By now, the physical and emotional benefits of meditation are well-documented. Chances are, you've even tried it yourself or know someone who does it.
One of the most common complaints that people just starting out have about their practice is that they keep falling asleep. Assuming you're doing the type of meditation that is about waking up rather than falling asleep, this can be frustrating. If this sounds like you, worry not—you're not alone! Here's a secret: Even longtime practitioners still fall asleep sometimes.
When I first started meditating, falling asleep was par for the course. About five minutes in, you can bet I'd be nodding off. This went on for almost a year, and looking back on it now, it makes sense. Before I started meditating, my mind was so used to constantly running, planning for the future and analyzing the past, that when I was put it in a situation where the goal was just to stay still in the present, it went straight into sleep mode because it didn't know what else to do with that stillness (and I was constantly tired, so this seemed like a good opportunity to catch up).
Gradually, I started noticing that I was asleep and as soon as I did, I naturally jolted awake. Most importantly, I stopped beating myself up for falling asleep and just went with the flow of dozing and jolting awake until eventually my mind was ready to move on from dozing.
Along the way, there were a few tips that helped me to notice I was dozing off and to guide me back to staying awake. Here's what to do if you keep falling asleep during meditation: