I would like to know whether meditation can be a substitute to sleeping? I mean, can we meditate at night without sleeping?

The Great Adi Sankaracharya said:

The witness of the three states of consciousness [waking, dream and deep sleep] and of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss is the Self

Do we really need sleep? Because in meditation too we are thoughtless and not doing any physical work.

I would like to know if there are any scriptural references to this.

2 Answers 2


There are yogis who go without sleep. This is an elevated state that is learned by years of meditation. They have learned to have complete control over their minds and bodies.

Reference Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms. Chapters I and II. Especially I 10-15. and II 55.

The three states you reference and the fourth state (Turiya) are in the Mandukya Upanishad and in Gaudapada's Karika of the Mandukya.

  • So can we substitute it for sleep?
    – user12458
    Dec 9, 2014 at 10:27
  • Yes if we do meditation properly then it can be substitute with sleeping. I forgot the name of person but he wrote a book on yoga in which at one place his daily routine is written. as part of his daily routine he only take 3-4 Hours of sleep(actually meditation) every alternative day with everyday of workload of 12-13 hours. and he has helthy life event at age of 45. He wrote on this one as, instead of sleeping these 3-4 Hours he did meditation. I put it in comment because i forget the name of person as well as his book.
    – Kiran
    Dec 9, 2014 at 11:48
  • 2
    @javatechnical You can only substitute for sleep after attaining the states described by Patanjali. Until then it is good to have a moderate amount of sleep. Dec 9, 2014 at 13:55
  • @SwamiVishwananda Ok, Thank you :) I'm including this in the answer.
    – user12458
    Dec 9, 2014 at 14:53

According to Bhagavad Gita meditation may not be a substitute for sleep:

Chapter-6 Verse-16

There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogī, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.

Chapter-6 Verse-17

He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.

However it should also depends on what level of meditation is being performed.

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