It depends on several factors. Mainly what meditation you are doing and why.
You can meditate when your eyes are open, focus on painting.
See mandala, yantra.... meditation pictures.
You could meditate when you seat on a chair.
And there are meditations, when sleep do not mind - see sankalpa.
I know exactly where you are coming from! I have trouble staying awake myself.
Personally, I sit in the middle of a room on the floor, sitting straight up and all. I like having white noise, too. Like a fan blowing or music playing. And sometimes I'll stretch before.
You could also burn incense or a scented candle, I hear it really helps too. Everyone is different.
No matter what you end up trying, good luck! I hope you find something that works for you.