Many people who meditate, especially new meditators, often feel that they are falling asleep during their meditation sessions, and all the guides warn against falling asleep during your meditation practice because if you are sleeping you are not meditating and if you are not meditating you are not going to be able to reap the benefits of a meditation practice. Meditators will fight the urges to sleep and feel like they have failed or that their meditation session was not as successful if they fail to stay alert and awake, but there are benefits of meditation that complement your need for sleep.
Studies have shown that we all have sleep deprivation, but we all know that it is impossible to catch up on lost sleep, or so we have been told. It is true that we cannot simply go to sleep and stay asleep until we have caught up all the hours that we have lost, but with meditation and the correct sleeping pattern we can deposit time into the bank of sleep which will allow our body to repair and rejuvenate itself.
Twenty minutes of meditation twice a day will help you to feel more relaxed, less stressed and more alert to what is happening around you, these benefits will help you to fall asleep easily and stay asleep for the length of time that you need each night, although it has been proven that we need between 6 and 8 hours sleep a night, some people only need 6 while others need 7.5 hours a night, the best way to find out how much sleep you actually need each night is to go to sleep at a decent time, like 10pm then see what time you wake up naturally. If you suffer from insomnia or broken sleep patterns, determine what it is that normally wakes you up in the middle of the night, like if you wake up to go to the toilet, then make sure you do not drink anything for 1 hour before you going to bed, and go to the toilet just before you climb into bed.
Meditation is not a replacement for sleep, but if you practicing meditation regularly you will find that your need for sleep is less, if you battle with insomnia you will find that sleep is a state that is easier to achieve, but you might not need a full 8 hours, some people who meditate daily are fully awake, energetic and alert after 5 hours of sleep.
Meditation complements sleep, it allows you to fall asleep with ease, but it also gives the body the time during the day to repair and rejuvenate, that is why after a session of meditation you will also feel more energetic and alert. It is recommended that you meditate in the morning and evening, because these are the times where you need that little boost to your energy levels, but it is also the times where most people find taking a few minutes for themselves is easier than trying to slot their meditation practice into their busy day.
Do not try and meditate for hours on end in an attempt to regain those lost hours of sleep, also stop being so hard on yourself if you think you have fallen asleep during a meditation session, listen to your body and give your body the time it needs, if you meditating for 30 minutes and find that you fall asleep after 20 minutes then shorten your meditation session to 20 minutes.
Sleep is a crucial time for everyone, it is the time that the body is asleep but the mind is active, the cells in the body are working to repair damage done during the day and restore energy levels, but meditation is also a valuable time for everyone, as it is a time where the body is awake and alert, the mind is also awake and alert, while you are focusing on your goals of your mediation practice your body is taking the quiet time to repair and rejuvenate itself.