So, you already know about the numerous benefits of meditating that encompass better mental, emotional, and physical well-being. And now you want to know when is the best time to meditate to get these benefits and more.
In this article, we’ll explore the advantages and considerations of meditating at different times with the expectation that you will find the best time for you to meditate that fits in with your goals, needs, and lifestyle.
However, we need to begin by saying that it is possible to meditate at any time… we just need to look at the monks and nuns in any monastery around the world to see this in action. Therefore, when asking about whether you should meditate in the morning or at night, all the consideration is about you and what you expect to gain from your practice.
What Things Should You Consider When Deciding What Time To Meditate?
There is no right or wrong answer as to when is the best time to meditate, and as every expert meditator knows, the best time varies from person to person.
To work out what’s the best time for you to meditate, you should consider the following lifestyle factors:
1. What is your morning schedule currently like? Can you find 10 or 20 undisturbed minutes upon waking to sit in meditation? If so, then I would encourage you to do it, and I’ll give you the reasons why below in the section ‘What are the Benefits of meditating early in the morning?’
2. How is your mind in the mornings? Upon waking, are you immediately checking your social media, listening to all the bad news on mainstream media, or having to deal with screaming kids and an unhappy partner? (If so, you would really benefit by getting up earlier to spend 10 minutes centering your mind… and also benefit by not engaging your mind in things that potentially create stress in your life… if possible, just don’t even look at the stuff that doesn’t benefit you!)
3. How do you feel upon waking? What is your body’s intuition telling you? If you can relax your mind, you will be able to ‘feel’ what the next best thing is for you at this moment… Of all the people I’ve spoken to about this, they all say their intuition tells them to ‘take a moment’ to just ‘feel’ into the day! This doesn’t mean that they all meditate at this time, but they all do take a moment to express gratitude for their body, mind, the sunrise, their health, family, job, etc.
Gratitude Is The Best Way For All Of Us To Begin Our Day!
4. What is your schedule like? Are you traveling a lot, having to get up early to catch flights often, navigating different time zones, or is your routine stable? Your lifestyle will have a big impact on what you can consistently achieve. Lots of work-related or social late nights drinking will impact your ability to get up early with a clear head and successfully meditate or not.
5. What about your family? Do you already get up and 6:00 am and are busy until 9:00 am when the last of the kids of off to school? Family commitments will definitely play a large role in determining how much energy you have at different times throughout the day… Maybe 9:00 am is going to be the best time for you to chill out for 20 minutes and meditate.
6. Do you have other family members or friends who you want to meditate with or a class that is available at a specific time… These factors will also limit the choices you have available as to what time you can meditate.
Sometimes it’s best to be flexible, especially if you don’t have a fixed routine to follow every day. And even if you do it for five days a week, maybe on the weekends you will want to change the time you meditate.
The most important when wanting to reap the benefits of meditation is that you do it regularly… every day if possible, and maybe even more often when you have the impulse to do it. This is because the benefits of meditating accumulate.
So, while you may be meditating now to relieve stress or calm your overactive mind, what you will find after practicing for a while is that you preempt the stress and monkey mind… I.e. you will overall become a person who does not get stressed out like you used to, and your mind will actually be calmer, more focused, and better able to handle all that life throws at you.
What Are The Benefits Of Meditating Early In The Morning?
It’s well-recognized that how we start our days has a huge impact on how things will go for us for the rest of the day. And this is why the majority of people meditate in the morning and advise others to do the same.
The Main Benefits of Meditating in the Morning Include:
1. Upon waking up, most people feel refreshed… (unless they have trouble sleeping.) This is a great time to ‘get on top of your mind’ before it gets busy thinking about all the stuff that you will do, have done, wish you didn’t do, and all the other ‘stuff’ that your monkey mind throws at you… It’s easier to focus your mind on your meditation before it gets busy with all the other stuff.
2. The positive mindset you can achieve by meditating early will have a positive influence on the rest of your day. You will feel lighter, more positive, and move easier through your day after meditating than if you didn’t meditate.
3. After meditating, you will be more calm and relaxed and you will take this with you, meaning that things are less likely to upset you or throw you off track while at work or engaging with ‘challenging’ people or situations.
4. Meditation helps to train your mind to be in the present moment. This results in you feeling calmer and more at peace. Therefore, you will have enhanced mental clarity and will be able to concentrate for longer on the tasks you are doing. In essence, you will become more efficient and more productive.
