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Mastering Meditation: How to Stay Awake and Engaged During Your Practice

If you ever feel tired or like you might fall asleep when you're meditating, don't worry at all. It's completely normal. When you meditate, you try to relax your mind and body, and that relaxation can sometimes make you feel sleepy. It's because meditation helps you let go of stress and tension, which can make you feel more peaceful and relaxed.

Actually, meditation is a great way to improve your overall well-being, and it can even help you sleep better. When you meditate, it changes the way your brain works. It shifts your brain from being active and alert to being calm and relaxed, which can make you feel sleepy sometimes.

There are a few reasons why you might get drowsy during meditation. Here are some of them:

Improper sleep and fatigue

The main reason for feeling sleepy during meditation is usually not getting enough sleep or being very tired from work or physical activities. If you're already tired, stressed, have a messed-up sleep schedule, or don't get enough sleep because of work, it's common to feel sleepy when you meditate.

Also, if you're new to meditation, it's normal to feel drowsy at first. It can take some time to get used to the calm and relaxed feeling of meditation. In fact, feeling sleepy during meditation can be your body's way of telling you that it needs a break, both mentally and physically.

Consumption of heavy meals

Eating a big meal can make you feel sleepy because it triggers the release of certain hormones. Some foods like fish, eggs, cheese, and tofu have an amino acid called tryptophan, which can make you feel drowsy by increasing the release of a chemical called serotonin in your brain.

Additionally, when you eat, your body has to work on digesting the food, especially if it's a large meal. This digestion process takes up energy, and your brain may reduce its activity a bit, which can lead to a feeling of drowsiness.

Meditation on or near the bed

Where you choose to meditate can have a big impact because it sets the stage for your mind and body. If you meditate in your bedroom or close to your bed, your brain might automatically think it's time to get sleepy. That's because we're used to our bedrooms being places of rest and relaxation.

So it's a good idea to create a special meditation space. This place should have a positive atmosphere that helps you relax your body and get into a meditative state.

Drained from illness or stress

When you're sick, even with something as common as a cold, your body naturally has lower energy levels and finds it harder to concentrate. A weak body can quickly become tired, and even simple tasks like meditation can be challenging.

Feeling drowsy can happen when you're stressed, dealing with seasonal illnesses, or facing ongoing health issues. It's important to remember that even medications for common colds are designed to help your body relax and recover, which can make you feel sleepy.

When your body is trying to heal or is under stress, staying alert during meditation can be tough. So, while it's important to be aware of these factors that might make you feel drowsy during meditation, there are also some other things to consider if you want to have a focused and uninterrupted meditation session.

Not having a designated meditation spot

We often hear that different tasks should be done in different places, like sleeping in the bedroom, studying at a desk, and eating at the dining table. Similarly, it's a good idea to have a dedicated place for meditation. This helps your body and mind get ready for meditation without any distractions.

You can set up a peaceful and comfy spot in your home with good airflow and sunlight. To make it even more appealing and motivating, you can decorate this spot with things like incense sticks, calming artwork, a singing bowl, or a small water fountain.

Meditate with your eyes closed.

There's no right way to meditate. Most of the time, people meditate with their eyes closed. But if closing your eyes makes you feel too sleepy, you can meditate with your eyes open. This helps your brain stay alert during the session. Some types of meditation, like candle meditation, sun gazing, and moon gazing, are even done with open eyes.

When you meditate with your eyes open, you can choose a specific point to focus on. This has the same effect as meditating with your eyes closed. It's a good idea to keep a gentle gaze so that it doesn't strain your eyes or your brain. You can focus on an object that's about 2 to 3 feet in front of you.


Water is not only good for your overall health but can also help with successful meditation. Research suggests that when you're dehydrated, it can affect how well your brain functions and your ability to concentrate.

To stay alert during your meditation session, it's a good idea to drink a glass of water before you start. Additionally, splashing some cold water on your face can help you feel more awake and prevent drowsiness, leading to better meditation results.

Lack of stimuli

Guided meditation, or meditation with music, is a popular and effective way to meditate. It can help you stay awake and alert, especially if you tend to get sleepy during meditation. Chanting mantras or listening to soothing sounds can provide extra stimulation, helping you stay focused without being distracted or feeling drowsy.

Forcing yourself

Meditation shouldn't be a forced activity. If you're struggling to stay awake during your meditation sessions, it's okay to stop and come out of the meditative state. Continuing won't be beneficial.

Feeling sleepy during meditation is a sign that your body needs more rest. It's important to listen to your body and take a break to recover from any sleep disturbances. You can always return to your meditation practice when you feel refreshed and alert later on.


It's completely normal to feel drowsy or tired during meditation. The key is to recognize and understand why it's happening to make the most of your meditation session. If you start nodding off during meditation, don't see it as a failure. Instead, consider it a signal from your body that it needs rest more than meditation at that moment. Always prioritize listening to your body!

Written by: Bhawana Anand

Edited by: Aniket Joshi

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