Meditation isn’t just for relaxing. Research has shown that it has a lot of health benefits.
So, when is the best time to meditate? We asked experts to share their insights.
Psychologist | Author, Repose: The Potent Pause | Consciousness Researcher, University of Arizona
The best time to meditate is in the mid-afternoon
My research has shown that a seven-minute Repose session has a number of benefits, including stress reduction; increased happiness, optimism, and resilience levels; and enhanced memory, attention, and mental acuity.
One of the optimal times for Repose is in the mid-afternoon, between 2 and 3:30 pm. This time period corresponds to a natural lull in our daily arousal levels, which advertisers have referred to as “that 2:30 feeling.” It is also the reason that so many cultures have a rest period or pause immediately following lunch.
For the past five years, I have been encouraging employers to give their staff a seven-minute Repose break in the afternoon. This would increase productivity and elevate morale at relatively little cost to the employer.
Meditation Speaker | Author, Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind
The best time to meditate is when you are most likely to practice!
Like learning any skill, meditation takes repeated practice, so it’s important to meditate when you are most likely to fit it into your schedule.
People get the greatest benefit when they can make practicing meditation a habit and for most folks, this means practicing at the same time every day.
Even if you don’t have much time to meditate on any given day, you’re better off practicing for 2 or 3 minutes than not practicing at all. Often people find that associating meditation practice with something they do regularly helps create a meditation habit. Get up. Brush teeth. Meditate.
Many people find that meditating first thing in the morning works well before they get busy with the activities of the day. But, since people’s schedules and preferences are so varied, it’s most important to find a time to meditate that works for you!
Related: 17 Best Meditation Books
TEDx Speaker | Wellness Lifestyle Expert |
Author, Vibrational Healing: Attain Balance & Wholeness
There is no best time to meditate
There are, however, different outcomes to meditating at different times of day or night. The most important things ins not when you meditate, but in having a consistent daily routine of meditation.
It’s the daily consistency which helps to rewire the brain and promote the many positive benefits that meditation can cause.
Meditating in the morning is a great way to set the stage for your day, focus on positivity, goals and to have the motivation necessary to succeed.
Meditating at night is a great way to slough off the mental chatter and debris accumulated throughout the day. It can promote better sleep, deeper relaxation, and really take advantage of meditations ability to neutralize the external stimuli we face on a daily basis.
It’s like brushing your teeth after a meal vs before: both are good for health and have different benefits.
Founder, Advanced Flow University | Author, Meditation Secrets Revealed: Get OFF The Damn Ground!
The best time to meditate is in the morning or at night
The morning is usually very suitable because your home and neighborhood are typically still quiet between the times of 5 AM to 6 AM. Metaphysically, this time is also very suitable because the rays and vibrations of the dawn are vitalizing and spiritually uplifting for the Meditator.
At night, try to practice your Meditations around 10 PM to 12 PM – if you can. When everybody is asleep and quiet in the mornings and evenings, you are able to maximize your Meditation efforts.
After eight weeks, Meditation caused thickening of the brain areas which control Learning, Cognition, Memory regulation, and Production of Neurotransmitters. – Sara Lazar Ph.D., Neuroscientist Harvard Medical School
The #1 enemy to your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being is lack of meditation. By the Law of Neuroplasticity, regular meditation creates a mental blueprint which causes the formation of subtle electrical pathways in the brain. – Medical Expert Yogananda
Meditation experts all agree that it is far more important to consistently meditate during the times that work for you than to skip meditating based on specific times of the day which are more beneficial.
Remember, being consistent will always be the best time to meditate!
CEO, Spirit & Spark™ | 5th Generation Psychic Medium | Transformation & Manifestation Expert
The best time to meditate is the time when it feels right for you
Although I would typically recommend that you meditate first thing in the morning or at dusk, it’s important that you don’t overthink it and choose a time that feels right for you.
I find that with many of my clients and students, if they think they are meditating incorrectly, they avoid it altogether or they rarely engage in meditation.
I advise that you select a consistent time for yourself each day and add it to your calendar.
Close your eyes and allow for at least 5-minutes of focused breathing. You can set a timer on your phone or use an app like Calm or Insight Timer. A few minutes each day can make a huge difference in your overall wellbeing.
Gabrielle Desmarais, NTP
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner | Founder, Forevergreen All-Natural Care & Healing, LLC
Depending on what you would like to accomplish, there are a couple of times during the day that tends to be optimal for meditation.
The best time to meditate is in the morning
Your mind is fresh, you haven’t been bogged down with decisions and other minor problems that seem to litter our daily lives. Morning time is the perfect opportunity to set the tone for your day.
In taking the time to meditate in the morning, you set the precedent of peace and calm throughout your entire day. This is my personal preferred method.
Do you notice the difference between meditating or not in the morning? Personally, I absolutely do.
When I don’t meditate in the morning, I find myself far more stressed out and prone to be triggered by minor annoyances that I wouldn’t give a second thought to otherwise. Morning meditations provide me a sense of calm and serenity that stays with me all day long.
