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How to avoid falling asleep while meditating?

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by ellie76, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. ellie76

    ellie76 Member

    Hello there everyone. :)
    This is the first time I post anything on this forum so please forgive me if I ask something stupid. You see when I discovered Project Meditation about 4 months ago, I was in an emotional chaos (I still am to some degree): two months before I had lost my husband. Knowing, from what little I've read, that mediation can help, and reading some of the stories from the site, I started with Discover Meditation and then with Lifeflow. Yeah, I have to admit I was a little mistrustfull about all this in the begining, but Lifeflow CAN AND IS A BIG HELP. However my great problem is not how to focus or how to follow Michael's instructions or how to use the Lifeflow tracks or anything else. This may sound stupid but a few times while meditating and listening to the Lifeflow track of my level, I fall asleep. Not in my bed or couch, but right in front of my monitor and sited in my chair. Not just drowsing, but a full state of sleep. I had to literary drag myself to bed. So I'm asking: is this normal? Does anyone else had this effect? Perhaps I'm doing something wrong? Can anyone shed some light on this for me please? Sorry for being so tiresome, but it's really anoying and I'd like to find a way to avoid it
  2. GilesC

    GilesC Member

    Hi Ellie,

    It's not tiresome and not a silly question.

    Some people find that when they start meditation practice, they fall asleep, so it's not unusual and not wrong.

    Things you can look at for your practice:

    Ensure you are sat comfortably, with your back supported if necessary, but don't use a chair that supports your head as this is tantamount to lying in a bed and you will be too comfortable and easily able to fall asleep. If your head isn't supported then if you start to fall asleep, usually the dropping of the head will bring you back to alertness and allow you to continue meditation.

    Check what time you are practicing meditation. Often, meditating when you first wake up in the morning will not only be a good way to start the day (as you often feel more alert after meditation) but as you've already had your sleep you are less likely (well for some people anyway) to fall asleep again, especially if you've already got yourself out of bed, walked about and gone to your place of meditation. Meditation right at the end of the day, before going to bed is more likely to be when you are tired and more likely to want to naturally fall asleep. For my meditation practice I usually do it first thing in the morning and then after returning from work before eating in the evening (eating is something else that makes the body feel tired as your energy gets directed into digestion)

    Also consider how long you are meditating for. If you're new to meditation then doing a full 40 minutes of meditation (the lifeflow length for downloaded tracks, or 60 minutes for the bought CD's) could be more than you need at this time. People who just learn meditation (transcendental meditation style, like the mantra meditation Michael provides) usually start at about 5 or 10 minutes meditation and work up to about 20 minutes. It's usually more experienced meditators who extend meditation to 30 or 40 minutes. Maybe you just need to cut your meditation length to a shorter time for a while and then gradually build it up when you've practiced more.

    All in all, there's no need to beat yourself up about it if you do fall asleep; it will happen occasionally. It's not unusual for people who've practiced meditation for some time, to find that they actually start requiring less sleep. Stick with it. :)


  3. ellie76

    ellie76 Member

    @ Giles
    I guess you're right:
    I do meditate (or try to) usually in the evening, and I don't mean 8 or 9 o'clock. Eleven o'clock or midnight are among the few hours I have for me. I'll start try doing it in the morning...
    And yes I'm new to meditation, only 4 months. I'll follow your advice and stay at 5 - 10 minutes. Perhaps I need to slow down the every day rythm of my life, and not just this...
    Thanks for your help Giles

    Hugs and a good night to you

  4. Ta-tsu-wa

    Ta-tsu-wa Member

    While you don't want to develop a conditioned habit of falling asleep every time you sit to enter meditation, keep in mind that great loss is not only emotionally draining, it's physically taxing as well. Sometimes we would do well to listen to our bodies and not automatically dismiss the messages they are sending us. I strongly suspect in this particular case your body is probably showing you that it needs some additional sleep time as a part of the loss-recovery process.

    It might be a good idea for you to schedule some additional time for listening to LF in which you are not specifically working towards meditation, but are simply relaxing and allowing the body to catch up on needed sleep or at least deep, targeted physical relaxation. Perhaps using a technique such as progressive relaxation, autogenics or guided imagery would facilitate the recovery process along with the LF track. In turn, this additional rest might help you to remain more alert during those times when you are specifically wanting to enter meditation.

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