Does Meditation Feel Like Sleeping?

Does Meditation Feel Like Sleeping
Photo by cottonbro studio

How you feel during meditation can vary, depending on various factors. But can meditation at any point make you feel like sleeping? Yes, and if meditation provides sensations that mimic that of sleep, it’s a sign that you are progressing with meditation. 

Because it usually means you’ve entered a deep state of meditation. The keyword here is usually because there are always exceptions. During meditation, you might get brain waves that mimic that of sleep. (Source)

Take any meditation experience as it comes, and try sitting through the session, regardless of how hard it gets. That’s what will separate you from the majority that ends up giving up. Sometimes, you’ll feel sleepier than others, and it’s only natural. 

Can Sleepiness Affect The Meditation Experience? 

If you happen to feel sleepy during the meditation, you might enjoy the experience more, since you’d be going deeper and experiencing the true essence of meditation, which many strive to achieve. But it can also make you feel weird, in the sense that you are disconnected from your body. 

Almost as if you feel lighter. Try not to freak out and be open to the experience, after all, meditation is pretty new to the mind, and it takes time to get used to the practice, both mentally and physically. But sleepiness will often affect the meditation experience positively unless you are falling asleep

Not that it’s bad to fall asleep during the session, but it’s a completely different thing and doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve entered a deep meditation. 

After all, you do need some level of awareness to do meditation, and throughout the entire session, you are supposed to be able to remain conscious. 

If you are awake, at the very least, you can bring back your attention to the meditation, but if you are sleeping, well, it gets a bit trickier, since you aren’t aware you are sleeping in the first place. Otherwise, it’d be a lucid dream

Meditation Relaxes Your Mind and Body, But Your Body Still Needs Sleep

Meditation is often a way to detach from negative emotions and give yourself a break that you may not even get from sleep. It’s a form of disconnection or charging. 

However, it’s important to have a good amount of sleep for the meditation to be effective, otherwise, you might feel drained out during the experience which would achieve the opposite effect of what it’s supposed to accomplish. 

Meditation does take focus after all. And while meditation does give you a kind of rest that sleep doesn’t, meditation can’t replace sleep

You might need less rest to function and you might find the sweet spot of the right amount of hours to sleep, but the two are overall separate and in general, meditation doesn’t feel like sleeping, in the sense that you keep your awareness throughout, otherwise, it’s pretty similar. 

If you’ve reached a state where your mind is awake but your body is asleep, and you attempt to meditate, you might enter the void state of meditation

Which is a completely different experience that goes far beyond a mere deep meditation experience. I recommend doing meditation once you are awake and alert, otherwise, the experience could be skewed. 


You might start with your awareness fully there, but as you progress to deeper meditation, if you aren’t trained, you could easily fall asleep. (Source)

After all, the line between deep meditation and sleep is pretty blurred, and many recommend mornings as the optimal time to do meditation, as by then, you’ve usually got enough rest, and your risks of falling asleep are lower. 

The longer you can keep your awareness throughout the session, the better, and more progress you’ll make with the practice. If that requires you to change the amount of time you do meditation, feel free to do so. 

Not every beginner can do an hour-long meditation, neither does it sound very appealing to the mind and body, and we want to make it easy for ourselves and avoid seeing the practice as a chore. 

But for those beginners that it works for, hour-long meditations are a great way to prepare yourself mentally for meditations, but it’s better to be consistent than intense. 

Always stick to something you know you won’t abandon, and you might find your own personal sweet spot of when your awareness starts to fade.

If your awareness starts to fade at, let’s say, 20 minutes, then it’s your body telling you that the threshold is in this case 20 minutes, after that, thoughts might start to wander or you may fall asleep. Over time, you’ll be able to increase that threshold so deep meditation happens by default after long sessions.

The moment you are worried about how much time is left of the meditation, and the more you get the temptation to check, the less effective the meditation is gonna be. 

That’s not something you want to worry about, especially when you are starting. Which, I know, is easy to say but in practice, you want to learn to sit through what most consider the ‘boredom’ of meditation, so it stops being boring. 

Ultimately, it will result in boredom no longer being a barrier to other things, so it doesn’t have to just apply to meditation.

When it comes to sleep, sleep is easy because you don’t have to sit through said boredom and you just lose your awareness and go where your mind chooses, only to enter dreamland. 

Meditation vs. Sleep: Challenges You Overcome 

Sleep can be pleasant and unpleasant, and sometimes, nightmares can be attributed to something we have stuck in our past that we haven’t addressed, but not always. 

But in general, when it comes to the practice, it can get intense, because not only may we face nightmare-like scenarios, but we also face a part of ourselves we have been repressing. 

Meditation helps you tackle those challenges head-on, whereas, with a nightmare, you might feel more powerless, since you can’t magically wake up from the nightmare but with meditation, you can always stop the practice. 

It’s also up to us whether we want to face that fear or have it stack, so in that sense, that intense awareness we experience during meditation can be a double-edged sword, which will benefit those that choose to step out of the comfort and tackle their demons and taunt those who resort to escapism and turn away from hardship. 

So in that sense, meditation helps you grow more personally and mentally, whereas sleep gives you a different kind of rest. 

What You Feel During Meditation Depends On What Stage You Are In

We’ve already established that those who enter a deep stage will often feel like they are in a sleep-like state, which is often a great sign we are moving forward. 

But for beginners starting, assuming they don’t reach that stage may experience a mixture of boredom and discomfort. Many people don’t like spending time with themselves, but we can learn a lot about ourselves in this stage and it’s usually where the growth happens. 

It can be the difference between being in the beginning stage of meditation and entering a deep stage. Of course, you could always enter a deep state through guided meditation, but it’s a quick fix. 

Eventually, you’ll want to figure out how to meditate on your own, without outsourcing such powers to others who you don’t know the intention of. 

But doing guided meditation is better than not doing any meditation at all, it’s a great way to get your feet wet. But the deep state you experience that often feels like sleeping will be different than if you do it on your own, in my experience. 

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