Another excellent choice is to meditate before bed
This is an especially good choice if you have trouble sleeping or are prone to anxiety. Meditation before bed allows you to release all the stresses you have accumulated throughout the day, leaving your body relaxed and prepared for a good night’s rest. You’ll likely find you get much more restorative sleep and may even wake up fewer times throughout the night!
All things considered, however, the best time to meditate is the time you will meditate.
Meditating in your car right before work or meditating in the bathroom on your lunch break is better than no meditation at all. Whatever time works best for you is the best time.
Certified Mental Health Consultant, Enlightened Reality | Relationship Expert, Maple Holistics
The best time to meditate depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your meditation session
If your intent is to center your mind and become more relaxed, then the morning is ideal.
It will help you center your mind and have a more fulfilling day. Morning is ideal because you will not have the actions of the day distracting you.
If you meditate to try and grasp a better understanding of yourself and your actions then nightly meditation is ideal.
Meditating after a day of actions and interactions to reflect on can assist in gaining a deeper understanding of your subconscious and decision making processes.
Katie Ziskind, LMFT
Owner, Wisdom Within Counseling
The best time to meditate is when you make time
Often times, people don’t meditate because they don’t make time for it. See where within your day you can make time, such as staying 10 extra minutes at work and doing meditation. Or, you could wake up first thing in the morning and do a 15 minute guided meditation off YouTube.
The most important thing about meditation is to have a consistent regular and routine of practice.
Just like you would go to a yoga class at 6 PM every Monday night, make a point to schedule meditation on a daily basis for a routine that provides serenity and relaxation in your mind, body, and spirit.
Meditation is a practice that can be started very gradually such as five or 10 minutes at once. I do not recommend starting meditation in silence unless you have a guide.
I recommend short 5 to 10 minute guided meditations on YouTube if you are just beginning. Also, read some books on Buddhism or Taoism.
When you begin meditating, you may meet different difficult emotions that you haven’t faced for a while. It can be helpful to have a meditation guide or a yoga therapist to work with as you begin your meditation journey.
Jenna Palumbo, LCPC
Mental Health Therapist | Owner, Evergreen Therapy
I encourage all of my clients to meditate or use mindfulness in some way. Ideally, I suggest them to meditate first thing in the morning or just before bed. When we start getting into our day, it can be harder to meditate because we’re in such a “doing” mode.
That doesn’t mean that it’s not good to meditate at 3 pm right before your kids get home from school, but it’s likely that it will be more of a struggle to quiet your mind.
I recommend blocking out time first thing in the morning or before bed for meditations over five minutes.
If you don’t have time for that try to build in moments of mindfulness into your routine, which has similar benefits. You can do this by focusing on the sensations you feel while brushing your teeth, rather than mentally making a to-do list for the remainder of your morning, or mindfully eating a snack in the afternoon.
Focusing on your sensations and the actions your doing gives your mind a place to anchor.
The best time to meditate is in the morning
There are two main reasons why I believe this:
Organic ‘present’ state
Mornings provide a natural separation between yesterday’s events that have happened and the events that will occur later today. Your mind is in a clearer and fresher state, ready to be receptive to the energies that you can feed to it.
Set tone & intention
Your routine first thing in the morning sets the tone for the entire day. Understanding the residue of thoughts you’re bringing into your day from the previous day allows you to set the proper intention for the day ahead.
Setting this tone earlier in the day will help provide the foundation in which you can conduct how you communicate, interact and respond throughout the day.
Founder, Thoughtful Neighbor
The first thing in the morning is the best time to meditate
This is the time of day when I am least likely to get interrupted because my kids are either still sleeping or they are busy getting themselves ready for the day.
I’ve been practicing meditation regularly in the mornings for the past year, so when my kids do come into my room and see me meditating, they now know not to interrupt me.
They will often sit down next to me and take some deep breaths or wait patiently until I’m done. I love that my meditation practice is rubbing off on them.
Everyone, including the busiest parents, can find 5-10 minutes in their daily routine to calm their minds and focus their thoughts. Once you’ve prioritized meditating and get into a consistent routine, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner!
Coach | Runner |
Author, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running With My Dog Brought Me Back From the Brink
The best time to meditate is now
When someone first attempts to meditate, finding a quiet space and a time without interruption is helpful. The focus and concentration that support meditation are skills. Learning those in a protected environment facilitates the process.
But once someone has the basic idea and has developed the necessary concentration, the best time to meditate is whenever a person can do it! There is no perfect time!
In the car? Feel hands on the wheel. Sense eyes on the road. Notice button the car seat. Family argument? What a perfect time to observe the thoughts and sensations that arise from anger or frustration!
Waiting in the grocery line? What a fabulous opportunity to be curious about what constitutes boredom! What does boredom feel like? Where does the person feel it in her body? What thoughts arise as she stands and waits?
Waiting for the perfect time to meditate is a trap. Instead, seize every opportunity!