Actually very few people project while awake on a regular basis however most people will, theoretically speaking, project while sleeping.
As far as danger is concerned I would suggest you learn to "fly" or travel to higher planes. The rule of thumb is the higher you go, the more difficult to exist, thus less chance of supposed astral danger.
Meditation is often preferred for astral travel over full blown slumber because when you're totally asleep you're least likely to stay focused. You see, when you're asleep your subconscious takes over while your primary (as I'll call it for now) conscious naturally begins to rest. Intentionally projecting while sleeping requires lucid dreaming, and dream control which is extra work many don't find necessary.