When is it the Best time to Meditate
One of the questions most often asked to me by those who want to approach meditation is: what is the best time to meditate?
The time of day we meditate is not essential, but it can absolutely make a difference. In this article I will try to answer this question from all possible points of view, to give you a complete picture of the advantages and disadvantages related to the different hours.
The right time to meditate: my experience
I have never come across any scientific studies on the effects of meditation at different times of the day, so I will answer you according to my personal experience as a meditation teacher and as a person who has been meditating regularly for more than thirty years.
To get the maximum benefits of meditation, you should ideally practice when you are feeling rested and alert . This means not meditating immediately after a heavy meal, or when you are sleepy or physically exhausted.
The most important thing, especially if you are just starting to meditate, is to simply maintain the daily habit .
So my answer is: the best time to meditate is the one that best fits your day’s schedule. In other words, the most suitable time is when you are most likely to meditate, when your energy is highest, and when you can do it continuously each day. And that really depends on your lifestyle and routine .
That said, let’s look at the specific advantages and disadvantages of different times of the day.
Meditation in the Morning
Meditation in the early morning , immediately after waking up and before breakfast (although in some cases a digestible breakfast is allowed ), is the time recommended by most teachers and it is also one in which I myself meditate regularly.
Advantages of Morning Meditation
- Create an effective defense against the stress of the day
- It is easier to maintain the daily habit and make sure you never skip the practice as you do it before the hustle and bustle of the day begins
- Create a better mood and tone for the rest of the day
- The benefits of the practice can be more easily transferred into daily life
- You naturally feel more rested, which leads to better meditation
- There are fewer distractions in your mind and less noise around you
Disadvantages of Morning Meditation
- You may need to wake up a little earlier than usual (for me, who have always woken up early, that’s not a problem. But for other people, waking up early can be hard)
- Some people find that they are still a little sleepy and find it harder to concentrate
Meditation in the Afternoon
Meditating at noon, before lunch, is an increasingly popular option for those who work, can’t find time in the morning, and need a break in the middle of a stressful day.
Advantages of Afternoon Meditation
- It offers you a natural break in the middle of your day, allowing you to relax and prepare for the challenges of the rest of the day
- For most of us, noon is the time when we are fully awake and alert, but not tired yet, which is the ideal state to meditate.
Disadvantages of Afternoon Meditation
- It may be difficult to find a good place to meditate, where you can sit without being interrupted and without feeling observed
- Depending on the nature of your job, lunchtime can be hectic. You may need to shorten your meditation, or you may be interrupted by an urgent call
Meditation in the Evening
Maintaining an evening meditation practice is difficult enough, but it may be a favorite time for those who are not early risers.
Advantages of Evening Meditation
- Great way to recover from the stress of the day
- Create a pleasant break between work and leisure
- There is less pressure and less rush
- It helps you relax at the end of the day and sleep better
Disadvantages of Evening Meditation
- You may feel too tired to meditate
- Your mind may be less alert and rested
- You may find it harder to meditate every day – some nights you will feel exhausted after a long day of work or you may have social or family activities to participate in
- If an inconvenience occurs, you cannot postpone the practice: you will have to wait until the next day
If your goal with meditation is primarily to sleep better, meditating before bedtime may be a good idea.
On the other hand, if you are meditating primarily for other purposes, it is best to practice early in the evening, ideally before dinner, in order to be more alert. If at any time you struggle with drowsiness during meditation, you will find it much more difficult to stay focused and alert.
The Best Time to Meditate according to Spiritual Traditions
In most contemplative traditions and ancient meditation manuals, the ideal time for meditation is said to be two hours before sunrise . In the Hindu tradition, this time is considered a good omen for meditation and is known as Brahmamuhurta .
The spiritual explanation for this recommendation is that at this time there is a predominance of calm and purity ( sattva ) in the atmosphere and that “energy flows more easily through the central channel (sushumna)” .
Yogis, for example, are very convinced of this precept. To use the words of Swami Sivananda (one of the fathers of modern yoga):
O man! Now it’s Brahmamuhurta!
Don’t snore. Don’t roll in bed.
Throw away the blanket.
Get up, start your meditation vigorously and enjoy the eternal bliss of the Inner Self.
– Swami Sivananda
A more scientific explanation for this recommendation is that exposure to darkness and sunlight activates the pineal gland , which secretes hormones such as melatonin , which are responsible for regulating our circadian rhythm.
In the absence of light (at night), melatonin production is at its peak. The release of melatonin is associated with relaxation, introspection and the experiences of subconscious states of mind (similar to those of meditation).
Therefore at the end of the night, before the day begins, there is this window of time where we are completely rested, but we can still meditate under the influence of the calming effects of melatonin.
For some, this may be a much more acceptable explanation.
A second favorite meditation moment of the ancient masters is sunset .
For Sadhuguru , a well-known modern yogi, the best time to meditate is 3am or 3:30 am .
The best time to meditate is early in the morning , after going to the bathroom and before breakfast.
If this is not possible for you for any reason, meditate at any time that fits your schedule. Choose the time of day when you are most likely to meditate regularly, making it your daily habit .
If you choose to meditate in the evening do so before dinner, otherwise you will likely have problems with sleepiness during the practice.
And no matter what time you choose, include some mini-meditations throughout the day and maintain consistency . This is one of the pillars of meditation and will always be the foundation of your practice.
Informal mini meditation can be practiced anywhere and in any position. It usually lasts from one to three minutes and can be done with your eyes open or closed.
You could use a reminder to remind yourself to cultivate your awareness throughout the day, or just practice spontaneously and take a couple of minutes whenever you feel stressed or emotionally unstable.