Who else wants to meditate without falling asleep?

Falling asleep is one of the most common obstacles to meditation. Maybe you’re sitting at home when your eyes begin to roll and your head begins to nod. Perhaps you are in a meditation center when you discover that you have been snoring for the last two minutes.

If you want to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of meditation, you’ll need to stay vigilant. Study these tips so you can apply them the next time you start to feel drowsy on your cushion.


Falling asleep as soon as you sit down is a sure sign of sleep deprivation, and the problem is widespread. Nearly 80% of Americans get less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, according to a study commissioned by Dr. Oz.

The ultimate solution to staying awake during meditation is getting enough sleep on a regular basis:

Be consistent. One of the most effective sleep hygiene routines is to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Stick to your schedule as much as possible, even on weekends.

Adapt your bedroom. Block out distracting background noises and lights. Buy a new mattress or pillow if the old ones give you round and round.

Manage stress. Anxiety can keep you up at night. If meditation is the only time you relax enough to sleep, it may be more constructive to take a nap rather than trying to force yourself to stay awake.


Being well-rested will take care of most of your problems with napping during meditation.

If you need additional help, try these tips:

Open your eyes. Most forms of meditation recommend keeping your eyes slightly open and looking down with soft focus. If that makes you fall asleep, try keeping your eyes wide open at least temporarily.

Check your posture. Sitting up straight on the floor or in a chair instead of slouching will allow you to breathe more deeply and feel more energized. It also helps to raise your head a little.

Find your rush hour. Is there a time of day when you usually feel most productive? Switch your sessions to first thing in the morning or late afternoon if that’s when you’re at your best.

To walk. Meditate on your feet. You can make walking meditation your main activity if you’re just starting out, or use it to supplement your sitting practice on those days when you’re feeling especially tired.

Join others. Sitting with a group provides additional stimulation. You may also want to avoid the embarrassment of being woken up by someone else.

Go online. Even if you are meditating alone, you can find some company on the Internet. Look online for guided meditations that you can listen to if your own thoughts are lulling you to sleep. You can also watch videos with nice pictures that will keep you hooked.

Turn on the lights. Bright lights trigger hormonal changes that make it easier to focus. Sit in a well-lit room or go outside on a sunny day.

Refresh. Similarly, cooler temperatures are exhilarating. Lower the thermostat at home or take off your sweater.

Eat light. What you consume also counts. Large meals and dehydration are likely to make you want to go to bed. Before meditating, enjoy a small snack such as fruit or a green salad. Drink plenty of water or tea.

Reduce stress and increase your mindfulness by creating a regular meditation practice. Developing positive sleep habits and making some adjustments to your environment can help you meditate without falling asleep.