Sleep and meditation go hand in hand. Wondering how one influences the other? Continue reading to understand the connection between sleep and meditation.
Meditation is a worldwide accepted practice in which an individual uses techniques such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a specific object, thought, or activity to train attention and awareness and achieve a mentally clear and overall emotionally calm state.
Are you wondering why meditation in today’s time is gaining acute importance? Meditation is growing as a form itself due to the numerous benefits it has to offer to our health and lifestyle. Meditation, which is the practice of focused concentration, addresses both positive and negative stress. Depression, anxiety, certain heart ailments, chronic pain, and high blood pressure can all be reduced through meditation.
Proven benefits of meditation
Meditation is a cultural practice found in all major world religions. Religious groups like Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism believe that meditation is the key to adjoining your body and worldly self to your spiritual self. Almost all major religions have implemented some form of meditation, particularly in their mythological branches. 
Meditation has numerous advantages, including:
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Promotes emotional health
- Increases self-awareness
- Improves concentration and increases attention span
- Reduces the possibility of memory loss as we grow older
- Generates kindness
- Helps fight addictions
- Aids in controlling pain
- Decreases blood pressure levels
- Improves sleep patterns
Why do you feel sleepy during meditation?
The art of meditation is known to bring about an improved sense of well-being and enhance your sleep quality. Although there are many benefits to a healthy sleep pattern, there are negligible pieces of evidence found as regards, the reason why you might feel a sense of drowsiness while meditating. Some possible reasons might include:
- Excessive fatigue or exhaustion
- Similar brain wave activity in meditation and while sleeping
- Eating too close to a meditation session
- Having a heavy meal
- Meditating while sitting on your bed or in your bedroom
- The body is depleting from stress or any sort of illness
The science behind meditation and sleep
Meditation is thought to be a state of awareness, whereas sleep is a state of unconsciousness. Meditation is the means to awake from dreams and sleep. According to experts, if sleep wins after meditation, then laziness (pramad) prevails. Whereas if you remain awake, alertness wins.
Certain types of meditations should be performed before sleep, like Pratikraman. This ensures awareness even when you sleep. The main aim of meditation according to mythologies, as followed, is to remain awake.
Is meditation before bed good or bad?
Meditation, being an act of awareness, can be practiced anywhere and at any time. There are certain kinds of meditations that are supposed to be practiced before bed and after bed respectively.
Before bed, you could practice forms of meditation such as guided breathing meditation, guided meditation body scan, gratitude meditation, etc. These forms of meditation help you focus and promote relaxation which could further help you sleep stress-free.
After waking up, you can practice various types of meditation such as mindfulness, spiritual, focused, movement, mantra, transcendental, or visualization meditation, etc. These will help you stay self-aware and awake, as well as focus on your in-hand tasks.
We recommend the above-mentioned forms of meditation to be practiced before and after bed for an overall holistic and healthy lifestyle.
Can I sleep after meditation in the morning?
We frequently hear people ask, “Can I sleep after morning meditation?” Or, “Is it okay to sleep after early morning meditation?”
Truly, it all depends on what type of meditation or form you are practicing. Certain types of forms or sadhanas may make you feel fatigued and drowsy. You might want to rest up after it. In such cases sleeping after meditation will help integrate into your spiritual experience.
Can we sleep after meditation in Brahma Muhurta?
It is believed that, if you wake up to meditate during Brahma Muhurta (a period that begins one hour and 36 minutes before sunrise and ends 48 minutes later), it’s the best thing that you are doing.
It is the most auspicious time, wherein your mind is fresh and free from many distractive thoughts. During your meditation session, you tend to accumulate divine or cosmic energy in a good number. It is said that by going to sleep after meditating in Brahma Muhurta, you will lose most of the accumulated cosmic energy.
Meditating half-heartedly with a tired body and mind with scattered thoughts will not yield the desired results. We suggest that you get your share of sleep early and complete your rest period before waking up. Although, if you do plan to sleep after a satisfying meditation during Brahma Muhurtha, there are some things you must do.
Before sleeping, you should jot down any unusual experiences in meditation or any bright thoughts after meditation. These are the gifts of meditation with real-life usefulness. You should try not to meditate when feeling sleepy, As said, forcing yourself to stay awake is a false austerity and will have repercussions later in the day.
