The best, the most appropriate, the most rewarding time of the day to meditate. I was once looking for an answer to this question as well, and for good reasons – meditating at different times of the day can have different effects on our overall well-being, and the perception of the benefits that we’re receiving.
That understanding only came after I had experienced many different mediation patterns and routines, but the one I have been holding on to up until this day, has been the morning meditation.
I think it’s important to note that while someone like me, or the guy next to you, might say that a particular time is best, usually we have to experiment for ourselves to find what works best for us, given the circumstances that we are in. Since we all have different life schedules, some of us might have a better session in late evening, whereas some of us might enjoy starting our day with meditation first.
If you type “best time to mediate” in Google, you’ll come across hundreds of blog posts (like this one) and essays that talk about the absolute best time for a meditation session, luckily – some of them are actually quite good and informative. Here is one from About Meditation.
But I agree with the great meditation masters of the ages that some times of day are more conducive than others for meditation.
In particular, I find that morning is the best time to meditate. Almost every authority on meditation that I have ever read recommends that you practice in the pre-dawn hours.
I grew out of that knowledge as well, majority of the stuff I have read about when to meditate has always suggested that an early morning practice is the best way to go. I can’t disagree, personally, I think there is a big difference between sitting down to meditate at 9AM rather than 6AM.
It’s the natural rhythm of life that interferes.
My Morning Meditation Routine
As I started to learn and practice meditation, I kept reading and researching about the absolute best time to meditate, I was keen to get it right, and I think I nailed it for my own biological needs.
In the first couple of months of learning meditation, I was getting up at 5:30AM – waking myself up, having a shower, and sitting down on my homemade meditation space.
I must have done this for at least two full months. My body was fully adapted to the routine, and I don’t recall changing my special meditation time at any point. It was perfect.
It really is as simple as that, the most difficult part is, of course, the commitment to the idea of having a special time of the day where you do meditation. You have to overcome the assumptions if there are any.
In just a couple of short weeks, you will come to learn that meditation is actually pretty cool.
Meditation Routine: Early Morning, Afternoon, Before Bed
I’m hoping to use the following few points to explain my own routine that I try to follow, and why I think it can work for you. Even though I explained my morning routine already, over the course of two years it has changed up quite drastically, and I have learned that there are many ways that you can approach it.
Meditation in the Early Morning
The best time for meditation is early morning, shortly after waking up. This is because your body has just woken from deep rest, and your mind is clear like water, which is helpful for sustaining a mindful meditation practice without internal distractions. As you practice meditation during the early hours, you can bring your practice with you through the day, hindsight having a mindful day ahead of you.
I quickly learned that the 6:00AM meditation really resonated with the way my mind and body functions, and doing it exactly at 6:00AM would benefit me the most throughout the day. Here is a rundown of what my early morning meditation routine would look like:
- Get up at 5:30AM, visit the bathroom, wash my hands and face, and head to the kitchen for a glass of water.
- At this point I would either:
- Do some light exercise like stretching and push-ups. (to get my blood going)
- I would write down some inspirational affirmations to rise my energy. (more on this in the future)
- Time goes by quickly in the early hours, so by 6:00AM – I would be fully awake for the day to sit down and meditate.
It rarely felt like these meditation sessions would be too long or unrewarding, and they would leave me feeling energetic, peaceful and ready for whatever life is going to throw at me on that particular day.
It does wonders for those who lead busy lives.
Meditation in the Afternoon
Afternoon meditation, for example lunchtime, is a great way to relieve some of the tension that you’re building up during a busy day. It’s the perfect way to relax and balance the rest of the day that you’ve yet to spend at work, or wherever else you are. It’s recommended to meditation on an empty stomach, so perhaps before lunch is best, as it will yield you the most benefits.
The second meditation of the day I would try to have at around 5:00-6:00PM, somewhere in that timeframe. I’m getting an intuitive feeling that this might have something to do with the Circadian rhythm, and I also recall reading about this on an online article at some point, but I’m currently unable to locate it.
So, for the second meditation in the afternoon, nothing really changes, but there is something worth knowing about. I call it giving contrast to life, and for some reason it took me a really long time to notice it myself.
All those countless hours you spent at the desk: typing and calling, talking and thinking – it does make you feel very drained out by the end of the day. What happens is, the afternoon meditation helps to clear away things that happened during that day.
The moment you come out of the afternoon meditation, it’s like you’re, once again, fully energetic to do all your evening tasks: making dinner, going out on a date or with friends, spending time on your hobbies, whatever it may be.
It helps to keep your work life, and personal life separated from each other.
You need to experience this for yourself, but I’m sure that you can somewhat imagine what I’m talking about. Ask me a specific question if you would like to learn more.
Before Bed Meditation
After a busy at work, it’s nice to end the day with a meditation practice before getting ready for evening activities, like spending time with the kinds, catching up with news, or heading for dinner with friends. Evening meditation clears away the stresses of the day, and creates an environment of balance in your mind and body as you give yourself time to relax and unwind.
Most of my meditation experience reaches out only for the morning and the afternoon, and throughout the day as I sit and walk, but before sleep meditation is also something I have worked with, and it’s also a highly recommended practice if you would like to learn more about lucid dreaming. It’s said that the state of tranquility before going to sleep can help to enhance the chance of inducing a lucid dream, but that’s not what this post is about! (I will be covering lucid dreams when the time comes!)
The benefits you may or may not experience by doing meditation before going to sleep:
- Better sleep quality, overall.
- Reduced sleep anxiety: like insomnia.
- Increased dream awareness.
You don’t have to sit for 20 or 30 minutes either, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes of relaxing meditation before bed can change the way you sleep for the better, and it will also make you feel much more happy and aware in the early hours.
The Best Time of the Day to Meditate
We return to the title of this post. What is the best time of the day to meditate? It’s something that we will need to find out for ourselves, but I truly hope that the above examples will be of the highest benefit to help you experiment with the different timeframes at your disposal.
You can meditate three times a day if you like, or you can meditate only once — experienced meditation practitioners are able to bring mindfulness into their daily life effortlessly. Strive to calm your mind and connect with your breath.
If you enjoyed this post it would mean a lot that you shared it forward so that your friends and the people you know can also be introduced to meditation. I’m also open to questions, and I welcome any thoughts and experiences on this particular subject.
It’s always good to know that you’re not alone out there. :)