time you meditate, consider changing your routine slightly. Open a window for fresh air or focus on imagining the sun shining right above your head to feel more awake.

4. Can changing where I meditate help me stay awake?

Yes! Meditating on the bed might encourage sleepiness because it’s associated with rest. Try moving to a different spot that’s less relaxing but still comfortable enough for meditation.

5. Should I drink coffee before meditation to avoid falling asleep?

While coffee might seem like an easy fix, it artificially stimulates the system which isn’t ideal for pure meditation practice. Instead, aim for natural ways to remain alert without altering your state of mind too much.

6. What simple trick can help keep me awake during meditation?

A useful tip is focusing on something specific such as visualising sunlight directly above your head or practising walking meditation instead of sitting; these methods may help keep your mind engaged and prevent dozing off.

Why Am I Constantly Falling Asleep During Meditation?
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