Sleepy meditations﹘What to do

Tord Helsingeng
4 min readMar 25, 2021

Sleepiness during meditation is quite common. Even advanced practitioners have periods of drowsiness in their meditations. But sleepiness is not necessarily a problem, even if it does not go away. In fact, there are ways to use it to enhance the results of meditation.

Sleepiness in meditation has several elements. We will look at three important ones: physical, mental/emotional, and life circumstances.

Physical elements of sleepiness

When you get sleepy in meditation, you tend to lose your ideal body posture to one extent or another. In the extreme, you may suddenly feel that you are falling forward or backward, perhaps because you’ve nodded off for a moment. Or maybe you just lean or drop your head forward or slump your lower back.

If any of those happen, here are some solutions to try:

  • Focus on and return to good meditation posture. That alone will often awaken you. In particular, straighten your back and sit as upright and balanced as possible.
  • Stand up and continue the meditation that way, or change to a walking meditation. These are helpful when you are especially sleepy.
  • Meditate with your eyes open. That is more demanding, and the extra effort can overcome drowsiness. If your eyes are already half or fully open…



Tord Helsingeng

Norwegian mindfulness coach and bodyworker, specializing in chronic pain relief and stress disorders.