🧘 I fall asleep when I meditate. How can I address this?
It's fairly common for even the most experienced meditators to feel sleepiness from time to time during meditation. Joseph Goldstein talks more about this in the video and meditation in Session 6 of The Basics course ("Challenges of Meditation"), 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 may be especially helpful to investigate the experience of sleepiness. You can do this by 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 and just observe it— this will often allow you to stay with the experience and maintain awareness of the energy. You may find that after a couple of rounds of sleepiness coming through it will generally pass.
Another option that you can try is meditating with your eyes open. This 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 intractable, you could also 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. We also have numerous 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