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Is it possible for a person to have sleeping disorders or problems with large durations of meditation? I know a few very big siddhas that have astonishing powers and they meditate up to 8 hours a day after office hours and sleep for 4 hours only.

When I tried a long duration of meditation, I found a lack of sleepiness, and my sleep schedule was a bit altered. Is there any possibility of a large duration of deviation through meditation? What is the best way to manage that?

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  • @DhammaDhatu Unfortunately, I met them when I was very young, they don't exist now. :)
    – User 29449
    Jan 2 at 3:53

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Oh yeah. That's 100% true. On our sesshins, we often sit 10-12 hours a day. After the second or third day, you're so hopped up on meditative energy, you only need a couple of hours of sleep. By the fourth day, most people don't even bother going to bed. This won't happen the first 5-10 years of your practice. During that time, you'll probably need more sleep just to recover. But after? Better bring a book or some knitting!

This will abate once you cut back on the intensity of your practice.

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    Oh bless this site. I'm done posting here. I'm an ordained Rinzai priest who has been sitting 3 hours a day for 17 years and goes on 5 week long sesshins every year. If my answers are worth a blind downvote, I don't know what to tell you.
    – user25630
    Jan 1 at 23:37
  • Your answer received at least one downvote and one upvote. Users are free to vote on the questions and answers to decide how good it is.
    – ruben2020
    Jan 2 at 3:28
  • Probably the description could have been better. I guess users here prefer more structured answers here. Like the sleep issues from the first couple of hours to a few years, how they change or how they transform, etc.
    – User 29449
    Jan 2 at 3:39
  • Once I had this om meditation (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pranava_yoga) in my initial stage, whenever I'd come out of my meditation, I'd feel a change that I was not bothered by anything in the world anymore, a feeling of bliss of self-fulfillment, but for some reason one day I injured myself, a very sharp current like feeling at my spine with a sudden rise of anxiety and scare (I wasn't sure what this was triggering this feeling, probably the base of the spine?) and then clairvoyant vision and from that day I paused meditation to recover. I almost recovered from that fright and anxiety.
    – User 29449
    Jan 2 at 3:44
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    @ruben2020 My point was that any single downvote is not a "community" opinion but "originating from one account" (and irrelevant unless it's from the person who asked the question i.e. for whom the question was being answered).
    – ChrisW
    Jan 2 at 22:08
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The purpose of Buddhist meditation is the development of samatha (tranquility) & vipassana (non-attaching liberating insight). This non-attachment & tranquility, if developed, is a very natural state of mind because the ordinary will/volition of the mind has been surrendered. Therefore, when it is time to sleep, the mind knows when it is time to sleep. If the mind is approaching or has developed jhana, the need to sleep is less. However, because this development is so non-volitional, if there is a biological need to sleep, jhana won't be reached because it is time to sleep. In summary, I very much doubt sleep disorders can occur due to long period meditation if the meditation is developed according to the Noble Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold Path is The Middle-Way. The Middle-Way is the path between indulgence in sensuality & engaging in self-torment/punishment.

It sounds like a rare situation if a person is working 8 hours in the office and also practicing 8 hours of meditation after work. However, if their samatha (tranquility) meditation is well-developed, I imagine they can live with 4 hours sleep per day. The scriptures say the Buddha slept 4 hours per night; however, when the Buddha was older, he also had a nap in the middle of the day; particularly during the hot season.

When I lived a monastery in Thailand for an extended period of time, generally, I/we slept six hours per night, even though I/we practised meditation for at least 8 hours per day (during retreats 10 hours per day). I do not recall anyone giving much thought to how long they slept. We finished meditation at 9pm, often I meditated until 10pm. The bell woke the monastery up at 4am. There was a time I was meditating past 10pm however I recall i would have two or so hours nap in the middle of the day. At least in my experience, when there is the need for sleep, there will be sleep, when one's practice is based in giving up craving and giving up ego. If you strive to deliberately have little sleep, even when the body & mind are tired, this is craving; this is ego; this is self-mortification. Its not the Middle-Way.

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  • Thank you for the answer, I understand how balancing jhana and sleep is necessary.
    – User 29449
    Jan 2 at 4:09

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