falling sleep during reiki

“Is it okay that I fell asleep?” you ask groggy-eyed and a little embarrassed after your Reiki treatment. “Yes, it’s fine you slept because that’s when healing and recovery from illness takes place”, I respond.

If you’ve learnt Reiki with me, or received a treatment, you could have asked this question or thought to ask it. If you fall asleep during your treatment it’s normal to wonder if the session was as effective and as beneficial whilst you slept, benefits such as:

  • increased energy levels
  • a mental shift toward life challenges
  • a clearer and calmer mind
  • increased self-awareness
  • and a reduction in physical pain

take place during and after Reiki sessions.

You may also be comparing Reiki to meditation and wondering if your mind should be focused during the Reiki treatment.

The good news is that:

  • Reiki is still working if you fall asleep during your treatment
  • you don’t need to focus your mind as you do during meditation
  • you don’t have to meditate to receive or practice Reiki
  • Reiki, has the same benefits that meditation has
  • Reiki is easier to practice than meditation.

So what happens if you fall asleep during a Reiki treatment? If you fall asleep it’s an indication that you are able to let go of your mind and body and experience deep relaxation.

If you’re receiving Reiki to:

  • help stabilise your emotions
  • quieten your mind
  • increase your energy levels
  • or for extra support during physical illness or injury

you have a much better chance of regaining balance once your system is given an opportunity to relax and restore.

Reiki activates your parasympathetic nervous system (the system responsible for regulating your digestion, slowing your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure), and creates an optimum environment for healing to take place. True recovery and healing takes place when you’re relaxed. So you don’t need to worry if the treatment is still successful if you’ve fallen asleep.

Over the past 15 years, I’ve received different types of body-focused treatments including massage, Reiki, shiatsu, osteopathy and kinesiology. It’s only during a Reiki treatment that my mind, body and spirit completely relaxes. Sometimes my own snoring wakes me up, even if I’m lying face-up on the table. I often joke with students and patients saying that if they fall asleep when receiving Reiki I’ll give them 6/10, if they snore I will give them 8/10 and if they dribble I will give them 10/10.

Similarly, if you fall asleep during your self- Reiki practice it’s because you need to. We often spend a lot of energy attending to the needs of our families, friends and co-workers. You may also lead a fast-paced life and experience burnout symptoms such as physical and emotional exhaustion. Thankfully, your self-Reiki practice:

  • restores you to balance
  • revitalises your energy
  • connects you back to yourself

so you can better manage the demands of daily living.

So what are the similarities and differences between Reiki practice and meditation? There are a few so I’ll just focus on two.

One of the main differences is that if you fall asleep when receiving Reiki, the treatment is as effective as if you remain awake. Unlike in meditation, sleep isn’t an indication that you’re not getting the most out of the practice. One of the “aims” of meditation is to focus the mind on a single subject such as the breath. If you fall asleep when meditating some teachers would describe you as having a lazy or tired mind. Whereas, Reiki meets your deepest need. If you fall asleep your subconscious need for rest and recuperation is being met.

One of the main similarities between meditation and Reiki is that like meditation Reiki can be a method for realising your true nature which is kind, peaceful and stable. Reiki and meditation both help you to become more aware of what you think and how you behave. Through receiving Reiki, or doing self-Reiki treatments, you begin to unintentionally cultivate patterns that are beneficial for yourself and others and practice letting more harmful ones go. This doesn’t necessarily take any effort, it just happens naturally.

Of course, if you happen to be awake during your Reiki treatment, or when doing your self-Reiki practise, you may wish to notice:

  • Where does my mind wander to?
  • What thoughts and feelings am I experiencing?
  • How do certain parts of my body feel?

Practice noticing whatever thoughts and emotions you experience without judgement and then practice letting them go.

Staying awake during Reiki sessions or falling asleep are both valid approaches to Reiki practise because Reiki meets your underlying need which changes from moment to moment and day to day.


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