As you settle into your meditation cushion, with every intention to find tranquility and clarity, you may encounter an unexpected roadblock—a sleepy mind that threatens to lull you into drowsiness. The battle against drowsiness during meditation is a common struggle for practitioners seeking mental clarity and deep inner peace.
Just as the mind and body crave restorative sleep, they can also drift into a state of drowsiness during moments of stillness and introspection. The warmth of the cushion and the rhythmic cadence of your breath can sometimes trigger a gentle lullaby, leading you astray from your intended path of mindfulness. However, by understanding the causes and implementing effective strategies to control a sleepy mind, you can harness this challenge as a catalyst for growth and transformation.
Let's look at questions that often baffle our early practitioners and discuss a way around them.
I Get Sleepy During Meditation. What Should I Do?
Learning to meditate can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it's not without its challenges. One of the most common obstacles beginners face is sleepiness. It's a state we've all experienced before - whether it's nodding off during a boring lecture or feeling drowsy after a heavy meal. However, when it comes to meditation, there can be several underlying causes that contribute to this feeling.
Feeling sleepy when you meditate can be attributed to multiple factors. When you close your eyes during meditation, the reduction in light signals to your brain that it's nighttime, triggering a natural sleep-inducing response. Additionally, meditation promotes deep relaxation, activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and reduces sensory stimulation, all of which contribute to a sense of drowsiness.
But first, it's important to recognize that sometimes we are simply tired and need more sleep. Our bodies require a certain amount of rest to function optimally, and pushing ourselves too hard can have negative consequences. So, if you're constantly feeling sleepy during your meditation practice, it might be worth examining your sleep habits to ensure you're getting enough rest.
Another possible cause of sleepiness during meditation is our addiction to stimulation. In our modern world, we're constantly bombarded with distractions and fast-paced stimuli. When we sit down to meditate and everything becomes quiet and still, our minds can interpret this as a cue to sleep. If you find yourself struggling with this, it may be helpful to ease into your meditation practice by starting with shorter sessions or incorporating some gentle movement to help your body adjust.
A third potential cause of sleepiness during meditation is an imbalance in energy. It's possible to be too relaxed without enough alertness, which can cause the mind to begin to drift off. To combat this, try paying more attention to your breath or posture, or consider switching up your meditation technique.
Whatever the cause, through mindfulness and meditation you can notice what sleepiness feels like in the body and mind and when it abates—and most importantly, notice if you're judging the sleepiness. If so, see if you can let go of the judgment. Our habit is judging our inner state, which interferes with a simple mindful presence.
After a few days of practice, your body adapts to peaceful sitting; however, if you still struggle with sleepiness, exploring standing or walking meditation can be beneficial. These techniques effectively anchor you in silence and presence, especially when combating excessive drowsiness.You can try this AUM chanting meditation on our app for clarity and inner peace.
I Have a Lot of Difficulty Sitting Still. What Should I Do?
Finding stillness during meditation can indeed be challenging, especially for those who struggle with restlessness or an active mind. However, there are several insightful approaches you can adopt to overcome this difficulty. The first step is to recognize that difficulty sitting still are common experience during meditation, especially for beginners. Instead of getting frustrated or judgmental about it, practice self-acceptance and acknowledge that it's a natural part of the process.
Meditation is practiced in various cultures all over the world. The idea of meditation for certain cultures emphasizes sitting still during meditation which reflects on our mind and energy being focused for a calm and comfortable journey. However, it is important to understand that being comfortable in a preferred position is going to give you a calmer state of mind.
While the traditional cross-legged sitting posture is commonly associated with meditation, it's not the only option. Experiment with different positions such as sitting on a cushion, using a meditation bench, or even trying walking meditation. Find a posture that allows you to feel relatively comfortable and supported, reducing the physical discomfort that might contribute to restlessness.
Start with shorter meditation sessions and gradually increase the duration over time. By gradually building up your practice, you allow your mind and body to adapt to stillness more easily, minimizing restlessness.
Incorporate techniques that help you cultivate a deeper awareness of your body during meditation. Begin your session with a body scan, where you systematically focus on each part of your body, bringing attention to any sensations or tension you may feel. This practice can help ground you in the present moment and create a sense of calm.
Utilize your breath as an anchor point for attention. Direct your focus to the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves your body. Whenever your mind starts to wander or restlessness arises, gently bring your attention back to the breath, using it as a stabilizing force.
Consider seeking guidance from experienced meditation teachers or attending meditation classes or retreats. They can provide valuable insights, personalized techniques, and support to help you overcome restlessness during meditation.
Remember, meditation is a practice that requires patience, persistence, and a non-judgmental attitude. Be kind to yourself and embrace the journey, knowing that each session, whether calm or restless, offers an opportunity for growth and self-discovery.
What Should I Do if I Feel Bored During Meditation?
At some point(s) in mindfulness meditation practice, everyone gets bored! It can be an amazing practice to explore your relationship with boredom. It is essential to recognize that meditation is not about escaping boredom but rather learning to be present with whatever arises, including boredom.
Boredom doesn't have to be feared, despised, or judged. You can embrace it as part of the practice. How does boredom feel in the body? Can you breathe with it? Get interested in knowing it directly? Sometimes, when the mind settles, and nothing big happens, we miss the stimulation and become disinterested. Can you bring your attention to the breath as if it was your last breath? Boredom can be the outcome of disconnecting from the life that is present right now. You can even have the paradoxical experience of getting excited when you notice boredom arising. And the excitement will likely make the boredom disappear!
By learning to meditate you'll learn that intense feelings are more like passing storms that bring chaos for a while before moving on. Instead of dismissing, denying, or drowning in the feeling, cultivating an embodied presence fosters a discerning and compassionate connection to it.
Idanim is a mindful meditation app created for inner peace & emotional well-being with over 1000+ guided mindfulness meditations and 40+ categories like learning to meditate, stress, anxiety, sleep, confidence, failures, relationships, etc. Idanim was created keeping the daily challenges in mind and has seen great results, including increased productivity and lowered stress levels. We have assembled a unique group of meditation teachers from all over the world with a combined mindfulness and meditation experience of more than 200 years. Idanim conducts 'Live Events', including Masterclasses by globally renowned teachers covering topics like focus, managing failures, stress, etc., and daily mindfulness and meditation sessions where users can practice with a dedicated group. The LIVE sessions also give users the opportunity to interact with our teachers and ask questions directly. This enables users to stay motivated and continue on the same path.
Try this simple breath meditation and see how relaxed and rejuvenated you feel by the end of it.