7 Quick Meditation Tips to Combat Sleepiness

Tips for Meditation

Overcoming Obstacles of Meditation

In the article, Meditation Help and 5 New Tips for Beginners,  I gave an important list of meditation tips to help you to establish a strong, daily meditation practice.  Today, there are few more meditation tips I would like to pass along to you and these are specifically with regard to dealing with sleepiness during meditation.

Undoubtedly the best time to meditate is early in the morning, but unfortunately this is also the time when we are most prone to feel sleepy during our meditation session.  Recently, I have received several emails regarding this very issue, so I thought it would benefit everyone to share some tips regarding how to deal with this challenge.

Below you will find 5 quick ways to help you overcome this obstacle during meditation.  I can assure you I have used all these methods at some point in the past in developing my own meditation practice .

7 Meditation Tips to Combat Sleepiness:

Tip #1. Cold Water:

Before you start your meditation, wash your face with cold water.  Splash it 10-20 times and also try to keep your eyes open as you do this.  Also, go ahead and wet your hair with cold water.  This is a great way to wake up and feel fresh. 

In Kundalini Yoga and other disciplines, only cold showers are suggested, and this too is a great way to awaken the body and mind in the morning.

In more extreme cases, where I know I will have to deal with sleepiness during meditation, I keep a bowl full of ice cold water near me.  Yes, I have poured it on my head to get the job done .

Tip #2. Blast of Fresh Air:

Just as cold water is good for waking up and feeling refreshed, tip #2 helps accomplish the same, except here you use the cool morning air to wake up, instead of a water.  A quick brisk walk in the fresh morning air is a great way to start the day and feel awake.

Along the same lines, keep your meditation room cool, instead of warm and cozy.  This coolness will also help retard sleepiness.  Similarly, not wearing ultra comfortable and warm clothing will also help you stay awake.

Tip #3. Light and Bright:

Our body rhythms are closely tied to darkness and light, and if you need the body to feel awake, introduce it to bright light in the morning.  Also, don’t darken your meditation room too much and this too will help keep sleepiness at bay.

Along the same lines, if you meditate with your eyes closed and are feeling very sleepy, open your eyes and welcome in the light.  This should help drive sleepiness away.

Tip #4. Walking Meditation:

In the event that the other tips have not helped, you can also switch to Walking Meditation for a while and then return to your seated meditation to help fight off sleep.  Here are two great articles on Walking Meditation for you:

A Beginner’s Guide to Walking Meditation

How to Master Walking Meditation 

Tip #5. Vigorous Breathing:

As I mentioned in the previous article, Free Exercise and Fitness Tips for Yoga, vigorous breathing such a Breath of Fire is great for getting your energy up and getting the body ready for exercise.  Such vigorous breathing is also great for waking the body and mind up and getting rid of sleep prior to or during meditation.

Here are 3 such breathing exercises to invigorate and wake you up…

Breath of Fire Kundalini Yoga Breathing Exericise

4 Part Deep Breathing Exercise

Powerful Breathing to Raise Energy and Treat Depression |  Surya Bedi Pranayama 

Tip #6. Cup of Tea:

If other means are not working, a cup of tea can be helpful to get you going.  This is due to the caffeine of course.

Tip #7. Whacking:

Meditators can be pretty radical people and we are willing to go pretty far to help us master this most profound art in life.  And we know that sometimes a little pain can be helpful.  In formal Zen Meditation retreats you can volunteer to be whacked with a stick on 2 particular pressure points on the shoulders.  This certainly helps you wake up and is also used for catharsis.  In my own sessions, I have found a few slaps to be helpful at times in driving away sleep and waking the mind/body up. 

Meditations Tips Summary:

Of course, for meditation you want your mind to be calm and steady, yet you don’t want to be drowsy or sleepy.  So use the tips above to feel fresh and awake and overcome the obstacle of sleepiness, but at the same time don’t end up hyper or agitated.

If you have some meditation tips of your own, that you feel would be useful to others, please do share them with us in the comments section below. 

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