Sleep vs. Meditation

October 31, 2022

Sleep vs. Meditation

Meditation if often heralded as the go-to method for finding clarity and clearing your mind. Often a better way is to just take a nap or sleep for a while.

When I have tried meditation I have often found myself in the situation that I either want to fall a sleep or that my thoughts are wandering away. To counter the former issue it is often advised to sit a bit uncomfortably, lean forward in your chair or something similar. To counter the latter issue one is told to accept it and bring your mind back to focus on your breathing.

I have found that both are kind of annoying. If I'm really tired, I find it's better to sleep. And if my mind wants to think about some new idea or a problem I want to solve, I find it's better to think about that thing instead of trying to dismiss it.

Instead of meditating I prefer to just go to bed, close my eyes and see what happens. If I'm tired and I fall a sleep, great! Then I will wake up refreshed and ready to do some concentrated work. If I'm not falling asleep then more often than not my brain starts to think about some tricky problem I want to solve and potential solutions start to pop up. Other times new ideas around something I have been working on lately pops up. Other times I just lay there, neither really sleeping, nor thinking about anything tangible.

Whatever happens; I almost always finish by having a clearer mind or some new ideas or more energy which I didn't have before I went to bed.

A few tips for your work-time sleep

  • If you feel tired or not motivated or lack inspiration or stuck on a problem; stop what you are doing and take a nap.
  • It doesn't matter if you really sleep or not.
  • If you easily fall a sleep and can sleep for a long time, set an alarm for say 30 minutes.
  • Have a notebook or phone nearby so you can jot down ideas in case they come up.
  • Sometimes you want to sleep longer, sometimes shorter. It's all fine, there are no rules.
  • Sometimes you get a fantastic idea which you want to try immediately. Then just go up and try it.
  • Some people say they get groggy or sleepy if they sleep in the day. Everyone is different and maybe this is not for you. However, the possible short period of groggy-ness is usually well worth it and you will feel much better and work more focused afterwards. Start by trying just a shorter 5 minute nap.

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