5. If you meditate after waking up, you are less likely to fall asleep during your practice.
6. If you meditate every day upon waking, you are forming a habit… This creates a sense of structure in your life as well as discipline. Essentially, you are teaching yourself a good habit that will then show you that you can achieve the things you set your mind to.
What Are The Benefits Of Meditating At Night?
While the best benefit of meditating in the morning is to set yourself up for a great day, the best benefit of meditating at night is to unwind yourself, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
However, it’s not the only benefit. Other Benefits of Meditating at Night Include:
1. After a physically and mentally challenging day, meditating at night offers an opportunity to let go of the busy demands of your body and mind. The kids may be asleep, the dishes done, the garbage taken out, and the external environment is quieter, and now it’s a great time to literally just unwind.
However, although meditation can be used as a welcome respite from a busy day, it’s important to remember the purpose of meditation is not to become so relaxed that you fall asleep. Instead, you want to be able to focus your mind on your goals or your chosen anchor.
2. Studies have shown that meditating at night improves the quality of sleep. This has the added benefit of making you more alert and productive the following day.
3. Meditating at night allows you to reflect on the day’s activities. What were the highlights of the day, what things could have been handled better, etc? A period of introspection with your meditation is beneficial as, while you are rested and your mind is focused, you can gain valuable insights into how you are interacting with yourself, within your family, your work environments, etc.
Any self-reflection can be considered an opportunity for personal growth and development as you reflect on your performance as well as allow for the integration of experiences and emotions into your psyche.
4. An established meditation routine at night can assist in unwinding and preparing your mind and body for sleep. Specific breathing techniques, as well as progressive body relaxation techniques, can help anyone suffering from insomnia and enable you to more easily transition into a great night’s sleep.
The Reality Is That You Can Meditate At Any Time!
Meditation is not only done early in the morning or at night before bed. As I mentioned before, monks and nuns often meditate for the whole day. And what’s better than getting the benefits of meditating once a day? … You guessed it, meditating more often. Therefore, along with your primary time for meditation, you could also slip in an extra session or two during the day when possible.
You Could Even Make One of These Other Times Your Primary Time for Meditation
1. I find after exercising is a great time to meditate. When the body has worked out and the mind is focused, it is easy to slip into deep meditative states quite quickly.
2. Many years ago, I used to meditate after coming home from a physically exhausting day’s work. I would shower and then lay down for twenty minutes before thinking about dinner. It was during these times that I had some of the best experiences while meditating. You can read more about those life-changes experiences here: What Is the Best Experience You Have Had While Meditating?
3. Meditating at lunchtime has become popular these days and many workspaces have a dedicated area for this purpose. A few minutes of ‘unwinding’ your body and mind will make the rest of the day flow a lot more smoothly.
4. If you commute to work by bus, boat, or train, why not put your phone away, close your eyes, and take a break? It becomes very easy to do and very beneficial when you get into the habit of doing it. For most people, this is a time when they are doing things ‘just to fill in the time’ anyway. So why not turn it into a valuable part of your personal development program?
5. And then there are the purists among us! Some people get up at 3 or 4 am to meditate. To be honest, I’ve tried it in the past, and realized it’s not for me… I like my night’s sleep to be unbroken. However, some meditators swear that this is the ‘only’ time to meditate.
They say this because it is the quietest time when the energy of the previous day has subsided and the new day has not yet begun, therefore there are fewer distractions. They also say that if you go back to sleep after meditating, your dreams are more lucid. However, I find that I tend to have pretty lucid dreams at times without waking up so early to meditate.
Final Thoughts On Whether You Should Meditate In The Morning Or At Night
We are all individuals and as such we would benefit from experimenting by meditating at different times during the day and night to work out what time fits best with our lifestyle and our body’s rhythm
If you are wanting to set yourself up energized and focused for a great day, then meditate in the morning. If you are wanting to de-stress, help with sleeping problems, or review your day, then meditate in the evening.
However, either way, you will need to choose a time that fits in with your lifestyle if you are going to be able to turn it into a permanent habit.
Flexibility is key to maintaining a good habit, and with something as beneficial as meditation, I’m sure you will soon find yourself meditating more often as you can integrate it into part of more of your normal daily activities…
… and, after all, isn’t that what mediation is all about… creating greater self-awareness… and since we are always breathing, we can always return our attention back to our breath!