How do I stay awake while I meditate?
It's fairly common for even the most experienced meditators to feel sleepy from time to time while meditating. Joseph Goldstein talks about it in the video and meditation in Session 6 of The Basics course and—in case you'd prefer to just read about it—here's a helpful article by Sharon Salzberg on how to work with sleepiness during meditation.
It can also be helpful to investigate your sleepiness. Try noticing the pleasantness of it and the draw to go further into the pleasant experience. Try to bring attention and curiosity to how the mind feels pulled into the experience of sleepiness and just observe it. This will often allow you to stay with the experience and say aware of the energy. You might find that after a couple of rounds of sleepiness coming through, it passes.
Another option you can try is meditating with your eyes open which helps maintain alertness. If you choose to keep your eyes open, the idea is not to be actively looking, but to keep the eyes diffuse, gazing a few feet in front of you.
Lastly, if the sleepiness seems really unmanageable, you can alternate short periods of sitting meditation with some walking meditation. You can find an introduction to walking meditation in this newsletter article by Jay Michaelson, Don't Just Sit There: An Introduction to Walking Meditation. We also have lots walking meditations available in the Singles tab of the app, including:
- Formal Walking | Jeff Warren
- Walking | Sharon Salzberg
- Mindful Walking | Dr. David Vago
- Walking | Alexis Santos