Potential downsides of meditation
At all levels, every meditator experiences some meditation side effects, which are listed below:
You get detached from everything/everyone
The most noticeable side effect of good meditation is a natural detachment from everything and everyone around you. It means that you are currently facing intense satisfaction and bliss among yourself.
You do not feel like socializing much
This is one of the permanent side effects of meditation. You will find loud music, dancing, and socializing at parties pointless. If you’re out somewhere, you probably can’t wait to get back to your home to feel comfortable within the quiet and warmth of your own home.
You gain more compassion and empathy as a human
Whether you like it or not, and even if it’s not appropriate for the nature of your work, you naturally develop compassion and empathy.
You learn to be humble
One of the most remarkable results of consistent meditation is that you become more humble. Humility is more than just being polite
Negative emotions and anger will not overpower your thoughts anymore
If negative thoughts and emotions used to hinder your thinking process earlier, they will no longer affect you. The power of your negative emotions and thoughts affecting your brain will reduce significantly.
Tips to stay awake while you meditate
If you are new to meditation techniques, it might be taking a good toll on you. You might be trying hard to effectively reduce drowsiness and meditate effectively, but still, see your efforts go in vain.
We suggest that apart from these practices, you try figuring out what causes you to feel sleepy and pinpoint the best solutions for the same.
Here are some tips that you could try to stay awake during your meditation sessions:
- Practise meditation before your meal or eat a lighter meal.
- Find a place to meditate which is outside your comfort zone (especially outside of your bedroom).
- Create a lively designated space for your meditation sessions or practice outside.
- Don’t sit idle while meditating, stand or walk while you meditate.
- Try to get enough sleep and rest every day.
- While meditating, use a bench to sit and meditate.
- Meditate at times when your mind is most focused and alert.
- Keep your eyes open while meditating.
- Maintain proper hydration at all times.
- Meditate with audio.
- Practice meditation frequently in short periods.
- If you’re struggling to stay awake during meditation, do not resist.
What’s the best time to meditate?
Meditation, as an act of awareness and mindfulness, can be practiced at any time and in any place. We recommend that the best times to meditate are right when you wake up and when you’re stressed. For best results include meditation in your morning routine. Simply practice it while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew in the morning. This moment of mindfulness will keep you focused on your tasks as well as yourself throughout the day.
Will meditation before bed help me sleep better?
We have found plenty of evidence that has proved meditation to be beneficial for inducing healthy sleep patterns in human beings. Meditation is as important for the mind as exercise is for the body. 
Meditation is important to strengthen your mental health. Some forms of meditation are crafted to be performed before bed. However, if you continue to practice it daily before bed, it can amplify the depth of self-awareness in sleep and improve your sleep pattern effectively over time.
Can meditation help me have lucid dreams?
In a study conducted by the National Institute of Health, there have been some immense observations based on lucid dreaming in correlation to long-term meditation. 
Observations made were immense benefits, particularly a heightened state of awareness as well as decentering facets of mindfulness. Such side effects seen in lucid dreams help individuals to effectively deal with anxiety efficiently. It also enables you to relax and rest after a stressful day.
What should you do after you meditate?
The best thing to do after having a great meditation session is to attempt to integrate your positive advancements. You can accomplish this by engaging in any activity that keeps your attention engaged, such as reviewing your current meditation session, journaling, or engaging in an informal meditation practice.
What is the big downside of meditation?
Sense of fear and panic, facing hallucinations, mania, loss of motivation and memory, and depersonalization are all potential negative effects of meditation that can be distressing for people at times.
If you meditate in the morning and doze off, there is a chance that your body is too tired. Some people may experience drowsiness after meditating. If you feel the need to sleep after meditation, whether it is in the morning or a night, do not resist it. Hope our tips to stay awake after meditation help you.
- U.S. National Institute of Health. “Meditation: In-Depth”. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
- Ann N Y Acad Sci. “The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials”. HHS Author Manuscripts vol 1445(1) (2018): 5-16
- Wash D C. “Increased lucid dream frequency in long-term meditators but not following MBSR training”. HHS Author Manuscripts vol 6(1) (2019): 40-54