Making time for wellness activities has never been more important in these trying times. People face problems of their own, and they need something to keep their minds and bodies at bay. Wellness activities come in many forms: meditation, dog walking, fitness challenges, and stress management programs. Some even go on spa trips to stay relaxed and experience the full body massage benefits.
Among all types of wellness activities, meditation offers a wide range of health benefits, including insights on how to lead a more compassionate and fulfilling life. It’s an amazing antidote to beat the pressures of our fast-paced world that often leaves us worn down, exhausted, and stressed.
There’s nothing wrong with falling asleep while meditating. The body’s response to meditation is a reflection of our emotions, sensations, and thoughts lying deep within. But the thing about meditation can be too effective at making you feel calm that you keep falling asleep. Plenty of factors are in play why you fall asleep during meditation sessions, from the physiological makeup, natural tendencies, and the type of meditation.
Sleeping during meditation is very common, but if you want to experience the full benefits of meditation, it’s important to keep yourself alert at all times. To help you with your concern, here are reasons why you get sleepy while meditating and ways to overcome it.
Reasons meditation makes you sleep
One thing to understand is that meditation should not make you tired. In fact, meditation offers the chance to make your body realize you feel tired and need more time to relax and pause. Besides sleep, meditation is one of the times when your mind gets a full mental rest and improves sleep quality.
Studies show that meditation results in better sleep, increased well-being, and less stress. Apart from studies that support the benefits of meditation, there’s also some evidence explaining why you keep dozing off to dreamland.
Meditation shares similar characteristics during the early stages of sleep, which involves the increase of alpha brain wave activity. When meditating, the mind lies between the edge of sleep and wakefulness and relaxation and focus. If you’ve often been practicing, you’re likely to drift now and then.
Effective meditation has the ability to connect your body with things you haven’t noticed before. This can be a benefit that may cause unpleasant outcomes in the beginning. If you’re always stressed, tired, overwhelmed, and lacking sleep, your body may think your meditation is an invitation to get that much-needed sleep. This often happens to people who are always on the go or busy, and sitting still is something their body is not accustomed to doing.
Eating heavy meals also induces sleepiness. This comes from plenty of factors such as hormonal release, nutrient content of your last meal, a full belly, or digestion. Food such as cheese, tofu, eggs, and fish contains the amino acid tryptophan, which promotes the production of a sleep hormone called serotonin.
Meditating near the bed may also send signals to the brain that you want to sleep. Lack of light has sleep-inducing effects, so dimming the lights and closing your eyes is like telling the brain it’s nighttime.
Depletion from stress or illness will also cause you to nod off during mediation sessions. If you’re dealing with a chronic illness or your body has been in a continuous state of unrest, the amount of energy will decrease over time.
Ways to stay alert during meditation
If you’ve constantly been dozing off during your meditation sessions, it’s important to try other techniques to keep you alert at all times.
The first rule is to get enough sleep. If you’re consistently struggling not to fall asleep during sessions, there’s likely a deeper problem going on. Your meditation practice isn’t draining you, but it’s telling you something that you’re not getting the sleep your body needs.
Another technique is to open your eyes while meditating or try doing a “soft gaze,” which involves a freer and more relaxed focus. You can try sitting on a bench instead of meditating near the bed while listening to a guided meditation. A relaxing auditory input is enough to keep you aware without getting distracted. Another alternative is to practice outside and relish the sun’s warmth and sounds of nature.
Staying hydrated is another effective way to invigorate the body and keep the energy levels high. Drink a lot of water before and after your meditation to keep you in high spirits.
The bottom line
Falling asleep during meditation is a fairly common occurrence where our brain waves go in similar stages of sleep. So don’t beat yourself up for getting drowsy; use this opportunity to discover what your body needs and relish a unique spiritual journey. But if sleepiness keeps ruining your meditation practice, consult a doctor to determine any underlying issues.