The Satipatthana Sutta details the use of the sloth and torpor hindrance as an object for mindfulness meditation. Does anyone have any practical advice, either of a personal nature or from an established teacher, about how this might be achieved. Whenever I am suffering from this hindrance it completely negates any attempt at meditation of any sort. So I am interested about advice how tiredness could be used as grist for the meditation mill.
It is an experience, like any other, so you have to face it and recognize it clearly as it is. In our tradition we describe the experience of catching up the fatigue in one's awareness and reminding oneself "tired, tired"; if one's mindfulness is sharp, it will either disappear completely or, if the body needs sleep, one will fall asleep.
As the Mahasi Sayadaw describes this process:
Also, the commentary to the Satipatthana sutta has a number of ancillary techniques for overcoming sloth and torpor:
Some things that have worked for me-- and may be entirely personal:
Sometimes these practices have caused my torpor to suddenly "flip" into very bright concentration. Sometimes torpor is actually concealing some unacknowledged agitation, and when that agitation is known, the sluggishness vanishes.
However, that's less likely if it's genuine physical exhaustion, or sluggishness caused by digesting a meal. "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" :)