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Drowsiness and meditation

edited April 2009 in Meditation
I'm having some trouble here. I've noticed after a while after doing meditation I begin to fall asleep. I can tell because I start dreaming and feel more drowsy and eventually sleepy.

Is there anyway to remedy this?

For information I'm doing simple breathing meditation as instructed by Thich Nhat Hanh: just mindful breathing and some light object meditation -- nothing heavy.

Thank you.


  • edited April 2009
    Hi Joe,
    Try opening your eyes as far as needed till it stops.
    My tip.

  • DhammaDhatuDhammaDhatu Veteran
    edited April 2009
    Hi Joe

    Sleepiness is an acknowledged hindrance in meditation.

    There are many potential antidotes that can be tried.

    1. Move your awareness away from your breathing and maintain awareness of your body's posture, with the intention to remain upright. Be aware of your body sitting in time, space & place. At times, move your awareness to parts of your body, such as where the hands touch eachother or touch your knees or to the torso, head, back of neck/body, etc.

    2. Learning walking meditation. Change posture.

    With metta

    DDhatu :)
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited April 2009
    The Buddha give a few good tips on overcoming drowsiness in AN 7.58.
  • BrigidBrigid Veteran
    edited April 2009
    I have the same problem, Joe. Fighting drowsiness can be nauseating. Pema Chodron has the same problem, incidentally.

    I haven't read any of the info from Jason's link yet but I will right after I post this.

    One solution I've found is to shorten my meditation times from 1 hour to just half an hour at a time. I'm working my way back up but in the meantime I'm doing 2 sets of 30 minutes a day.

    If that's still too long sometimes I cut it to 15 minutes. Whatever I can do, I do.

    I also do little things like making sure I'm not too comfortable, making sure the room is cool, opening my eyes sometimes like Sri suggests, drinking coffee before I sit, and this may sound a bit weird but sometimes when I start to get drowsy I imagine a hand slapping my face. Not hard. Just enough to snap me out of the stupor, you know? That sounds weird, doesn't it? Yeah, it does. Oh well. It's part of my honest answer. :D

    I'm going to read from Jason's link now.

    Good luck, Joe!
  • MagwangMagwang Veteran
    edited April 2009
    Smack yourself in the face. Seriously. Give yerself a right good smack. Or ask someone to do it.
  • edited April 2009
    Thanks for the replies and suggestions, gals and guys. I'm grateful for never learning how to drive and therefore never having a license and therefore never owning a car to drive in. I walk or ride my bike wherever I go: from home to work or home to school, etc. So I'm very fortunate to have been practicing -- and am fortunate to able to practice -- walking meditation. I love walking, before, and more so now.

    But it was funny, even though I had been practicing sitting meditation in the past, that I would all of a sudden start developing drowsiness only a few minutes or so into a session.

    Any rate, I think if I work through it, my concentration and endurance will build and I'll be able to mitigate, to some degree at least, the drowsiness effects I'm experiencing.

    Thanks for the link, Elohim. And thanks again everyone for the tips and pointers.

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