Falling asleep during a formal meditation can be embarrassing, and hard to admit. However, this is one of the most common experiences. In a society where we need to produce and be productive, we have this idea that we do not need sleep, we can just power through our days, and then go to sleep without needing help. No down time, just straight to sleep. It does not work very well in my experience, and have not heard this working well from clients in the past. When starting Meditation it can be hard to do it in the morning and notice how tired you are. One of the biggest complaints I have heard when leading morning meditations always revolve around falling asleep.
So what do we do with it? Well, we notice it. If falling asleep occurs, it occurs, this has happened to a lot of people. You are not alone, the body scan has been one of my sleeping aids for years. To this day I will still use it to help my brain shut down at night. It is beneficial to notice if we are tired, how much coffee do you drink in the morning? Throughout the day? Noticing that you are having drowsiness while you are meditating can lead to you possibly changing some behaviors that you wanted to change or did not even know you did. Caffeine intake being just one of them. Noticing you might need more sleep can help you make choices at night to go to bed a little earlier, if it is available to you. Again when we encounter a resistance, greeting it with a sense a curiosity will help with no judging the thoughts or physical sensations, and letting them go as they come. Always knowing that you can return to the breathe.
Meditation for the week: During a formal meditation, notice your physical sensations, specifically if you notice yourself falling asleep. If you are able to, notice the sensations, the thoughts of it, and the emotions that arise as you get drowsy. Remembering that you can always go back to the breathe.