Firstly this is normal and it means you are tired. Often when Mark would run long meditations over several days for students he would say to them on day one that “if you need to sleep then sleep. If you are that tired then it is better to just get some rest and meditate later.”
Of course there are things that you can do to reduce your chances of falling asleep:
Avoid lying down to meditate, after all it is better to meditate sitting upright.
Do not meditate in bed.
Sit upright. Good posture supports good energy flow.
Do a little bit of yoga or tai chi before meditating. If you don’t know these then just do some light exercise to get the blood flowing a bit, such as walking on the spot or a few star jumps.
Try and meditate at a different time. Perhaps try the morning if you are always sleepy in the evening.
Do the counting breath meditation deeply for about 3 minutes at the start of the meditate, to bring fresh energising energy into your body.
Avoid meditating after a heavy meal as it is normal to feel sleepy on a full stomach.
Open a window and let some fresh air into the room.
If it is a persistent problem then seek professional nutritional guidance as sleepiness may indicate an underlying problem such as excessive sugar intake, wheat intolerance or adrenal exhaustion. And of course if you suspect any health problems then see your preferred medical practitioner.
Meditate with friends or family. Many people find that the support of having others with you helps you to remain present and enjoying the stillness. If no one is available where you are then find a meditation buddy and you can remotely meditate together and then call or text each other afterwards to see how you each got on. To find others interested in The Way Back you can follow us on our social media (see links at the bottom of this page).