Meditation is a great way to improve both your mental and physical health. However, one of the biggest challenges for many people is staying awake during practice. If you're one of those people who find yourself nodding off, don't worry. You can stay alert and get the most out of your meditation sessions with a few simple changes.
Obtain Sufficient Sleep
The main reason people fall asleep during meditation is that they're sleep deprived. According to Statistics Canada, one in four adults aged 18 to 34 and 65 to 79 report not getting enough sleep. In the age group from 35 to 64, one in three say the same. To avoid nodding off during meditation, ensure you're getting enough rest.
Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
Create a sleep-friendly environment. Reduce noise and light in your bedroom, and replace your mattress and pillow if uncomfortable.
Manage your stress. Stress can cause insomnia. If meditation is the only time you can relax enough to fall asleep, it may be better to take a nap.
Maintain Awareness During Meditation
Getting enough sleep is the best way to avoid nodding off during meditation. However, if you still have trouble staying awake, try these tips:
Keep your eyes open.
Most meditation techniques recommend keeping your eyes slightly open, but if this causes you to fall asleep, try keeping your eyes wide open.
Improve your posture.
Sitting up straight on the floor or in a chair will help you breathe more deeply and feel more alert.
Choose your time wisely.
Determine when you're most productive, whether in the morning or late afternoon and schedule your meditation sessions for those times.
Stand while meditating.
You can either make walking meditation your primary practice or use it to supplement your seated practice on days when you're exhausted.
Join a group.
Meditation in a group provides extra stimulation and helps you avoid the embarrassment of being woken up by someone else.
Browse the internet.
Even if you're meditating alone, the internet can provide some company. Find guided meditations or videos with exciting visuals.
Brighten the lights.
Bright lights can help increase concentration. Meditate in a well-lit room or outside on a sunny day.
Colder temperatures are invigorating, so try lowering the temperature at home or removing extra layers.
Heavy meals and dehydration can make you sleepy, so eat a light snack like fruit or a salad and drink plenty of water or tea before meditating.
By following these tips and developing a regular meditation practice, you'll be able to reduce stress and improve your mindfulness. With a little effort, you can meditate without nodding off and get the full benefits of this powerful practice.